Hiring and Outsourcing


Hiring and Outsourcing

Learn how to free up your time and scale your efforts by hiring professionals to help run your business.

Determining Your Hiring Goals
Things to Reflect on Before Hiring
Creating a Job Description
Conducting an Interview
Preparing for Your Interview
How to Hire for Business Development
How to Hire Developers
How to Hire Creatives
How to Hire a Call Center or BPO


Determining Your Hiring Goals

The first thing you need to do when you’re going to hire or outsource new employees is to determine your goals. What do you want to accomplish and what type of person do you want to hire? Are they going to be full time, part time, temporary, permanent, remote, or in house, in your actual office? Or are they going to be remote but local so that you can have meetings with them on an occasional basis?

The reason you want to determine this is that different people are going to be looking for various opportunities. In my opinion, it’s crucial that you’re very specific about the type of person you want to hire, the position that you’re offering, what it encompasses and what’s important to you and what’s important to the person that you’re going to be looking for. I don’t think it’s appropriate to be wishy-washy about this type of information. Because you’re looking for someone to focus and help you, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s going to be extremely complicated to find someone who can fill the role that you want to fill.

Think about that, if you’re unsure whether someone should be full time or part time or what you want to do, you’re not setting that relationship up for success. You want to know exactly what type of person you’re looking for, what kind of position you want to fill, and all the requirements of that position. Now, first hires are critical to your business, even if it’s a virtual assistant or a business development person or a part-time developer, it doesn’t matter what the position is, if they’re your first or second employee or even your third, it is critical that you get this right.

The reason for that is you’re going to have to invest in training them, getting them up and running, teaching them everything they need to know about what you want to accomplish. If you choose the wrong person, you’re going to end up investing a lot of your time and then have to go through this process again. If you’re a new business owner, or you’re a new leader, it’s even worse when you have to fire your first person, and you may not pull the trigger on firing them if they’re not the right fit with one of your first employees. Because maybe you’re not as confident about this process as you could be, and so that’s why it’s vital that you take your time, interview a lot of candidates, figure out the right person who has not only the right skill set that you need but the right attitude, the proper hustle and the right mentality and also meshes with you on a personal level.

You guys should be able to communicate well and enjoy working together. Otherwise, you can create a toxic environment from the get-go, and you do not want to do that. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve found amazing people to work on our team and one of the ways I’ve done that is finding a way to work with people before making long-term commitments.

Next, you need to know how much you’re going to pay somebody or what you’re willing to pay them before you start looking for somebody. You can’t be wishy-washy about this. I see this so much when entrepreneurs are like, “Hey, hiring business development representative, let me know what you need to get paid.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You are offering a person a position; you need to know what you’re going to pay them, what you’re willing to pay them, what their opportunity is, why they should come work with you. It should not be a confusing situation; it shouldn’t be much of a negotiation either. I find that if you get into a heated negotiation about compensation with team members when they first start, they leave that process feeling not great about it. That’s not good for morale, that doesn’t set you up long-term for success. In my experience, your goal should be to transparently say what you’re willing to pay regardless of what it’s going to be, so when that person comes in, and you find the right person, the expectations are already set.

They know what you’re going to pay for the job, it’s not much of a negotiation, it’s more of a discussion around what you’re going to pay, what the terms of that pay are going to be and how it’s going to work out for both parties. For instance, when I directly hire someone, we don’t talk a whole lot about pay. We talk about what maybe benefits are, is it going to be monthly or biweekly? Or what they’re going to expect working on our team and how we can help them and teach them and access to the best of what they have to offer and the best of what we have to offer and start the relationship off as partners as opposed to adversarial in a negotiation. That all comes from being transparent about what you’re going to pay. Some entrepreneurs see that maybe as a downside because you’re like, well, if I write in the job posts that we’re paying $60,000 plus commission and someone was willing to work for 40 I just overpaid.

You need to be willing to pay people what their actual value is. When you fairly pay people, in my experience, what you get is 110% in absolute commitment to your cause and a tremendous amount of return on that investment because effectively what you’re paying an employee is an investment in your business’s future, and you want to make the right investment. I’m not suggesting that you overpay people either, I think you should understand what the market is and then if possible, pay top of the market to get the highest talent, the best talent that you possibly can.

We do that at Ringba. We pay top of the market for every single position, and we take care of our team members in a way that most companies aren’t willing to do. For instance, at Ringba, it’s a remote position for everyone on our team, engineering, sales, support, whatever. They can live wherever they want. We don’t police their vacation time; we don’t police the hours that they work, we don’t pay attention to any of those things. We pay them top of the market and a lot of positions significantly above market, and then what we get is we get a highly motivated, highly dedicated team of exceptionally talented people that can do what our competitors can’t do with ten times the funding and ten times the staff. The only way to do that; the only way to get high-level people on your team is to compensate them for it adequately. If you need quality assurance or something simple and you hire a virtual assistant, you pay them an extra dollar an hour than the market; you’re going to get a dedicated employee, it doesn’t cost you much more. For me, I truly believe in investing in your people, and for me, that’s a fundamental part of my business plan, and I’m very open about it, and I have yet to have any regrets about it.

If you are in dire need of a business development person and you want that person in the next 30 days, and that will free up a ton of your time, you need to set a timeline. I need to hire someone in the next 30 days, what do I need to do to do that? I need to get on my job posts; I need to interview a ton of people, I need to treat my hiring like a marketing campaign, look at it and run it by the numbers. Figure out how many job posts? Get how many applications? Get how many interviews? And out of the first round of interviews, how many people move on to the second round? And in our case at Ringba, it’s the first round, second round, the third round of interviews with the team, and then finally I will interview them. It’s four interviewing rounds. We look at it by the numbers, how many people do we have to find to drill down into that?

Do they exercise in some way, shape, or form? Do they care about their appearance and how they live? What’s their work environment look like? Are they organized? Are they neat people? Do they care about how they communicate? Do they proofread their responses? Do they use proper punctuation and grammar? Do they hold themselves to a high level in every facet of their life? That’s what we’re looking for when we talk about good people. Because usually it’s about top 5% of anyone out there that I ever want to think about hiring, and so if you’re looking for someone really good at what they do, and you think about that for a minute, that means out of 100 applications, you might have five real candidates that have good stuff.

