The Pret à Manger Academy An unusual approach to selection has been adopted by Pret à Manger, the ethical and rapidly expanding sandwich chain with 118 shops and 2400 staff. Despite a staff turnover far less than their competitors’ average (90% against 150%) it still leaves a great deal of recruitment to carry out each year: 55,000 applications for 1500 job were received in 2001. To ensure it gets people with the right qualities, Pret uses what is perhaps the ultimate assessment centre: a job experience day. But, unlike the conventional assessment centre, would-be team members are assessed by their working colleagues who vote on whether a job is offered or not. When the team buys into a recruit, they take responsibility for getting them team oriented and up to speed. Before their working day, candidates have to get through a competence-based interview, which aims to discover those that have an outgoing, positive attitude to life. Candidates passing this stage are then thrown in at the deep end, working as a paid employee in the shop from 6.30 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. A team member will be assigned to act as guide and mentor with the idea that candidates carry out as many different tasks as possible, working with all the shop staff. The shop manager carries out an informal interview but does not have a vote, although their view can have some sway. At 2.30 p.m., the manager gathers the team members’ votes and informs the applicant. Unsuccessful candidates go away with £30, a free lunch and feedback on their performance. All the team take a lot of pride in their role in the Pret experience and they appreciate how important is their responsibility in taking the decision. Since it is their decision, they want it to work out, so the team provides a great deal of help and encouragement to the new starter giving them a good induction into the organisation. Source: Carrington (2002) Questions 1. Discuss the impact of the unusual approach to selection that has been adopted by Pret à Manger. 2. Explain how this approach helps in providing a good induction for the employees.