This week on the podcast we’re talking about hiring! This is something that not only has brought so much relief and ease to running my business but has made what I create and share BETTER. Also…hiring people is a pretty boss move.
Andréa Jones and Xayli Barclay are joining me this week to talk about finding the right candidates, creating an onboarding process, and being a great leader.
It might sound like a scary investment, but hiring help is one of the best moves you can make to grow your business.
Links + Resources
Asana – project management
Notion – planning, projects, tasks, notes
Voxer – audio communication
Slack – text communication
Loom – video and screen recording
Hiring is one of the scariest parts of the growth phase of business because you become responsible for someone else’s livelihood, or at least a portion of it. When you are not making a lot of money yet, it can feel scary to take on a contractor or an employee because we don’t want to not be able to pay someone or to have to let them go. One thing that I’ve learned, and it’s probably the same thing that you hear from lots of people, is that you should hire before you feel 100% ready.
I’ve hired multiple people. Right now I have an admin assistant, a podcast editor, and a Pinterest manager, and the one thing I notice every single time is that it’s a massive relief.
There are so many tasks in our businesses that we do not need to be doing. You do not need to be in your inbox, scheduling social media posts, doing research. One of the things my VA is going to take over shortly is contacting potential panelists for this podcast. I don’t need to spend my time finding people’s contact information, putting that into Airtable, sending out emails, tracking who’s responded, who’s submitted their audio file, even making the podcast graphics. That not only saves me time but it makes creating these episodes a lot more enjoyable on my end.
I’ve found great team members in a few different ways – first, through business friends. My first hire came from a friend who was letting her VA go because she didn’t need that help any longer and I happened to email her about it right at the same time so she came with a glowing reference and after one interview I was sold. I also share my contractors with my business friends and clients. So if someone is looking for a podcast editor I send them over to mine.
The second way I’ve hired is through Upwork. You can find contractors all over the world that can help with every inch of your business. You create a job post, set up filters and then people can apply or you can look for contractors and send them the job posting. Upwork also does all the time tracking and payment processes so that takes one more task off your plate.
And lastly, I’ve found team members through my community. I send job postings to my email list, I post them on Instagram, and then I’m not only getting great candidates but candidates that already understand our mission and values and my personality.
I’m going to pass the mic over to Andréa and Xayli and then I’ve got some homework for you at the end if you’ve been thinking about hiring some team members.
Up first is Andréa…
Hi there. My name is Andréa Jones. I am the creator of OnlineDrea, Inc., host of the Savvy Social Podcast, and founder of the Savvy Social School, where we use strategic social media marketing strategies to impact and empower more people today. I’m talking about hiring team members because that has completely shifted the way that I do business.
I always joke that my very first hire, Leanne, who is still with me today, is a fricking unicorn. I just didn’t realize how unique she was until I started trying to build out my team even more. She basically set the bar really high. She has a lot of creativity. She brings a ton to the table. She’s eager to work. She’s thorough in the work that she does. She’s creative. Finding more of her was challenging
In 2017, and then recently in 2020, those years were all about hiring and growth for my business. I want to share a few things that I learned because I’ve done this a lot.
I learned something new every single time. The first thing that I want to share is that I learned how to write a job description that really reflects the job as it is today. One of my first downfalls was writing job descriptions for what the job could be like, what it could grow into.
Then, in two or three months, that person wasn’t doing anything based on how I described it. And so there was a big disconnect from the people that I was getting. It sounds basic, but in the world of social media, it’s nuanced and complicated. Initially, your tasks are a lot of studying-based and writing-based things. It’s more do as I say before you get to be creative. So, I just kind of shifted the job descriptions to match that and I get I’m way better candidates that way as well.
The second thing that I learned was to be really thorough in my interview process. I used to just talk to someone and go, yep, you’re hired! Which works great if you’re working with contractors, but as I started growing into hiring employees I really needed to vet people a lot better. As much of a drag as it felt, it really helped me get better candidates into the role. I now do a three-step interview process.
Our initial interview is to see if they’re a good culture fit. Next, it depends on the level of the role. Sometimes this is a simple assessment. Sometimes it’s actually a paid test project. And then I do a final interview, really talking through the results of that project and talking more about the role itself, answering any questions that person may have. It sounds like a lot, and it feels like a lot going through it, but I really have learned that if I put in the hard work up front, I don’t have to keep doing it over and over again.
The last thing is something that I’m exploring recently, which is onboarding new team members. I hired a leadership coach – shout out to Kaylan Thompson of Joy to Lead. She told me that my onboarding process is three to six months. That completely shifted how I think about bringing on new team members. I used to be frustrated if someone wasn’t getting something within the first month and now I’m like, “Oh, this takes at least three months! So, six months to have a team member fully onboarded.” I am really savoring that experience and treating it like I onboard my new clients.
When we first get a brand new client, sometimes we don’t knock it out of the gate right away. Sometimes there is a feedback process. There’s a lot of learning involved. I bring the same thing to my team members, but also treat them nicely. When I bring on a new client, I always send them a client gift. Why not do things like that for my team as well?
