Finding good employees has been such a struggle for me in the past. I might even have potentially lost months worth of productivity just by looking for the right person for the team.
In today’s Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode, I will talk about how I have overcome that challenge. Find out what systems and challenges I had in place to filter out hundreds of applicants and let only the cream of the crop rise to the top!
Overview & Episode Content
- Outsourcing Employees for the First Time
- There is a Difference Between Skill and Process
- How to Filter Out Potential Employees Who Exaggerate on Paper
- Hire Employees Who are Good at Writing – Avoid Hiring Specialists
- How to Significantly Increase Your Chances of Hiring Fantastic Employees
- Filtering Applicants Through Multiple Tiers
Outsourcing Employees for the First Time
I want to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart. Something that I felt a lot of pain for a very long time. And that is, how to hire better employees for your business.
When I first started hiring people overseas, I literally had no idea what I was doing. This was back when Elance and Odesk were still around – today, they have merged into UpWork.
I was so excited to finally put together my own team, “Yes. I’m going to hire guys to start doing everything I want done and it’s going to be a dream! They are going to do all the things that I don't want to do and even if I don't know how to do something. I’ll simply tell them how to do it and then everything will be absolutely wonderful.”
Well, no. Everything was not actually wonderful.
The first person I hired was a girl by the name of Tazeen from India. She was awesome, working 4th 0 hours a week, and did everything that I asked of her.
I was so thrilled until I realized I did not have much work for her – I did not even have two hours worth of work for her!
Quickly, I realized, “Oh crap. I need to figure out what I want her to do.”
There is a Difference Between Skill and Process
I had Tazeen do some of the busywork like creating spreadsheets, and other tasks that I needed to get done at my full-time job. Scheduling appointments for personal things was also one of her tasks. She would listen and she would do them.
Sometimes, she would do the tasks well, while other times not so well — especially if I failed give her enough instruction. But I found that things were not as it seemed and things were not as great as I thought they were going to be.
As time went on, I realized that I had three big problems. One of those problems was not having enough work Tazeen.
Looking back at it now, I realized that I probably did have enough work for her but I simply did not know how to communicate. Because I always had a lot of things in my mind, I might have overlooked those delegable tasks!
And that was before I learned how to create systems and processes for my business. So I might have also confused skills from processes. I did not realize that a lot of the stuff that I wanted to do, or already doing myself, could be delegated to a VA.
Although we could always hand out tasks to our VAs, they also need a step-by-step process for that task. One of the biggest problems back then was not knowing exactly what to give my VA.
Part of the problem when hiring a VA to do one specific thing, is if that one specific thing does not take a lot of time to complete, then that person becomes idle. When you are hiring for that specialized position like a copywriter, or marketer, admin, you will typically run into that exact problem.
How to Filter Out Potential Employees Who Exaggerate on Paper
The second problem I faced was how people looked good on paper. But when hired, they would stink. They would absolutely suck!
My very first hiring process involved going to Elance, Odesk, or other similar platforms and I would ask for their resumes. Their resumes would look absolutely amazing! They would look good, the applicant would seem like the cream of the crop.
Of course, any business owner would hire applicants with experience and someone with really good communication skills.
My process involved a chat interview with those who submit good looking resumes and the ones who passed the chat interview would be invited to a voice interview on Skype. And if they pass the voice interview, I hire them.
Nine times out of ten, the new hire would struggle during the first week and have a very rough time. They would do the tasks as best they can but the result would not be up to par or it wouldn't be what I asked them to do.
That route would spiral down in the next few weeks until I fired them or they quit because it was just so bad. I remember spending six months trying to hire people before finding someone with the confidence to work in my business.
That was six months of my time, and probably a huge amount of productivity, lost by trying to hire the right person.
Everyone exaggerates on paper. If you do not have a good testing process or system for scouring people, you will waste months – even years – trying to hire the right person.
Remember, just because a person looks good on paper or they sound great on the interview does not necessarily mean that they have the confidence to perform and be a good employee when you hire them.
