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What to Know Before You Hire - The Power of Assessments With Rich Morin
Episode 56th December 2021 • The Manufacturers' Network • Lisa Ryan
00:00:00 00:30:43

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Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. Our guest today is Rich Morin. Rich spent 20 years helping companies recruit, interview, hire, and retain employees that fit their culture. In addition, he spent eight years in the US managing the sales of Fortune 500 companies selling Boeing, Sikorsky, General Dynamics, General Motors, Ford, Mack truck, and many others. He also trained many managers in leadership and coaching skills, including helping sales forces become more competent and confident in sales skills. Rich, welcome to the show.

Rich Morin: Well, I appreciate it, and thank you very much for the opportunity.

Lisa Ryan: Absolutely. Would you please share with us about your background and what led you to do what you're doing?

Rich Morin: It's a short story. Twenty-one years ago, I was involved with a training company that also dealers for international hiring assessments. Although that company met its demise, I'm still a very active dealer with Profiles International, which puts me in front and center with companies looking to recruit, interview, hire, coach, and retain the kinds of people that fit their company and culture.

I have spent a reasonable amount of time interviewing my clients, providing the objective tools for the hiring process. We all have been guilty of hiring somebody on a gut feeling, and a short while later, we regretted that gut feeling because the good feeling is gone. Then you have to terminate the person without objective data. Unfortunately, that still happens too often. 

Lisa Ryan: I'm sure well, let's go with the thinking about the hold on. Thinking about those profiles of people you've talked about, a certain gut feeling went with it that could sometimes lead us to hire wrong. In today's workplace, where it's so difficult to find people, it makes it more critical than ever to make sure you're bringing on the right people. How do profiles help you to do that, knowing about that person before they ever come on board?

Rich Morin: Well, there are two answers to your question. First, and speaking of what profiles has an example, a pattern is made of the position, so the company takes a hard look at what they expect from this position in person. The applicant then completes a series of questions, and these cover the gamut from mathematics to general knowledge to verbal skills and so on. It becomes a match against the company's pattern, so now, you have the job call it manufacturing manager or sales manager doesn't matter. There's a pattern, and then you see the fit, that is, the level of fit between the applicant and the position.

I'm coming out of that where the applicant fell out of the grading. So, if you can imagine, and I can send sample reports, of course, but on a scale of one through 10, if the position requires a 6, 7, 8 and if the applicant is weak, of course, it will generate interview questions to help examine that. Two things happen. The company then realizes maybe they don't need that higher level of skill, or the person is flat out not going to make it. So they're probably going to struggle if you do hire them for that position. But the good news is you can match them against a different position using the same data. Perhaps there's a better fit, so what comes out of this, you're right. You've got an applicant in a very thin field these days. There's not a lot of them applying, but now, if they don't fit the first position they applied for, they're offered a second position to which they fit. They go, wow, I'll take that job because they fit. 

Part of this has got to do with their cerebral ability, verbal reasoning, numerical skill, and numerical reasoning.  We are the only critters that use numbers and words. Some people are good at numbers, and some are not. If the job requires a lot of numbers, it's nice to know that upfront. They might interview well and look great, but if they can't do numbers, they're going to struggle, hate it, and leave. They're going to affect your company's culture because it will be moaning and groaning about how tough it is because they never fit in the first place.

Lisa Ryan: One, it sounds like this is something to know each job description; to understand what is entailed, to take a look at people who have been successful in that so that you're not doing just an overall profile for your company, but as for that specific situation, how does a company figure out how to build those profiles for each position that they're interviewing for?

Rich Morin: Well, it's straightforward. Within the system, there's a library, and they can scroll through and pick the exact title, if you will, or something that's very, very, very similar. They take it, of course, they rename it to make it the same company, write their name and so on. That's one way. The other way is they can do a job assessment survey. It's a bunch of questions that ask what does this job requires. Here's the problem: we'll say that you have somebody who has been doing a job for 20 years or 30 years.

Well, their interpretation of what the job requires is changed. They're still doing it, and everybody accepts that, but the new people coming in there are new to it. Communications requirements, new software requirements - so in actuality, the job is not the one the person who is leaving has been doing; it's a very different job. So to your point, the companies have to be very aware of the changes happening so rapidly. Back to the assessment, they want to hire somebody with the capacity, verbal skill, verbal reasoning, and a library. Some people can speak well, but they don't understand a lot of the words. They can fool you because they have a nice rhythm to their delivery, but they're not competent in the language. Especially if you're in a multi-lingual situation where you have people dealing with different languages or language skills, verbal skills and reasoning are critical.

Without repeating the numbers aspect, those things are essential. So now you have a profile of the current position requirements, and then you can do a match that makes sense.

