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WES S04E05: Hiring Your Team

Justin Cooke November 28, 2018

Subscribe to our VIP LISTHiring well becomes critically important as you grow/expand your online business.

We’ve hired hundreds of people in the US and abroad and, based on those experiences, wanted to share what we’ve learned along the way with you today, in this episode.

Looking to grow your team? This is a great episode for you!

Please do stop by iTunes and give us a review when you get a chance – we’d really appreciate it!

Alright, let’s dig in…

Listen To The Full Interview:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • What are the roles?
  • Where to post the jobs?
  • The application process
  • How To Interview
  • Onboarding Process

Featured On The Show:

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Ace Chapman:                   Understanding who you need to hire and then how you go about filling those positions. We’re gonna talk about how we’ve incorporated those things and our processes to make sure we get the best people for those positions.

Automated Voice:           Buying and selling businesses just got a lot easier. Welcome to the Web Equity Show where thousands of successful entrepreneurs go to learn about buying, growing, and selling online businesses. Your hosts Justin Cooke and Ace Chapman share their real life advice, examples, and expert interviews to help you build and grow your own online portfolio. Now to your hosts, Justin and Ace.

Justin Cooke:                     Welcome to Web Equity Show. I’m your host Justin Cooke. I’m here with my co-host Ace Chapman. Good to see you again, buddy.

Ace Chapman:                   It’s good to be here. I’m glad to jump in to today’s subject.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, man. We’re talking about hiring your team. This is really important and there are a lot of moving parts to this, so we’re gonna go through them as methodically and as specifically as we possibly can. There may be questions from our audience. We encouraged them to reach out to us on Twitter. I mean, obviously go to and leave some comments there. We’d be happy to answer any detailed questions.

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah, so when it comes to talking about building a team, you need all the different people that are gonna help you run a business. As you know when it comes to these businesses, you have every business model that has its own set of people, so understanding who you need to hire and then how you go about filling those positions. We’re gonna talk about how we’ve incorporated those things and our processes to make sure we get the best people for those positions.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. It’s difficult talking about hiring because that’s a wide swath, right? It’s both maybe your first hire, that might be a little different than your tenth hire for a very specific role. We’ll try to denote when we’re talking about each, but hopefully some of this information will be useful across the board, whether it’s your first hire or your fiftieth. Just to some background, I mean, my business partner Joe and I have hired hundreds of people from the U.S. to the U.K. from Australia, another couple hundred people from the Philippines. So we’ve kind of, you know, this has been an [inaudible 00:02:05] process for us over, well, definitely the last decade and even longer than that. I’m happy to share kind of what we’ve learned over the process.

                                                I know you’ve even recently, Ace, you’ve been to a ton of hiring yourself through Acqui Hires and things like that.

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah, yeah. A lot of my hires are little bit of a different process, and some of you guys may go through this. Essentially, we buy a business and we’re deciding who in that business we want to keep. Then obviously we have to replace some of those folks, so we’ll talk a little bit from that perspective. But yeah, just one of the acquisitions we just made from you guys hired about four people that were included with that business.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool, man. Well, let’s get into it.

                                                Alright, Ace. We have five main areas we want to talk about under the banner of hiring your team. The first is what are the roles. As we get into these roles, I think there are kind of two different approaches we can discuss as much as we need to here. The first being the kind of insta team, and the second being the apprenticeship model.

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah. When it comes to the insta team, a lot of people dream about being in this position, but sometimes it could be a ton of pressure. Usually, these are the people that have raised a lot of money. They are gonna go out and hire some really top talent, and what that brings along with it is that you got to make sure that you’re gonna ROI on those people’s money, so there could be a ton of pressure with the insta team.

                                                But the upside is, you know you’ve got the money to get very best talent out there, and then the job becomes getting out there and finding that talent, which is one of the things we’re gonna talk about.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, and it’s usually quickly, right? The insta team needs to put that team in place quickly, which is why they’re willing to spend more money because they can’t muck about with trying to find value. It’s like, look. I’m gonna pay you top dollar and I’m gonna get the word out there as quickly and fast as possible so that I can get a team and put them in place. Some risks that come with that. When you’re putting up a team of people with diverse background and not really … there’s no cohesion amongst the team, you’re running a risk so it takes, I think, a strong personality and really someone that’s on top of their game to put together those insta teams and insta hires. That’s not really a method or a hiring process that I’m familiar with or that we use. I’m more familiar with the apprenticeship, so I’ll talk a little bit about that.

