Episode 179 pic of Dr. Liz Lasky

Finding the right team for your business can feel burdensome, especially when you’re juggling the role of entrepreneur with personal life demands. Leslie Pyle joins Amber Hawley to explore strategies for lightening this load, from hiring an online business manager to creating an enticing job post that draws in the right talent. Through the blend of experiences shared, this episode equips entrepreneurs with the wisdom to expand their teams effectively while maintaining balance in their lives. 

 

  • In this episode, you will learn about:

    • The benefits of an online business manager in streamlining operations and aiding hiring.
    • Strategies for recognizing when it’s time to hire help and how to begin the process.
    • Keys to crafting a compelling job post to attract the best candidates.
    • The importance of pacing your hiring process and focusing on one role at a time.
    • Tips for conducting meaningful interviews that reveal if a candidate truly fits your business.
    • How to leverage freelancers’ diverse experiences for the growth of your business.
    • Techniques for preventing team member burnout through proper workload management.

About Lesley Pyle

Lesley Pyle is the Founder and CEO of HireMyMom.com, a service connecting Small Businesses with Virtual Professionals across the country since 2007. Pyle began her work from home journey in 1995 after having her first child and started her first online business in 1996 – HBWM.com. She serves on the Board of Directors for Mighty Oaks Foundation and is a contributing writer to Entrepreneur.com. She and her family reside in Texas.

You can learn more on Lesley’s website, follow her on Instagram, and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Links & Resources:

 

Key Moments In This Episode:

03:36 Join us for valuable hiring advice podcast.

09:13 Attitudes towards work have changed over time.

13:01 Hiring part-time or virtual assistants benefits businesses.

16:47 Reviewing tasks, assigning based on skills and needs.

20:23 Focus on team’s strengths, foster loyalty.

23:22 Single motherhood is tough but honesty crucial.

25:48 Prepare interview questions to assess candidate compatibility.

27:29 Virtual work: value, skills, disruptions, pros/cons. Compatibility.

32:28 Align values, attract right candidates, share benefits.

35:44 Follow job instructions, stand out from competition.

38:55 Virtual assistant supports multiple aspects of business.

42:32 Delegate tasks to focus on business growth.

44:16 Free resources, short course, concierge program available.

Transcription:

Amber Hawley [00:00:01]:
Business owners are increasingly being pulled in so many directions feeling like they aren’t reaching their full potential in business and life despite their type a ways. With my background as a therapist entrepreneur and as a.com dropout with ADHD, I interview and coach high achieving business owners like you who want to stop struggling for success by using psychological systems, strategies and the occasional carefrontation. This is the easily distracted entrepreneur, your place to slay overwhelm perfectionism and shiny object syndrome so that you can get done what matters most to you. Hello hello my focus seekers. I am hoping by the time you hear this, you have already put your taxes to bed, whether that’s sending it to your CPA, you submitted them yourself, or you just filed that extension and hopefully you’ll put together a plan so that I don’t have to have this conversation in October, but I will because, you know, you’re my neuro spicy people and sometimes that’s just how we roll. But I hope it’s a big sigh of relief and that you have actually finished your taxes and now you can look forward to the next big project on your list and hopefully it’s something that you’re really looking forward to. Something that’s fun or something that will really move the needle in your business ahead, help you grow, leverage, scale, and you know, perhaps by not just working more. And that is always the goal.

Amber Hawley [00:01:37]:
Well, if you would like some support around that, you should join us in Asheville in May for the get shit done retreat. We already have 15 people signed up. We are so excited. Some amazing neurospicy and some not neurospicy business owners who are coming to get a major project or goal achieved in just two days. And we know you can do it because we have the structure to help you get into flow, to help you focus and all the pre planning to make sure that you can actually get done what you’re trying to get done without overworking. If you would like more information, head on over to amberholley.com retreat. And I really encourage you to do it now, like ASAP because the price for the retreat goes up this Saturday so you’ll definitely want to buy a ticket before then. And we are doing an encore planning session for our first planning session this upcoming Monday.

Amber Hawley [00:02:42]:
The 22 April all planning sessions are recorded, so if you join after that you can still watch the recording to get all of the good information. But we had an amazing planning session last Friday. There is a planning session number two happening next Friday, so there’s still lots of support to be had live. And we know that’s always the best. And I’m pretty excited about the varied things that people are committing to working on at the retreat. Some people are doing marketing websites, doing batch recording or batch writing blog posts. They are looking at their systems, getting caught up on documentation, all kinds of things. So it’s going to be a really amazing environment where people are getting into flow and really excited.

Amber Hawley [00:03:36]:
And I hope you will join us. And like I said, you definitely want to join us before the price goes up. And then you can join us on Monday for that encore planning session and we will help you develop the plan to accomplish that big goal. So on today’s podcast episode, I had an amazing conversation with Leslie Pyle, who is the CEO and founder of Hiremymom.com dot. And since most business owners are struggling with hiring quality people, learning how to delegate, making sure they’re hiring the right type of person, this is a phenomenal episode to listen to. She gives such good advice and, like, strategy on how to go about hiring somebody, the questions to ask, how to vet them. And her company is amazing for finding really awesome talent for people who maybe either want to work on a project basis or part time and have an amazing skillset. So definitely take a listen to the podcast episode.

