I’m still learning about hiring. I kind of fell into it with Ghost Blog Writers. I really didn’t know what GBW was becoming when it first started out. I was just looking to make a little extra cash outside my full-time job when a company asked if I would blog for their business blog.
It kind of grew from there and eventually got to the point where I ran out of time. I had to bring another writer in to help with things. I had no idea how to do this. I had never hired anybody before.
Over the last couple years I’ve kind of learned a few things that I try to remember now as we bring on more writers and other virtual assistants to GBW. I don’t know if these are true across the board for other small businesses and startups, but they seem to work fairly well for us at GBW.
Here are the things I’ve learned about hiring.
1. First Impressions Are Usually Right
Each potential writer at GBW enters in some basic information in a contact form. From that first point of contact you can learn a lot and really it helps me learn most of what I need to know about the person.
I have a few instructions on the page asking for a few things like interests and experiences. If someone can follow those instructions it’s a good sign. We have procedures and requirements for what we do for our clients so the ability to read and follow those is important.
I also look at the ability to write that opening email. If there are a few mistakes or if the format isn’t good then that person probably won’t ever have what it takes to be on our team.
Or if the person starts demanding things early on or anything like that. Those are all red flags.
First impressions mean a lot when it comes to hiring whether it’s virtual, over the phone or in person.
2. Trust People First
This could be a personal thing with me, but I like to trust people first. If someone kind of does a good job in the first impression and those things then I tend to trust the person they are. It does get me burned every once in a while in various ways, but I find that trusting people to do a good job and to be good people on your behalf is beneficial for you and your business in the long run.
You might get burned a few times, but more often than not those people will do great things and they’ll help to grow your business.
Now, if someone can’t write a good sentence in the first email they send then I won’t trust them to write a good post. But if they do a good job and they do a good job on the first post and I can give them a procedure and they follow it then keep trusting them.
I try to go into new relationships with trust. You’ll get burned, but then it’s time to move on and work toward finding people that you can trust.
3. Hire Slowly
My boss at my last full-time job was great. I learned a lot from him and one of the important lessons was the importance of hiring slow. He wouldn’t hire for the sake of hiring. He would figure out a way to get the work done in the short-term until the right person with the right fit for the culture came along.
And that point on culture is a good one. I read somewhere that it’s better to hire for culture and fit than it is to hire for smarts or things like that. You can train people, but you can’t change their personality.
So I’ve tried to grow slowly and hire slowly with GBW. I don’t want to get in the position where I need to hire a bunch of writers at once because I know that will lead to hiring people that can’t do the job or that don’t fit. That will get GBW in trouble in the future.
It takes restraint because you want to grow your company, but grow slow and over time you’ll get to where you want to go and with the right people on board.
4. Admit Mistakes And Move On
Earlier I said I trust people and that’s true. I still tend to give people perhaps too long of a leash even if they make mistakes. I like to try and see the potential in people and try to give them what they need to improve, but overall people aren’t going to change that much over time.
So I’ve tried to get better at identifying issues and then moving on from those as soon as possible. It’s hard to do in the short-term. It’s hard to tell someone that it’s not a good fit. And it’s hard to train someone new in on that job or do it yourself in the short-term, but it’s the best long-term solution. There is just no other way around it.
5. Treat Good People Well
When you get someone that is a top notch person then you have to hold onto them. We’ve lost some good folks at Ghost Blog Writers that have moved on to better opportunities. Good people get good opportunities. It keeps me thinking that I have to keep the opportunity at GBW appealing and something that the right type of writer wants.
And you have to do the same with your business. It doesn’t mean freebies and massages in the office and things like that. You have to focus on what people really want from their job, which might be security, fair compensation, a good work environment, recognition for their good work, challenging work, etc.
Hopefully this has been helpful for your small business and startup. I’m still learning as I go with GBW, but I’ve tried to take some time to look at how hiring has gone at GBW so I can continue to improve the process and the business. These are some of the things I’ve discovered in that research and I hope it can provide some actionable insight you can use for your business.