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How to hire the correct person - Science hacks with Dipl. Psych Ansgar Bittermann, CEO Goldblum

by Ansgar Bittermann
July 27th 2021

Employees are the backbone of each successful company. But the common hiring process produces 85% disengaged and wrongly hired employees. This results in a high quitting and firing rate or low perf... More

Yeah. Mm mm hmm. So welcome to a new episode of pocket guide ai artificial intelligence for executives. I'm as capital man and I'm the ceo of Goldman Consulate here in Berlin Germany at Goldblum were normally specialized in ai project management and enterprise architecture. And in that field we help you to bridge the gap between your existing I. T. And the business goals you want to achieve. But what we also do is digital transformation. A readiness and part of the digital transformation and a readiness is also hiring the real the right people and that's why today um I want to talk with my uh expert panel about how to hire the right person. But before we start I would like to give our expert panel panelists the chance to quickly introduce themselves. Mm Hi I'm Cynthia. I'm from Toronto Canada um an enterprise architecture Sprint Master.

Thank you for having me on this uh call today High I may have to borrow. And the managing partner for spectrum is a retail company based in Saudi Arabia doing consultancy work in the region. Thank you for having me on this podcast. I am john Isner con from Germany and the chief product owner at Siemens Digital Industries for Ai services and we're actually currently hiring. So looking forward to your introduction and thanks for having me. Good let's um quickly jump into the problem. So just to have a small background about me um I actually studied psychology and I've uh what you would call now Master Master and Psychology from one of the leading german universities and and the field of psychology and getting and one of my top expect there was already how to use science to hire the correct person. And you know, we always say future is already here but not evenly distributed.

And as an ai consultancy company we all and you and the penalty all we all dealing with the future from day to day when it comes to hiring somehow the future is not really distributed in many of the companies. And what we see is that 85% and that number has been rising over the last years. You know, I think 15 years it was like 70%, but now it's 85% of the people feel misplaced or yeah, misplaced misfit in their own job And 85% of that, that's horrible. High number. And that just means for in reality that on the one hand, on the side of the employee, you know, they are uh they're quitting much more often or they're being fired much more often or you know, you know these people, there you know, when there frustrated, they are very negative for the business climate or they underperform or the worst part is that they are quitting but only internally, so you're continually paying them, you know, but you know, you can't really motivate them to do anything because they already quit.

Right. On the other hand, for the customer side, these 85% miss become employees. Um it means that the work is not being done or you don't get enough revenue or your customers are being dissatisfied because your account managers are not working properly. You have extremely high recruiting costs. I don't know about Saudi Arabia are kind of a but here If we are hiring with you know one of the you know leading recruiting agencies it's easy to pay €20,000 for for a candidate and then they only give you the guarantee for the next three months. But you know but three months like a wedding period, it's like you know it's like a honeymoon period. Three minutes means nothing, right? So and then you're stuck with €20,000 and you're not just hiring one person. Right? So and then the other thing and this is mostly for for you and also for the uh C. Level people were listening we are constantly not able to focus about actual work because we are continuously being drawn into the wrong problem or the problems which poor when we don't have the right people on board, right?

As a leadership personnel, you should focus on recruiting, you should focus on hiring the right people. But nowadays when we hire the wrong people were mostly focusing on cleaning up after them and dealing with that mess. So let's leave a little bit that um that H. R. Side of it because a lot of people are not really familiar with HR. But look at it from an A. I. O. Data perspective, right? And if you want to make a decision. And that's what we always tell our client. You need to have enough data. You need to have enough information, right? But the normal hiring process today forces the leadership personnel to make a decision without enough data. So the normal, I don't know how how your normal recruiting processes but what I'm seeing and what a lot of companies are doing. They have mostly they call it uh you know they get the cd.

So they looked through the city and then they decide based on that written document to uh get somebody inside uh to for a phone call for example and then they have the recruiter actually call them, right? And then when the recruiter who is highly unqualified mostly for the jobs they're uh they should look for. Uh and they are mostly not psychologists. Yeah so then they followed them and then they decide and then they are gatekeeper and then you have a job interview. And but the person who's interviewing as the as the let's say head of the team leader or something, they are not qualified and reporting And they don't really know what to ask. And sometimes if a company is good you have something like a structured interview. But that structured interviews sometimes 30 minutes long. Right? And then you say first of all you describe who you are and they describe what they are doing. You describe the job and then you have a few minutes of uh of asking questions but is that interview actually asking the right questions?