                                                The apprenticeship model for us is definitely more organic. You’re basically bringing on people that are maybe junior to intermediate in their skill sets and they’re coming kind of under your wing to kind of learn from you, learn the business, and at the same time, provide value to you and the business. You as a hirer have to be willing to kind of train and develop your leaders because they’re not gonna be that from the start, which is good because you get to mold them, but it’s also … It’s gonna take more on your part. It can’t be rushed, so if you need a team in very specific roles right away, this will probably be not the method for you. But if you’re willing to kind of grow more organically and over time and are willing to develop these people, then you can find some real value this way.

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah. I think that you’re able to find the people that are really bought into your ethos and your goals and your team. It’s a little bit easier to find the folks that are gonna be a good match as far as the long term success of the business than the insta hires. When you’ve got that pressure to go out and build a whole team knowing how those people are gonna mesh together and how bought in they are to your mission, that can be pretty tough.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. One of the difficulties with trying to determine what the roles are gonna be is it’s gonna be very specific to your portfolio or the types of businesses you own. We’ll cover some examples of this. Obviously, it’s just gonna depend on what you have.

                                                Now one of the first examples would be a content manager. Now on kind of like a smaller, kind of like a less content focused site, it might be simply someone who writes the content for the site and updates the blog once or twice a week, then edits it themselves, right? It has a third party editor. To … The content manager could actually be someone who has a team of writers that work for them, or contributors, maybe they have an editing team as well. They kind of manage all that content, maybe several posts a day. So it obviously depends on the site, but you either need a very high level content manager or someone that might be more fresh and junior that’s just kind of doing the writing themselves.

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah. Whenever we’re doing a deal and there’s content involved, we like to always be adding good talent to that team, but we do have the people that are already in the [inaudible 00:06:41] work and things that we know that they’re good. This is something to think about. If you, basically, if you’re building a portfolio and you find somebody good, don’t just think, “Oh, well we’ve got somebody. I don’t need to add to this team.” The thing that ends up happening is the more deals you do, the more overwhelmed that person becomes, and you don’t want to end up scrambling and there’s just diversification.

                                                Another thing to think about with those particular deals is the SEO manager. Sometimes that can be outsourced, but it’s great if you can have somebody that’s even managing the outsourcers. I know you guys have done this in your team as well, Justin. Whether it’s paid traffic and you’re dealing with the E-commerce or SAS business, or it’s SEO based site and it’s a blog, in either of those cases if you’re outsourcing that work, it’s not like you can just pray that those people are gonna do the right thing and make you money and you just go focus on the other side of business. If it’s not you, you’ve got to have somebody else that’s managing that agency until you get to the point that you’re bringing those things in-house.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. For our SEO manager, we don’t actually have an SEO manager. We have kind of our content manager taking on that role, but we’ve been considering hiring for that role specifically. For paid traffic experts, we have kind of the generalist. It’s dependent on your business, right? Maybe your business is heavily Facebook oriented? Then you may need someone that’s very Facebook specific and they know paid traffic on Facebook specifically. We kind of have a generalist, and then we have outsourced people. We have teams of people that work for other companies, third party companies, that do the specific paid traffic on the different platform.

                                                Someone else you may want to hire, whether it’s a contractor or a third part company or maybe even an in-house person, is a conversion rate optimization specialist. Someone that knows and does CRO and helps you kind of with your funnels, make sure that they’re converting at a higher rate, that kind of thing. Again, depending on the businesss, you may need a customer service manager, you may need a team of agents, or you may just need one customer service person that’s able to handle refunds, and requests, and depending on the type of business you have.