Lisa Ryan: It also seems that it's essential to keep up to date with people. Because, as you said, somebody's been in a position for 20 years they had a job description they're doing it. But, looking at not what the position was, but what the position needs to be going forward, mainly we're just coming out of this pandemic. Technology has changed just about every part of business, and so looking at, starting with today and looking into the future, would be a critical part for people as they're starting to look at who they need to hire and what kind of positions they need to fill the talent that goes along with that.

Rich Morin: Well, yes, and so, then brings me up to a different solution if you will. Fit first is a company that has been in business for 20 years. They do a lot of business throughout North America, but what they do is unique. Companies are coming out now; they're starting to hire. However, the job boards are not full of applicants. However, the job boards exist, whether it's Monster or Indeed, or all these different job boards. So this system creates some questions. The applicants answer the questions, and automatically they're funneled. So instead of reading through 50 resumes, I'll elaborate in a resume in a minute, but instead of reading 50 resumes, the top three or five candidates are at the very top. Job descriptions are not based on what they've done because often, what they've done is not crucial versus what they're required to do.

Now they've got the top applicants at the top. They can read the resume, and they can read the resultant questions. Their replies to those questions now have a real sense of who this person is, and there's a speed element required here. You want to answer these applications rapidly because you can still get them if they apply to multiple companies. 

So you've got a job as a forklift operator, and so 50 people apply. Do they want to be a forklift operator? Well, not really. They want a job. Now, they will tell you they always wanted to be a forklift operator. That was a dream job - well, that's probably not true. 

These assessments help you see through them. The forklift operator has got so much capacity. You're from a warehouse manager position because it happens to be a vacancy, and the guy goes, yeah, I'd like that. The reason he would like that is that he matches the requirements and the questions. It shows what he is capable of, not what he has done or she has done. The funneling helps deal with it if you're not getting a flood of applicants but getting many applicants. It funnels them and gives you questions. Then it goes further and helps you coach them, which helps retain them and helps to onboard them. You have more objective data about these applicants.

One more element, now it doesn't preclude you, the employer, from contacting referrals. What it does is help you create questions. When the applicant submits his five referrals questions, the employer can go to the referrals and ask very pertinent questions about this person.

Not, "Oh, he's a great guy. She's a nice girl who's been here five years; who cares. We want to know specifics about how they operate, what their good points are. What are their bad points? What kind of conflicts? You can ask those kinds of questions, so now you know the whole story. It can take the referral information to still speak with the referrals, but now you've got some objective criteria they responded to. You're not trying to reach people on the phone. You're not trying to call them and get ahold of them. There's no time, you got to hire them, and you haven't spoken to the referrals.

Lisa Ryan: Right and speaking to referrals is a critical part of that because people can come across well in an interview that can come across great on paper. But then, when you take the time to ask the question to those referrals, you might find out things like, ooh, that person won't work a single minute of overtime, or that person will never pitch into something that's not specifically on their job description. So we find out these little personality quirks that may not show up necessarily in the interview process.

Rich Morin: That is correct. Especially if you think about the challenge of being a leader these days, now, I take exception to the word manager, and I'll explain. I don't like to be managed, but you can coach and lead me. I not really don't know too many people that want to be managed.

To stay on that for a moment, you look at a winning team of any kind baseball, football, soccer, it doesn't matter. Those teams are not managed to greatness, no, no they're coached and led to excellence. These assessments provide the "managers" now; if I had it my way, I promote them to coach and leader. But it gives them objective data to help coach and lead these people; some will be better equipped than their leader.

They have more knowledge, more wisdom, or experience, and more education. That's a good thing, so these assessments help hire better people than the person interviewing. You don't want to hire people smaller than yourself.

Lisa Ryan: So let's think about that for a minute. We've used the assessment. We found the person we're going to hire. They're a good match for the position and the company. We've checked out their referrals. What are some ways you have seen your clients successfully onboarding these people, so the offer is made, but there may be a week or a couple of weeks before that person starts?

And then, once they start, you want to hit the ground running. What's like that t-minus two weeks, until the first month or two that that person's onboarding. That would be an excellent way to onboard them.

Rich Morin: Well, there are a few different aspects to my reply. The first is that a company's culture is so fragile. Everybody you bring in can either support it or undermine it. So you've decided to hire somebody within your ranks who is a great person, a hard worker, focused, and loyal to the company. So those are the kinds of people you want to team up with that new entrant into your company. Those first few days will set the course. Too often, companies hire somebody, and everybody's busy, so the person stumbles around, will you know go to this department go to that department. Still, they're kind of on their own, and they're forming wrong opinions about what's going on and about the helter-skelter ways things are happening. Maybe it's because of a flood of orders, who knows, but they don't know that, so you want to invest a reasonable amount of time planning.

