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Dennis is dining‐room manager in the coffee shop of a large hotel. He is about t
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Dennis is dining‐room manager in the coffee shop of a large hotel. He is about to interview Donna, a drop‐in applicant who is filling out an application form. Donna seems friendly and outgoing, and Dennis thinks she’d make a great replacement for Rosa, a server with an attendance problem and a difficult home life. Dennis is on duty as host for the lunch‐serving period. He is seating a party of guests when Donna brings him her application. “Enjoy your lunch!” he says to the guests as he hands them the menus. Then he hurries over to ask Eleanor, a server who sometimes acts as hostess, to sub for him for a few minutes, and seats Donna at a table near the entrance. He can keep an eye on things while he interviews her. He glances at the application. A year as waitress at Alfred’s Restaurant—good! A high school graduate taking a couple of courses at the community college—good! The application is filled out neatly and carefully—good! He looks up to compliment her but sees Eleanor waving at him. “Excuse me, I’ll be right back,” he says to Donna. He deals quickly with a customer who wants to get a recipe. Donna is fiddling with a spoon and looks up soberly when he comes back. “I’m sorry,” he says. “Now, where were we? Oh yes, I was going to tell you—” Another waitress presents herself at the table. “Listen, Dennis,” she says, “tell Eleanor to get off my back. I’m not taking orders from her, she’s not my boss.” “Look, Dolores, I’ll talk to you in a minute. The guest at Table 9 is signaling you. Go tend to her.” Donna has a fixed smile on her face. “I really think you’d like it here,” says Dennis, “there’s never a dull moment. Now tell me about your job at Alfred’s.” After getting a chance to dis- cuss Donna’s work experience, he sees that Eleanor is gesturing that he is wanted on the phone, so he excuses himself. “Yes, of course, I’ll take care of it,” he says to his boss, and rushes back to Donna, who is sitting with hands folded, looking straight ahead. “Now tell me about yourself.” “Well . . . what would you like to know?” She smiles politely. “Are you married?” Dennis asks abruptly. “Yes.” Not so good, he thinks to himself. “Any kids?” “A baby boy.” Worse! Upon seeing Dennis’s facial expression, she looks at him levelly and says, “My mother takes care of him.” “Would you—oh damn!” Eleanor is gesturing madly and a customer looking like he has very bad news is heading his way. He rises hastily. Donna rises, too. “I have to go,” she says. “I’ll call you,” Dennis says over his shoulder before facing a furious man with a long string of complaints. The day goes on like this, one thing after another. The next morning he thinks about Donna again. Never mind about the baby: He decides to hire her on a probationary basis. When he finally finds time to call her, she tells him she has taken a job at the hotel across the street and promptly slams down the phone.
Case Study Questions
1. Dennis has made a number of mistakes in this interview. Identify as many as you can and discuss their adverse effects.
2. What did he find out about Donna during the interview?
3. What did he tell her about the job? What did she learn about the job in other ways?
4. On what basis did Dennis decide to hire her? Is it a good basis for making a hiring decision?
5. Do you think Donna would have decided to work for Dennis if he had gone about the interview differently?