You know I know a lot of companies don't ask themselves. The question is like what should we actually asked? So that the person is fitting into this company and I don't know Johannes, you're you're working in a big company in such a to how, I mean you just described a very typical recruiting process. How is your recruiting process differing from from what I just said? I guess I'm thinking you're describing it on on the right level from a perspective. So there's an HR department in between the typically scans um interviewers, interviewees for potential fit products for interviews. And he really the to go all the way from the perspective is to give them enough information to actually for the Phillies job or give them enough background and enough potentially. Also even questions that they could use to scan candidates and efficiently put them also successfully before they get into sort of our inter interview rounds and peace.

We can structure ourselves. Pretty much so. I mean the most mostly the questions what departments are giving um is questions about about the job. Right? But what we found in psychology and this is this is where we are heading now to talk about the science sex. How can we get more information about the candidate um So that you can make better decisions and I give you an example if you want to have the coherence in the team. Um how how do we and the company actually decide that the person would fit into the team. Yeah. Some companies, they just invite them to work with them for half a day, you know? Um and then they decide, oh yeah, it was a nice guy, maybe it's going to fit, but what we, what we talk about, what we saw in psychology is that we actually can can do it much more scientifically. Um And what we found in science is that there are three or four leadership personnel, four areas we have to test which are mostly not being tested and this is the area of personality, conscientiousness, intelligence and leadership and a lot of people are saying like why are you testing for intelligence?

Well if we're looking at intelligence test, what do they test? Intelligence tests um are looking for? How quick is a person to solve a problem? How well are they in their logic reasoning. How well are there in verbal skills? How well are they in mathematical skills? In figurative skills? How well are they add versed in the knowledge they gained over the time in school And nothing of that is actually being covered these days. Um in the normal CV or when you just talk with somebody for 30 minutes. So we found that? Well not really, but Scientists over last, I mean I went to live but mostly 60 200 years when they worked on them. They found that if you take this intelligence test and it's uh and you look how the intelligence is being distributed. We're going to look into intelligence tests later a little longer. It's one of the best predictors for hiring a person, bigger companies what they did or what they are doing nowadays.

Uh They have something called an assessment center but that's a little bit misleading because what they are doing, they're they're using so called psychometric tests which we are using you too. But they're using the wrong ones. So and that was that was an argument for a lot of companies to say, oh yeah we did assessment gender. They didn't work. But when you look at the assessment center they are not using the right psychometric tests. And I'm introducing the psychometric tests here too. To show you that what we're using here, these science sex we are using these are the psychometric tests and psychometric tests. If you're studying psychology, uh you're being pestered with for 1.5 years. How to build a psychometric test. It's not just a test like you read on facebook or what city are you? The question really is does the test measure what the test should measure and the psychometric tests, they have scientific methods like reliability validity is we test reliability retest the reliability and a whole range range of different reliability factors to make sure that the test actually test what test.

And um for example our intelligence test which which we are using is now 60 years old um since it was first interviews and it was always redundantly done. But you know 100 I think tens of thousands of people have been scientifically tested on this intelligence test. And then the goods intelligence test is being tested towards other intelligence test. Right? So for a personality test is tested towards other personality test. So when you are able to read the ingredients of a sigh chromatic test you are able to distinguish between a good test And a bad one. And if you're using these three elements here, personality conscientiousness and intelligence plus leadership between the leadership then and you're using good psychometric tests and you have a psychologist who knows what he's doing then the chances are much much higher to hire the right candidate.

And the good thing is that all of these tests together don't take up a lot of time. So for example the intelligence test takes 2.5 hours and the person's personality test plus conscientious conscientious test takes roughly together 45 minutes. So the candidate can do these things digitally and we're offering this digital assessment that in corona times because nobody wants us around in the office. So and then they can do them at home and intelligence test is being monitored by us but uh they're doing over zoom, But then they are done in 3.5 hours. A normal assessment centers, they take 2-3 hours, 2-3 days sometimes. Right? And uh, I would have a question. So I mean, I really like the scientific approach and also comes down in the in the end, I suppose in America approach of assessing candidates, How do you actually match your job that you're trying to fill?

The position you're trying to for versus these metrics? So I guess you it's not about intelligence. A scale of 10, but you already said they're different uh dimensions in all of these tests? Yes, yes. Uh So if you are the americans, the americans. Uh so the in America of psychometric tests are much, much um more accepted by society and uh Department of labor, they actually created default personality profiles. Um for tests for job for job profiles, right? So then you can uh you can look at the default job, how that profile should look like. And you can measure against that. Um, when it comes to companies here in Germany, what we're doing is we're testing for example, the team first. Right? So imagine you have a team of five people. So we test the team first and let let me show you, I can and show you this as a um here, there we go.