Ace Chapman:                   It is interesting. I think customer service is one of those places that can kind of get overlooked because you’re not generating money from it. Everybody focuses on, “Okay, I want the best SEO person. I want the best keyword analyst,” you know, all of the things that are gonna drive the income. But you still, especially in today’s day and age, bad customer service can bring you down in just as quickly as a bad Facebook campaign.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. Ace, funny you mention just a cost center for customer service. Quick note or hot tip, I guess, I mean, whatever you want to call it. But back in the day, I ended up taking over the customer service department for a company I was working at. The customer service manager worked with me along with the team there. I had a mentor that was our CRO that was kind of explaining to me how it is viewed as a cost center, expense center, throughout the company. One of the ways you can change that is look for ways to document how much money customer service brings in.

                                                So one of the ways to document that is to track the leads from customer service back to sales. If you can show the leads that are being sent back to sales are converting, and it’s converting into X or Y amount of money, then you can show that you’re actually providing [inaudible 00:09:53], almost like a marketing function, back to sales. In other instances, you can show how much you’re saving the company by keeping people on board by giving them a different offer or finding something that works for them.

                                                You can also, we implemented a win back program. So people were leaving the platform we had them on, and we would have customer service agents call them back a month or two months or three months after and actually try to win them back to the company. Then we could actually show clear and direct dollar amounts that were coming back. That was so successful that sales saw that was like, “Oh, we want that. We want to kind of bring that back. I think we can …” They started seeing the money that was coming in and they were like, “Oh, we want a piece of that!” We were like, “Nope. No. That’s … We’re keeping those customer service [crosstalk 00:10:33].” Yeah. The win back program was super successful.

                                                I think for a SAS company, that can be tremendously valuable because generally the cost to acquire that customer back is less than trying to find somebody that’s cold to the business, never heard of you before, and the educational piece that comes with that can be time consuming.

                                                Another job that you may need is, this is particularly good for ad sensor or affiliate type sites, is a key word researcher. Someone to find you kind of new niches, new key words that you can target, whether it’s for your site or for new sites that you want to create.

                                                Also, just niche researchers for an FBA or E-commerce business, finding new products that are being searched for that people have an interest in that you may be able to add to kind of your portfolio or your skews can be really valuable. Again if you’re E-commerce, having someone that can help with sourcing the products, whether it’s from China or elsewhere, may be an important role for you too.

                                                So as you can see, I mean, there are a ton of different types of roles you can hire for your team. It’s got to be just very specific on the type of team you’re building.

                                                Alright, man. Let’s get into the second point, which is where to actually post the jobs. And Ace, kind of our best platform for finding new hires and new people to add to the team has come from our own network, right? It’s come from putting content on our blog. It’s coming from using our podcasts. It’s come from people that are already familiar with our company or already connect with our brand.

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah. I love to [inaudible 00:11:56] market and being able to go out to your own followers and traffic and post to them about job opportunities. I think back to 99 and 2000 when I was trying to hire people. In a lot of cases, it was still the same. The first place that I would look for [inaudible 00:12:15] Wall Street back in 99 was my network. I would talk to other people like, “Hey, do you know a developer? Do you know somebody that’s interested in marketing?” I would hire that way. Today, it’s the same thing. Everybody is going to start with their network, but our network is so much bigger. That’s what’s exciting about hiring now.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, and across so many platforms too. I mean, whether it’s Facebook or your own blog or a community that you run, that’s great. It helps to have a big network. For people that don’t, so you don’t have platforms that you’re terribly connected on, or you’re starting off, you’re still relatively new. You don’t have … There’s nothing there for you to leverage. One of the options we found really successful is to publish on other networks that are trusted by their audience, right?

                                                So for an example, that for us would be a group called the Tropical NBA. They have a posting, a draw posting board, called the Dynamite Jobs board. That comes from their own community called the Dynamite Circle. Members of the Dynamite Circle community can post jobs there. Those jobs would then kind of vetted and verified that the curated job board was able to check the job out, check the opportunity, and then post it on Dynamite Jobs. Because they’ve got such a highly connected, hungry, interested, engaged audience, they get some really kind of interesting talent there. So we’ve hired several people through the Dynamite Jobs board that are working with us today.

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah. I would say in addition to that, still getting involved in whatever community that you’re going to leverage is immensely valuable because the people getting to know you takes things to another level beyond just, “Hey, we trust Dynamite Circle. We trust TNBA.” But getting those relationships built long term and starting early is what can put you in a position where you’re not scrambling towards the end. So if you’re somebody that’s like, “Well, I don’t need to worry about that. I’ll do that later. Eventually I’ll need to hire,” I think that’s the wrong way to go about it.

