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Hiring is a challenging process as we have to choose the best fit for the roles or responsibilities. This week’s PPCChat discussion was focused on the same. Host Julie F Bacchini sought experts’ views on the factors which we can consider before hiring, channels to be used for people to know you are hiring, how do you filter resumes, and more.

Q1: When do you start to think about hiring for the team? What factors play into the decision to hire?

I hadn’t really thought about it until right now. Probably should have done it before I had 50+ billable hours a week to fulfill. @CJSlattery

The largest factor is the ratio of long term client work vs team work capacity. Other considerations would be skill/experience gaps that we are seeking to fill and growth goals. @Mark_from_MKTG

The answer has changed as agency grew. At first, I thought about it when I needed to offload what I’d been doing. Lately it’s becoming more about back-filling others or growing capabilities. @heyglenns

We think about hiring when incoming & long term work exceeds team work capacity. The largest factor is the ratio of long term client work vs team work capacity. Other considerations would be skill/experience gaps that we are seeking to fill and growth goals. @Mark_from_MKTG

Discosloth hired our first full-time employee when the workload was too much for the two of us to handle independently. The weird thing was, once we did this it allowed us to focus on quality of clients which ended up providing even more time and revenue. @gilgildner

Curiousity, problem solving, energy. someone with more experience who will wait a day before googling something will not do well at our pace.@JuliaVyse

My hiring consists of other consultants to work on projects. My goal is to have ongoing working relationships, but this is different from an actual employee. @NeptuneMoon

I usually start thinking about it when the capacity of my team approaches a certain level. If there are sales coming down the pipeline but everyone is full it’s too late. There’s a sweet spot. I think the number 1 trait we look for his hunger to learn and grow. @jord_stark

Con’t: factors on the team side, are things not getting done? do we just need a buyer who do a bit of search setup, or do we need a whole person who can optimize, report, etc. @JuliaVyse

1) What do we need? Do you need a worker or a thinker? 2) Within that, do we have a defined role or does the person need to define their role for themselves? 3) Reverse-culture-fit: who are we missing at the table? @ferkungamaboobo

Honestly depends, but as soon as we see that current team members are at ~80% of client capacity (excluding ProDev) we start to interview, knowing that the process does take time. @DigitalSamIAm

You want to be ahead of client increase – 1. We have a very long onboarding training plan (2 months, 8 hours of actual training time/week), so we always have to hire early 2. no one gets really good at PPC until they are 9 months in, so, hire early. @360vardi

3 day weekend had me forgetting what day today is. As for the question: Do they have exp? If no, do they understand excel and basic math? If they have exp, do they have a record of being awful, arrogant or selling “training courses” on fb after that, not much else. @JonKagan

Q2: When hiring, do you write a job description… and if so, who writes it? What do you include? Anything you never put in a job description?

We do. That’s usually my responsibility. We’ve done three so far. For a job description I’m mostly concerned about the practical specs (hard skills) because the REAL hiring only happens when I’m interviewing someone face to face (soft skills). @gilgildner

1: Always write a job description, knowing full-well that you might end up revising it. People involved are (a) peers (i.e. what do you do every day? what should this person be able to do in order to work successfully with you? what is missing from our current list?) @DigitalSamIAm

I do write a job description, and I try to ask the same proficiency questions of everyone so I have a real basis of comparison. that said, don’t be so rigid you miss an opportunity to hire your next star. @JuliaVyse

I’ll draft a laundry list, but then filter it down severely, to avoid a dog’s breakfast of skills that no living human actually possess. Talent tends to have clusters of skills – must pay heed and not ask for totally disparate skills. @heyglenns

1 We do include a job description. Generally our CMO drafts an initial job description and then I and the rest of the management team edit to what we’re looking for. @Mark_from_MKTG

2: Direct Managers (i.e. what should this person be doing? what capacity is lacking in current team members? what special expertise do you wish we had?) + Senior Team (i.e. how does this position fit long-term w/ our growth goals?) @DigitalSamIAm

2. We make sure to include the skills and level of expertise we are looking for. We never include years of experience or education requirements as we have found these really do not directly affect expertise.@Mark_from_MKTG

3: We view every hire as a long-term investment – so we do a lot of work to find the right person. It’s never an easy balance to strike between immediate needs, potential gaps + long-term direction, but it’s better (IMO) to get clarity from everyone up front. @DigitalSamIAm

We just updated our job description. We used to hire for PPC or SEO or CRO independently, but now our hire will be digital analyst, so we can train their focus based on what we need at the moment and grow from there. @360vardi

Depends on the position. But for entry level, i have the junior staff write it. They will truly know what someone needs for the role. @JonKagan

Q3: What channels/placements do you use to let people know you are hiring?

We used to use the typical platforms (Monster, Indeed, etc) but the 300+ applicants per position were complete trash. We transitioned to an entirely manual approach (through networks, or reaching out manually to people on LinkedIn etc). @gilgildner

The highest quality candidates I’ve seen are from local jobs boards: you don’t get the auto-clickers from, say, ZipRecruiter or LinkedIn; you get local candidates (which has value even in these remote days); you can pre-vet candidates with connections. @ferkungamaboobo

A blend. LinkedIn for sure, but the hiring board for our network as well. Lots of asking around and recruiting. hiring in our area is quite a chore! @JuliaVyse

We use a pretty manual process — some LinkedIn ads, but mostly personal networks, vertical/niche job boards (shout-out to @ppchero‘s job board) + recruiters. @DigitalSamIAm

We use Indeed and LinkedIn postings, but also rely heavily on promoting openings through our own networks. Indeed & LinkedIn can drive a lot of junk, so we integrate application forms with HubSpot so we can see how much research applicants are doing on our site. @Mark_from_MKTG

Linkedin/fb is easy, then we move on indeed, and if it is alot of junior folks, college fairs. @JonKagan

Q4: Do you include a salary range in your job descriptions/listings? How do you decide what to pay for a role? Does your company have salary ranges?