That’s why referrals are essential. You want to ask your current team members; they are a fantastic source of referrals. At Ringba, we have multiple people on our team that are referrals, and when we hire new people, after putting them through our rigorous process, we ask them, “Hey, is anyone from your current position great?” Like, “Would you love to continue to work with anyone at your current position?” And we find that they make immediate referrals. Our last engineering team hire was like, “Hey, I’m coming, but I need to bring this other guy with me, he’s amazing, he’s super dedicated, and he’d love working on this project.” And so we ended up hiring that guy too. You need to think about who you can ask, and this can be family, friends, previous coworkers, in Pay Per Call, it can be publishers or your networks that you’re working with or anyone else, who do they have that could fill a position? And when you ask for a referral, you need to have all your details in a row, how much are you paying? What’s your time frame? What are the responsibilities? What are your goals? You need to have that information put together.

You need to understand what your story is, you need to know where this person fits into your organization, and you need to be able to communicate that even if they’re the wrong person. You need to nail your interviews. Otherwise, when you do have that high-level person you’re excited about coming in or do a video call or do a call, and you’re not prepared, they’re not going to come work for you even if you’ll pay them. Because high-level people don’t work for the money, they work for the leadership. That’s something you need to understand and step one is the interview, and high-level people are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. Practice it; I’m talking sit down, role-play it, record it, get feedback from your friends. You should be able to do it on demand without a cheat sheet and have all your questions memorized, and it should be second nature to you on how you give an interview and how you communicate with these people. Otherwise, you’re going to lose your diamond in the rough when they come along.

You need to have an environment suitable for an interview. What I mean by that is if you’re going to take a video interview, like I’m giving you this lesson right now, let’s take a look at this and dissect what’s going on here. First and foremost, my work environment is spotless. There’s nothing on my desk; there’s never anything on my desk. I work in a very organized, controlled work environment and I do that on purpose so that everything is organized, I know where everything is. All my folders on my computer are organized; all my email accounts are organized. Everything I have is organized because it allows me to move and context switch very quickly, but when I hop on an interview with someone, they’re going to judge me, they’re judging me by how I look, how I dress, my environment and everything around me. If you’re going to do this on video, you need to make sure that the environment is surprising and also clean and organized. When I hop on an interview with somebody, the first thing they see is me and then my setup, and then the first thing that goes through their mind, whether they realize it or not, is wow, this guy works in an exciting environment, and that’s a cool place.

It matters. People judge you by the simplest things when you enter a relationship with them and the first thing they do as judge the appearance of where that relationship’s going to go. If you’re going to be high tech, this is a great way to do it. When people see me, they’re like, that guy is supercomputer nerd. They’re right. I don’t go outside very much, the Internet’s inside, and so that’s where I’m at. I’m in California right now, and I am super white. I don’t go outside in the sun. There’s no fiber optic outside in the sun. If you’re interviewing a developer and you’re like me, and you want to find high-level developers that could build their own startup or work at Google, you have to be really nerd yourself. I want you to think about that, think about how you’re going to present to your interviewees. If you don’t have a pleasant work environment or you’re not comfortable with that, don’t do video, do call. But if you’re going to do call make sure that it’s quiet, that no one’s going to be interrupting you.

Don’t do interviews in a coffee shop. That’s the most annoying thing ever when you got people running around buzzing and all that noise, and you’re trying to interview a candidate. It should be quiet; it should be focused because you need to listen and communicate with this person on a very high level. There are no excuses for any of this. This is one on one stuff, but the vast majority of people like more than 50% don’t do a good job with it, and you can hire people just by cleaning up this process a little bit, it takes almost no work.

Things to Reflect on Before Hiring

Next, what’s vital about hiring people is asking yourself why they should work for you. What an interesting question. I don’t know if many people and business owners and entrepreneurs or affiliates tackle the question of why people should work for them. Because it’s like, oh, I’m going to pay you, you should come work for me. That’s how you get shitty employees. If it’s like, well, I’m paying you, you need to work for me, and that’s all you have to offer, well, I have some important information for you. That means you’re at the bottom of the ladder of people that anyone good wants to work for.

What are they going to learn? Are they going to be challenged? Are they working for great leaders? And are those leaders going to stretch who they are as a person? And are they going to see personal growth? And are they excited about working with your team of great people to accomplish something together so that they can achieve a high level of personal fulfillment? Because that’s what high-level people want. They don’t care about your ping pong tables and your beer tap in the office. Honestly, they don’t. I haven’t met a single high-level person that’s like, “Well, I really would like to go work somewhere else, but these guys have craft beer on tap.” So what all that bullshit is, is just a distraction away from not paying people not or adequately giving people flexibility for what they want to do or trying to trap them in an office so they’ll work more hours. All that’s just nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with it, if you have an office and you want to provide those types of benefits to people, that’s fine, but it should be entirely secondary to your mission here.

Your real mission should be, how can I offer these people something that will help grow them as a person that will give them some boost for the rest of their life? What do you have to offer people? Next, what is it a story you’re trying to tell? And so I ask people regularly, what’s the vision of your company? And if they can’t answer that in two or three sentences at the drop of a hat, well they don’t know what their own story is. How are they going to communicate to other people what their story is and get people excited about working on their team if they don’t even know what their own mission is if they don’t even know what the purpose is for why everyone’s coming in the office every day. For Ringba, it’s easy; we will dominate the performance marketing space. That’s it. Anyone that plays in that space, we’re coming for you openly, and we’re focused on this space, and we’re going to own it, there’s no question in my mind.

Our entire team is laser-focused on this, and they all know what they’re doing because our vision is simple. You need to be able to explain your vision in a simple way that people can understand, and you’re going to have to tell it in a story because people are more likely to work for other people that they believe in over anything else. That brings you to my next question, how can someone believe in what you’re trying to accomplish? You need to have an understanding of what you want the future to be. That cannot be like I need a business development person right now because I’m swamped and I need to take some things off my plate, no one will – what is that? Right? I’m swamped; I’ll hire you and pay you hurry, hurry, hurry, find me someone that’s just decent and let’s get this thing done. Do you know what that does? That builds mediocre companies that stagnate or fail over a long period.

I think that we can be up to 10 people in the next calendar year and following that, maybe up to 30 and I want to move into these verticals, and I want to do X, Y, and Z. You need to have this long term plan and vision for what you see the company as. You let people know you’re getting in early. That means there’s no glass ceiling, there’s a ton of opportunity for advancement. I want to hire smart, great people and then promote from within, and so we’re going to build this together. You got to know where you’re going. Because if you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re leading people, they aren’t going to follow you, or they’re just going to show up for the paycheck. That’s how you get people who’ve come to work and Facebook all day and don’t do anything. That’s how you get toxic employees when your employees don’t see the vision; you get toxic employees. Now when everyone on your team understands the vision, and you make a bad hire that’s toxic, ooh, your organization will police them for you, they will force that toxicity right out like it’s a virus.

