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We just completed another round of hiring at Smart Marketer and Zipify Apps. My total number of employees is now in the triple digits — that’s enough employees to fill seven NBA teams!
I consider team building to be one of my strengths as a leader, and it’s an area of my businesses that I’ve put a lot of energy into getting right.
After all, adding the right team member can deliver one of the highest ROIs for your business — especially if you use the right process.
In this post, I want to share the hiring strategy I used to scale my team to over 100 employees and give you some resources to help you find your next amazing hire, including:
- Where I Look For My Best Applicants
- Our Simple Interview Screening Process
- My Recent Job Posting Template On Workable
Need to Hire a New Employee? Here’s Where I Look First.
I’m a big proponent of working with friends and family. I know — everyone says not to do this, but there are a lot of benefits to hiring your family.
First, you’re going to spend a lot of your life working, and the way I see it you might as well work with people you know and like. The first ten people I hired for Smart Marketer were all my friends and family, and we still get along just fine.
Next, people who already know you usually aren’t going to turn into “Yes” people. They’ll call you on your bullshit, they’ll stand up to you and they’ll give you their real opinions — and that’s the culture I want to create in my businesses.
When people are willing to express the way they truly see things and how they feel, then the ideas get better and we produce better stuff as a team. I might not always take the suggestion, but I always want the feedback.
Take Inventory Of Who’s Around You.
Everyone is looking outside themselves for what they can get, but I take the opposite approach.
When it comes to hiring, I always think of the people inside my social circle first: Who do I know that’s shown interest in this job? Whose cousin is someone who might be a good fit for us?
If that doesn’t work, then I’ll reach out to my friends and ask them if they know anyone inside their social circles who they recommend. I want to cultivate long-term relationships on my team, and hiring friends and friends-of-friends has been an easy way to create that culture.
Free Job Posting Template
Of course, I also use hiring websites. (After building a 100-person team I was bound to run out of friends and family who want to work with me!)
For this I typically use one job posting template with a standard set of questions that I customize depending on the job requirement.
Here’s the real job listing I posted on Workable.com this month for a Customer Support Advocate role in my SaaS company, Zipify Apps:
This first page is the Overview which introduces your brand and sells the position. Hiring websites can be super competitive, so don’t just focus on the job requirements. Make sure to highlight the perks of working for you.
For my brands, the main benefits include:
- Competitive Pay
- Medical, Dental, Vision, FSA Benefits (Optional)
- Paid Time Off, Including Sick Pay
- Work Remotely (i.e., From Home)
- Be Part of a Fun, Friendly Team
And because we’re still a relatively small business, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn, advance their skill set, and grow within the company.
Page two is the Job Application section where I ask the following questions:
Even though I did post this on Workable, I’d rather not rely on their random database of candidates.
I have my own “pre-screened” network of business owners, former students and industry professionals who might know someone in their social circles. So as soon as I create a new job posting I always share it on Facebook and ask my team to send it to their friends and family.
If there’s any way to hire someone who is already familiar with our culture, or someone who’s been vouched for, then I want to hear from that person first.
My Simple Screening Process
Once we receive a few dozen submissions, I personally read every one. (I look at the entire application, but the open-ended questions on page 2 usually sway me the most.)
I then narrow it down to 3 or 4 applicants, at which point my team leads take over.
My team leads reach out to my top choices and schedule a brief phone interview with each candidate to chat about the position. After the interview, the candidate my team leads like best is the person we hire.
A lot of my screening process comes down to intuition.
I built my brands by prioritizing people over progress, and if I don’t feel like you will mesh well with the rest of the team, then I don’t care how strong your resume is. It’s not going to work.
Hiring is Just the First Step
There you have it, that’s my complete hiring process. It’s been successful for me in all three of my brands and across multiple different industries…
But it’s not the reason I’ve been able to scale my team to over 100 people.
Building a winning team takes more than writing a good job posting or making a few phone calls. It’s directly related to what you do after they’re hired.
The Dangerous Myth of Hiring “A Players”
People often see my team and the work we’re doing, and they ask me, “How can I hire ‘A players’ too?”
And no offense to anyone, but this annoys me to no end.
You as the company owner decide the “grade” of the player based on how much support and resource you’re willing to invest in them.
When you hire someone new, do you give them a clear job description? Do you give them access to education? Do you send them to events? Do you hold them accountable and make them feel powerful?
If you want to learn how to create “A” players on your team like I’ve done, then check out this recent blog post: Team Building: How Do You Find “A” Players?.
More Resources: How to Hire, Manage & Inspire a Team
Want to learn more about who to hire and when? Check out Episode 21 of The Smart Marketer Podcast:
In this episode, I explain the differences between insourcing and outsourcing, and I reveal the two positions you should fill first when hiring. Listen in to discover how to delegate work, invest in new hires and inspire your team.
- My strategy for hiring new employees
- 2 tasks you should immediately designate to new hires
- Why hiring is more than a checklist — it’s a bond
- How to learn more project management strategies from the Smart Marketer leadership team