It's the four p's: you plan, you prepare, you practice, and then, you perform well. You want your people to have a planned entrance.  You want to prepare them for them. You want them to practice, so now they're with people with seniority and experience. They see the attitude. They see a safe environment. So these people are taking the time to explain how to do the work safely. That includes ergonomics - how to get up from your chair and move your arms and wrists so you don't develop carpal tunnel syndrome. A lot goes into onboarding, but picking the people you want to team them up with goes a long way and helps establish what is required, especially if it's multi-dimensional.

So the one person introduces the new applicant to the next person that says, well, sometimes you'll be doing this person's job. So there's a transfer of knowledge, and it's smooth, and the person understands clearly what they've stepped into.

Lisa Ryan: Exactly. Figuring out that first-day work buddy is also essential, but it helps in a couple of different ways. Number one, that person who is your good employee, who's been with you, who has the right attitude, feels that they are valued. They are empowered to be that person's leader or guide for their first couple of weeks on the job.

It makes the person that's starting feel more connected because they're not sitting in a basement filling out paperwork for the first day of their job, and nobody even knows they were supposed to be there. You're also allowing a relationship to happen. We've probably all been there, where that very first person that we meet our first day on the job or the first person that invites us out to lunch. That person is our friend for the rest of the time that we're there. So making sure that you start those relationships right off the bat with something like that gives everybody involved a much better onboarding experience.

Rich Morin: Absolutely. I use sports as an example. I love sports, and I think it's a great example of coaching and leading. What do they do with a rookie? They give them the locker right beside the veteran. Why is that not any veteran but the right veteran? Because they see how they prepare, they think, they see how they act, and that person takes them under the wing. They team them up with these people for why, well, they want them to be good.

In the case of sports, you're paying them a lot of money. That doesn't mean they're going to be good. You must coach and lead them. By teaming them up with somebody like a mentor, the word mentor applies here. That goes on, and it establishes a bond. They will link with that person for a long time because they were matched correctly. Their personalities meld, and the position strengths, perhaps yeah, it's powerful.

Lisa Ryan: Look at the amount of investment that we have in that employee. We spent time going through the interview process and the screening process, and then we're paying for the profile assessments to come through. So by the time we have that person come on board, we could have invested thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in the process unless we are very structured about how we're bringing that person on and how we're welcoming them to the organization. We're making sure that on day one, that their workspace is set up, maybe their business cards have been ordered, their password is ready, their desk is clean, and their truck is clean, whatever it is. 

People know that they are showing up for the job. You spend all of this kind of money upfront, so you must keep that in mind. Once that person starts - and for the first 2, 3, 6 months that they're on board - they probably have interviewed with other companies and are just as likely to say, "hmm, this company isn't what I thought it was. I'm out of here." So all of that money you invested in them walks out the door.

Rich Morin: Absolutely, the two words that come to mind to support when you said, our cost and price, so it costs a lot to bring somebody on board. It costs a lot if they do come on board. When they harm and scare away your customers. They'd cause issues in the road. The absolute fragile culture you tried so hard to create is cost versus the price of an objective assessment, so now, the person, the applicant has completed. You've taken the time, your HR people, whoever's interviewing takes the time to read the results. They look at the questions and interview the person using objective data. Suddenly, for the price of two or $300, they have a very clear view of the person and, by the way, the applicant is impressed because now they've been asked to do something that other employers are not. They're going, wow, this company put me through this assessment. They get a personal copy, not one that matches, but one that tells them about them. They go, wow, I didn't know that I was good at this or that. This is a fit; this doesn't fit - so it's a win/win. Cost versus price, let me assure you, the price of an assessment is enormously lower than the cost of not using them, and let's face it, we've all made hires in haste. We've all made hires based on gut feeling, and it doesn't work out very well too often.

Lisa Ryan: It makes me think of this past year. My husband was part of the great resignation. He was with a company for 13 years, and his priorities shifted. He realized that as he started to get to the end of his career, he wanted more. He didn't feel valued and appreciated all these things that I talked about in my programs. So finally, a company on LinkedIn found him. They told him it was going to be a long process. It was about a two-month interviewing process which included about six hours of personality assessments. The company wanted to make sure that they got the right person in. I will tell you. It was a match made in heaven. But, of course, I could have told them that Scott would be the most excellent employee that they had. 

I thought the funniest thing was that he scored the lowest areas were things like creativity and innovation. Well, he's a cost accountant, so those are the areas that you don't want people to be innovative and creative. So I thought it was funny. When I look at the last couple of months of him being with this company, how much of a difference and how valued he felt right off the bat, I know that what he went through that process that company had 10s of thousands of dollars invested in him in that whole two-month process. I don't know how many other people they were interviewing; I'm just happy they chose Scott.

Rich Morin: And that's a great...