So, so what we do is we normally uh take the exemplary employees of their team and we test them and then uh, they create the so called group profile. And in this profile you see how the average value of the personality profile, for example is distributed. And then we measure the candidate against it because you know, there's not a good personality profile or bad personality profile. Every team has a different personality profile or every job, right? Um, let me give you an example for personality. The reason why we need personality profile is we want to have a measure which measures you as a person or an employee as a person with a stable measure. If you're measuring emotion, mood or anything else, it doesn't matter, right? I mean, who cares how I feel today? If I work tomorrow, Right? But personality, especially for people who are adults, a relatively stable over the rest of their life.

So if I can measure precisely your personality, then that personality profile can be precisely matched towards others. And let me see, let me tell you quickly what I mean by personality. Um, there over the last 100 years, we have been talking about personality for so long and you see so many, I'd say, you know, uh, you know, these people who put crystals on your body and you know, it's like, I don't want to call them, take profits, but it's, let's go non scientific, you know, and then they give you all your the blue color, your red color, your green color. But that's that's not what it is. So the leading personality concept is the so called Big five. And the big five has five dimensions. And five dimensions means it was measured To find dimensions which are when I put them in a mathematical area that they're a 90° angle towards each other which meaning they're independent of each other.

Right? So and these five dimensions, we found its openness, conscientiousness, extra version. Uh social uh social, how well you're with sociability neuroticism. And these five there when you look at it statistically there are 90° angles onto each other and they're independent of each other. And each team each job each profile um Past the distinct personality profile for example a call center agent should be highly highly extroverted, you know um And highly socially socially acceptable towards the customer and open open to a customer. Uh And he should be emotionally stable, meaning very low in neuroticism. But if you're if you for example hire hire an accountant, you know and that accountant should work alone. You know, the social social social behavior doesn't isn't that important anymore.

Um But the conscientiousness because it's literally about every number and every comma there setting which is important. So when we are When when we are going with gold come into a company and we have small teams they want to hire are bigger teams then we take 3-5 people from the team creates a group profile Because we can't really use the American standard values here in Germany? You know, extra version for example is a dimension in America much higher than here in Germany. You can't really transfer 1-1. Right? And uh and then we test the team and the good thing is that we can use this personality um dimension uh to also use it later for the for the development of a person. Right? I have a question right? Um when you're doing your group assessment. Right? So I mean again I I just from from a general psychology of individuals. Right? So how do the existing group of people who are never you've never taken one of these tests before, feel vineyard doing a group assessment.

Right. I mean obviously they do they feel threatened by that they might actually lose their job because not at all. Not at all. Yeah. The reason I'm asking that question is because you know, it's it's the digital age is actually giving new challenges uh and and people who people are expected to have some uh you know, new newer skills, like you know uh you know like having some uh new technologies like cloud technology awareness and things like that. Right? So so always companies are looking at uh at upgrading what they have rather than improving the skill sets off their internal teams. Right? So it is a really difficult thing which sometimes you don't know which come what company are offering these services to. Right? So you don't know the uh the actual company uh maturity itself. Right? So how do you do that assessment first to understand at what level is the organization uh before you actually start providing them these tests and assessments?

Is that a part of your engagement? Well we are mostly doing it here in europe and and these kind of personalities and tests. Intelligence tests are considered personal information and personal information are the highest, you know at the highest level of security. And and you you're not allowed to be uh to mess with that and or to misuse them. And so the legal framework for using these informations later to fire people for example it's uh it's very it's very high, you know the so the employees is protected a lot. Right? And that's why you know our Digital Assessment Center itself has already you know the highest GDP are standard. You can have in Germany like banks, banks or health health care providers and so but then of course if a company um take your example let's take your example.

I can't test if somebody is good in cloud technology. But what I can do test is I. Q. Test right? I can have his I. Q. U. C. Able actually to process enough new information. Exactly the average I. Q. Is roughly at 100. And let me let me show you this. So so this is just for our listeners. I'm just showing a random uh random score for for an I. Q. Testing. And so the average here is 100. And then for a job um for example in the cloud technology uh you know you have to decide what kind of uh scale is important there. For example reasoning, logic, logic thinking. When it comes to coding, you know we saw that high the higher the logical thinking the better the polling, you know if your loops and areas and all of that. So you need that and you need also mathematical skills, right? Um so then we look at that and we also so then we know we can answer the question can a person do that?

