In my work with clients, I often help manage existing teams as well as find new team members as their businesses grow. Back in my corporate days, I also helped manage and train new hires in a variety of industries. It’s all too common to experience hiring mistakes — especially if it’s something you’re newer at.
Let’s look at some reasons we make the wrong hire.
The Vanity Hire
A common reason for hiring mistakes can be tied back to the vanity hire.
It’s very easy to get caught up in what other people think we need as opposed to what makes sense in our actual current business. This can result in hiring for a role that really is more of a vanity milestone than an actual need in the business. I’ve seen this countless times when people hire a VA, for instance, because they think they “should” have one. Somehow, having a VA has gotten tied up with success in the online world, so it’s easy to think we need one to prove we’ve made it.
Alternatively, I’ve had people want to hire me because they think having an integrator/OBM proves something about how far they’ve come.
Here’s the thing, though, about these sorts of hires: They rarely provide a return on investment. Hiring and training takes a huge amount of resources — both time and money — so hiring because it proves something to other people or you feel you “should” usually is a waste.
To avoid vanity hiring mistakes, ask yourself some questions:
- Why is this addition to your team needed?
- Does this role add to the business and support you as you work towards your goals?
- Do they free you up to focus more on the things only you can do?
- Do you have someone already on your team that could serve this role — better, faster, or perhaps even cheaper?
The Magic Bullet Hiring Mistake
We’ve all seen these job descriptions where it looks as though someone is looking to hire a magical unicorn (insert eye roll emoji) who will solve every problem they ever had in their business. I get it. When you need a variety of skill sets filled on your team, it can be tempting to roll them all into one role. Managing people takes a lot of time and energy, so keeping the team as lean as possible is logical.
What isn’t logical, though, is creating a role with skill set requirements that aren’t likely to go together. For example, asking for someone who can build websites and design them is probably reasonable since many web designers also build them. But trying to add in copywriting, customer service, and fulfillment to the same role is less likely to make sense.
It’s important to consider what skills commonly go together when hiring, and while a bit of flexibility is likely needed in a small business, we don’t want to go looking for someone who probably doesn’t exist. So, do some digging, and determine what types of skills are likely to go together for the role, and stick with those!
Hiring a VA for Everything
On the flip side, I’ve also seen so many instances when people look to hire a VA for roles that clearly need a more specific skill set. VAs have become the go-to for online businesses so I understand the draw, but your typical virtual assistant won’t have the experience to act as COO or determine your brand strategy.
These types of needs and many others require more specialized knowledge and experience, so hiring a VA is going to waste your time and theirs. I’ve come into many businesses where the owner can’t understand why their VA is struggling to support them, and when we dig deeper, it turns out they’re asking the VA to play the role of a project manager, integrator, and basic admin support.
VAs are critically important to the success and health of my business and many of my clients as well. But VAs will be much more beneficial if you’re hiring them to serve a role within their skills and experience. This helps you avoid this common — and costly — hiring mistake.
The High Priced Savior
This is perhaps one of the most frustrating and financially devastating mis-hires I see far too often. This generally comes in the form of a high-priced consultant who is going to revolutionize your business — usually in a matter of weeks (or even days). They are typically very vocal about how amazing the results are they can get you without a lot of tangible details on how it’s all going to happen.
The price tag is often quite high for these consultants, but they dazzle people into thinking they’ve got the secret solution to what’s holding them back in business. But the reality is often far different when it comes down to it.
To avoid this type of hiring mistake, it’s important to make sure you understand exactly what’s included in their services as well as evaluate how they’re going to help you actually execute to get to the results. This doesn’t mean they have to give you a step-by-step blueprint that’s specific to your business, but they should be able to explain knowledgeably the basic methods they’ll use.
It’s also very helpful to examine the contract carefully to make sure it’s reasonable. When someone is more smoke and mirrors, they’re more likely to have a contract that heavily favors continued work and punitively punishes you if you want to stop the engagement.
The contract should also lay out what they’ll be responsible for versus what your team will take on. I’ve been on the other end of a variety of these engagements that are billed as full-service miracles to the tune of multi-five-figure monthly retainers. And, yet, when we get down to executing, it turns out the existing team has to do virtually all the work. Let me tell you how much it sucks to see a client paying $5000/mo to a funnel consultant who pawns off the real work on the existing team that they then have to pay for a second time.
Avoid these hiring mistakes to accomplish your business goals
These common hiring mistakes can be avoided if we keep several things in mind:
1. Be realistic about what your business needs right now and in the near future.
2. Hire for the role you really need and not the one you think you “should” have or that someone else is telling you is important. You are the best expert on your business so trust your instincts here.
3. Be willing to pay for the expertise you need. Whether it’s the hourly rate or the quantity of hours, you need to be sure you’re willing to pay for what’s actually needed.
4. Be discerning about what someone’s offering — especially when you’re feeling desperate. It’s easy to get sucked into thinking someone can perform miracles, but take the time to evaluate what they’re offering to make sure it all adds up.
When you do these things, you’ll find hiring the right role becomes much easier, and your team is a true asset to help you accomplish your goals.