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PRST 5940/6940/7940 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PRST 5940/6940/7940 - Recruitment, Selection and Retention

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

Employment selection is one of the most important issues in business. Making the wrong hiring decision means throwing away a substantial investment of time and money. Students develop a critical understanding of the theory and practice of organizational staffing. In addition to staff planning, students will learn, step by step, the employee selection process, from pre-recruitment through hiring. Specific strategies for attracting potential employees, interview preparation and interview techniques, and reference checking will be examined. Additionally students will examine the usefulness of various methods used in job analysis, testing and measurements, internal and external market analysis and retention plans. 

Course Outcomes:

There are several learning outcomes for each participant. After taking this class, students should be able to:   

  • Analyze organizational strategic plans to identify staffing needs
  • Use appropriate recruiting strategies depending on position, location, and availability of potential applicants
  • Use appropriate interviewing methods as indicated by the level of staffing need
  • Analyze applicability of selection tests for different positions
  • Recommend how an organization can improve its staffing program
  • Use research, critical thinking, and written communication skills to address staffing problems.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Admission to the Master of Professional Studies program or departmental approval and successful completion of PRST 5040/6040/7040.

Course Topics:
  1. Staffing models and strategy
  2. Planning and job analysis
  3. External and internal recruitment
  4. Employment tests; measurement concepts
  5. Background information
  6. Interviewing
  7. Selection criteria and methods
  8. Legal and diversity issues 
  9. Decision making and final match
Specific Course Requirements:

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Grading Procedures:

Each student in the class will be assessed according to the following criteria: 

  1.   Chapter Quizzes: Chapter quizzes will be available until the end of each module. You may use your textbook on the quizzes, but there is a time limit, so you should read and study the chapter before you begin each quiz. The average of your quizzes will comprise part of your final grade. 
  2. Case Assignments: Each module ends with an assignment from the Casebook. Each assignment will be graded. The average of these assignments will comprise part of your final grade. Each assignment will be graded according to these criteria:

  1. Are your final recommendations and answers derived from course content? 

The final recommendations should be presented in a clear, succinct manner. The recommendations should be feasible and directly related to the information provided in the case. Recommendations should take potential problems into account. 

2. Is the report easy to read? 

  • Correct grammatical errors and eliminate confusing sentences. 
  • Break the text into subheadings so it is easy for the reader to find relevant information. 
  • Explain your statistics in a way that an intelligent reader who is not familiar with them could understand what is being reported. 
  • Present tables cleanly with relevant data highlighted for the reader and with minimal extraneous information. 
  • Explain why you chose to use information and data in the way that you did.
Grading Scale:

The course will consist of 1000 points total. The final grade will be a percentage of the total number of points available listed below:

Fbelow 60


Assignments and Projects:
  1. Chapter Quizzes    The chapter quizzes are drawn directly from the textbook. You may use your textbook, but you may not use the help of another person. Quizzes must be completed before the end of the module. Quizzes not completed by the end of the module will receive a grade of 0. No make-up quizzes are available. 
  2. Case Assignments    Case Assignments are designed to complement the textbook. Each case assignment should be completed by the due date on the calendar. For late assignments, the grade will be reduced by 10% each day after the due date. The assignments vary greatly in terms of the amount of effort required, so it's a good idea to read ahead and estimate the time required to finish the assignment. You should turn in these assignments using the Dropbox link. 
  3. On-line Participation    I will usually provide a "discussion starter" to get things going. Feel free, however, to post your own questions, observations, thoughts, etc. without my prompting. You can earn points per module in participation points. Keep in mind that certain things will reflect poorly on your participation: 
    1. Posting a comment or question that demonstrates you haven't done the reading
    2. Arguing without evidence
    3. Assuming that anyone with different ideas, opinions, or values must be wrong.
    4. Posting just to improve your post count. There are no quotas in this class. Quality counts more than quantity.
  4. Research Summary  The purpose of this assignment is to discover the value of academic research in solving staffing problems. 

Step 1. The Search

Use Google Scholar, PsycINFO, or ABI/Inform to find an interesting empirical research study published in the last ten years. "Empirical" means that they actually collected and analyzed data and present the results in the article. The study should have a very clear implication for improving a) individual, group, or organizational performance, or b) individual attitudes important to organizational functioning. Google Scholar will be available to you after you graduate, so you may want to practice using it. PsycINFO, on the other hand, will allow you to do more specific searches (for example, finding studies that use experimental designs, which usually lead to more definitive cause-effect relationships). 