Amber Hawley [00:04:41]:
And like I said, you can maybe hit pause and just run on over to amberholley.com retreat so that you can join us in the GSD retreat because hiring might be the thing that you work on. In fact, we do have one attendee who said that’s probably what they’re going to focus on is figuring out who they need to hire next. So enjoy the episode. Welcome to the podcast, Leslie.

Lesley Pyle [00:05:07]:
Thank you so much, Amber. It’s so fun to be with you.

Amber Hawley [00:05:10]:
Yeah, I’m very excited to have you on. When I got the email, I was like, how many times have I been told when, you know, you’re talking to a friend or a colleague and you’re like, I really need to hire somebody. I really have to find someone. And without fail, they would mention your group, your company. And so I thought, oh, my gosh, this is perfect. Because as I have said many times, I think hiring is one of the biggest pain points in owning and running and scaling a business. And so the more support we can get in having experts like you talk about it, I think it’s so, so helpful. Yeah.

Lesley Pyle [00:05:49]:
Well, thank you very much. I know it was very scary for me the first time I hired someone. But, you know, as you learn, obviously it gets less scary so I’m here to help make it not scary for your listeners if they haven’t hired.

Amber Hawley [00:06:02]:
Absolutely. And, yeah, so I’ve already introduced you, but I do sometimes think when I have people share a little bit of their story about how they got started, we get some of those really fun nuggets. So I love the name of your company. Hire my mom, obviously. I think it’s clever. So you were saying that when you started, it was hiring somebody was scary for you.

Lesley Pyle [00:06:26]:
Yes. Yeah. And when I actually first started, if you want to go back to the grassroots day, I had my first baby. She’s now 28. So that’s how long I’ve been at this. And I soon discovered when I went back to work that it was not as easy as I thought it would be. I literally cried every single day for two weeks. And so I was like, you know, they’re not going to let me work from home.

Lesley Pyle [00:06:51]:
I did ask, but 28 years ago, working from home was not a thing. So I was like, okay, I’m going to just do it. So I took the leap and began freelancing when that was really uncommon. And, of course, before that, we had to cut our budget because we were a brand new, you know, college grads. I just finished my master’s degree. I had no forethought that I would ever be a stay at home mom. I always thought I’d be climbing that corporate ladder. So we bought a house thinking, we’re going to be a dual income family.

Lesley Pyle [00:07:20]:
So I was like, okay, we’re going to have to. We sold one of our cars. We became a one car family. We ate ramen noodles, which we did all through college because we put ourselves through college. And then we, you know, we cut out cable tv and every other bill that we could. And it was tough in the beginning, so I did that for a year or two. And then I started a website when the Internet was brand new to me, called home based working moms. And it was basically like an online chamber of commerce for moms that either worked at home or wanted to work at home because I was desperate for that connection and to learn from other women as well as I knew they would want to learn.

Lesley Pyle [00:07:58]:
You know, like, how are you getting clients? Or how do you invoice? Or, you know, what does. What does look? What does it look like to build your own website? You know, all of those questions. There was no social media. There were message boards, if you’re old enough to remember message boards and forums. But that was about it. So I had that website. And that was such a blessing to me. And I did that for about 14 years when I saw that kind of our business culture, if you will, started being more open to working from home.

Lesley Pyle [00:08:27]:
And I thought, you know, wouldn’t it be great if I could start a website like Match.com, but for women who wanted to work from home and small businesses that would hire them. So that’s where it all began for me. And I launched it in 2007 because I had such a passion to help other women, number one, who had that desire to work, but to have flexibility around their family, but also as a small business owner myself, to connect to great, you know, employees or contractors. So it was like, for me, it was such, it a just resonated so perfectly in my heart because I was like, okay, I’m an entrepreneur and I’m a mom, and what if I could just bring these two audiences together?

Amber Hawley [00:09:07]:
Oh, I love that so much. See, this is why I love, I love finding out a little bit more.

Lesley Pyle [00:09:12]:
Yeah.

Amber Hawley [00:09:13]:
That is to know that you’ve been doing that, like the working from home thing, like you said, it’s so accepted now. It’s like, yeah, duh. But back then, I mean, even going back, like twelve years ago, the attitudes towards things were so different, even though it did still absolutely exist. Right, right. It’s. I had that same thing that, you know, I went to grad school and I had, I don’t know if I had fully thought it through, but there was part of me that always knew, like, I would not be working for someone else because that was why I left the.com world. Like, felt very disillusioned and, you know, had my existential crisis and all of that. And it was the same thing where I had, you know, my husband and I, you, you know, know, we paid for me to go back to school and to go through all of my schooling, and then I had my baby right away.

Amber Hawley [00:10:01]:
And it was just one of those things. Yeah. Where we cut out everything and, you know, it was kind of this idea of like, I remember having that conversation, being in the kitchen and saying to my husband, like, well, you know, that, like, the only way for me to work full time would be, is if we put our kid in full time daycare, which in the Bay Area, you know, that’s basically a salary, right? Yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s more, it was more than our mortgage. Like, even, even part time childcare.