On our sales team, we do not hire anybody that doesn’t have the desire to run their own sales team. We do that during the interview process, we tell them this, “If you don’t want to run your own team, if you don’t want to grow into a leader, that’s fine, but you’re not going to work out here because we’re only interested in hiring people that want to become leaders.” And then we help coach and train them and put them on this process. I can assert right now at the time of writing that 100% of our sales team is leadership material and excited about growing a team, and all their goals are around how they can help each other succeed so we can add more people to the team.

I don’t even need to talk to these guys, they’re just on it, on it, they want to grow their teams and build a big business and take over the space. By fundamentally hiring someone into the growth mindset, they start to grow your business for you, but you need to be able to have opportunities for that growth and then to be able to paint a picture so that people can see what their future will be like with you. They need to be able to visualize it, or you’re not going to get the fantastic high-level people because if they can’t see where they are with you in the future. They’re not thinking about the future, and if people aren’t thinking about the future, they’re probably not high-level people.

Next, why should someone want to work with you? Now, this is an interesting question because it’s going to force you to look inside yourself and think about who you are as a person, what your habits and behaviors may be that hold you back from success. Because realistically speaking, I have the same 24 hours a day as you do, the same 24 hours a day as Bill Gates does, and so why is he there? Why am I here? And why are you wherever you’re at? It has nothing to do with any extraneous circumstance or anything in your life. Those are just excuses. It has everything to do with yourself. You are where you are in life because of you and only you, and you will get to where you want to go because of how you act in situations.

That’s the whole thing. You need to think about why someone should want to work with you. If this is your first time hiring someone or your first time leading someone, you need to take a long look at who you are, who you want to be, and what who you want to be done daily. If you’re going to be a really big business owner and have a vast team and make a ton of money, you need to think about all the habits and things that you’re doing now that are holding you back from that. If you’re going out three days a week and partying, well, are high-level people doing that? Maybe. Were they doing it when they were getting started? Probably not. While a lot of people are out drinking, I’m at home in the lab thinking. You can say, “Oh work smarter than other people,” all you want, but there are a lot of brilliant people out there who are not only working super smart, they’re working their asses off too. That’s the person you need to be if you want to build a successful business because you want your people to work really hard, and the only way to lead is by example.

If there are other people on your team working harder than you, your team will fail because you’re the leader of that team. If you got guys putting in 10 to 15 hours and you’re doing six, five days a week and they’re doing seven; those people are going to leave you because they know you’re not putting in the effort. Why would they put in all that effort for a leader that doesn’t work as hard as they do? So you need to think about why someone would want to work with you, what an example you are for them because they want to grow and if you’re not on a growth trajectory, high-level people are not going to be okay with that. The best thing about this is if you’re reflecting right now and you’re like, “Man, maybe I do have a lot of habits that aren’t good, and I need to change,” that’s okay. None of us are perfect; we all start somewhere. The key here is making those changes and putting yourself on the growth path. That’s why you get to the next question, are you ready to be a leader? Are you ready? Not everyone is prepared. It’s a complicated process to be a leader.

It requires you giving 100% at all times, no excuses, no nonsense, you take responsibility for everything and you lead by example. That’s a tough thing to do, to take responsibility for your mistakes or your mistakes in leadership. Did I hire the right people? Did I plan the right way? Did I do all of this? It requires you to be hypercritical on yourself and to realize that you are fallible and you have a lot of growth that needs to happen. That’s the key to the whole thing taking responsibility, taking responsibility for where you are today, taking responsibility for where you want to be and then acting on it so that you can get there. Leading by example, not making excuses, being there for your people, putting in more time and effort than them. Leaders eat last. Taking care of your people before you take care of yourself, that’s what being a leader is.

You need to be ready to make mistakes leading and hiring and firing. No one builds a great organization without making human resources mistakes. You should be prepared to fire people. If it makes you nervous, that’s okay. That’s going to stretch you, but if you see something wrong, and you know someone’s not the right fit, do not let it fester because you’re concerned. Or because you don’t want to hurt that person. Maybe you’ve developed a personal relationship, and they have a bunch of obligations in life, and if you fire them, those obligations are going to be a problem. Well, you have to do what’s right for your organization. If you have a team of people and something is not right with one of those people, and you don’t address it, if you have great people on your team, they’re going to start to lose respect for you because you need to lead by example. You need to show them that you are there for the tough decisions and that you’ll make them.

If you don’t make the tough decisions, you can’t expect your people to make those tough decisions, and then the whole thing becomes a house of cards that starts to fall over. Lastly, to be a leader, you need to ask yourself, are you currently focused on personal growth? Because I don’t know a single leader in any industry that’s successful that isn’t focused on personal growth. That’s what the whole thing is, you want to grow as much as you can as a person so that you can affect the people around you and help them grow so that they can get to their goals. Are you focused on your health? Are you focused on your wealth and your finances? Are you making good decisions? Are you paying off debt instead of going to the bar? Are you making smart decisions about your relationship with your significant other? Right? Are you making smart decisions about your education? Are you reading regularly? Are you taking courses? Are you learning as much as you possibly can? All these things are never-ending processes; they don’t go away.

You need to focus on your wealth, your health, your relationships, and your education constantly and permanently for the rest of your life and that’s what being a leader is so that you can influence the other people around you to also focus on these areas and improve them every single day of the week, step by step. It’s not an easy process, but I will tell you it’s the most fulfilling process I have ever been involved in as a person, and it means a lot to me. It means more to me that my people are successful than my own personal success, that’s secondary. As long as my people are super successful, I will be okay, and I want to invest in their future, and if I can do a great job helping them get to their goals by proxy, I will get to my own.

Creating a Job Description

What’s the first thing we do when we hire someone? We create a job description. You want to do a lot of research into this. We’re going to cover that step by step.

First, we need to determine the market rate. What are people paying for the description of the person we need to hire. You need to understand that first so that you can communicate and be transparent about it to make the process a lot easier. You’re going to want to try and exceed the market rate if possible. As a startup, that’s tough, you’re like, “Man, you want me to pay more than market?” I’m like, yeah, because if you’re a startup and you can hire the guy or the girl who’s just the shit. You got to pay a little bit more for that; you’re going to get like 10X than the mediocre guy that you get a deal on. That’s how it works. You get what you pay for. Because good people, they know their value and they know what their value is worth in monetary terms and they’re not going to give you a discount just because you would like a discount. They’re not going to feel good about it. Whenever possible, hire the highest level people and to do that you’re going to have to try and exceed the market rate or giving them some equity or some compensation plan with a commission that gets them to where they want to be, and you need to have an open conversation about it.

