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    Evaluating Top Potential in your Candidates

    In many companies, we’re seeing that more than half of the senior leadership in that company will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. Too many of those people don’t have a leader ready to take hold for them.  They are not yet feeling the pinch of that but they are going to be shortly because there is no new generation of leaders ready to take over.

    The problem is finding the leadership that has some measure of proven competency and talent but also which leadership has that measure of potential that we’ve been discussing.

    It’s a given that with so many baby boomers retiring or getting set to retire, that the three factors we discussed, demographics, globalization and the pipeline lack are going to further stress the need and demand for good talent in the regulatory and manufacturing arenas as well as many others.

    For the people who can effectively learn to spot the person with the most potential, then encourage it and nurture it and help their best people get even better, they will have a vast advantage over all of their competition.

    Better hiring is the key to the whole thing, but the question is, how to you evaluate a candidate for the job so that you’re taking their potential into account?

    Evaluating potential isn’t something that is going to be the same across the board in every company because there is no real empirical data or real program set up to help us to evaluate potential, but a few indications of it may include:

    Proper motivation for the job—In nearly every job you will find people who seem to be compelled by something inside them to do the best job that they can. That may be in spite of the fact that they have things working against them. These people demonstrate one of the biggest indicators of real potential. They aren’t driven by something that is more selfish but instead, by the desire to do the job as well as they can for that reason alone. Motivation is, according to the experts, usually stable and usually doesn’t change.

    There are several other indicators of a high potential that include:

    A desire to learn and an inherent curiosity. This means that the candidate  seems to seek out  new knowledge and to try to learn new skills as well as to search for real feedback about the job they are doing in order to get better at it.

    The person with real potential will also be engaged in their work and will communicate and connect with others on a deeper level.

    They will also demonstrate real insight into the job they are doing and will be able to more readily and rapidly gather information and make sense of it and be able to explain it to others.

    Each of these things shows that the candidate has potential and will be a good hire for the company and a good fit for the position. That doesn’t mean that you neglect other things such as former positions or previous experience or even intelligence and aptitude. What is means is that there are other things that must be taken into account these days in order to ensure the best fit for your clients.

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    Machine learning Essentials

    While most of us work with machine learning or Artificial Intelligence on some level, we only have the vaguest idea of how it really works. While, there are plenty of people out there that haven’t even heard of it, most people think that machine learning is a type of software. They couldn’t be more wrong. Machine learning is a set of algorithms that allow an application to collect and interpret data so that it can accurately predict certain outcomes. The process is akin to data mining or predictive modeling. If you have ever ordered something off line, then you know that you start getting ads based on what was bought, this is machine learning. While most of us know machine learning in retrospect to things like this, it is also used to build news feeds, fraud detection, network security, spam filtering, and do predictive maintenance.

    Below are the steps used in the machine learning process:


    • Identification of datasets
    • Preparing relevant data sets for analysis
    • Selection of the proper machine learning algorithm
    • Analytical model construction based on selected algorithm
    • Use test data sets to train the local model
    • Revised as necessary
    • Make sure there is movement of the models process score and other results

    Some of the known applications for machine learning in business are BI (business intelligence), HR (human resource) systems, and CRM (customer relationship management). Self-driving vehicles also utilize this process to identify objects that they encounter. It is used to determine the proper course of action so that they can maneuver the vehicles. Machine learning has always been a major part of vendors such as IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, and Googles as they race against one another to sign up clients for their machine base platforms. What we need to do as artificial intelligence is incorporated more into multiple enterprises is to continue to use the platform as it becomes more proficient.


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    How to Say NO to Your Boss

    A YES-employee is never good. If you are this kind of person, it is so difficult for you to say no to your superiors. You often get stuck with impossible tasks, more work, and fewer breaks. You even find yourself working during the weekends. How can you decline without losing your job?

