Five hiring mistakes to avoid!

March 20, 2019


Save $$ and time getting it right the first time so your business grows (without the headaches!)

1. Make sure you have met the person you want to hire face to face, for over an hour

It’s surprisingly easy to not quite hit the mark with this one.

In traditional recruitment, a one hour job interview is fairly standard.

However our modern way of “hiring” can be somewhat less traditional, we may have been referred someone, we may be exploring the services of a subcontractor who has approached us, we may be talking to a ‘consultant’ who wants to work on a retainer for outsourced support or to a virtual assistant we’ve found on upwork.

Sometimes these people are ‘presented’ to us, either via a website (such as upwork) or a service proposition (their website outlining their services) or via a referral (“I use so and so, she is great!”).

All these methods are perfectly fine (in fact they are often fantastic!) however you still need to ensure that you spend sufficient time with the person, to asses if they can deliver on what YOU want them to do – in the way YOU want them to do it, rather than just reviewing whatever they are presenting to you.

Yes, you also need to absolutely listen to what ‘they’ want, how ‘they’ want to work and how much ‘they’ will charge, but you also need to pause, take stop, pull out your ‘must have’ hiring list (which will have both skills and behaviours on it) and chat for as long as you need, to get comfortable they definitely have what you need and to decide if they will fit in with your current structure, team, or your current preferred way of working.

2. Make sure you have TESTED or received PROOF that this person has the KEY SKILL(s) you need them to bring into your business

You might be hiring a personal assistant to help you with EVERYTHING. Or perhaps you are hiring someone to help you with customer service and enquiries.

Regardless of the who you are hiring, you need to be clear on the number one thing you are hiring them FOR.  

Is it their amazing friendly customer service skills? Is it their ability to diffuse a hairy situation with a customer complaint and turn them into a raving fan? Is it their ability to knock together a mail chimp based sales campaign on limited information from you?  Is it so that you don’t ever have to upload that podcast into lipsyn or fiddle around with the editing ever-ever-again!??

Whatever it is, you need to be absolutely sure they actually can do those one or two “must have” skills that you need.

How do you get absolute sure? How will you ever know?

You ask them to show you.  “Give me an example of this please so that I can make sure we are singing from the same hymn sheet….” “Let me give you a situation and can you explain to me the steps you would take to complete this” “Let’s share my screen so I can show you xyz. Tell me how you would do xyz..?

3. Make sure you have run the numbers on the new cost to your business, and decided where the link to revenue is, considered what return you will get from this investment and the likely timeframe.

Eeeek – say what!?

Ok, so you know that every new person you are adding to your team is a cost, which in turn will have the effect of reducing your profit…..

Well, unless you want to get really stressed really quickly (and maybe panic is 3 months time and have to get rid of the person) you need to think NOW about how your profit is going to reduce in the short term and in turn how you are going to turn that investment of $$$ into a return. So how is this persons presence in your business going to link to more future revenue, or a reduction in cost elsewhere and what is the reasonable amount of time before you expect that might happen?

So before you hire anyone and before they start in your business, you should be clear on these levers:

  • What do I need them to PRODUCE for the business to get real benefit and value? (and how fast)
  • Where will the new revenue come from? (For example are they helping put a new product to market? Freeing up yours or someone else’s time to work on something revenue generating?
  • Or at they just giving you your sanity back and if so how will YOU measure when that’s happening and how valuable that is to you and your business? (Note: Don’t underestimate this one, as you being able to breathe and think is HUGE!)

4. Make sure you have considered the various hiring options and the different impacts:

  • Employee versus Subcontractor
  • Subcontractor versus Consultant
  • Retainer versus hourly or daily rate>
  • BPO (Business Process Outsourcing Business) versus Direct Engagement with an outsourced team member?
  • In-House / In-House versus Remote
  • Their equipment or yours?
  • Payment terms, invoicing, time sheets, pay cycle?

And most importantly – what suits YOU and your capacity for the different administration each one brings versus what they’d prefer and are asking for/pitching to you?

We touched on a few of these in point 1 above.  In our modern world of technology driven teams, we have so many options! Which is brilliant! Sometimes we are naturally heading in one direction because it’s been recommended to us or a friend or mentor did it a certain way, or we’ve been approached by someone.

This is all great – but it’s still important to take stock and check if it’s right for you. The short term appeal and time saving of moving forward with the existing person is only exciting IF it’s right. The time cost of reversing and starting again in 3 months time is painful and 1000% harder, so spend some time here now.

If you are unsure or haven’t heard of any of these words above… do a quick bit of research or head to my article “different types of team members” {future link} and you’ll be able to eliminate what doesn’t feel right, really quickly.

5. Make sure you doubled check your hiring checklist, ticked off what they do and don’t bring, decided at a ‘big picture’ level if they have enough value AND discussed any skill/knowledge gaps and how you/they are going to fix this.

What’s a hiring criteria you ask? Well, in my world, it’s a simple list of

a) Must Have’s and
b) Nice to Have

It has two sections, covering WHAT the person needs to do (their skills or previous experience) and HOW you’d like them to do it (their preferred behaviours)

It looks a bit like this

“WHAT” – skills/previous experience
Mailchimp – create campaigns from
WordPress – Builds sales pages from scratch + update existing websiteHas created Processes
Asana/Monday project management Online Business environment experience
“HOW” – Behaviours/how they’ll work
Doesn’t get stressed
Results focused
Resilient problem solver
Shows initiative
Learns on the job
Enthusiastic and energetic
Works autonomously BUT is a team player
Led teams before
Knows how to recruit

No one is going to be perfect and you may not find someone who ticks everything. No worries. Then it’s the discussion around ‘we need someone to do this, which you don’t know how to do so YOU are going to learn this yourself or I AM going to teach you” clarifying bit that will take the confusion down the track.

Hiring great team members into your business requires you to stop and take stock of your business and where it’s heading. This is actually an exciting time and an exciting opportunity for you to design and correct your business path!

It doesn’t have to be a lengthy or difficult process.

Keep it simple. Move through the steps. Get CLARITY on who you need and how to feel CONFIDENT they can do it. Then you can COMMIT to them (and them to you!) and off you go!

Need more help and information? Download our free Hiring Criteria Template below or Book in a Discovery Call with me to see how I can help.

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10 tips to building a team that actually drives your business dreams, profit

and personal freedom

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