If you can’t openly talk freely and transparently with your people about money, you’re going to have a real hard time working with a high-level group of people. Because you need to be confident about it and it’s probably the part that people make mistakes with most. People are just people. If you can have an open conversation with someone about their compensation and ask them, “Do you feel good about this?” And the answer is yes, great. If the answer’s no, you got a problem. I don’t see a lot of people asking that question, and that’s why a lot of teams get built on mediocre people and then businesses don’t go anywhere. Once we understand how much we’re willing to pay and what the market rates are, you need to read at least ten job postings so you can try and be different. I have up here on the right-hand side of this screen, a job posting that we use to hire our last engineer, and we got kicked off of the platform with this post, we got access back, but they took our job posts down, and they said we violated their rules, whatever. But in a matter of a couple of hours, we got 300 ultra high-level job interview requests or applications from this job post.

Example of a job description

I went through Stack Overflow, and I read like 50 job posts, and I realized there was a trend of super long, super boring, super crappy ultra corporate job posts that weren’t interesting, didn’t inspire people and what everyone was doing was reading everyone’s job post and posting the exact same thing. One of our team members wrote an uninspired job post, it’s not his fault, he’s an engineer, and we posted, and we got like three or four applications it didn’t go very well. A couple of days later, I wrote this, “Seeking fucking amazing.net engineer,” right? That’s what I’m doing, that’s what I’m looking for. Experience level, senior lead. I want someone who can lead a team, even if they don’t have to. That’s the highest level person you’re going to get. If you’re a fucking fantastic developer who wants to be well paid for solving the most challenging problems you can find, please keep reading. Ringba’s team of entirely senior people are searching for a new member who will help us rapidly improve the inbound sales industry through technology.

We don’t care if you’re local to San Diego or live in Katmandu as long as you love to learn and bang fantastic code. This opportunity has room to grow both personally and professionally comes with autonomy and a complete lack of corporate bullshit. You’ll also have a chance to work with ad tech veterans and world-class marketing experts to expand on our already successful product line. That’s it, that’s the whole thing. I want someone amazing, and so if someone doesn’t consider themselves amazing, they probably won’t apply if they’re self-conscious, that’s great, I just weeded out anyone who sucks. We’re going to pay you well, we give you freedom, we’re not going to be up your ass, you get to work on great stuff with an excellent team and do it on your own terms, and we’ll make sure that you grow personally and professionally. That’s it; two paragraphs covers everything a high-level person wants in their life.

What you’ll do, you’ll design technical solutions to solve practical business applications, implement redundant and scalable architecture, own the full development cycle. Which means if you’re not a developer, you’re responsible for the entire project you’re working on. You need to make sure it gets done and done correctly, so autonomy and trust. Work independently with little or no supervision. Honestly, my people need to come to me when they need something, or they have a problem. I mean, we communicate regularly, but I do not bother them. I am not concerned about what a single team member is doing right now. Honestly, I don’t care. They’re all working on something towards our vision, they know what needs to get done, I don’t have to babysit anybody. That’s what you get when you get high-level people; you don’t have to put in any of the extra work.

I can disappear off the face of the earth for two weeks, and I come back, and everything that would have to get done will get done. I did this, I went to North Korea and vanished off the face of the earth for a week, and when I came back, everything was chill. We made progress; problems were solved; people took the initiative and handled what needed to be handled. It’s almost like they don’t even need me, which is a scary thing. If you think about it, but it’s what you want if you’re going to run a business. What do you need? Real simple job requirements. If you look at some people’s job requirements; they’re this long, this education, this whatever, this experience, all these things, blah, blah, blah. None of that matters. If you can find a kickass person with high motivation and attitude that has the skills to do close to the job you need, the rest doesn’t matter. It does not matter if they have a college degree; it does not matter if they have eight years’ experience. What matters is they can do what you need to be done, and they’ll do it with a good attitude, and if something comes across their way that’s a problem that they’ll communicate it and they know when something’s wrong, and they take action. That’s what matters.

When you do it like everyone else, you’re stuck in everyone else’s rules. You need to create your own rules, your own opportunities, and your own way of doing things so that people see that you think differently and are inspired by. You want to keep all this stuff in your job descriptions relevant and reasonable. They don’t need to be super long; you don’t have to put everything in there, all the details and all the shit, they’ll figure it out if they’re the right person. You can tell them when the time is right. What you want to do at the front of your funnel though, is qualify are you going to get the interesting, excited, motivated people that you need? And then the rest is all just nonsense that you can cover later and doesn’t matter a whole lot. Again, simple and then communicate clearly. I read this job description out loud to you, well guess what? That’s because I read it out loud four or five times to myself like a crazy person before I submitted it. It tells a story. Here’s the description, here’s what you’ll do, here’s what you need.

It tells you everything you need to know about us, we think differently, and we’re a little bit out there, and so you need to be with that or you’re not going to work on our team, and it’s super short. This job description was about a half or a third on average of the length of all the other ones that people were sifting through. Because it was different, people read it, and as I said, we got 300 job applications overnight, which was incredible. It was a lot to sift through; our entire team spent a lot of time. We ended up giving out 50 replies with code tests in them, 30 people were willing to take the code test because it’s not an easy one, it’s complicated it takes them a day or two to do it, it requires hours of their free time. Out of the 50, 30 were willing to do it.

I think we got 12 back that were able to believe they completed it. They didn’t. Out of the 12 that thought they finished it, we had seven that completed it. Out of the seven that actually completed it, we conducted another interview with which whittled that down to three people that we thought had the potential to join our team. Out of those three people, we put them on a three-hour interview with three of our senior engineers, and those three people grilled the shit out of this person, both personally and professionally for three hours. Out of that, one guy at the end of the interview said, “You guys are the smartest people that I’ve ever had to deal with, and I don’t think that I can hang with your crew. This was amazing, I have a lot to think about, but I’m just going to go ahead and say that I appreciate your time, this was incredible, and I don’t think I can handle this.” And you know what? That was awesome. He decided for us that he couldn’t handle it. You know what? We weren’t going to hire him. It just wasn’t going to work out. The guy is fantastic, maybe he comes back in the future, I would interview that guy again, and I got nothing bad to say except he wasn’t ready yet.

