Let’s talk about team building for a second. To build a sustainable business, you need a team.
Not only is it impossible, once you get to a certain level, to do everything yourself, but you really don’t want to.
Ideally, you want to get to a point where you can be as minimally involved as possible, and the business will run itself because of the team you’ve put in place.
But if you’re just getting started, that first hire can seem pretty daunting. Now what’s interesting is most people tend to think that their first hire should be a tech person, maybe a graphic designer, perhaps a copywriter. But for me, the first person I hired was an A-list assistant.
For most of us, there are a multitude of administrative tasks that take up a lot of time but don’t fall into just one category. Things like scheduling appointments, uploading things to WordPress, transcribing or reviewing audio files, etc. And all of these small tasks can add up over time. You shouldn’t be doing them.
When I hired my assistant, Kimberly, it transformed my business, because overnight I was able to remove myself from all of those time-consuming administrative tasks, which enabled me to focus on my zone of genius. And we all have our own zone of genius.
So if you are hiring your first team member, then my number one recommendation is to find an A-list assistant.
So where do you go about finding someone like this? Because if you have ever gone online and you have looked at places like Elance or O-Desk or even some of the virtual assistant sites where you can find an assistant overseas, you might have had trouble finding an A-level player.
Well, what’s interesting, is that I found Kimberly on Craigslist. You might find that surprising given that the quality of people on Craigslist is generally not very high. In fact you’ll get all sorts of people who are out of work, struggling to a find a job, who will apply for almost any position under the sun even if they’re not qualified. But Craigslist can be your absolute best friend…IF you know how to properly screen and find the A-players. And the best part is there’s a process to do this.
Whenever I hire someone I’ll put a link to an application that involves answering a series of questions. The first step that I essentially describe as the hurdle-a-thon.
One of those questions is “tell me, what is your typing speed?” And after that I give very explicit instructions on how to tell me what your typing speed is. I use a simple little website that calculates someone’s online typing speed by taking a simple test. I give them a link and the instructions are simple: paste the URL for your typing speed results in the space below.
Now what does this tell me?
#1: It tells me does someone know how to follow instructions. If someone simply types in 72 words per minute in that space they didn’t follow instructions. I’m specifically asking for someone to type in the URL with the screenshot of their results from this specific test.
Now assuming they have passed that first hurdle and they’ve actually done it correctly, I will review what their results are.
#2: Typing speed. If their typing speed is slow, generally that’s a leading indicator that their work pace is also slow. If someone types 40 words a minute, it tells me that you might not be able to keep up with the pace at which our company moves.
#3: I’m most interested in the combination of someone’s score and the number of mistakes they’ve made. I know that if someone types 65 WPM with 4 mistakes, they took the test ONCE. But if someone has 90 WPM and no mistakes, I know they took the test 5 or 6 or 7 times, to give me their absolute best result. And that’s the kind of person I’m looking for. I am looking for someone who never settles for anything less than the best, that has high expectations of themselves. And just so you know, Kimberly took the test 5 times.
Now, these 3 things tell me a lot about a potential candidate, just from one simple test. And there are other tasks that I give and questions I ask to screen for the right people. But if you’re looking to hire, you can use this simple test in your application process and learn a lot about the people who apply.
I’ll leave you with that for now.