Help! I’m Overwhelmed and I Can’t Get Up!
It's been another 12 hour day. Your other half is upset that you missed dinner - again. Your kids can't remember what you look like. You're exhausted and after the 942nd time your mastermind group has told you to hire some help you are finally ready.
But now what? How do you even begin trying to figure out what someone should do? Don't worry, it's not as hard as you think. Below are 4 steps with specific actions to take to ensure you get find the right person and get the most bang for your buck.
#1 Create a job description
The biggest mistake I see over and over again is business owners simply hiring someone and throwing them at the problem without any rhyme or reason. If you are not clear about what you want this person to do for you, how are they supposed to know? Your great new assistant anxiously wants to help out, but can't because you have no clue what to ask them to do. With a little planning, you can be prepared to answer the magic question, "what should I do now?"
Start by creating your own job description. Make a list of everything you are currently handling. Things like writing proposals, making phone calls, sending out invoices. Once you have your list, put an "x" next to the things you want to keep. The rest are all potential items to add to your assistant's job description.
#2 Show me the skills!
Now that you have this great list of tasks and responsibilities, break it down into the skills needed to perform those tasks. For example, if you need someone who will be making lots of phone calls, you will be looking for someone with a good phone voice. Maybe someone who has telemarketing experience.
Define what skill sets you are looking for, not just skills such as typing and budgeting, but ways of thinking, and personality traits such as honesty, integrity and being a self-starter. Write a list of opened ended interview questions and at the end of your interview look to see if the person has the skills and traits you are looking for.
#3 Write the perfect ad
Turn your wants and needs into an ad. You are more likely to get the kind of candidates you want if you specify what you are really looking for. An ad that reads, "Admin Assistant" is liable to get a range of results from someone looking to work full time for $50K per year to someone looking for $8 an hour part-time gig. If you are looking for someone to work 5 hours a week for $10 an hour, make sure you state that. If you don't specify these details, I guarantee that the perfect candidate will be in your pile. But, she will want a whole lot more time and money than you can afford.
Create a clear ad that includes what the job is, how many hours, the approximate pay, where the position is and what you are looking for. Place the ad on low costs sites such as www.craigslist.com . Or try some local charity and religious organizations. Many have job placement programs. Call to see if they offer free listings.
#5 Create an atmosphere of success
Now you've got the right person. Set them up for success. Create the behind the scenes processes you want them to follow so that you know they are completing things the way you want it done. And remember, document, document, document, (did I say document?) what they are doing.
You never know when an emergency is going to come up. Save yourself time, energy and frustration by capturing all that they do so that it is easily passed on to a replacement. You will have turn over - count on it. But it won't be a big deal if you set yourself up for success by having documented processes and systems. This results in not having to recreate the wheel every time you bring a new person in.
Create systemized, documented processes and procedures that can be followed and passed on should your new person not fit the bill or choose to leave. Before you actually start paying someone, check with your attorney or accountant to make sure you are paying the person correctly. There are specific regulations regarding the difference between independent contractors and employees. You don't want to end up with a bunch of fines.
Good luck and happy hiring!
By Beth Schneider