Out of the two people that were done, we thought one was a good culture fit and had the right nuts and bolts to be on our team, and the other one wasn’t a good culture fit; he just handled things in a way that didn’t work for our team. We’re very super open on our team about feedback and growth, and this person was not interested in feedback or growth, it was just – it was more of an ego situation. Out of 300 applications and hundreds of interviews and replies and almost a thousand emails, we found one dude. That one dude I gave an interview to, I spent an hour talking to him over video, we didn’t talk about anything related to code, just about life and what our goals are and where we’re going, and I love the guy. Right there on the video interview, I said, “Look, I’ll make you this offer.” He said, “Hey, you know what? I appreciate that offer; my goal was X,” and it was reasonable. It was only a little bit more, and it wasn’t even really a negotiation. He said something like, “And if that’s not okay, I’m in.” And I said, “You know what? I’m cool with your goal. Let’s do it together.

I see people say they’re hiring, but they never do a good job with their description or anything. They put up some shitty job description with no time or effort put into it, and then they wonder why they don’t get replies. Know your audience, know what you’re looking for, set up a process, communicate clearly, and have everything ready before you make that first job post, and you’ll find success.

Conducting an Interview

How exactly do you conduct your interview? That’s an interesting question. If you have no experience conducting interviews, I want you to know that it’s not complicated. You need a plan like anything else, and you don’t need to be nervous. When I started back in the day doing job interviews, I literally would go into the job interview with a plan on paper. I would go down that plan. They could even see me with the plan in front of me, and I don’t care.

I don’t think they did either because I ended up hiring some great people, I believe what they saw was, okay, this guy’s trying here to figure out how to do a great job, they’re not judging me by this. If you’re nervous, you can tell them, “Hey, I just want you to know, you’re my first interview ever, I got some notes here, so if you see me looking at them, I just want to do a great job in this interview.” There you go. Now you’re not nervous anymore; you were just honest with someone. What do you get? You get a great environment. Maybe that person is shy too, and they’re like, whew. All right, great. Well Hey, we’ll figure it out together. Honesty is a potent thing; if you’re just honest with people, they’re going to cut you some slack because most people aren’t honest and so when they find someone trustworthy, they’re like, “Oh, I appreciate that.” And so you want to keep in mind that your interview is also a sales pitch.

You are selling. Why should they work for you? Why should they work for your company and do you have a vision for the future? If you don’t tell them who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re going in a job interview, you’re not going to close people. It’s not about just them and asking about them, and oh, they need a job, so it’s about me figuring out if they can come work with us. No, it’s about do you want to go on a journey together with this person? They got to want it; you got to want it. You both got to be super excited about it. If you guys high five at the end of an interview, you got yourself a great person. It should be like that; you should leave an interview with someone that you’re going to hire excited. They should be excited, and you should be excited. If both parties don’t seem excited at the end of an interview, don’t hire that person and think about how you’re interviewing.

You also need to talk about timelines, what you want to accomplish over what timeframe. It can’t be like, yeah, we want to build a $20 million a year business and I need you to spearhead sales. That is stupid because it doesn’t tell the person anything. Now if you’re like, we’re at $8 million a year in sales, I need you to come in and be the VP of sales, and I need you to bring us to a point where we’re at $15 million in sales in 24 months, can you do that? Now the person will go, oh, okay, I got to do this over 24 months. Okay, I’ve done these things before, yeah, I’m excited. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m excited, then you know you have a good fit. You’re setting yourself up for success by setting the guidelines appropriately. You also need to determine how much training you need to do and do you have the resources to do the training. I like to hire people for sales, for instance, or even engineering that have worked in complementary industries, maybe not exactly what we’re doing.

I’m not running around looking for other platforms salespeople in call tracking or other company’s engineers in call tracking. I don’t want to hire another company’s bad habits. What I want to do is I want to find people who have similar experience doing similar things that I can bring into this space, teach them about what we need to accomplish and then let them use their expertise and skills from the other industry to compliment what they’re doing with us. That’s going to be the best way to find people specifically is, do they have complementary experience? That way, they’re not going to be tainted by bad habits and other corporate culture in this space you’re looking for. Because you’re primarily hiring their culture over to you and you’re probably going to get a lot of their bad habits. That’s not something you want to do.

Preparing for Your Interview

I highly recommend that you create a cheat sheet for your interview. To give you an example of how I do interviews in this setup is what you’re looking at here I think it’s like a 70 ish something TV on a rolling mount with a webcam, and on my screen, I do the video interviews like 66% of the screen. On the right-hand side, I have a word doc open with all my questions. I don’t want to miss anything. I want to make sure I get all my questions answered and then if we digress, I want to make sure where I’m at in the process, so I do it in order. Most people don’t notice this, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the cheat sheet. You should be prepared for your interview, just like your interviewees should be prepared. When you show that you’re ready and you have all this stuff ready to go, it says a lot about you. Means that you’re a high-level person and so you should do that.

Preparing for your job interview cheat sheet

In my interviews, I stick to this format. The first and this is in order. I start with a story.

Who we are. We’re Ringba, we’re the most innovative player in the call tracking space, we’re growing extremely rapidly, we only hire senior, high-level people, we do everything differently than all of our competitors, we don’t do contracts, we don’t do commitments, minimum support fees, none of that stuff. We provide on-demand support while most of our competitors do not so that our people can get the answers that they need when they need it. We’re hyper-focused on the performance marketing space, and we’re going to dominate it, there’s no question about it. That’s what we’re doing, and that’s where we’re going. Here’s where we’re at today, we’ve taken a large amount of market share, our technology has caught up to be industry leading, and we’re starting to pave the way of the future of this space.

We’re designing how everyone in the call space is going to function in the future, and we’re releasing that now, and we’re going to change the whole game for everybody, and we’re going to make people that work with us millions of dollars in profit. That’s our goal, that’s what we’re doing right now. The future of this is we will be the incumbent; we’ll be the number one in our space for call tracking, we’ll dominate that space, we’ll reinvent it for everyone involved. We’ll take that knowledge of what we’ve done, and we’ll expand it out into other spaces in verticals so that we can continue to grow as an organization. What I’m going to do is talk about the opportunity that I’m hiring for. I’m going to let them know that we don’t believe in glass ceilings at Ringba. We hire people, and we expect them to want to be leaders and to run a team because as we grow as an organization, we need leaders in every department to lead everything. If someone wants to grow and be a great leader, they do not have to wait, there’s no seniority, we’re a flat organization, and the opportunity is there.