Lesley Pyle [00:10:32]:
Wow.

Amber Hawley [00:10:33]:
Well, when we had three, because we have three, three and four and a half years, it was more expensive. It was like double our mortgage payment. Now, granted, we had a low mortgage payment, but still. So I just, I think it’s such a great, like, I love that, though, that, you know, figuring it out. And again, I think I had an advantage of being in the.com world. So there were things about running a business that I kind of, like, felt more comfortable with that I think people struggle with, like, the technology. But at the same time, I never, like, I didn’t grow up in an entrepreneurial family, like, didn’t get any of that training. You know, it was so.

Amber Hawley [00:11:09]:
It was like flying by the seat of your pants kind of thing and figuring it out. So I can’t even imagine how it was for you. So that’s. I think it’s pretty amazing. I love that there was a lot.

Lesley Pyle [00:11:18]:
Of flying at the seat of my parents, too, because I was learning, you know, it’s pretty much a fresh college grad. I didn’t have a ton of business experience. I had a job in pr, which was my degree, for, like, nine months. And that was, you know, everything else was trial and error.

Amber Hawley [00:11:35]:
Exactly, exactly. I know I had more nanny and retail experience than I ever had in anything else, even though I did work in the.com world. Like, I, you know, I learn it quickly. But, yeah, I think that’s such a great story. And it’s true, though. I mean, I think that that one, there’s the couple of pieces that, you know, especially for new moms, but I think any moms really, when they’re feeling as entrepreneurs, feeling so isolated and so it’s like having that community and that connection is so important, but then finding people that, you know, are going to help support you, building your dream, and you get to support them having some freedom, I think it’s super important. So you started the business, you said in 2007, the newest, latest business. What? I guess we were just talking and you said a lot of this.

Amber Hawley [00:12:26]:
It’s, you know, all of the pieces are still really important. But the one thing that I noticed with the people that I work with is this feeling of, I don’t think I can hire. And the one thing I say all the time is if I could go back, that’s the one thing I would have hired fast. I would have hired faster, because I think hiring the right people actually makes you money, even though we look at it as, like, a cost. Right.

Lesley Pyle [00:12:52]:
Yeah.

Amber Hawley [00:12:53]:
I’m sorry. What are your suggestions for people when they’re trying to decide, is it time to hire?

Lesley Pyle [00:13:01]:
Right. First of all, I would say the one thing you have to realize is you don’t have to hire someone full time or even half time to hire someone. Like we get job posts that are for five or 10 hours a week. It’s somebody brand new to hiring and they’re a little bit afraid to commit to more than that because one, they don’t know if they have enough work for that person. And number two, they may be worried about, can I afford someone? But I think almost always they realize, okay, now that they’re taking this, it’s typically a virtual assistant as the first hire because they can take off the things off your plate that are keeping you busy from either growing your business or doing what you love in your business. So I think there are signs to know when you should hire. One is your customer service is slipping. You’re no longer able to give your best to your customers.

Lesley Pyle [00:13:48]:
You’re wearing too many hats. You’re trying to do it all. And you know, you can in the beginning, you have to sometimes in the beginning, but eventually you need to stop wearing all the hats. If you want to grow and, and serve yourself customers well, you’re working too many hours. If your husband’s giving you the side eye too much, that could be a clue that, hey, come in here and, you know, spend some time with the family. Or maybe you don’t have the capacity to take on new business because you’re so bogged down in what you have. And ultimately you probably want to grow past that level wherever you’re at. So giving some of what you do off, you know, to someone else.

Lesley Pyle [00:14:26]:
And like I said, maybe it’s a virtual assistant for five or 10 hours. Maybe it’s a social media person who’s going to do, you know, three to five posts a week for you, you know, it could be virtually anything that’s bogging you down and something that either you don’t have time for or you don’t love doing. And then the other way to know is if you do have other team members and they’re bogged down and they’re not able to accomplish what you’re giving them, and maybe they’re wearing too many hats. Maybe your virtual assistant is doing your accounting, your social media, your email, your calendar. It might be time to say, okay, let’s let the virtual assistant really focus on virtual assistant task or customer service, and let’s get someone in marketing or digital marketing to help with whatever else you need.

Amber Hawley [00:15:12]:
Yeah, and I really, I appreciate that. You said when your customer service starts to slip, like, that’s something where I think we get into a place of just beating ourselves up. And I actually, I don’t hear people articulating that particular, like, sign as often. You know, I hear, like, the burnout and exhaustion and all the other things. But, but it’s true. Like, there, there comes a point in which things are falling through the cracks. Right. And so it’s, it’s, and that’s where, again, I think the narrative is often like, oh, I just need to do it better.

Amber Hawley [00:15:45]:
I’m not doing it good enough. And there’s like, some kind of failure on their part as opposed to, no, this just means you need support.

Lesley Pyle [00:15:52]:
Right, right. Absolutely.