                                                Then we talk about some of these other job places. I think those are the places that are kind of the back up to these two. Whenever I’m trying to hire, my first thing is my network. You know, Justin, you just recommended somebody a few months ago that we ended up hiring. The second best option is to start building a relationship early on these messages boards like Dynamite Circle. Then the third option would be to use the job boards. Have a lot of those.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. Because we hire remotely and we’re looking for kind of remote workers, we use job boards like has been effective for us right now,,, these are some of the kind of remote worker job boards you can use. Do you have any other job boards that you’re posting on right now that you’re finding success with these?

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah. So I’m at the opposite end of that, and we are building a U.S. based team, mostly in Atlanta, some in Miami. Our goal right now is hiring local folks. Indeed has been really great for us. I think the cool thing is if you’re working in this space and you’re buying an internet business, this is a hot space to be in. We’re not trying to hire people to come and work in a factory or be in manufacturing, so it’s overwhelming. Once you get into those kind of job boards, some of the other things with the application process and trying to automate and systemize that is gonna be really, really crucial, but that’s why we kind of leave that for last. It’s, “Hey, let’s see if we can find somebody great from there,” because we always want to be expanding our network. Like I said, we’re really focused on some geographic areas, but Indeed has worked really well for us.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. These are getting colder and colder. The last one we’ll mention is to go to kind of the places where you know the people you’re looking to hire. Hang out online. Just kind of like marketing where you have an avatar of your customer of who you think that customer is, what their income is, what they’re interested in, where they may hang out online. There may be avatar for your hire, right? What are they interested in? What kind of Facebook groups are they in? Can you go and essentially post jobs in those Facebook groups, for example, or other kind of online communities?

                                                Now again, like you mentioned, to know kind of influencers in the hiring space, that’s super helpful. It helps to make those … do that networking early on so that when you need it, it’s available. I mean, it’s similar here. So if you’re part of those kind of Facebook communities or those just online communities, it’s a lot easier to kind of cold approach them or warm approach them about potentially hiring through that network or putting up a job ad than it is to go in cold. I mean, you can go in cold. Sometimes they’ll let you post and that’s a way to do that.

                                                So we kind of covered what are the different roles, kind of how people get hired. We talked about where to post the jobs. Let’s say we’ve got the jobs posted, everything’s up, and we’re starting to get just a bunch of applicants. Now, this is messy, man. All these applicants and you don’t know what to do with it. We’re gonna kind of break that down a little bit.

                                                I think talking about the application process is our point number three. The best way to think of it is a funnel, right? So the very top of the funnel you’ve got the most amount of candidates. That’s really where you want to spend the least amount of time. As you work your way down the funnel, you have the least amount of candidates at the very bottom. That’s where you want to spend the most amount of your time, so we’ll talk about how to do that throughout this process.

Ace Chapman:                   One of the things in a recent conversation with one of my [inaudible 00:17:40] comes to mind who was trying to make a hire, and you’re right. I mean, this should be thought of as a funnel and what you need in the funnel is filters. I think that some people it’s more like a pipe line and just a ton of people are coming through, and they’re getting applications, and they’re doing a ton of interviews. Each step you should think of it as filtering out based on needs.

                                                But in order for you to filter, you got to know what you’re looking for, like you said, building that avatar. So what about that avatar can you filter out based on just seeing the application? So at the very first step, we’re collecting the basics. We’ve just, you know, getting some job skills. We’re questioning a little bit about their past experience and vetting out their qualifications. Then we move to that next step, and at each step we’re filtering out people so that we don’t end up with a ton of interviews to do.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. Before we get into this any further, Ace, I’ll just say at the top just so we don’t sound like total jerks, we know that this sounds … I don’t know about dehumanizing, is that the way to say it? We know how cold this sounds. I kind of don’t care though because this is actually the way we do it, and we don’t view our team and the people that work for our company that way. But it’s a process to get to those people, and it has to be this. Otherwise, we would pull our hair out going crazy over all the kind of top level, first level applicants. If we deep dove on each of them, we’d never get anything done. We use this because it’s effective, but once they’re on the team, they’re on the team. Just state that up front. Alright.