If someone, for instance, comes on our sales team and they want to run a team, and they’re put on someone else’s team, and they outperform their leader, and they become a more exceptional leader, we’re not going to hold them back. They’re going to be able to recruit their team and grow their team, and everyone wins. We’re about success as a team, like a professional sports team, and that’s it that’s how we run it. I’m going to ask that person about their experiences; I’m going to ask them about their experience at other companies to see how they talk about them. If someone trash talks the previous employer, that concerns me a lot; it’s toxic behavior. If they say that the experience was negative and that they’re looking for new opportunities, well that’s a professional person. I listen to how they’re communicating, what words they’re using, and I let them talk so that I can see how they think.

I ask them a lot of open-ended questions, what are your goals for the future? Not where you see yourself in five years, that’s a silly question, they don’t know our organization, but what are your personal goals? What do you do in your free time? What hobbies do you have? I want someone dynamic, I want someone that has culture, I want someone that likes to learn. When someone tells me in their hobbies that they work out a lot and they love to read, and they do creative things, they paint, or they do pottery, or they do whatever, that’s exciting to me, that’s a dynamic person. That’s what you’re looking for. If they don’t have any hobbies and they don’t tell you that they like to read and learn, you know what they do in their free time, they watch TV. That’s not an exciting person, okay. You want to ask open-ended questions about who they are as a person. Ask them about their family and what’s important to them. Do they have kids? What motivates them? Why do they want to work hard and create something for their future?

How do they handle when someone who knows answers to questions that they may not just hits them over and over and over and over again, do they crack? Do they giggle? Do they laugh? I’ve had people laugh like, holy crap, man; you do this to people? And then I tell them the truth, “Well, I want to see how you handle pressure and because you stopped and laughed and then redirected the situation to a place where we both laughed together, now I know that you can handle tough situations with people in a great way.” So I want to give them a little bit of a tough situation so I can see how they navigate it. Some people shut down, they clam up, they go quiet, they don’t know how to handle it, they don’t let their personality out. That’s not a good salesperson, that’s potentially a problem. I hit them with like 15 of these, and they’re different, I don’t do the same type of questions which are just all over the place. It throws people off, and that’s what I want. I want to see what happens when they’re thrown off because that’s important. I ask them problem-solving questions.

If it’s engineering, we ask them engineering problem-solving questions, if it’s business development, I ask them leadership problem-solving questions like if an employee did this, how would you handle it? If a team member did that, what would you do? Then I ask them emotional intelligence questions. Questions around their emotional stability. Things like, yeah, what happens when you get angry? Do you fight a lot with your significant other? And by that point, they’re so used to answering questions, so they answer them. Which may seem inappropriate, I guess, but we want to know what the emotional intelligence is of the person that we’re talking to. You can Google emotional intelligence questions and things about emotional intelligence if you want to do some research on your own, but quality people have incredibly high emotional intelligence.

Again, potential employees are also interviewing you, so if you’re ultra-prepared like I am, they leave that experience like, whoa, that was a different experience, no one interviews like this, who’s that guy? And maybe they don’t work for me, but I can hit them up in the future, we develop a relationship, especially if they’re good, but maybe not the right fit or what we’re looking for and I can always reach out to them, and they can always reach out to me. It creates a relationship. At the end of an interview done well, whether they work for you or not, you should have created a bond. You want a clean interview environment; you want to be ultra-prepared, have all your questions, all your story, bullet point out it to go on a one-page cheat sheet, so you were just on it. The tough part, you need to practice it. You need to interview your wife, your friends, your family, whatever you got, you need to do it so that you are prepared and this process is second nature for you so that you seem very confident and on top of your game because that’s going to attract the higher level people.

How to Hire for Business Development

All right, the people on our biz dev team, they’re easily recognizable. They take the initiative, they communicate well, they’re brilliant, they’re ultra hard workers. They go above and beyond by default. Those are the people you’re looking for. The people you don’t have to worry about, you don’t have to babysit, and if you don’t train them or teach them they’re like, “All right, fine, challenge accepted, I’ll go do it myself.” All right. For biz dev, do they have previous experience? And I don’t necessarily mean in your space. If you’re doing lead gen or you’re doing paper call in a specific vertical, they don’t need experience as sales in that vertical; they need some previous experience for a similar position. One of our other salespeople used to do recruiting for the medical field, which is just cubicle cold, call constant grind all day long. If you can take someone who can get through the grind as a salesperson and be successful, you can put them in an environment where they can succeed, and it’s not a terrible grind, and then that person becomes a monster.

That’s what you’re looking for is the salesperson; it doesn’t matter what their education is; it doesn’t matter what their background is and may not even matter what their experience is. What matters is, are they also dedicated? Will they go above and beyond? Are they super motivated, super excited? About what they have to do. Are they generally that way about life? An excellent way to look at that is, are they in great shape? Do they work out regularly? Do they play sports? Are they competitive? Have they played sports before?

Good salespeople are like people who have been in competitive environments before and have succeeded. You’re looking for people that have done well, that have been in activities where they’ve lost and won and understand what competition is. They become that person at their core. All of our salespeople are competitive, maybe not with each other, but just in life in general, and they take themselves very seriously, and they want more out of life.

That’s a key driver of finding a good biz dev person is on a personal level, they want more out of life. Tthey should be excited about growth; they should seem passionate about learning new things, they should seem excited about what they’re talking about, about what they’re doing. If they don’t, if they’re dull and just blehhh and not enthusiastic, well, they should not be on your biz dev team no matter how desperate you are. How’s their appearance? They don’t need to look like this guy in the suit over here though if someone shows up to an interview like that, I like it because they’re on it. But they should be clean cut, they should be prepared for the interview, and they should look to the part. Because when other people, if they’re doing sales, see them, they’re going to get judged, and then if their appearance is sloppy and they don’t take care of themselves, other people are going to judge them by that. Salespeople, that’s part of the job. They got to look good; they got to make sure they’re on it, they got to understand that they’re going to get judged and they need to take care of themselves. That’s the bare minimum for sales. Do they follow up with you first after the interview?

Give them time to do it, but I have yet to hire a salesperson that hasn’t followed up with me first after an interview. I don’t follow up unless they follow up with me. Because the salesperson’s job is going to require a lot of follow-ups and if they don’t have the enthusiasm to follow up with me on an interview, it means one of two things, they don’t want to work with me, which is fine, they did my work for me. Or two, they’re not thorough, and they’re not assertive, and they don’t take the initiative, and if that’s the case, they can work for someone else’s sales team. I just, whatever, if they don’t follow up with me in the first 24 to 48 hours, they’re done basically. If they hit me up a week later, sorry. I want aggressive people, who are hungry, who are on it and passionate. They know that by the end of my interview because I tell them.