Amber Hawley [00:15:55]:
And so the other thing that I see, too is like, like you’re saying, I think there’s this idea of, well, if I give somebody more hours, they’re going to be more consistent or prioritize me, which there’s some truth to that. Yeah. But at the same time, I find, like, people will hire an assistant in particular and then have them doing all kinds of things that are absolutely not in their wheelhouse or not their strong suits. I guess how when people are in that place, you know, what are the, what are the recommendations? Or how do you advise people around, you know, finding what’s the ideal, like, giving somebody enough for they, they say they still focus on you and they prioritize you, but at the same time, you’re not just giving them, like the kid, everything in the kitchen sink. Right, right.

Lesley Pyle [00:16:47]:
Yeah. I think, you know, once you find yourself in that place where you’re thinking, okay, I’m giving this person either more than they’re capable of or it’s more skills than they may not necessarily have. So I think it’s good to kind of step back and review everything you do in a day for your business, you and any team members you have, and then kind of put them in buckets if you can. So these are admin tasks. These are customer service. This is marketing, social media, accounting. You know, all the buckets that you have and then align, you know, whatever team members have those skills that shine in those areas, you know, put, give them those responsibilities. And a lot of times, like I say, a job might only offer 10 hours a week on, you know, some of the job posts that we have, but that’s fine for a lot of these ladies because they’ll work for two or three people for 10 hours a week.

Lesley Pyle [00:17:39]:
And in one way that’s good because they’re learning a variety of skills, you know, so what they learn with employer one, they can take back to employer two and so on. And they can basically improve what they’re doing and say, here’s, here’s, you know, another way to do this and it might be more efficient for us. So there is some value in the freelancer or employee working for more than one person. And of course, if you grow to a point where you need some, someone in virtual assistant capacity or any capacity for 30 to 40, then, you know, that works as well because some people just like the standard, I’m working for one person and they really feel they excel in that role. So, yeah, it works either way. It really can.

Amber Hawley [00:18:24]:
Yeah. And I think, so this is where I’ll do the, I’ll say what I know my, my clients are dealing with and I have dealt with is the one thing I’m seeing. So maybe this comes down to, like, how you vet people or the questions you ask is they’re bringing on people and when they come to me and they’ll, you know, come to a session or come to one of our calls or something and they’re like, oh, my gosh, I found this person and they do this and they do this and they, and they start listing more and more and more. And then talking about the different people, I’m like, that feels like a rest. Like that person is probably either in burnout or headed towards burnout. And so, and then sure enough, like, they start to have things fall through the cracks and whatever. And so sometimes it’s like I’ve always said, I think you do have to kind of listen. And I only learned this through hiring people who I met them, and I was like, oh, this person’s amazing.

Amber Hawley [00:19:19]:
And they were, they’re amazing people and they completely overloaded themselves. And then they just, you know, then they felt so much shame about it that they just kind of started, you know, ignoring stuff or whatever, I guess. How do you suss for somebody who’s, like, really got the energy and lots of varied skill sets? Like you said, they learn because they have multiple people and they’re really just overwhelmed and probably taking on way too much.

Lesley Pyle [00:19:46]:
Yeah, I think you do start looking for signs like, you know, if they’re not responding as timely as they used to or you’re noticing a few more errors than normal, then I think it’s time to have a one on one meeting and not a, oh, my gosh, you’re terrible messing up meeting. But, hey, what’s going on? And how can I better support you? Are you taking on too much? Should we revisit the tasks that you have? Do you feel like you’re better at one or, you know, this one or that one, however many they have, and let them tell you, because if you have someone that you really value, you want them to be happy and you want them to excel and be their best.

Amber Hawley [00:20:22]:
So.

Lesley Pyle [00:20:23]:
So maybe they really just love the VA stuff and they’re really stressed and pulled too thinly on some of the other tasks, or vice versa, whichever it is. Maybe they really love the digital marketing and they don’t really like the admin, whatever it is. I think just having those honest conversations with your team one on one, and I think that you earn their respect even more because I’ve had some of my team tell me that they are so, like, touched because when I onboard someone, I have them fill out a Google form and I ask them a bunch of questions about themselves because I want to get to know them, number one. But it’s also a cheat sheet for gifts and ways to honor them and celebrate them and things like that. And they’re not used to that, but those are things that when you pour into your team, you not only get the best out of them, but they become more loyal to you as well. Because, I mean, let’s be honest, it’s so much easier to keep someone long term than to train and replace and train and replace.

Amber Hawley [00:21:24]:
Oh, absolutely.

Lesley Pyle [00:21:26]:
Yeah.

Amber Hawley [00:21:26]:
I do the same thing. The Google form and kind of find out. It’s really nice. And back when we were still a brick and mortar in person, it was, yeah. Even having snacks in the office that they like those little things that make them feel cared for and, you know, even something that I did, because when I worked in the.com world and started a new job, they would always, on your first day, like, take you out for, like, a nice lunch with the team or, you know, like, you’re close, the people you were probably going to work with a lot now, then after then they probably throw you in the deep end and never talk to you again. But somewhat true. But. But I feel like those little touches do matter.

Amber Hawley [00:22:08]:
They do add up. And, and I agree. I’ve had that even when I’ve hired therapists where I, like, check in and have conversations because things are slipping or things are happening, and sometimes you find out, like, they’re not. You know, they’re going through major stuff. But, but it’s hard. It’s a hard balance of, like, you know, how much do you give understanding, of course. Especially when there’s somebody who’s been so good. But what would you say for, like, if you start to see that almost immediately, like, things are slipping through the cracks and you’re checking in and somebody’s really overwhelmed and, you know, if this is a solopreneur who, this is their first hire and they can’t really afford to have more than one.