                                                So we have the ad, and part of that job of the ad is to kind of sell them on the company, right? It’s saying, “Look. Here’s all the upsides. Here’s the amazingness of it. But you are gonna work your butt off and we’ll be talking about the downsides too.” So it’s just, this is the amazing opportunity. Here’s all the crappy things you’re gonna deal with. We just like to lay that out all up front so they kind of self select. After they self select, they’re filling out, they’re answering questions, and they’re putting in their email, and their name, and all of their basic information, their social media profiles. Then we’re gonna ask them questions to make sure that they’ve read up on the position.

                                                For example, if in the ad itself it says that they need to be ready within, let’s say, 60 days to start, right? Within 60 days they need to start. In the actual questions, they may say, “Yes, I’m ready now, I’m ready within the next 60 days, I’ll be ready in three to six months, or I’ll be ready in about a year.” Right? It has all those different options. So if they’re not choosing 60 days or less or now, then they clearly … It’s a mismatch. They didn’t read the job post very well. They’re not answering the way that we clearly told them to answer it.

                                                Those are ways to immediately disqualify applicants, right? Because if they didn’t read the job ad and they’re answering wrong on the … when they’re filling out the application, then there’s a huge disconnect there already. It’s a reason to disqualify. Because we want to spend the least amount of time at the top of the funnel, people that did this on the first application, it’s easy to toss them out and look at the ones that did answer the question correctly.

Ace Chapman:                   Yes, and that’s where we get into those filters and getting rid of those people as quickly as possible. One of the things that I love, and I think I’m gonna start doing, Justin, that you guys are doing is require a two to three minute video and have them answer some specific questions, like an upload to YouTube, and have it on private so that it’s not just out there for their friends and family to see if they don’t want. You can ask them the why’s. You’ve got the specific things and you’re kind of testing them and figuring out if they’re a fit in general, but you can also get into just a little bit of their personality and why they’re interested in the job, which I think is just as important.

                                                When I’m dealing with somebody, I want to dig into how they see this job fitting into their life. If I’m dealing with somebody that’s just like, “Hey. I just want to learn some skills and then I’m gonna be out,” sometimes that’s okay. I’m okay with that, but I just want to know going in and figure out, “Okay, is that the right position?, or I can lead them in another direction?” And then say, “Okay. We’ve got actually this more apprentice situation. That’s a six month thing or one year thing.” So getting that picture is important, and a good way to do that is through that video.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. We just switched over from, I think, Google Forms, which what we were using before for the application process to answer the questions, to type form. But either one you use, you can quickly scan through their answers and kind of look for kind of the questions you set up for them to pass or fail. If they fail, you can obviously drop, right? Once you get through all that, you can check out their videos, and if you’re just doing two to three minute videos, you can get a really kind of quick hit sense on whether that person would be a good fit for the company. The videos have worked across the board.

                                                Now, it may limit your application pool. Maybe less people are willing to do videos, or they put up … or they don’t fill that out at all, which again, is a disqualifier. The only place this didn’t work for us for the videos it was for developers. We tried to have developers do the videos and just no one was doing it. It just wasn’t … It just didn’t work. They absolutely adamantly refused to do it. So we were like, “Okay. Well, that doesn’t work for developers.” But I mean, whether it’s HR, or sales, or customer service, or vetting, it’s worked for every other piece. Yeah, we found that really, really valuable.

Ace Chapman:                   It’s just funny that it’s literally across the board, just no developers. Like no, not a person to deal that.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, just not … Yeah, they were just not having it, man. Not having it. I get it, man. It’s just rebellious, kind of, programmer, coder culture, right? So yeah, I get it.

                                                Another thing we do is we’re just kind of scanning their answers for wrong answers, really bad grammar, didn’t follow instructions. Again, the whole idea is to just disqualify at this point. So you just go down the list. Boom, boom, boom. Disqualify, disqualify everyone you can. We’re not looking for reasons, “Oh. This person would be great.” Although, sometimes you see that you’re like, “Oh, that’s a great answer,” or, “I like that.” But really, you’re just looking to disqualify. No, no, no, no. Maybe, maybe, maybe. No. Then anyone you have left over, at the end of the process you’re gonna interview. So disqualify everyone, everyone else you interview.

