Sears Adds Computer Kiosk to HR Staff

Jun 20, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Applicants looking for a sales job at Sears need to impress the kiosk before they can move on to an interview with a person, according to a report by Sandra Guy in the Chicago Sun Times.

Sears chief executive, Alan Lacy, told the Sun Times the company’s human resources department developed a list of questions for applicants to answer. If they answer enough questions correctly they move on to an interview with a person. If they are unable to answer the questions, the machine shows them the door, albeit politely.

Sears is also using Web-based training to develop the customer service skills of sales associates.

Mr. Lacy indicated the company went to Web-based training to develop a uniform approach to customer service.

Moderator’s Comment: What do you see as the benefits/drawbacks
to computer-based applicant screening and sales training tools such as those
Sears is using?

The only problem we’ve seen with computer-based training
in sales is that some associates develop programmed responses. The words may
be correct but personal warmth sometimes gets lost in the translation.

Anderson – Moderator

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