Amber Hawley [00:22:52]:
Do you have any, like, thoughts about that? I realize I just threw you in the deep end on this question.

Lesley Pyle [00:22:57]:
That’s a great question. And I would say, you know, it’s a great time to have a heart to heart. I mean. I mean, we’re people. We’re business owners, but we’re people. And one of my team members is the single mom. So there have been seasons where she’s had to deal with things that are hard, you know, and she’ll have to pull back just a little bit, you know, and deal with some things. And I have, you know, another team member who can kind of fill in for her when those things happen, because I understand.

Lesley Pyle [00:23:22]:
I was a single mom for a season as well, and it’s hard. I mean, you deal with certain things. So I think having those heart to hearts with, you know, okay, is this temporary, what you’re going through, the things that are falling through the cracks, or is this just not the job that you thought it was? You know, be honest with me, because if it’s not, it’s better to know now than to get six months down the road when you’ve invested even more time, you know, and sometimes you can do all the right things in an interview, and still, the person may not be the best fit. I mean, that just happens. Of course, the better you interview and the better your questions are and the references, obviously, the better chance you’re going to have at that not happening. But, you know, there’s no fail safe, 100% way to make sure that this person’s going to be your rock star forever. So I think just having those honest conversation and allowing them, you know, you don’t have to pry into their life, but just letting them know you need to know that this person is the right fit and that they’re going to be dependable and that they want to work with you. And if not, you know, thank you for the service you did provide.

Lesley Pyle [00:24:26]:
I wish you all the best, but I do need someone that can do xxx and. And not give me their leftovers. Maybe say it a little bit nicer than that.

Amber Hawley [00:24:35]:
Of course. No, I love that, though. It’s true. I do think it’s just having those really honest conversations. And, yeah, I do think it starts in the interview process, but I always tell people. I’ve made every single mistake, even though when I worked, I did Internet operations and I would hire people. And so I had the experience of hiring. But it feels so different to hire when it’s your own business.

Amber Hawley [00:25:00]:
You know, there’s like an emotional attachment to it, for sure. But I do think that even that structure helped me, like, lay out a good, like, way of approaching the interview process. And I still made mistakes. Like, you know, somebody’s anxiety didn’t show up at all, and then they were so anxious, they, like, couldn’t function. Or, you know, you know, so. Or, like, one case, I was like, well, that was obviously a lie, but I’m intrigued. Let me see. Turns out that wasn’t a good choice.

Amber Hawley [00:25:31]:
So, by the way, it was more about their capacity. You know what I mean? Like, it wasn’t like they were. I was like, oh, let me take somebody who’s a blatant liar. But, but, yeah, when it comes to the process of interviewing somebody, what is, what do you recommend people do?

Lesley Pyle [00:25:48]:
Yeah, and when we do that, I also wanted to jump back after this and talk about the job post because I see a lot of errors in that. I don’t want to forget to mention that. But as far as the interview, I think it’s good to have some questions, you know, prepared, obviously in advance that kind of really get to the meat of it. Like, you want to know what interests them about this job and what you’re looking for is, is this just a job and they’re looking for money because they just want to make money? Or is this something, is there something about your job that resonated with them? And I look for things like, did they read anything about our history or our social media? Did they know anything at all about hiring my mom? Or are they just like, yeah, I’m a great virtual assistant, hire me, or whatever it might be. So that’s one thing. Then I also like to know what other virtual jobs they’ve held, what their responsibilities are, and kind of learn a little bit about what that was like, what they liked about it, what they didn’t like about it, because what they didn’t like about it. You’re looking for anything that you would have them do, and you’re like, okay, she didn’t like that. And that’s like a big part of what this role would be.

Lesley Pyle [00:26:50]:
That’s going to be a telltale sign. And if what they loved is what you need, then that’s a good sign. Also, what’s your top tip for a successful virtual working relationship, you know, and I, that sometimes is a different one for people because they’re like, oh, gosh, I don’t know. But, you know, I’m like, take your time. Like, think about it. What do you think is so important? And obviously one of them for me is communication. Like, I don’t need to know everything you’re doing all day long, but I do want to be in communication to be updated on this project or that project or this customer. You know, I’m having an issue with this customer for this reason.

Lesley Pyle [00:27:29]:
Like, I want to be aware of things, but I don’t want to micromanage anyone. For me, that’s how I, you know, that’s what I value. So I’m looking for what they value in a virtual relationship, and then what do they like and not like about working virtually? Because, you know, there are pros and cons. I think there are a lot more pros personally, but, you know, what are they dislike? If you learn that they really struggle with isolation or something, you know, is that going to be a barrier to them succeeding long term in a virtual working relationship? And then ask, how did the skills that I’m looking for fit your past? So I like them to kind of tell me what they’ve done and how that matches what I’m looking for. And it doesn’t, you know, it’s never going to be 100%, but I’m looking for at least 50% match on what they’ve done before and how it will work with what I’m looking for. Then also ask about disruptions, because a lot of people have young kids, and I have no problem with that. But if you’re going to be working for 30 hours and you have young kids, I’m like, okay, what’s, how are we going to handle that? Even though you’re probably not supposed to ask specifically, I just like to see what, how do they handle disruptions? Do they have someone who helps with the kids, or do they have to constantly leave to care for others? If so, those are fine. But a 30 hours a week job may not be the best fit for someone that has a ton going on at their house.