                                                One thing we do is whether they’re disqualified at that point or later in the process, we let everyone know. We let everyone know as quickly and as soon as we possibly can. If they … We’re not gonna move them onto the next round, we let them know promptly. We sent them to other places, “Hey. Unfortunately, wasn’t a fit here, but here are some other job boards or other places that we know cool people are looking for people. You should take a look at it,” and just kind of move on. But they get let go as soon as we possibly know, so we can tell them we let them know. Everyone, whether they’ve just early applied in the process or later in the final as well.

                                                Alright, man. Let’s move on to point number four, which is how to interview. Obviously, we’re not gonna cover everything there is to be said on this. There could be multiple podcast episodes I’m sure, but we want to kind of cover the highlights. One of the things we do, and this is specific to us, but it’s been really helpful, is to batch interviews into a day or two. So give them a limited window to select and interview. I use Schedule Once, but you can use any of those calendar apps, but we’ll batch them into a day or two. One of the benefits there is it’s not kind of dragged out over a week or two weeks where it’s just kind of bumping into other things you’re doing. I mean, it also allows you to quickly get a sense of this person versus that person, so you can kind of get a sense of who might be the better fit and you’re working on that all day, right? You’re really hammering it out. Funny enough, I’m doing that today. Aside from this podcast we’re recording, I’m banging out interviews today, so we definitely do the batches.

                                                Do you batch as well? Or are you kind of like a more open hire, more regularly open?

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah, I tend to be more open for a majority of the time. Then when we have something really specific, then it gets hardcore. So the interesting thing is we did a hire for a few positions. What’s that, about four or five months ago? Earlier in the year. The neat thing was we spent time getting this initial part of the process, but then we brought them all into … We rented a room at a hotel and had a little conference area and brought them all into this conference room, talked about the job, kind of got them excited, got to meet a bunch of them in person, have a lot of short conversations. Then I had somebody with me who’s like, “Okay. Let’s keep this person’s name down. Let’s go back and look at that resume. Let’s go back and look at some of this person’s answers to the questions.” So we did the same process, but we ended it with a in-person batching as opposed to trying to do a bunch of one-on-one interviews.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. Yeah. Interesting, man. Yeah, we do two interviews. We’ll generally have our junior staff or kind of like the supervisors do kind of the first interview. So again, they’re kind of weeding people out. Then we’ll have the senior staff or Joe or I in the second interview or the final interview. We do that kind of two interview phases because we get a lot of applicants, and again, we need an additional screening process and that kind of helps us. If it’s someone hiring their first person, obviously they can still do the two interview process and I would recommend it. But the first interview, it would be with them both times.

                                                You were saying you do it in person. We would obviously love to do it in person, but because we’re hiring people in Minnesota, and Michigan, and California, and New Zealand, and U.K., those aren’t gonna happen. So we have to do it online. We definitely use video. You get a lot of non-verbal cues from people when you use video, and they get a sense of you as well. This is an interview and it works both ways, so you want to be on the video as well. Don’t just voice interview a video. Both of you should be on video, and then you kind of sort each other and see if it makes sense.

                                                For these interviews, initially we try to make them really comfortable up front because everyone’s nervous when they interview. Particularly for this, for a job working with us, kind of a weird, crazy company. This remote company, everyone works from wherever. So we know they might be nervous, and I try to make them really comfortable. Say, “Look. This is really casual. Don’t be nervous. We’re fine. Blah, blah, blah.” Make them comfortable. What you don’t want, or you don’t want someone that would have been a great hire for you, a great applicant to be so nervous that they don’t have a good interview and you disqualify them because of nerves. That would be terrible. You want them to be comfortable, and you want to disqualify them because they weren’t qualified, right? Not because of nerves.