Those are my lessons learned in hiring team members. I hope you found some value out of this episode.
Thank you Andréa! There is so much nuance to the process and things we discover that help us as an employer and help our team members find their place in the company. It’s a good reminder to not worry about getting it wrong and letting that hold you back. One of the reasons to start hiring early – so that you have time to learn and grow as a leader and create a process for hiring and onboarding team members.
Up next we have Xayli…
Hey, it is Xayli Barclay. I am the creator of the Start Shoot Grow Video Academy, and I’m so excited to be here with you today. I help course creators, consultants, and coaches really get a handle on creating video content for their online businesses. If you are super shy about getting on camera and confidently selling, then I am your girl.
I will tell you right now, people make hiring sound easy, but hiring is no easy thing. You really have to understand what you specifically want before you go out there hiring, and you have to know what this person is going to be able to do or what they’re going to help you with so that you’re able to easily delegate.
I think when we think about hiring, we think about two perfect people making a perfect match in heaven and that’s not what happens. I think you have to be really open to the process of learning and learning the person that you are also working with.
I’ve found that Instagram is really helpful for finding people. I think if someone is genius enough to really stand out on social media in the right way, then listen, I want to talk to them. I found my first really amazing contractor on Instagram using hashtags. I kind of knew a lot about the person before we even got into the interview. I think that was really helpful because I knew whether I wanted to work with that person or not. Even by the posts that they were posting, I had a good inkling of if they would be right. Looking at how someone else handles their own social media is pretty important for me, especially if it pertains to what I’m hiring them to actually do.
That made interviewing a breeze for me. I am a person that really follows intuition, so if my gut sits well with the interview and sits well with that person, I am more likely to hire them because I believe in connections like that.
Another thing that I’ve learned to pay attention to during interviews is to ask someone about different situations that they’ve been in as it pertains to their work. What would they do in those situations? I think that gives you a good idea of people’s character and their morals and their values. Be sure to look for people to work with that do have the same morals and values that you do because then it definitely comes up later on in conversations or in branding and messaging and things like that.
Also, make sure that you are able to ask that person about work that they’ve done before. How have they been able to contribute to someone else’s business so that you can get a good idea of how they’ll be able to contribute to your own business? I think that a great lesson to learn is observation.
If you have someone that you work really well with, I think it is really important to look at what they do well and what they don’t do so well. That way you’re able to hire for the things that they don’t do so well and maximize how that person is able to help your business.
My team and I work together using Voxer and Slack. We find that it’s really easy to communicate via Slack, but sometimes we want to talk things out or be able to go in-depth with something. That’s where we would use Voxer as a supplementary way to communicate. We may even use Loom sometimes if there is a need to see things visually because with Loom we can screen record and really get in-depth step-by-step instructions.
The last two tools that we use and love are Notion and Asana. These help us to keep on task with things and make sure that we have specific timelines for specific projects.
I will say that one lesson I learned is to understand other people’s Love Languages. I feel like people do need encouragement. If someone works with you, whether they work for you or not, we are all human and we are all going through different things. I think it’s really important to understand what that person’s Love Language is. That’s the way, you know how to communicate with that person. In that way, I feel like you get the best work that that person can offer. I say this because sometimes people need feedback and encouragement and that fuels motivation. As a business owner, you need to learn to be a leader because your team is really only as good as you are.
Finally, with my team, I make sure that I have my goals laid out so that my team is working in alignment with those goals. I feel like that’s really important because sometimes it’s easy to get off track.
I hope this was really helpful. I hope that there is something that you got out of it, but I also am excited to learn what you are doing with your team, or if you’re currently looking to hire on a team.
I loooove the idea of using love languages within your team and it’s such an easy way to help them feel understood and encouraged that could make a big difference in the culture of your company. And sharing goals with the entire team – big yes to this. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the ones at the helm of the ship and keep things moving in the right direction. But if the whole team understands not just the company mission but the monthly or quarterly goals, things you want to improve, you’ll get there a lot faster.
Thank you both for sharing your insight and experiences with hiring this week. I’m loving these panel episodes because I get to learn some stuff too.
Homework for this week: One of the things that can be challenging before you even get to the hiring process is figuring out what someone else could do. So take 45 minutes and make a list of all the tasks that you dislike doing, that you’re not great at doing, or that someone else could do for you. Like – I don’t like editing my own podcast episodes because I don’t want to listen to myself talk over and over. So I hired someone else to do that. Not only did I ditch that annoying task, give myself back an hour or two every week, but my podcast sounds waaaayyyy better than if I did the editing myself. (Shout out to Steve and Alison for that)
Another way to go about this is to do a time study – track every single thing you do during work hours for two weeks. And this is business and personal stuff. Hiring someone to run errands or do laundry can be a great investment too.
Then, once you have that list you’ll do the same thing – pick out the tasks you dislike, don’t do well, or don’t need your face or voice or brain involved.
If you’re feeling like you’re falling behind, not getting enough done, worn out from everything on your plate. It’s time to hire help.