    Remember that good bosses admire and appreciate employees who can say no with confidence. They are willing to listen to good suggestions and find the right solution. You, as an employee, should just phrase and frame your words properly. Below are some of the ways you can say NO to your superior:

    • Time it correctly. It is better to say NO when your boss had just recently praised your performance. This provides more leeway for you.
    • Do not compete for power. Keep in mind that you are still a subordinate. You should not speak as if you are a partner in the company. It is not about who should be right, but what should be right. Say what you need to say but do it in a tone that does not make your boss feel disrespected. Consider your present work and your future in the company.
    • Remember that you and your boss have the same goals. In business, both the employee and the boss have the same goal—the company’s growth. Once you understand this, it is easier for you to share your views with your boss. Honor your boss’ idea then tell yours.
    • Learn how to empathize. If you take the time to understand where your boss stands, it is easier for your boss to be open to disagreement. Listen to the concerns and arguments of your superior before you start giving your own.
    • Share the facts that you know. Always take note that you and your boss have different views. Recognize the things that you know to be factual and tell your superior how your facts caused you to reach your conclusion. You can ask your boss how he or she came to his or her own conclusion. This way, you and your boss can discuss conclusions and not dwell on facts.
    • Set your boundaries from the beginning. Rules should be established early on during the discussion. Make it clear to your superior that you cannot be on call during holidays or weekends. This makes it clear for both of you.

    Saying NO to your boss is not a bad thing. This just helps foster a good channel of communication between you and your superior if done properly. Say NO to your boss the right way so that you can look forward to a more comfortable working environment and more fruitful tasks.


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    Five Must Do Things Before the Interview

    A job interview is not much different from public speaking. Here, you also need to be prepared and confident in answering the questions that your interviewer has in store. When you do your homework, you are more confident during that crucial talk with the HR manager. It’s all right to be nervous, but never forget that you should always keep your eyes on the prize, which is the job opening. Here are five things to consider before the anticipated job interview:

    • Be one with your CV/Resume. Know every detail of your CV/Resume. Know every single detail such as the projects you had, the companies that hired you, the schools you attended, and the posts you made. Memorize them, so that you can answer each question correctly.
    • Know the job completely. Assimilate the job description. Make it your constant guide and best friend. Study every aspect of it, so you have a better grasp of the skills that the manager wants. Ponder the skills you have developed through your professional years and know how they can be valuable in the workplace.
    • Body language should be positive. Your actions should always reflect your enthusiasm and interest in the job opening. Your attitude and your body language say a lot about you as a person and as a professional. You can practice this in front of a mirror or in front of a friend.
    • Understand the company. Do some of your own investigation about the company, even if you will be learning a lot about it during the job interview. Be familiar with the company’s culture, mission, and vision through social media and through their website. Interacting with your future employer online is a perfect way to demonstrate your interest in the company.
    • Do not be afraid to prepare questions for your interviewer. An interview should be a comfortable conversation and not an interrogation. When your interviewer asks you to describe yourself, answer properly and then be ready to ask your questions. You can ask about the company, the hiring manager’s experience in the c

    ompany, and your potential responsibilities.
    • Look for more contacts. Take the time to contact your school’s alumni with significant experience in your field. It also helps if you know someone in the new company. You may be able to set up an informal meeting with that person as they might put it a good word about you if the meeting goes well.
    Anxieties before an interview will always be there. You won’t get rid of them entirely, but they can be reduced significantly if you prepare well. The more you ready yourself, the more you are in control. The confidence that emanates from you reaches everyone in the interview room, the moment you walk through the door.

    If you’re looking for the right manufacturing team, you have to start with the right recruiting team. Let WH Meanor put our experience to work for you. Register now for a free ten minute assessment of your search efforts by clicking the link https://whmeanorassociates.as.me/

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    Five Things You Must Do After the Interview

    You got the interview for the job of your dreams at a coveted manufacturing facility. This is the high tech IoT manufacturing company you wanted to work for. Eyes on the prize. Whether you feel it went well or not, the process of landing the job is not quite finished. Too often, people overlook the follow up in their job search strategies, which could be a huge mistake.

    Here are five things you should always do after an interview.

    As the interview ends, it is important to find out what the interviewer expects when it comes to follow up. Some hiring managers prefer email, others may ask you to call back in two weeks. Make sure you have these instructions as well as the corresponding contact information.

    Walk Away

    Immediately after the interview, you may want to linger in the area or get right to follow up, but you should definitely get away from both the physical location and the mental space for just a little while. Take a short walk or drive, stop for coffee and let your adrenaline settle. This will give you time to relax and then reflect on the interview.