Lesley Pyle [00:28:55]:
Then I also ask what makes them think they’re the best candidate and then to describe themselves. So those are just some of my favorites in an interview.

Amber Hawley [00:29:03]:
Yeah, I like those, the ones where you mentioned that, like, their talent. I do think it’s important to know, like, what people don’t like just as much as what they do. I remember I had this person who was, I thought was perfect. Loved the energy, like, similar vibes. It was all great. But then she was describing basically, I’m not a micromanager. If anybody knows, I’m like the opposite. I’m like, can I just give it to you? And you just do it? Like, I don’t want to have to deal, but with, you do need communication.

Amber Hawley [00:29:34]:
Right, like that, like you said. And she was like, I don’t want people, like, checking in and asking me, like, why, what? Where are things at? It was basically like, she didn’t want someone checking in and, like, questioning her. And I’m like, the way it was worded was so, like, I just couldn’t hire her. And it sucked because I loved her so much, but I just knew. I was like, oh, there’s gonna be pushback. And that’s, like, to me, the one thing, knowing me and my personality, that’s the other part. It’s like I’m going to get really irritated if I’m, like, following up with you because you haven’t told me how something’s happening and then you have an attitude, like, I already know that’s going to be a problem. Right, right.

Amber Hawley [00:30:12]:
So I think it’s also like understanding yourself and especially working with so many, I say, neuro spicy business owners, it’s like we can be, like, highly sensitive. We can be, you know, we can be a little scattered. And I always say, like, I’m very understanding. If I’ve forgotten, I’ll own when I forget something. But I think it’s also understanding how knowing you and your personality, when people say certain things, like paying attention to that don’t just like, oh, it’ll be fine. Like, I think that’s the mistake we make so many times. Right, right.

Lesley Pyle [00:30:46]:
Yeah. Because you are looking for someone complementary to you. Not someone exactly like you, but not one, someone polar opposite either. So I think those or clues to look for as well, because it is good to have someone who compliments you and, you know, has skills that you don’t have, but who’s not going to constantly, like, have friction. Like, okay, I should be able to ask in, you know, check on this project because I haven’t heard from you all week. Like, hey, is everything going okay? What’s the status? Like, that shouldn’t be a big, like, red flag for the person. That should be like, oh, yeah, I should have updated you because we haven’t talked in a week.

Amber Hawley [00:31:20]:
Exactly, exactly. And, you know, in my, it could have been that they had a, you know, she had a boss that was a micromanager and felt really belittled or something. But the way it was expressed, I’m like, well, I’m just not willing to take that risk. Right, right.

Lesley Pyle [00:31:34]:
Yeah.

Amber Hawley [00:31:35]:
Okay. So I love those questions. Those were some really good ones. And you said, though, even before the interview questions, you see that people are having some missteps in the job descriptions, right?

Lesley Pyle [00:31:47]:
Yeah. So that’s kind of step one for me is having a good job post, because we get everything from one sentence, I need to hire an assistant, please apply. Like, literally, that’ll be the job post. And then we have from that, we have like a 45 page book. And I’m exaggerating, obviously, but it’s somewhere in the middle. And I tell people it doesn’t have to be difficult, but, you know, start by sharing a brief description of what your company does. So, you know, if you are a florist, you know, that might really resonate with someone just knowing what you are and what your business does. So I think not just putting what the job is, but what your business is and what your business does is important.

Lesley Pyle [00:32:28]:
If you have a mission state, if you have company values, those are also going to align with certain people and bring the right, hopefully, people to apply. And if you have something in your mission statement that’s just like, oh, that’s not really how I roll, then you’re hopefully preventing someone who’s not a good fit from applying. So that helps attract the right candidates. And then obviously list the roles, responsibilities and requirements. More than just, I need an assistant. Like give a brief overview of what types of things the person would be doing or what tools that you might use to give the person a good idea of, okay, this is what the person’s looking for. Share the benefits of working for your company. Like, I see sometimes they’ll say, you know, we invest in our employees and do training quarterly, or we have opportunities to grow.

Lesley Pyle [00:33:19]:
We take off these days or these holidays. We celebrate these milestones and accomplishments. We value independence or we value lots of collaboration. We have a very fun and light hearted work environment, or we have a more serious and, you know, let’s do the work. Like any kind of clues that give people an idea of what it’s like to work for you. Again, I think helps you attract the right type of candidate and then, you know, provide enough information but don’t overwhelm. Because I think when you write too much, people do not read the entire job description. And I know sometimes people say, apply with, you know, times point, you know, whatever font.

