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Case Study :Chipotle

Who designed the selection system that's now in use at Chipotle? Who decides which personality traits arc critical enough to be assessed during screening and which don't quite make the cut? That would be Monty Moran, co-CEO of the company and a high school classmate of Ells Moran had been the lead attorney for Chipotle and a CEO of a prestigious Denver law firm. Moran recalls the conversation that changed all that, repeating Ells's words: "Monty, you may be a great lawyer but that's not what you're best at... What you're best at is being a leader. That's more important. You should come to Chipotle and use that for a company of 10,000 instead of a firm of 600." What hiring philosophy did Moran bring? "We don't care about experience very much," Moran notes, "In fact, I think experience at another fast-food restaurant is as likely to be a negative as it is to be a positive. We look for people who possess certain qualities that you can't teach." In particular, Moran created a checklist of 13 traits that hiring managers should use when screening Chipotle's applicants:

· Conscientious

· Motivated

Ambitious

Respectful

Hospitable

Polite

Happy

Curious

High energy Infectiously enthusiastic

Honest Presentable

Smart

It's clear from that list that Moran emphasizes the Big Five in hiring, along with integrity and cognitive ability—the subject of the next chapter. Moran wants the list kept manageable so that hiring managers can assess all of them in a relatively short meeting. Indeed, Moran "test drove" the list at a managerial retreat in Las Vegas. He interviewed a series of candidates on stage in front of 2000 people to illustrate how to gauge the traits. Moran estimates that there's 80 percent to 90 percent agreement on whether candidates possess the qualities in question. And Chipotle cares deeply about its commitment to its selection system, so much so that it avoids franchising. Most of its competitors do franchise because the fees paid by franchisees are a powerful means of raising capital. But Moran and Ells argue that franchising would release control over Chipotle's culture and its hiring practices. Chipotle views that control as important as it continues to expand—with plans to open around 200 new locations this year.

1. Which traits would you want to see in "front line" employees at Chipotle? How do those compare to the 13 traits that the company actually uses?

2. Would being a leader in the company—cither a general manager running a store or a middle manager in the corporate headquarters—require a different set of traits? If so, which traits would be subtracted from the set of 13 and which would be added?

3. Do you agree that there would be "80 percent to 90 percent agreement" on whether an applicant possesses the 13 traits? Do you think Chipotle should assess the traits with an interview or with a more formal personality test?

4. With your own words, summary the text of the case study.

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