If they don’t get the vibe that they should reach out to me in a specific period to follow up, well they made their bed. If they follow up, I like to ask them a bunch of follow-up questions that are complicated and have personal reflective components to them. I judge them by how quickly and thoroughly do they communicate. I do it in writing. I do a back and forth with them in writing, I see how they communicate, do they proofread their messages? Because if they don’t proofread them with you, they’re not going to proofread them with your potential clients or the people they’re working with. I care very much about how their written communication skills are, that’s what’s important. College degree is not essential; their written communication skills are hugely necessary for biz dev. I also like to speak to them on the phone if I didn’t do the video interview or it wasn’t in person so that I can hear how they communicate on the phone because they’re going to be on the phone a lot. I highly recommend if they’re not in person to do a video one, I won’t hire a biz dev person that I don’t interview in person or via video chat.

I will not do it because I need to see them, I need to see how they communicate, I need to know if they smile if they have fun if they enjoy talking to humans and communicating. If your salespeople aren’t having fun in an interview, move on. They should be enjoying talking to you because if they’re not good at communicating, they’re not going to be a good salesperson. That’s in person with voice or video and over text of some kind. Are they generally upbeat and happy? If the answer to that question is no, they can work somewhere else.

How to Hire Developers

Maybe you’re getting started in paper call, and you want to do some SMS, or you want to do some other stuff, and so you want to create an application that integrates with Ringba’s API, but you’re not a developer and so you’re like, well, I need to hire a developer. A lot of people are scared of hiring developers when they’re not developers because they don’t know how to critique the work or proof the work or anything like that.

What we want to do, if you’re not a developer and you need to hire a developer is run them through the same process, but you need to look for warning signs essentially, but how they communicate, who they are as people and all that good stuff. If you’re looking for a developer, you need to ask them how long they’ve been developing. If they’ve been part-time developing for six months, you’re probably going to run into a problem. The likelihood that you’re going to find the next whiz kid genius is a very, very low and then also that should just be concerning to you in general. If they’ve been developing a long time, that’s a good thing. If they’ve had a career in it, that’s even better. I look at developers, and I go, how old are they? I’m not saying that you can’t be a fantastic developer in your 20s Or even your thirties but what I will assert is that the older people get, the wiser they get, and the less they freak out about problems and typically the more thorough they are.

Depending on what type of development you want to do, you want to be mindful of the fact that thoroughness is essential. If you’re Ringba and people rely on you for their entire business, you need to be exceptionally thorough, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You need to be on top of everything. That’s why the average age in our development team is like 41 or something. We need extensive skill developers. Now if you’re doing a quick API integration or something like that, having someone that has a few bugs in isn’t very thorough but can go back and fix them, and it’s a bit of a process that’s not that big of a deal and it’s not necessarily a downside. You should understand that most developers are not going to get the code right the first time, you’re going to have to coach them and test their work and make changes and requests changes. It’s a process, it’s not like, “Hey, I want this, here’s your deliverable,” and it works perfect 100% of the time. More often than not, it’s going to be like, “Hey, here’s your deliverable. Oh, it doesn’t work, here’s why I need you to change those, please update that.”

Then you should expect that. The quality of their work I find is usually correlated to how quickly and thoroughly they communicate. If you send them a message, and they don’t get back to you for a day or two, and it doesn’t have the details you asked for in it, that’s going to be a problem. Because if they don’t take the time to communicate well and type to you, they’re probably not taking the time to comment their code well and type the code. Because it’s all just typing, and so an in-depth developer is good at communicating thoroughly about their development in an email, for instance. If you’re going to outsource, is there a language barrier and are they near your time zone? So a lot of people are like, yeah, I’ll outsource it overseas, it’s cool, I’ll get it cheap, yeah. Okay, well, are you prepared to work during that time zone? Because if you’re a developer doesn’t work during your business hours, you’re going to have to communicate with them either with a massive delay, and they’re not going to get the information they need to work their shift potentially, which is a problem.

If they need something and they ask you at the beginning of their shift, and you can’t answer them for 24 hours, you just burnt a whole day. You need to overlap with your time zone. The significant amount, the better, like Pacific Time to Eastern is not a big deal, or something close to that is not a big deal if you’re a hustler like me, it doesn’t matter, you’ll stay up all night. You’ll make sure your developers get what they need, but you need to decide how you want to handle it, what’s convenient for you. If you’re going to outsource overseas, you got to look at the time zones, or you got to set rules with the developer that they have to work a certain number of hours in your time zone or you don’t want to work with them. A language barrier is obvious. If they can’t spell or communicate clearly in English and you speak English, you’re going to run into a problem.

I always ask developers if I’m contracting for three references to previous clients and then I actually contact them all, and then I ask them about the communication of the developer or the work product and more importantly, were there any problems? And then I tell the reference, especially over the phone that I’m not asking if there were problems because I’m concerned about issues, what would like to know is how do they handle it when there is a problem? And if their references are like, “Oh yeah, we had a couple of problems, and he did a great job. He was communicative, we solved the problems, and he worked with us from start to finish until it was good.” I’m like, great because developers are problem solvers for a living and so they need to be able to do an excellent job solving problems, and if they don’t do well with problem-solving when you have a problem, oh that’s a huge red flag, and you want to be careful. Now when you’re interviewing a developer, you want to explain to them everything that you want to be made, and you should have it written out beforehand in a clearly defined high-level overview. You should tell them what you want and then ask them to describe the project back to you in detail.

I like to get on again, video chat or a call and I tell them what I want to do, and then I ask them to describe it back to me in detail in their own words. That way, I at least know whether they understand what I need to be done. Because if they don’t, that’s a problem, it’s a big problem. If they do, I’ll probably get what I want, at least in some semblance of usable format. We may have ironed out some bugs and do a little testing or some QA and fix a few things, but I’ll probably get what I want. I don’t think a lot of people do this. That’s making sure they describe it back to you.

If a developer’s like, “Hold on Adam, thank you for that description, that was awesome. I think I understand, let me describe this back to you, so we’re on the same page.” Just hire that guy because it’s rare and when you find them they’re great. We want to understand, do they understand? And then I’m going to ask them, how do you plan to solve and implement this problem? What tools are you going to use? How do you envision this working? Then they tell me their process, and I’m an engineer by trade, I’ve been doing it a long time, I don’t usually tell the engineers this when I interview them, the contractor’s anyways. I see how they would implement the project, and then I can very quickly decide whether I think that’s the right approach or not. But for you, I think what’s important is, can they clearly understand and then articulate to you how they plan to solve that problem in detail? And if they can, then it’s a good sign. They should be brainstorming with you.