    How did you do in the interview? Was there a question you could have answered better? Did you freeze up at any point? What question caught you off guard the most? These are just a few questions you should be contemplating as they will help you frame further communications between you and the desired company with the added bonus of better preparing you for the next interview. Take the time to write this information down, especially if you didn’t take notes during the interview.

    Touch Base with References

    Spend a little time discussing your job search and interview with your references, perhaps even sending them a copy of your resume. You want them to be ready with answers when the hiring manager makes contact.

    Thank You

    Last, but certainly not least is the thank you. All recruiters and professionals agree that a thank you after the interview should be your top priority. This can be in form of email or physical thank you card, depending on the company. This is your opportunity to keep your information at the top of the pile and correct any mistakes you feel you made during the interview. That being said, keep it short and on point, recap your qualifications and thank them for their time.

    Final Thoughts

    Job searches can be exciting and more than a little frustrating, but if you take the time to adequately prepare for your interview and after interview process you will stand out in the crowd. Don’t overlook key online options such as Linkedin during your hunt for your dream manufacturing position.

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    The Differences in Gender in the Job Interview Process

    The interview process in manufacturing leadership can be difficult for the person being interviewed. In fact, it can be nothing short of job altering.

    For the candidate the differences go without saying, but the same interview that confounds the prospective executive can be a conundrum for the interviewer too. Most of those who are tasked with interviewing the prospects are not aware that different genders differ in the interview process. If you don’t understand the differences you may pass over the best candidate for the job.

    Based on your own gender, you may be more attuned to a given style of communication. That’s a bonus when it comes to understanding an interviewee of the same sex, but it may be detrimental when you are interviewing those of the opposite sex.

    For people of both genders there is some measure of stress prior to the interview. Studies show us that women may handle that area of the interview better than men do.

    They will reach out and find social support and may do mock interviews. This allows them to be more confident in the interview process.

    The men typically don’t do that but rather will engage in activities that help them to lower the stress, but those actions can wear them out a little and lower their effectiveness in the interview.

    There is also a general difference in communication styles.

    In 2014 a study, undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences found that interviewers of both sexes are more likely to hire a man. Another study found that the styles and responses are so unique to the different genders that based on the responses; most people could tell you whether the interviewee was male or female.


    According to a study undertaken by MedReps.com not only the interview process is going to be affected by gender but also the way the interview is set up and who actually wants to apply for the interview.

    Everything about the job changes dependent upon gender factors. Some examples of that aspect of that are:

    • Many times women won’t apply for a job that has a description written in a more masculine way or a job that lists traits that are most commonly associated with men.
    • Most men will apply for a job if they meet only 60-70 percent of the qualifications while women are more self-critical and will apply only if they meet more than 90 percent of the qualifications stated.
    • Two times as many men fabricate their resume as women do.
    • Women in the interview who describe themselves in terms that are traditionally seen as feminine will lag well behind men in the interview process even if they are more qualified.

    NPR reported in 2014 that from 2008 to 2010, women received the majority of doctorate degrees in life and social sciences but only 32 percent of the open assistant professorships.

    In nearly every field, women—even when being interviewed by a woman, are judged slightly more critically and are less likely to interview for jobs that are traditionally male dominated.

    “As we dug into the research, we were surprised to see just how much gender can affect the hiring process,” says Robyn Melhuish, Communications Manager, MepReps. “From the words used in a job description, to the ways men and women represent themselves in an interview; gender can make a big difference in unseen ways.”

    What’s the answer to a more unbiased interview process?

    In most cases just being aware that there is a problem is the best step that you can take. Knowing that these biases exist, step around them and simply find the best candidate.

    Encouraging females to interview for traditionally male jobs is a good start. Manufacturing jobs are seen as male dominated. Breaking that stereotype is a good start.

    Writing unique and straightforward job descriptions that encourage everyone to apply is a good step. Realistically most people are unaware that they perceive one sex or another as being a better bet in a given situation. Be aware of that and pay attention to your own reactions.

    Male nurses have a much more difficult time moving into leadership positions according to statistics. Female programmers are seen in a different light. Females in firefighting and manufacturing are often seen as the less likely of the candidates to excel even if they are more qualified. Males who own daycare centers are sometimes viewed askance. In many cases, unknowingly, genders are assigned to specific career paths.