Do they have the hardware to do it? But then on the other hand we also have to ask do they have the heart to do it? Are they motivated to do it? And there's the scale. Openness for new things right? In the personality, if a person is not, does not have a high or tendency high scale or a higher scale than the average. Um in that in that open a scale we can assume that they really don't want to uh develop themselves as much as other people who were literally thriving when they have new stuff. You know how this is this motivational mozz sticks with which we are looking at employee at lawyers, you know, where do we put The right person? And what you're saying is, I mean, let's come back to the beginning, 85% of the people are in the wrong job, right? And if you're doing this testing and you have never tested your employees like that before, you might discover that some people are in the right uh, and the right uh, spoke, but a lot of people might be in the wrong spot, but it's not, it's not that they are hiding that, right?

I mean, you have been seeing that all along, they are frustrated, they don't do as good as they should you or maybe overcharging on them. You know, I have had cases where the intelligence test actually help the employer to say, oh, okay, I shouldn't just, you know, because he's so sociable, that person, you know, he's so eloquent. Yeah, in his verbal skills, but in his, in his logical skills, he's not as eloquent. So I actually overestimated what I thought he could or she could do. Right, okay. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean, I guess I'm just uh the only reason I ask is because when you start testing your internal stuff for us, you would actually then start getting them uh to realize like why are these guys testing us right now. All right. So it's not like they're trying to benchmark the future employees that might join, Right?

So No, it's very transparent. It's very transparent. That's the important thing, you have to be 100% transparent. Yeah. Okay great. Um Yeah I say definitely I see a lot of value uh in actually going through a psychometric test. I've never been I mean I've done a lot of psychometric tests in the past personally but I've never been at an employer who actually at the time of interview majority of the interview processes are pretty pretty uh pretty. They actually scan the resumes. And I mean scatting resumes is is not the best thing ever because you wouldn't know majority like you wouldn't know how people who people are from their resumes because resumes don't tell the true story. And you know some of the job descriptions as well. I mean they're not really uh concise, they're just they're just general right? There just somebody who is uh not even relevant to the to the job or do not know what exactly the job is required.

Makes this job description and people then change their resume based on the job description and every resume is altered. Right? So it's we all know that right? It's uh one guy does not have the same resume for every every application he does. Right? So yeah. Yeah this this makes a lot of sense. But whether whether 2.5 to 3 hours is the time that uh a potential candidate is going to give for for a psychometric test. That's something that you know uh you know that that's something that uh it's still a question mark. Right? So uh unless the company is is so big and uh the person is like motivated to join them, you know then they are prepared to do that test. But if it's just any any company, if there is a lot of choice for that person you might not be willing to take.

Right? So this is something that uh also is a question. Yeah. But I mean as a company as an employer, let's be honest. I mean you want to have come through it. We want to have people who are motivated to join you, right? And uh and in this you know the for us once we have this information and then we discuss it with the employees. Actually order with the potential employees. And that's super interesting because uh I mean every test, everybody understands the test differently. Right? So we show them the personality test, intelligence uh results. There's always a psychologist present in that in these things. But then we can also go into the detailed questions uh which they filled out. And the nice thing is that we also measure the time for how long that took. All right um to think about the question. And that's actually a nice thing because this it's transparency of your cognitive process. And then sometimes you say okay an average they took 10 seconds. But then for the Canada is like Oh why did you take 30 seconds on this question.

You know what, what triggered you to think about it? And uh and then you come into a very very deep uh deep conversation and uh it's a conversation you normally would not have as early in that stage and it's a for the on boarding, a lot of people always talk about onboarding, but you know, if you've ever worked in a company, how well have you been on boarded? Right. And so this is actually the first step of the on boarding already. And because, you know, you have a good solid foundation with your boss, uh or a team lead uh, head off for your new job and if you're, you know, if you want to add in a leadership position and that is maybe the last thing I want to show you today. Um so we have, we have different styles of leadership and uh leadership is not like personality. You know, if if if you have ever interviewed for this position, like what kind of leadership skills if you have or style, you know?

And uh that question alone is the wrong question because a person should not have just one leadership style because it's not the personalities not the stable, it's not the stable uh state variable for you because it depends, it depends that the question is, how do you get your job done? Right? So if you are having employees and call centers or blue collar workers, um you know, who who sometimes demand a different kind of uh of leadership than for example, you're very sensitive software developer, right? So there are some people who want to be led and say, okay, just tell me what I should do. You know, I don't have, I don't care how it reflects on the revenue of the company. Just tell me, right, and then other people want to be included. So with different people, you know, you have creative people, non creative people open people open for new things. No uh neurotic people emotionally stable because people are different.