Ace Chapman:                   I know. I like even getting them excited. That’s something you can do in that first interview. So you’re getting them comfortable, you’re spending time kind of telling them why the company is great, a great company to work for. When you’re designing the position, that’s something to keep in mind. This isn’t just, “Hey, I want to get as much out of you as possible.” It’s trying to design the position in a way where you’re figuring out what are gonna be the benefits that the person outside of my pay check that I’m giving them? What are gonna be the other benefits to them working for my company? As you’re telling those things, those are things that are gonna get them excited. So that first interview, keeping that to 10 to 20 minutes makes a lot of sense. You want to make sure they understand the general position requirements. That initial interview is another way to get them comfortable, get them excited.

                                                Then as you get into the position, you’re describing it and trying to see if they even feel like they’re a fit for it or where they feel like they’re not a fit. You’re still at a point of filtering, so you’re trying to figure out is this person a right fit or not? See if you need to take them off the list before you get to that second, more detailed interview.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. I mean, like you said, you’re still disqualifying at this point. But I like your point about making it exciting. So again, we’re not spending a ton of time, it’s like 10 to 20 minutes of their time and your time. I mean, you do get them excited. You want them to be excited about the company, so you tell them some of the exciting things that’s going on, that they’ll be able to do in your company, kind of like freedom that they’ll have, the hats they’ll wear, that kind of thing. If they’re not excited, that might not be good, right? We want to tell them things that should be exciting and kind of see what the reaction is.

                                                Again, you are selling the job to some degree. We don’t want to oversell it. You want to make sure you highlight the things, the work they’re gonna have to do, the things that are tedious, but you want them to be excited about the position. If they’re not, that’s probably a bad sign. So yeah, that’s the first interview. Again, you’re looking for reasons to disqualify.

                                                If they don’t disqualify in that first interview and you invite them to a second interview, this is where you’re gonna spend much more time. This can be anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, even up to an hour in some cases. I mean, we have four areas of kind of questions we get into. We do like the intro welcome, just kind of shoot the breeze a little bit, getting into them, talking about the position of the company. Then the very job specific questions, so regarding the position of the department.

                                                Then because of the nature of our company, we talk quite a bit about working or living abroad and kind of get a sense for whether we think they would be a good fit for that, whether they’ve done that before, what it might be like they’re having them work for us. Then we get into kind of the personal or the personality, like what do they do for fun? Some logistics like are they able to start up on this day? Are they willing to move halfway around the world to come work with us for six months? That kind of thing. Just make sure that everything sounds good there. Yeah, four main areas we cover in the second interview.

                                                What do you do kind of in the final interview, Ace?

Ace Chapman:                   In the final interview is discussing the compensation, scheduling, upcoming vacations they may have. Just kind of getting a little bit into the nitty gritty of what it’s gonna look like working, and just logistics of them coming on and working before they do that kind of final sign off.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool. Yeah, for our second interview we generally want to have three to five second interviews. If we’re hiring for just one person in the position, we want maybe five to eight second interviews, if we’re hiring for two positions or two people in that position. So that’s kind of the interview process, the nuts and bolts of it anyway.

                                                Let’s get into the fifth point, which is kind of the onboarding process, what we do to onboard them. As I mentioned, we let everyone know whether they made it or didn’t make it all the way along the process. In the final kind of like, “Hey. We’d like to invite you to the position,” we send them an email, congratulate them and thank them for making all the way through. Let them know that, “Hey. We very much like to select you to work for us.” We give them normally 48 hours to kind of get back to us, think on it, sleep on it, talk to you when they want to talk to you before committing to it. Once they’ve committed to it, then we’ll let everyone else know if they didn’t get the position, they didn’t get it. But we want to give them a chance to kind of say yes or no or whatever it is before we let everyone else know because if they say no, you may want to take your second or third pick for that position.

                                                So once they’ve said yes and we let everyone else know, then we’ll send them kind of this big, long welcome email to onboard them. This covers everything, kind of what they can expect, where they’re gonna be staying, if they need Visas. If they’re coming out of Vietnam, whatever how to get the Visa. Just … It’s a ridiculously long email. We also introduce them to other people on the team that are relevant that they need to get to know.

                                                One of things we don’t do now but we’re going to do is we use the buddy system. So we’ll partner them up with someone that’s been with the company for a while that is agreeing to kind of take them under their wing and meet up with them as soon as they can to kind hang out for a week, wherever they are, to go meet up with them. Kind of be their buddy and someone they can rely on and ask questions too that maybe isn’t their supervisor or their manager. It’s just someone else in the company that kind of cares about helping them get up to speed. We haven’t done this yet, but it’s something we’re really excited to be launching.

