Tanglewood Case

Table of contents

Below is an analysis of the potential new selection methods for hiring the Store Associate position. The study of 10 Seattle-based stores resulted in an adequate sample size of 832 applicants. New selectors being evaluated are the retail market knowledge exam, Marshfield customer service biodata questionnaire and essay, Marshfield applicant exam, and personality exam. All stores, including those employing the traditional selection method, collected on education, work experience and interview score correlation to the four indicators of success: citizenship, absence, performance, and promotion potential.

Assessment of the practical and statistical significance of a proposed set of hiring tools and recommendations regarding how adopting these new hiring methods might benefit stores It is important that any set of hiring tools adopted reliably predict predicts future employee performance. Based on descriptions and test data, the proposed hiring tools have varying degrees of practical and statistical significance as described below:

Retail Knowledge Exam measures basic knowledge of marketing principles and factors responsible for Tanglewood’s competitive advantage. The exam was developed in-house and is this low-cost. There is a statistically significant moderate correlation between success on this test and promotion potential.

Biodata exams are questions for significant life experiences that are potentially associated with performance at work. This has been developed using a wide response network in similar job settings. This helps to determine the similarity in skills and performance. It is relatively expensive with either a $10 per applicant fee or substantial fixed start-up costs for the computerized version but has a statistically significant moderate correlation with successful performance and promotion potential.

Applicant Exam captures problem solving abilities, fluency with numerical processes, and work comprehension. Its availability for administering an in-person and online assessment means that it can be administered to a wider group of candidates. Presumably it carries the same costs as the biodata exam. This method has a statistically significant moderate correlation with successful performance and promotion potential

Personality Exam seeks to measure conscientiousness and extraversion, considered by Daryl Perrone to be the most relevant personality traits for the position of retail clerk. The Conscientiousness portion of the exam exam has a statistically significant moderate correlation to promotion potential and statistically significant moderate reverse correlation with absence.

The extraversion portion of the exam has a statistically significant moderate correlation with performance.

Suggestions regarding which subset of predictors is most likely to improve the effectiveness of selection without creating an administrative burden In an effort to adopt the most effective predictors with the lowest cost and administrative burden, it is recommended that Tanglewood adopt the retail knowledge, biodata and personality exams. The biodata and conscientiousness portion of the personality exam are both have a statistically significant moderate correlation with promotion potential, indicating that applicants who excel at these tests are more likely to remain with the company for a longer period of time which will help solve Tanglewood’s problem with high turnover. Biodata and the extraversion portion of the personality exam both have a statistically significant moderate correlation with performance. The statistically significant moderate negative correlation between absence and both biodata and conscientiousness indicate that applicants who excel at these evaluations are more likely to exhibit acceptable attendance. Biodata is the only measure with event a slight correlation with citizenship.

Having been developed in-house, the personality test is low cost and its brevity will prevent it from causing an undo administrative burden. In contrast, the biodata evaluation is costly but, because it is administered by a third-party, won’t create additional administrative work. Furthermore, if Tanglewood purchases the online version, the set-up costs will be spread over all future applicants resulting in an increasingly small per-applicant cost. The benefits of the data it provides is likely to save money in the future as turnover is reduced. Read more about Tanglewood Case

Assessment of the content validity of various proposed selection techniques by determining how well they match the general requirements of the job Content validation is most appropriate when there are two few people to form a sample for purposes of criterion-related validation or when criterion measures are either unavailable or of poor quality. Our sample size of 832 is adequate for criterion-related validation and such measures are available. Nevertheless, content validation can be useful. Content validation begins with job analysis in order to identify tasks, task dimensions and the necessary KSAOs and motivation for those tasks. According to O*Net, the tasks and KSAOs required for a retail sales associate are as follows:


  • Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
  • Open and close cash registers, performing tasks such as counting money, separating charge slips, coupons, and vouchers, balancing cash drawers, and making deposits.
  • Maintain knowledge of current sales and promotions, policies regarding payment and exchanges, and security practices.
  • Compute sales prices, total purchases and receive and process cash or credit payment.
  • Maintain records related to sales.
  • Watch for and recognize security risks and thefts, and know how to prevent or handle these situations.
  • Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
  • Answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise.
  • Describe merchandise and explain use, operation, and care of merchandise to customers.
  • Ticket, arrange and display merchandise to promote sales.


  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without ‘giving out’ or fatiguing.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Estimate of how well the test sample results will generalize to other locations Statistical significance refers to the likelihood that a correlation exists in the population. Correlations with the lowest p-value are most likely to generalize to other locations. In this test, Tanglewood should only rely on correlations with a p value less than .05 to apply to the populations of other stores. A p-value of .05 indicates that there is a less than 5% chance of concluding that there is a relationship in the population when in fact there is not.

Using this benchmark, the proposed methods data collected for the following correlations are most likely to generalize to other store locations:

  • Education to Performance and Promotion Potentia
  • Work Experience to Performance and Promotion Potential
  • Interview Score to Promotion Potential
  • Retail Knowledge to Absence, Performance, and Promotion Potential
  • Biodata to Citizenship, Absence, Performance, and Promotion Potential
  • Applicant Exam to Performance and Promotion Potential
  • Conscientiousness to Citizenship, Absence, Performance, and Promotion Potential
  • Extraversion to Citizenship, Absence and Performance

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