Hire Employees Who are Good at Writing – Avoid Hiring Specialists
The third problem was the most painful but was resolved after I figured out how to build systems, processes, and standard operating procedures. This problem is finding people who are good at many things instead of just one.
Now, I am a bit of a contrarian. There is a book called ReWork – and I completely agree with 99% of the things written in there. ReWork talks about not hiring specialists but hiring good writers instead.
The reason is because writers are very good with the language. More often that not, somebody who is a good writer communicates well both verbally and in writing.
Look at the jobs that most people do — from project management, copywriting, social media or email marketing, to general administration and client account management, etc… All of these positions have one thing in common, and that is having excellent communication skills.
That one skill makes all the difference between someone who does well in these positions versus someone who struggles.
If someone communicates well, that means that they are emotionally confident. They feel the emotions of people they work with – whether under them or above them. Great communicators see problems that occur and they can resolve them quickly.
That is possible only because they know how to communicate in a very emphatic manner that is very emotionally accepting for other people. These types of people know exactly when to solve a problem themselves and when to ask questions or ask for help.
Writers look at words and constantly try to overcome the problem of conveying an idea to their readers as clearly as possible. This makes writers a natural at problem solving.
How to Significantly Increase Your Chances of Hiring Fantastic Employees
But I take it a step further. On top of being a good writer, I want people who could pass written communication tests with flying colors and solve problems with flying colors. Now, my team has made it even harder than what I originally designed.
They do that through a tiered process of hiring people where every single VSA has to go through. That is why out of two hundred people that go through our system, only one or two people are able to pass and become a VSA. It is almost like a certification course because it is crazy what they have to go through.
For me, the ultimate solution to significantly increase your chances of hiring a fantastic employee is to have a system that filters people based on how well they write, how well they communicate, and their personality when it comes to problem solving.
At the top of that tier or funnel, people will fill out a form containing questions that seem benign. But some of these are landmine questions. If they answer those questions other than one specific way, they are cut and will not be able to proceed to the next phase.
That first test eliminates about 75% of applicants – and there are still 5 more tiers to go!
Filtering Applicants Through Multiple Tiers
The next tier is training them to become a VSA. Now, if they mess up in one little thing, they are cut and another big percentage of applicants will not move forward with our hiring process. The next tier is another form with a different set of questions. It’s the same thing, if they mess up, the applicant gets cut. The next tier is an interview process.
And finally, tier five. In this final filter, applicants actually work for Pro Sulum for a short period of time to see how well they work. They are trained during real work sessions to see how they communicate, how fast they get things done, how well and how quickly they learn. And again, if they mess up on one thing, they get cut.
Lastly, they go through a final interview with one of the managers — usually with my General Manager. We go through hundreds of applicants and we find people who are so skilled in being “blank slates” and you can show them how to do anything and they will be able to do it.
Not only that, every single one of our VSAs document the processes you show them step-by-step. Now, you have documents for tasks in your business allowing virtually anyone to perform them.
We have clients who have just one VSA doing payroll, accounting, social media management, hr management, lead generation on linkedin, email marketing, administration, etc… And that is possible with one VSA because the clients show them how to do something and the VSA documents that process – a very detailed step-by-step.
From there, the VSAs do those tasks for the clients and train any newcomers. The client never has to worry about a thing!
When you want to hire good employees for your business growth, the best thing you can do is to have a gruelling hiring system. You must have a system in place that filters people out through various challenges. When you do that, you will find that the cream of the crop will rise to the top!
Resources and Links
Please check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com to learn about our master class and a new report coming out soon. Or go to ProSulum.com to Schedule a Free Consult and get your very own Virtual Systems Architect.
We have some of the best employees for you. Our VSAs are a much better choice than most of the minimum wage employees out there. If you are in California or New York, our VSAs are way less than a minimum wage employee and yet they perform way better. With our amazing VSAs, you can scale your business in ways you never thought were possible!
This is Dean Soto and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.