Lesley Pyle [00:34:00]:
And that’s fine. But if you’re going to have someone, you want them to take tests and things like that. I feel like those are better in round two because if you put too many requirements in the initial job post, a lot of times people are like, that’s too much work. And I don’t even know if they will like me. So I’m just going to go to the next job post. So you have to kind of balance that out. Like, if it’s important for you to know that they’re detail oriented, then, yeah, put something in there that initially gives you a clue whether they read through it and have that detail oriented personality. But don’t make it so hard that you’re going to turn away people that might have been a good candidate and keep them from applying.

Amber Hawley [00:34:39]:
Absolutely. And, yeah, I did that. The one time that it really stood out to me was I had in there, when you apply the subject line of the email, put most awesome assistant, and that was just the subject line. It literally eliminated 97% of the applications, which I was like, it was great because I was like, good. I don’t have to read. And I did read a couple of them and thought when you read it and you’re like, oh, gosh, they sound so great. But to me, I’m like, if you can’t when you’re supposed to be putting on your best, best foot forward and you don’t do that. And I ended up hiring two people.

Amber Hawley [00:35:20]:
Of the three that actually made it through, it was like 30 something people who didn’t. And the one was, Joanna, was with me for years and just a rock star. And so it’s like I even felt that pull to ignore that. But it was that little thing that just makes such a difference. But, yeah, I could see where, yeah, you don’t want to make it insurmountable for people as well.

Lesley Pyle [00:35:44]:
Sometimes they’ll tell you to write an essay or, you know, do a lot of stuff like what you had to do. The subject line is perfect because then, you know, if they read the entire job description, okay, are they paying attention and are they really interested in this job or are they applying for 50 jobs today? And they just, bam, bam, bam, bam. They don’t really care, you know? So those little ways to, you know, I just had somebody last week, in fact, messaged me on LinkedIn, and she goes, I just want to give you some feedback. I’ve got some great candidates, but over half of them who applied did not follow the instructions. And I think it was something similar. So she was like, I mean, it saved me time because I was able to just delete half of the applicants, and I only had to go through half. So that’s word to the wise for anyone applying for work, too, is read the job description two or three times and make sure you’re clueing in on everything they’re looking for.

Amber Hawley [00:36:35]:
Yeah. And I agree. I think most of the people, it was literally, they’re just like, like, it was on indeed, I think. And so it was just like, boom. Apply, apply, apply, apply. And, like, they didn’t even have some of the basic criteria, but, but it was, it is helpful, you know, to have that, just that little, little thing. But I also do understand what you’re saying about not putting too much. I guess, being a therapist, I’ve worked with so many people who, you know, as their therapist, who were, like, amazing people, but they lacked the confidence or they felt like, oh, I don’t know if I can do that.

Amber Hawley [00:37:08]:
And I’m like, what are you talking about? Especially when it was something they had a degree in or something. I’m like, you are totally qualified. You’re an amazing person. You have to just apply. Like, let them, you know, let. Let the process, like, uncover that. So I like that idea of being thoughtful about managing the overwhelm for people as well.

Lesley Pyle [00:37:30]:
Right? Yeah.

Amber Hawley [00:37:31]:
What, um, so if you’re, you know, thinking about the people, so many business owners when they’re starting out and they’re like, okay, I, like you said, I want this stuff, and I need some accounting help and I need some marketing, marketing help, and I need this and that and, you know, personal chef, whatever, you know, they have all these things. Where would you say the line is? Or how. How should somebody approach that when they’re like, oh, here’s my unicorn. If I could have somebody that embodied all of these qualities versus let me put something out that is appealing and is probably going to get, like, good candidates, what would you say? Where’s the line in that? Or how would you approach that?

Lesley Pyle [00:38:10]:
So I think there are two ways to approach that. One is if you do have multiple roles that you’re looking to fill, I would say, okay, which one’s the most pressing, which one’s taking the most of your majority of your time and does, has the tasks that you dislike the most, that’s probably who you should hire first. And I wouldn’t recommend hiring several people at once. I’d hire one, kind of get them rolling, then hire the next. Or another option that I know works for some is to just hire an online business manager. And that person is somebody who basically would be your right hand woman or man, and they would know all of those roles. So it could be that you hired that person to learn the VA role, the digital marketing role, whatever other roles that you have. And that way they can even create sops for you.

Lesley Pyle [00:38:55]:
Like, here’s what a virtual assistant has to do, and we’re going to create the SoP for her and for, you know, the email marketing person, the social media person, the accounting person, whatever roles you need. And she can help organize all of that and then also help you in the hiring process. If, like, you don’t like the interview process, maybe you have her or him begin that process and then you review her top two or three candidates. So that’s another great way I did that, actually not, she wasn’t my first hour, but I did have an online business manager who set me fully up in Asana, who got me so much more organized than I was and had, you know, different boards created for different team members, some that were for the full team. And it was so nice to have all of that done for me. And she knew a little bit about every role, so if somebody couldn’t, like, you know, had vacation, she could step in if needed, you know, for that person. So that’s another great option. Of course you’re going to pay that online business manager a higher fee than you would pay, say, a va or something, but that is another great option for somebody that’s like, I need help in all the places and I want to do it now.