Ace Chapman:                   I love that. I love that idea. One of the biggest concerns to the 100% remote team is just being disconnected to having … I know you guys do a few different things. You have the retreats and that kind of thing, but early on to have somebody come in and be able to have that in person connection, that sounds awesome.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. We were talking about this before the show. I hope I can mention his name, but yeah, Mike Pregerman came up with that. Yeah, we’re excited to implement it. He’s gonna help us, I think, implement it because they did something effective at one of the companies he worked at and he really liked. He’s kind of the champion of the idea to give this up and running. We’re kind of all buying into it, so we’re like, “Oh, this sounds great. We’ll try it out.”

                                                The other thing we do is kind of their first day when they first come on board, that’s generally contracts and lock ins. There’s a lot of access that we need give everyone. There’s a lot of disclosures, non-disclosure agreements, non-competes, that kind of thing. Then a lot of log ins they’re gonna need access to everything, so we do that the first day, sometimes two days.

                                                Then generally the first week involves a sit down with Joe and I as the founders to kind of talk through our backstory and kind of how the company came to be, answering questions from them. Then we have them sit down with a bunch of different department heads in departments to get a sense for what the department does from a 30,000 foot view. So we want everyone to have this kind of higher level overview of what the company does, even if they’re not even working … or their work isn’t even closely, remotely related to that department. We want them to get a sense of what that department does because we want them to understand generally how the business works because we feel like that gives them some of the why to why they’re doing the things they’re doing.

Ace Chapman:                   Then the last piece that I think is something that’s super valuable is having that either data base system, or however you want to manage it, but you’ve done all this work, you’ve built this funnel, you’ve talked to a lot of people, watched a lot of videos. Even if you hired the top person, the second or third person may still be even equally qualified. It may have just been more of a personality match or whatever, but you want to keep those folks and try to keep notes on those people for other positions that you think they could be a good match for, so you don’t have to go through all of that work all the way from the beginning and you can maintain those relationships.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, Ace. We were talking about this before the show. We’ve done that so haphazardly and so badly. We’ll have applicants for sales that just our sales guy will just happen to mention to the customer service guys saying, “Oh. I think I interviewed someone that might be good for customer service.” It’s just been so terrible. There’s a much better way to do that, so we started kind of tagging people or applicants, particularly if they got past the first interview, for potentially other roles in the company and to definitely reach out to again.

                                                Now, they may have a window of two or three months where they’re available, and then after that they take a position somewhere else and they’re just not available anymore. But it makes sense to, for particularly good people that are good but just maybe weren’t a fit for the position or at that time for the position, to stay in contact to see if there’s something else that fits. Because obviously, you want good people overall, even if they weren’t a fit in that particular round of hiring.

                                                Alright, man. Let’s do a quick wrap up of the episode. I mean, I think kind of one of the main themes throughout this is hiring is a funnel. We joked about how dehumanizing it sounds, but it’s a way for you to kind of get through the hiring process and keep your wits and keep your sanity by having people kind of self select and disqualify themselves throughout the process. Your first few steps are really just looking to disqualify people, people that didn’t answer the question, or answer the question wrongly the question you set up for them, or didn’t fill out the right information, or didn’t follow directions. Boom, boom, boom, you can disqualify. For us, generally our applicants it’s like half, at least half, don’t make it to the first interview, so that’s a great way for us to kind of not have to spend a lot of time on people that didn’t fill out the application correctly.

Ace Chapman:                   Yeah. The key is you’re spending more time with each individual person at the end of the final. Getting to know them, trying to figure out if they’re the right fit or not, not spending a ton of time mulling over those initial applicants, looking at the resumes and trying to figure out is this the right, is this not the right fit. So for the folks at the end, you save that energy and time to put in to build relationships and figuring out which one of those people is the right fit.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s right, man.

                                                Well, that’s it for this episode. If you dig it, please head over to and leave us a comment to let us know what you think. You can also drop us a review on iTunes, and we’d really appreciate it. Next week we’ll be looking at the various ways to structure large deals into sale or acquisition. See you next week!

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