    The interviewer needs to be aware of that and compensate for it.  Ask the question “is this job traditionally seen as a role for a specific sex. If this person were that sex, would I have a problem hiring them?”

    Qualifications and soft skills should be judged on their own merits without any consideration of the gender of the candidate. In some cases, even when actively seeking to accomplish it, that is more easily said than done.

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    What the Heck is a Co-bot?

    The bogeyman of manufacturing is automation & robotics. You either love them or you really hate them. About half of the manufacturing employees in the world have heard how robots are going to take over the business and they will be out of a job. Nothing could be further from the truth. While some very dangerous or very difficult jobs may be taken over by robotics, for the most part the use of robotics in manufacturing is taking place alongside and with the help of their flesh & blood counterparts.

    Those interactions with co-bots, or robots working in cooperation with humanity, are providing some of the biggest improvements in manufacturing that we’ve seen in decades.

    Co-bots got their start about 20 years ago but they have only been commercially available for about 10 years.  They were invented originally in the 90s and some of the grants that went into researching them came from giant motor companies such as General Motors. They wanted robots that would work in collaboration with humans, helping them with lifting and other things.

    In the latter part of 1996, two people at Northwestern University came up with the cobots of today. GM called them IAD or intelligent Assist Device, but the Cobot term stuck and was more rapidly accepted.

    What are the Benefits of Co-bots?

    It’s a whole new world so far as the competition in manufacturing. With AI and Machine learning and many other things, falling behind your competition simply isn’t an option. It’s the fast and easy way to be out of business. Co-bots can help you to do more and do it more quickly. Simply stated they are the way to get ahead of the competition and stay there.

    They are suitable for small to midscale production and they offer you a far improved return on your initial investment. Co-bots also offer you a much safer work environment because they can do much of the difficult and dangerous work that you require completed.

    The other added benefit of co-bots is they still require engineering and tech support.  Many engineering jobs that seemed obsolete are now back in play so don’t neglect hardware engineering specialization. It’s back in vogue.

    Co-bots, no matter how you slice it, are the wave of the future. Companies need to take a hard look at what they have to offer. In manufacturing as in any other technology driven arena… you either ride the wave, or you sink.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers.  Register to receive regular blog posts and industry specific articles at: http://eepurl.com/dtKsDL or visit at www.whmeanor.com



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    A Sustainability Problem in Manufacturing.

    If you work in an industrial capacity, especially if you work in manufacturing, there are a few things that you should worry about. Sustainability is a huge worry in any type of manufacturing these days, though IoT is helping a lot. Sustainability can be a difficult task for any manufacturing company due to operating challenges. However, it is still something that should try to be achieved. Different aspects of the business can affect sustainability such as energy efficiency, the role of the equipment, and even saving water. It doesn’t matter how well you are planning from an equipment standpoint, everything can be undone by bad operations and conversely, good operations and bad planning can also cause all your efforts to go awry.

    Whether you are a facilities manager or a backroom employee, there are plenty of instances of operations messing with the sustainability goals. There are times when this is unavoidable, for instance if production has to be ramped-up because of a spike or demand. Unfortunately, in a situation like that, it is unavoidable. You can be doing everything right and still have your sustainability efforts take a hit.

    Normally, the issue will have something to do with people taking shortcuts or changing things that they shouldn’t be changing. While these may seem obligatory on the surface, they can influence the underlined part of the process. For instance, they might affect your water bill or the electric bill. That can cause you an issue. It would be nice if there was an easy answer, but sustainability is an ongoing fight and in a lot of cases, it is a knock-out blow that puts them down for the count.

    You should never just throw up your hands because of sustainability as a challenge. You must ask yourself the hard questions; What caused the problem? When did it start? Who could have prevented this? Why did this happen? What can I do to fix it? Once you have answered these questions, you need to try to fix the issue. Sustainability can’t just be something that is ingrained in the culture of a company. If you are not consciously trying to improve, you will get left behind and that is not what anyone wants. Most people can also do amazing things if they have the proper training and techniques.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. Register to receive regular blog posts and industry specific articles at: http://eepurl.com/dtKsDL or visit at www.whmeanor.com


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    How to Handle Tough Interview Questions

    Be Prepared. It’s a tired old cliché in many cases but it works for more than just the Boy Scouts.
    Presumably, when you applied for the job, you actually wanted it. That means taking steps to anticipate and prepare for the questions that you may be asked is the best way to make sure that you have a good answer.