Research studies should be "claimed" by posting a full citation (author[s], year, article title, journal title, volume, page numbers) to the Discussion Board. Once an article is claimed, it cannot be claimed by someone else.  

Step 2. The Summary  

1. Provide a summary of the practical question or problem that is addressed by the study. 

2. Explain what they did. 

3. Explain what they found. 

4. Explain the specific actions that managers/leaders can take to affect performance or attitudes. 

5. Remember that the main goal is to make something interesting, useful, and readable to practicing managers. Pretend like you're writing an article that will appear in Business Week. In other words, if you go beyond two pages and don't have a useful graphical presentation of the findings, you probably won't keep a normal manager's attention. 

6. Do not cut and paste. That's plagiarism and is grounds for failing the course. Yes, it's happened. 

7. Ask me if you aren't sure if your study is appropriate. No more than one student may pick each article. You can "claim" your study by posting a full citation (Authors, year, title, journal, volume, pages) to the discussion board. 

8. The journals most likely to have useful articles are: 

International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Journal of Applied Psychology
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Personnel Psychology
Journal of Management
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 

There are lots of others, but these should give you an idea of what to look for. 

Step 3. Format 
I'm going to leave the formatting up to your creativity, but keep in mind that we want something that will be readable and understandable to an average manager. You can choose whether to use a Word document, a web page, a PowerPoint file, an Excel file, or something else. I'm guessing that anything that requires more than one page flip will be too long to keep the attention of most managers. 

Step 4. Finally 
Although the final product is "short", you shouldn't perceive it as "easy". You should write, revise, rewrite, have someone else read it, revise again, revise again, and then revise one more time. During the final days of the class, you will post your summary to the Discussion Board so that your classmates can learn from your summary.

Class Participation:

Class Participation: Active participation is required. Students should be prepared to discuss the assigned readings in a thoughtful, respectful manner. Class participation grades will constitute part of your final grade. Class participation will be graded according to the following criteria:  

Content Mastery: Students must show evidence of understanding the facts, concepts, and theories presented in the assigned content. 

Communication Skills: Students must be able to inform others in an intelligent manner what he/she knows. Ideas must be communicated clearly and persuasively. Communication skills include listening to others and understanding what they have said, responding appropriately, asking questions in a clear manner, avoiding rambling discourses or class domination, using proper vocabulary pertinent to the discussion, building on the ideas of others, etc. 

Synthesis/Integration: Students must be able to illuminate the connections between the material under consideration and other bodies of knowledge. For example, one could take several ideas from the reading or class discussions and combine them to produce a new perspective on an issue, or one could take outside materials (from other classes, personal experiences, etc.) and combine them to create novel insights. 

Creativity: Students must demonstrate that they have mastered the basic materials and have gone on to produce their own insights. A simple repetition of ideas from the content will not suffice, nor will simply commenting on what others have said. Students must go beyond the obvious by bringing their own beliefs and imagination to bear. Creativity may be displayed by showing further implications of the material, by applying it to a new field, or by finding new ways of articulating the materials, which produce significant insights. 

Valuing: Students should be able to identify the value inherent in the material studied. Furthermore, students should be able to articulate their own positions by reference to basic underlying values. Students must not simply feel something is wrong or incorrect; she or he must be able to state why, based on some hierarchy of values. 

General Enthusiasm and Interest in the Class: This can be shown by regularity of attendance and bringing in outside, ancillary materials that you read or have passed along to you. 

  Research Summary: Each student will search the academic literature and find an empirical study related to some course topic. Ideally, the topic will be one of personal and practical significance to the student. Your task is to summarize the study in a concise manner to answer some specific question.  Each research summary will be graded according the following criteria:

Did you choose a study that can be used to answer a practical question related to the course content? 

Is the required information present? 

Are the conclusions and implications of the study described in a way that would be clear and useful to a practicing manager with a staffing question?

Late Policy:

All assignments will be assigned a due date when they are distributed. Failure to meet this deadline will result in a loss of 5% of the available points for every 24 hour interval an assignment is late. Assignments must be submitted electronically and therefore will be date and time stamped.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 16, 2017