When I talk about how busy I am, people always say: “You need to hire more people!” It’s a valid statement and makes sense. Saying it is one thing, executing on it is another. Most people who say something like that have ZERO employees. They have no one to manage and have never had to conduct interviews to choose the right fit. One reason that i’m currently pretty overwhelmed is because I had an employee quit on me. Let’s rewind about 3-4 years ago:
At this time we were getting pretty busy. We just brought in a ton of business and were launching a new product. I needed help so we moved someone from within the company from one position into an internet marketing assistant/social media position. She had an aptitude for the net so I spent time training her and she became a decent fit for the position. Not great…nothing fantastic….but the job pretty much got done. After about 3 years she quit to work updating social media profiles for a major electronics company.
I immediately went to a job fair at a local college, got a few decent candidates and interviewed them. One was a young girl who I liked. She seemed smart, did an internship doing something similar elsewhere and I decided to hire her. She got trained quickly and I quite liked her. She did her work, didn’t mess around too much and I was seeing some potential towards training her to do more complex internet marketing campaigns. After about 4 months, she came to me and we had a discussion that went like this:
Her: I need to talk to you about something
Her: It’s really hard for me to tell you this
Me: Just tell me
Her: I’ve decided to become a missionary to sick kids and need to leave to go to Thailand in a couple of weeks.
Me: Uhhh…what? Your joking right?
Her: No, I applied for this before I got the job here and didn’t expect it to come through.
Me: But it’s working out here. There’s a 9% unemployment rate and you have a job, which pays decent, and I think your doing a good job. What can I do to keep you?
Her: Nothing, I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t go.
Me: I don’t personally think your making a very smart decision but whatever…your giving me 2 weeks right?
Then she ended up not actually giving me a full 2 weeks but that’s another story.
This put me into a predicament that I wasn’t expecting to face, especially since things were going good and she basically just started. So, I went out recruiting again. I interviewed a whole bunch of idiots but I came up with 3 prospects. I’ll identify them by nicknames:
Ms. Can’tConvinceMe: This was my number 2 choice when I hired my previous employee. She was very nice and seemed sincere. Had a little bit of experience (very little) but something just seemed off. I didn’t know what it was but nothing inside of me screamed “hire her.”
Mr. Ehh: This guy had a college degree from some state school and seemed pretty well educated. He did some internet marketing work in college and seemed somewhat entrepreneurial. His mission on his resume was to “obtain a full time position.” At least he has dreams. Again, nothing screamed “hire him.”
Ms. Winner: This girl comes from a very different background then internet marketing. I think she’s very very smart and can probably learn quick. I really like her and think she’s going to be a success in whatever she wants to do. She’d be taking a pay cut to come work for me but she’s asking more then I can easily justify paying someone that has zero experience.
I decide to reread all of the resumes and I realize that Ms. Can’tConvinceMe has a reference on her resume of an owner of an ad agency who I happen to know. I contact the owner and get a very lukewarm reference. This completely turns me off and takes Ms. Can’tConvinceMe out of the running.
I reluctantly decide on Mr. Ehh. I wanted to give the kid a chance and I was in a real jam because I needed to replace my Taiwanese Missionary quickly. I had her train Mr. Ehh and she said he was going to be great. I wasn’t really sure one way or another. He seemed like he was doing ok while she was there helping him but he was kind of weirdly quiet. The day she left he was on his own. I found it strange that he didn’t ask ANY QUESTIONS about ANYTHING. I mean, if I was just starting to work by myself on something new to me I’d probably have questions. Maybe this kid was really good.
Every time i’d walk by his computer I couldn’t really tell what he was working on. I saw him on his personal Facebook and told him not to surf personal sites while he’s supposed to working. I started looking over the work he was doing and it was very below average. After I told Mr. Ehh to stay off personal sites I had to reprimand him like 5 times about the same nonsense because he kept doing it. After about a week of him being on his own I just couldn’t take him anymore and fired him. He apparently thought he was doing a great job even though I had to tell him 5+ times to stay off personal sites and had to repremand him multiple times for sending the one clients campaign information to another client. I felt a sense of relief that I didn’t have to deal with this kid anymore but in hind site it may not have been the smartest move since it left me short handed. On the other hand, he was fairly useless so I don’t really know what the right move would have been.
Back to interviewing. Here are some of my latest interviews:
Mr. Target: One thing I didn’t mention above is that each interviewee has to take a test. It’s really simple and just let’s me know if they can write decently or not. I look over this guys test and about half of the words are spelled incorrectly. This guy had a lot about programming on his resume which interested me as that can be a useful skill. Here are some of the more interesting exchanges
Me: I see you know programming, how are you at it.
Him: I don’t like programming
Me: How would you rate your writing skills (even though I already knew they sucked)
Him: I can’t spell!
Mr. Vegas: I was already frustrated before Mr. Vegas came along and I thought that his cover letter was a bit of fresh air:
I was really excited to come across your ad on Craigslist for an Internet Marketing Assistant. I need to find a job, so I’m applying across multiple disciplines–even in some cases for things I don’t have much experience in (i.e. casting director) or things I am naturally good at but have no formal training (sous chef) or things I have no experience in, no formal training, am not naturally good at but am interested in (photographer’s assistant) OR worst of the bunch – things I’ve never done, never wanted to, but man I need a job (too many to list).
However- when I read your ad – JACKPOT. I have tons of relevant experience. I’m naturally very good at it. I’m organically interested. I really want to interview with you and see if we’re a match.
I’ve added some comments below in blue, underneath your text, and attached a resume. I really hope I hear from you – I have a feeling this job could be “it”.
Thanks so much for considering,
OK, so it’s kind of whacky but It’s honest, well written and I figured what’s the harm in giving the guy an interview. At least he can think outside the box.
He comes in and fills out an application.
I take a look at his application before interviewing him. I read the question “What do you expect to be doing in 5 years?” I read his response and do a double take. Wait….really?
Application: What do you expect to be doing in 5 years?
His Response: “Full-Time Magician”
So I start the interview and it goes like this:
Me: So, I read your application and it says you want to be a Full-Time Magician
Him: Yea absolutely
Me: Can you make yourself dissappear?
Me: I’m not kidding!
If your not smart enough to at least lie and say you want to be doing something related to the job, then you aren’t smart enough.
So that leaves us at the present. I am still short handed and I am still looking. I put up 4 job ads today on various sites and I continue to try to fill the position.
Out of the many many interviews I’ve done, i’d say the vast majority of those people have no potential to do anything with their lives. It actually annoys me when I hear people say “Oh, it’s really terrible if your getting out of college today because their ARE NO JOBS.” Bologna! There are jobs, you just need to be smart enough to identify where they are and adapt yourself to fit them. I know tons of people looking to hire but not tons of quality prospects.
I think this may be the longest blog post i’ve ever written.
What are your experiences with hiring?