Giant strexcorp sets the ranges. a bit of room to negotiate but not much. We sometimes hire based on what we can get for the pay they’ll approve, rather than for the skills we need. @JuliaVyse

I’m generally not a part of salary discussions so I can’t offer much insight here. We do not have salary ranges and do not include any on job listings. Salaries are generally personalized based on a combination of experience, position, and expectations. @Mark_from_MKTG

No. We have an initial screening call with them. If they make it past that, we let them know the range and give them the option to continue or bow out. Salary really depends on experience and geography due to regionalized cost of living. @JonKagan

We’re using a combination of pay-for-time and performance, which rules out naming salary ranges. The systems defy comparison and would only confuse people trying to decide based on their market value. @heyglenns

We don’t have salary ranges. We’re too small. I just ask the person what they’re expecting, old-school. For our last hire (we poached someone from in-house) we asked what they made and gave them a major % bump to convince them to hop over to Discosloth. @gilgildner

We have salary ranges and we try to look at the market to see what everyone else is doing. Typically I think we start on the lower end, but high % of raises. @360vardi

We don’t set specific ones, but we do outline a range using (a) the skills required, (b) experience required and (c) data shared by recruiters/networks. We’re can go outside of that range for the right candidate, but as with anything, I think budgets are good. @DigitalSamIAm

Q5: How do you filter CVs/resumes? Do you use any outside service for this?

The last time, I manually read through something like 350 resumes until my eyes bled. Then I manually vetted a couple dozen, when I realized resumes have 0% relevance to whether the person is actually legit or not. @gilgildner

Thank god it’s not my job to do that. I don’t think I can tell if someone is a good hire from CV, cover letter. @360vardi

I’d rather be the author of my own mistakes, so I keep it in house for now. @heyglenns

All manual, three-stsged process: (1) initial screening vs the JD (cuts out ~70% of the resumes); (2) detailed review by senior team & direct supervisor (eliminates ~50% of remaining) & (3) verification of the good ones before interview. @DigitalSamIAm

We do manual reviews as they come in. If they’re good we add them to a pool to be review by the management team to see if we want to do a phone screen. IMO you can usually tell at a quick glance if the resume is worth reviewing deeply. @Mark_from_MKTG

HR filters for bare min requirements (ie experience, geography, etc), then passes on to the team for a few rounds of vetting. @JonKagan

Q6: What is your framework for your first in-person/video interview? Do you do a phone call interview to screen applicants?

HR does a phone interview first, so my first interaction is in-person – that might flip to video post-covid. @JuliaVyse

I like to email folks back & forth before scheduling a Zoom call. If someone takes 2+ days to get back to me, not interested. That filters out most of the tire kickers. We tend to know right off the bat, once we get on a call, if we’re going to hire someone. @gilgildner

Generally someone does a 15-30 minute phone screen before our first “in-person”. The format is generally 2-3 managers with the candidate (saves people’s time and is more casual). We brainstorm general & personalized Qs before and it flows naturally from there. @Mark_from_MKTG

Cont. We’ve learned to hire based on how much we get along with someone. As long as the competency is there, skills hardly matter and can be trained. What we can’t do is train work ethic and attitude. @gilgildner

First one is a call, meet with one client lead and one mid/senior person in the department to see if they feel you have the right “chemistry” @JonKagan

Exactly! Chemistry is so important to success, and you can generally figure out how well someone will learn/how hard they will work based on how they answer questions/what questions they ask you. @Mark_from_MKTG

Q7: What does the first day and week look like for someone hired on the team? Do you have an organized or formal onboarding process for new hires?

Day one is a lot of paperwork, introducing them to the network, intros to the team, onboarding to one client. specific tasks assigned, status meetings scheduled. @JuliaVyse

1. Our onboarding program is a WIP. Currently we have daily trainings/check ins with new employees, we make sure they meet the whole team, and we have them complete the basic online trainings/certs. @Mark_from_MKTG

2. From there, we assign them work based on tasks/skills we want them to learn (within the limitations of available client work) and train them 1:1 to complete that task. As we’ve been doing 1:1 trainings, we’ve been recording them for future hires. @Mark_from_MKTG

The first two weeks are mostly familiarization. We like to hand super small accounts over & monitor/train on these accounts. No formal onboarding process beyond a few simple docs detailing perks (6 weeks paid vacation, no required hours, etc) & how they can be used. @gilgildner

2. Task-focused training sounds like the best way to learn and become successful in a role. @cartooninperson

A lot of HR paperwork and login access. It will feel uncomfortable how quiet/tolerable it is. Week 2…. @JonKagan

Q8: What do you wish you could do better with recruitment and hiring?

Day 1 is paperwork, meet the team, go over the training plan. Week one through 8 are mixed in with actual training, hands-on practice of assignments, listening to calls etc. @360vardi

Retain talent. I’m so effed so often because talent heads elsewhere. @JuliaVyse

Suppose improved way to find cultural fit. I can’t find any way to get folks aligned with our values without trying them out & seeing how they react. @heyglenns

I wish we could identify quicker when something isn’t working and why. @360vardi

One thing I’m trying to get better at is using case study assignments to get a better idea of where candidates are expertise wise. I think they’re a great, concrete way to see how candidates think strategically. @Mark_from_MKTG

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