So your leadership style has to be different. And and so then based on your on these people and the culture of the company, you have to adapt your leadership style. And so what we're testing actually is how well is the person adapting to different leadership styles? Um and we are also testing on five, on five dimensions, which is a little bit. So we're testing on transformational leadership, transactional leadership, instrumental leadership and negative leadership. How how bad are you actually leading? Right. So I mean, how do you change your leadership skill uh when when things go sideways and we all been there. Right, But it needs to be tested and I want to show you this one thing there. There it is. So and that's the nice thing because here leadership and personality uh come together. So based on your leadership style and your personality style, I can exactly tell you how that person will perform in the situation is in right now.

So for example if you're in a change, change a change management position and you want to hire that person for that he has to have a completely different uh different style and leadership as when you have already a situated company where somebody just has to execute right? If you hadn't changed management, you need people who can empower other people who can change values and other people. If you're in a company which is already set where you don't have to change values, you know, then you can for example go more direct leadership uh style like like task oriented, you know or you may be listen to them but you still decide on your own. And and this is the power of psychometric tests, we can have the six months of probation period they have, we can just put it in a nutshell here, you know and just read out the candidates which literally should not be in the probation period, you know?

And there's sometimes and this is this is what I'm concluding now is we are also limited in our cognitive capacities yeah. When somebody comes into the office we have a job interview and they had I don't know garlic for lunch, you know and you smell the garlic, you can't concentrate on how well he is in cloud technology, right? Or if somebody is and that's very that's really bad if they are introverted and not as eloquent as you if they should be, you know there may they need time to warm up but they don't get the time to warm up. Right? If I do An intelligence test and a personality test and that guy for a girl charges on 130, right? And it's but it's introverted say, Wow, you know this is a hidden gem, you know, and I would have never seen that. I wouldn't have done the psychometric tests. And so so that's that's the possibility you have and you know, roughly we can decide between 100 50 tests we are doing right now, you know, depending on the job, you know, different test batteries you can put together.

And I mean what we're seeing is that the employees are happier and companies are happier and you know, and it's it's much much less money to invest in the recruitment process. Yeah. So that was my little intro into how to hire correctly. Really interesting inside it. It's I mean there's a lot of information and and it's uh and do you actually provide the information back to the detailed information back to the organization that is actually conducting the test. So what we normally do is we informed the uh we inform formed the recruit e who who applies um they are being informed what's going to happen, they are going to be there signing the whole form of you know what's happening with that data. Uh and then the test is being done. Uh First I'm discussing uh you know at first I'm I'm doing the evaluation of the test and then I'm discussing it with the company afterwards.

We're discussing it together with the company and uh rick routine And very transparent, 100% transparent. So there's no shaping business going on and if the employee or if the repartee is not being hired um then I will have that discussion with him or her personally. All right, So um but so then it's uh you know a done deal for everyone and everybody knows exactly what's going on. But then the results if they're you know if the person is higher than being uh stored for further employee development. You know for example if somebody goes from employee to leadership, you know we first test them if they have the potential to be a potential team leader or headlong, right? And then you stay and if that's the nice thing about leadership, you can know exactly which area you have to work on. You know, for example if you are by nature more directive or task oriented person because your personality, you know social skills a little bit on the left side, you can teach them so that you become a better leader.

So it makes it also makes so much more easy. It gives more such more easy to also the person who needs that person, you know Because no, what should they talk about? Right? So then every six months we have these kind of tests and then test development and they talk about the tests and it's more structured interview they're having. And so we empower also leadership uh to lead better in this way. It has a lot of similarity and the way I see it is more like on the emotional intelligence side because you have to one part of it is to know yourself, your self confident motivated and the other part is a social competence part, you know? Yes. Yes. And that's why that's why these two areas intelligence and personality have to go together, you know because unfortunately emotional intelligence cannot be measured. Um you know a lot of people tried and tried for a long time. This one guy did it all his life until he retired and said it's not it can't be done.

And that's why you know, the closest to emotional intelligence is personality test plus intelligence. That Yeah. And then you know you have a battery of other things you can do. But I think this would you know, strengthening the God whiskies say in Germany great, thank you so much. So if you have any other information later on, you know where to find me. Thank you very much. Okay thanks a lot. Have a lovely week and we see each other next week. Thank you wait. Mhm

How to hire the correct person - Science hacks with Dipl. Psych Ansgar Bittermann, CEO Goldblum
How to hire the correct person - Science hacks with Dipl. Psych Ansgar Bittermann, CEO Goldblum
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