    Interviewers from top companies in the world stated that the key to making an impression on them was to be ready for the interview in every way.

    They said that they could always tell when a candidate had prepared themselves mentally for any eventuality. Those were invariably—according to them—the people who stood out and stood the best chance of a second interview.

    When candidates research and anticipate the most likely questions they will be asked and then research the answers to those questions they are well prepared to handle the interview gracefully.
    Preparing for the interview in such a way as to have concise, positive and very persuasive responses to the interview questions is the best way to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.
    Most of the questions that you’ll be asked in any interview, from executive to manufacturing are going to be geared toward finding out more about the candidate. Companies want to know who you are, what motivates you and why you should be hired.

    Nearly every interviewer in the world is going to be focused on 3 points. Can this person do the job well? Will this person do the job well? Does this person fit into our company culture and with our other employees?

    To that end, some of the questions that you can anticipate are going to be tough questions designed to give your interviewer the answer to those three points.

    The first interview there are are going to be tough questions asked –mainly about your skills and about you and you need to be very at ease with those subjects in a way that many candidates are not.
    Really sit down and ask yourself hard questions about the job and why you think it’s a good fit for you. Err on the side of caution if you must but ask yourself what skills will serve you best in this job, what you bring to the table and what will make you the best fit. Why should the job go to you?

    What makes you a good fit? Know your skills intimately. Most of us know what we can do and we tend to be more critical than we are aware of our going points. To come out on top of an executive interview you’re going to need to be both.
    Don’t just state that specific skill but be prepared to give examples of it from work or home or a volunteer job. The best responses that you can give include when you had to use a given skill. An example might be ” I can think on my feet” and then give an example of when that was necessary and how the situation played out so that the interviewer can see where your ability benefited you or your job.

    Critique your own performance if you must but be sure that you allow yourself credit where it’s due. Answer the questions that you are asked truthfully and fully, giving them insights into what does make you the person who till take their company to new heights.

    What are the most commonly asked questions at executive interviews? If you’re going for an executive job in the medical field, research the most commonly asked questions about that arena and then prepare your responses so that you know what they will be long before the questions are asked.

  • What the low unemployment rate and high growth means to your talent strategy?:

    With unemployment rates lower than they have been in years, there are some real down sides for employers. Notably the pool of available talent is smaller than it has been in nearly a decade.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In January, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the fourth consecutive month. The number of unemployed persons, at 6.7 million, changed little over the month.”

    By way of comparison, in 2014, more than 1.5 million jobs were created, the largest gain to be seen in the past 8 years. With so many new jobs and far fewer people scrambling to take the small menial jobs, there are plenty of people looking for a step up. Fast forward 3 years and in 2017 the number of jobs created was even higher, and with far fewer people being displaced than have been in the past 5 years.

    What that boils down to is that far fewer people are losing their jobs. Too, far fewer people are seeking new jobs. Many are happy and staying in their jobs and since tney are not being displaced, that means recruiting talent is a whole lot harder than ever before.

    How can we attract and engage the people that we’d like to add to our pool of talent? It’s going to take a bit more than just adding that extra 20 cents an hour at this point. It is, as the recruiters say, a candidates market and they are taking advantage of it to ask for the things that they want.

    Employers now have to take a hard look at adding things like relocation package for the employee who has a special skill set that could be useful anywhere. Getting them on board will be rough enough on a regular day but if you are talking about having them relocate in order to get them into the new job, then funding that move may be necessary in this market place.

    Paying on a scale that is commensurate with their skills and experience is going to be an absolute necessity. If you don’t they will find someone who will and that leaves your company behind the 8 ball.

    Pay is not the only the factor as on boarding has to be on point too.  It will be imperative to not only make the role well compensated but a situation and an environment in which people want to work.

    In addition, find engagement tactics that will compel your talent and keep them on board as well as engaged until you are able to negotiate a good package deal for them all. The advantage of having your preferred recruiter involved is that they can do the heavy lifting and get the dirty work done so that you can keep clean, so to speak.

    Hiring the right people is imperative in this day and age. Get creative &  make it happen more easily by adding some perks to the package.

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