Amber Hawley [00:40:03]:
Absolutely. Yeah. And I, the operations part, you know, I’ve had somebody that didn’t call herself an online business manager, but it was that same type of thing. I think it’s nice not only because it’s somebody else who’s thinking strategically for you, because, I mean, that to me is a distinguishing difference is the online business manager versus a virtual assistant is they are a lot more strategic and thinking about things and like you said, can help you kind of create those processes. I also think it’s nice if, you know, that you tend to get, like, attached to people and you feel bad rejecting or saying no to people, whether or not it’s a operations person. I always found it was nice to have, like, I had my assistant when we would be hiring for, like, therapist or anything, she would be the one. We had, like, little blurbs written after each stage of the interview process that she would send out because I would feel terrible, and then I would not reply and say, I’m sorry, we’ve gone a different route. And then I felt terrible for not replying to them.

Amber Hawley [00:41:08]:
Cause, you know, they’re waiting. So it’s like, I feel like sometimes having that buffer, even just for you to, like, be able to stay, stay in your zone and not get too emotional about all the decisions can be helpful for us.

Lesley Pyle [00:41:21]:
100%.

Amber Hawley [00:41:23]:
Awesome. Well, I mean, gosh, this went so fast. I want to be mindful of time, but so, yeah, so, so many people. I think it’s the feeling of, oh, I can’t. I can’t hire. I’m not ready. They get nervous about, like, yeah, can I afford it? Is it sustainable? And I’m usually of the, you know, that’s my biggest lesson, is constantly saying every time I have hired. And I really realize, like, they save you money because you’re also not losing clients because things are falling through the cracks.

Amber Hawley [00:41:56]:
Like, they’re taking care of things. And it frees you and your energy up to do the, like, bringing in more business or doing the things that matter more, but for that. And so it’s like, is there anything you would say to people when they’re in that place of, like, okay, I’m kind of on the cusp. Things aren’t necessarily falling through the cracks. I’m not. I’m not, like, overworking, per se, but I. But I know that I’m not. I’m not able to grow because I’m in this place.

Amber Hawley [00:42:25]:
Is there any other advice you would give to somebody around, like, how to check in with themselves to know if they’re ready?

Lesley Pyle [00:42:32]:
Yeah, I think, you know, anytime you’re meeting any of those criteria we talked about earlier, being overwhelmed, burned out, wearing too many hats, all of those. If you find yourself in any or all of those places, then it’s probably time to step back and review and just think, okay, where am I spending the majority of my time? If it’s answering emails and scheduling calls and things that an admin could do for you, then what? If you could then give that to someone else, and then you could actually be more present in, you know, growing your business and soliciting new clients. Whether that’s going out and networking or doing more on social media or just being visible more, I think you’ll see quickly that you’ll more than make up for the amount of money that you’re paying out. And as your business grows, you just give more hours or you hire more people. So it doesn’t have to be scary. You can start small if you’re like, okay, I think I can afford 10 hours a week or 5 hours a week, then start there, because I promise you, there’s somebody out there that’s like, I have a newborn. I can only work five or 10 hours a week. And she’ll be like, ding, ding, perfect.

Lesley Pyle [00:43:37]:
I want that job. So I’d say, just take the leap. You have really have nothing to lose. If it doesn’t work out, then you’re not tired to it forever. You can learn what you’ve learned. Trial and error. We both went that route. We had to learn as we went.

Lesley Pyle [00:43:53]:
And I think you’ll see quickly that it’s a blessing. And like you said, you’ll look back and say, man, I wish I’d done that sooner. It’s not so scary after all.

Amber Hawley [00:44:03]:
Absolutely. I love it. So if people want to find out more information about you and get, I know you have a good little freebie for the listeners. Where should they go?

Lesley Pyle [00:44:16]:
Yeah, so I have a couple of freebies. I can give you the link to put in the show notes. We have the top interview questions, and then we also have a template for your job post. And if someone’s interested, like, I need all the things we do have a short course on hiring made easy. You can also find that on hire, my mom’s website under post a job. So we have several resources because we love serving the small business owner, the entrepreneur, the solopreneur, you know, and we even have a concierge program for those business owners that are like, I am too busy. I don’t like hiring. Can you do it for me? And I was asked that, like, three years ago, and I go, oh, I don’t have time either.

Lesley Pyle [00:44:55]:
What do you mean? And then the light bulb went off and I thought, well, I don’t have time, but I could hire someone who’s an HR person. So we have a couple of HR people who will actually do the whole process for you. So we try to be, you know, every way that we can serve the small business owner and the woman, man. Anyone looking for remote work, we really try to meet them where they’re at.

Amber Hawley [00:45:17]:
Oh, wonderful. Well, I’m glad you mentioned the concierge thing, because I sure know a lot of people who are in that place of like, I am totally overwhelmed and I don’t want to do it. So. Yes, that is wonderful. Well, thank you. Thank you again. It was so great to officially meet you. Espanooza.

Amber Hawley [00:45:32]:
This was really valuable. I think that’s going to be a helpful process. And we will have all of the links that you mentioned in the show notes for people to go check out and get those questions and those templates and get some people hired. Yes.

Lesley Pyle [00:45:49]:
Wonderful. Thank you so much, Amber.

Amber Hawley [00:45:51]:
Thank you.

 

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