“All I can say is, she’s a godsend…”
I was talking with a real estate broker who leads a growing team of agents in her small but bustling firm. Perfectly poised to break through in a powerful way in her particular market, things are hopping,
And it’s intense.
But about a month ago, she hired a new assistant who has made a tremendous difference in the day to day management of the firm. For the first time in a decades long career, she’d finally hired someone who was exactly what she wanted.
And she was gushing.
“I don’t know what I’d do without her! She’s looking out for me every minute that she’s here… she’s made such a difference, I can hardly believe it.”
That’s what it’s like when you hire the right person for your team: they look out for you.
But how do you find people like that?
In this post, I’m going to tell you exactly how.
You follow the old adage, ‘hire slow, fire fast’.
When my private clients are ready to add to their team, we spend a lot of time on the front end getting super clear about what they want. Better to take their time at that stage of the process, than to hire the wrong person and have to clean up the mess later.
Here are the phases I walk them through. This may seem like a lot at first, but this works.
If you follow the exact process I’ve laid it out for you here, you’re much more likely to hire someone who is genuinely right for your team.
And you, too, will be amazed at what a difference that makes in your life!
PRE-INTERVIEW PHASE (6 Steps)
STEP 1: Conduct a service audit.
For a two week period, keep a tablet on your desk, and make a simple list, not of everything you do, but of every kind of activity you do during your day.
This one step was so powerful for the real estate broker above that it set the tone for her entire hiring process.
STEP 2: Group all of those activities into categories.
Study that list.
Which of those activities drain your energy? Which ones light you up? Which ones do you HAVE to do, and which ones could you delegate to the right person?
What would free you up so you could focus on what matters most?
STEP 3: Make a decision.
Which tasks or activity categories will you delegate?
This can be office-based (someone to answer calls, managing your social media, track your accounts) or home-based (someone to do the cooking, mow the lawn, or even pick up the kids).
STEP 4: Determine your hiring criteria.
What kind of skill set do you need them to have? What kind of personality do you want them to have? What’s negotiable, and what isn’t?
Remember – you’re not looking for a new best friend. You’re looking for someone who can get the job done – and make your life easier.
STEP 5: Set your budget.
How much can you pay for how many hours a week on the front end, and what could you conceivably raise them to over time?
It may be worth it to have someone with a higher skill level, for less time, at a higher pay, depending on what you need them to handle.
STEP 6: Prepare for the interview process.
Create at least a draft of the job position itself, then write your ad. In the ad, include some kind of instruction, such as “If interested, send an email to this address with “INTERESTED” in the subject line.”
Craft a pre-written email that you can send to those who don’t follow your instruction, since you’ll be tossing them immediately.
Write another email that you’ll send to everyone else, thanking them for the submission, explaining your process and what they can expect.
INTERVIEW PHASE (4 Steps)
STEP 1: Post the ad.
STEP 2: Process responses.
For those who don’t follow your instructions, send them your thank-you-but-no-thank-you response.
For the rest, review their applications. Check them out on line. Look for red flags (sloppy writing, typos, inappropriate online behavior, spotty work history) and toss those that don’t feel right.
Narrow the rest down to 5-10 who seem like likely possibilities.
STEP 3: Conduct brief telephone interviews.
For those applicants who are worth a closer look, set up a 15 minute telephone interview. This is no more than a chance to ask a few questions and see how you connect.
STEP 4: Select your finalists, for an in-depth interview.
After the phone interviews, you’ll have a few who really stand out. Choose 3-5 as finalists, and set up an in-depth interview with them. These 60-90 minute conversations should happen in person if possible, or by video conference if not.
HIRING PHASE (3 Steps)
STEP 1: Make your choice, and extend a trial offer.
It can be particularly effective to ask a potential hire to take on a particular project as a trial. Rather than the usual 90 days ‘probation’ period, hand them a problem to solve, and see how they do.
I hired my current VA that way. When she figured out a technical solution for automating a process in my business that had completely eluded me, I was sold.
STEP 2: Conduct your trial period.
Whether it’s a project, or a period of time, give your hire a chance to step in to what you want them to do. Communicate with them closely during this phase. Watch for potential problems, and address any that come up.
STEP 3: Seal the deal.
If you realize it’s not a good fit, let them go with grace and good humor. If, on the other hand, all is well, welcome your ideal new hire to the team.
And seal the deal with a small celebration – because things are looking up!
Photo Credits: Plantronics Germany