You should ask them, what do you think about this project? How do you think we could do better? If they’re like, “Oh, I have a bunch of ideas, I like that you want to accomplish that, but what if we do this and change this feature that way,” it should be a collaborative process during the interview. If they’re unwilling to give you their suggestions or brainstorm with you because they’re like, “No, that’s what you’re paying for,” well you’re going to have problems with that person. They should be open-minded and transparent. You’re telling them what you need, they should try and show you that they’ll add value, and if they don’t do that, then they don’t believe in value adds, and you should be careful about that. It should be a bit of a brainstorming session, but you need to know what they need to build in concept and have that ready to go.

It should not be you interviewing them so they can tell you everything about what you need to be done. They should suggest without you asking ways to improve and build upon your ideas in a constructive way. If they do that, they’re probably going to be a pretty good contract. Next, we want to look for a noticeable ego. One of the biggest problems you can run into with developers is the hero developer. The one that’s like, I can solve all of the issues I can program in any language. I’m super fast; I’m fantastic. I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m. Developers with ego are your Trojan Horse. They may be good developers, but they’re not easy to lead, they’re not fun to work with. If you don’t want to do something their way and you want it done a different way, they’re going to fight you on it. They need to be collaborative; it needs to be a team. I guess in any group; ego is very dangerous. You should look for people in general that don’t have them, but in my personal experience and the feedback I have to give you is that I’ve had to fire CTOs that have ego problems. It doesn’t go well, and so you need to make sure that the person is going to be good to work with and watch for that.

Then do they take feedback well? You want to try and give them some feedback during the interview process on something on a project they did on some reference material they offered you to see what they think about it and how they take feedback. If they take feedback well, awesome. If they don’t, that’s a problem. You want to break the project down in so lots of tiny milestones and then schedule them out on a calendar. If you don’t know how to run a dev team or an engineer, what you need to do is just a bunch of milestones. Every day there’s a milestone or every other day, and then you need to put them on a calendar and schedule them and then review them with your developer to monitor their progress and make sure they’re hitting their milestones. You want to communicate with them daily to make sure they’re hitting those milestones and so that you know when your project is going to be on time. What you don’t want to do is be like, “Hey, here’s my project.” They’re like, “Great; it’ll be done in three weeks.” And you’re like, “Cool, talk to you, then.”

Then three weeks come around, and you’re like, “Hey, is it done?” And they’re like, “Ah, no, I ran into some problems.” So you want to communicate every day so that you can get an idea of when you’re going to get the work product. Because in development, especially if you’re building apps that work with other people’s APIs and software, there are going to be speed bumps along the way, and it’s going to change your schedule, and that’s why you need to communicate with your developers so that you can understand your schedule and then plan accordingly. You need to test their work thoroughly. If you don’t have a QA person, you need to check everything over and over and over again and make sure it works. If it doesn’t, take screenshots, tell them exactly step by step what happened so they can reproduce the bug. Once they can reproduce the bug, you give them screenshots, you walk them through where the bug is, they can find it in the code and fix it.

It’s essential that you can clearly describe where the bug is and how to see it in the software so that they can see it and when they see it, then it’s effortless for them to find and fix it. If you’re like, “Oh, it doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work,” and you can’t tell them how to replicate the bug, then you’re sending them on a wild goose chase, it gets expensive and frustrating. That is how you hire a contractor or contractor/developer or a full-time team member, whatever, it all applies across the board.

How to Hire Creatives

What you want to see with creatives is their previous portfolio, if it’s robust and well organized and it looks good, that’s a great way to judge them.

If someone sends you their portfolio and it’s not well put together, or it looks kind of crappy, or it doesn’t tell a story, that person’s not going to be a thorough creative. How fast and thorough is their communication? That’s important because some people creatives, they’re artists, they’re like off in artists land, whatever, and so if they don’t communicate well and thoroughly and promptly, you’re going to run into issues, and you’re probably going to have deliverable delays with your contractors and creatives.

That’s why you should judge them immediately by how fast, and thoroughly they communicate. Any employee really, but again, with these guys, it’s going to affect your deliverable time directly. I’m going to want to get three references from previous clients if they’re going to be a full-time or an expensive contractor and I’m going to want to talk to those clients about problem-solving and how working with this person is, and I’m going to call all of them. The worst thing you can ever do is ask for references and then not call them. It makes you look like a jackass. If the person is thorough, they’re going to give you three references, and they’re going to tell the references that you’re going to be contacting them and then if you don’t contact them, well, you just failed their interview.

Then I’m going to ask a creative what they look for in a client and so then they’re going to tell you how they like to work. It’s more comfortable with a creative if you work how they like to work because their creative process is their creative process. You want to find creatives that like freedom, but deliver on time. If you look at the Ringba website, it’s wild; it’s like really well done. Our designers are incredible artists, they communicate well, they usually deliver on time and if don’t they tell us first. For that, I reward them with essentially creative freedom. What I get is this entirely different out of this world work that says that we as a company think differently and do things differently and that’s the exciting proposition that we want to get across and so that’s how I like to work with the designers. I’m always going to ask them what are their ideas for our project, and are they excited about those ideas? The last thing I want is a creative person that’s not excited about those ideas.

You like their work; it’s your job then to pad your schedule so that if they say it’s in two weeks and you know it’s going to be four that you know it’s a four-week project, so you’re not going to get upset about it. Because here’s the thing, some creatives are amazing artists, so they don’t understand how to quote, and they think that quoting a shorter timeline that you’re going to be more excited about working with them and then when they over deliver, if their work is excellent, you’ll forgive them. I don’t understand this process; it happens a lot. Some of them are – they’re just artists, and I can’t explain it any further than that, but when you find one you really like, don’t get mad when they don’t deliver on time, just know they’re not going to and then mathematically look at their patterns and then be like, “Oh, okay, two weeks, great. All right, team, it’s going to be four weeks,” right? Because when you find a great artist, they’re great and you need to work with them.

How to Hire a Call Center or BPO

This is when you want to take your business to the next level, and you want to do some warm transfers maybe, or you want to do callbacks on your data. Or you want them to do something related to your phone calls, but you don’t want to open your own call center, you hire a business process outsourcing company. A company that has a ton of people already and will run your campaign for you and manage everything. A lot of these are overseas, so again, the same process as I’ve already told you to apply and first and foremost, how quickly and thoroughly do they communicate? If they’re super responsive and they communicate thoroughly whenever you have an issue, or you need something, they’re going to be super responsive and communicate thoroughly.

If they don’t get back to you quickly during the setup process or the sales cycle or anything like that, anticipate when you need something that it’s going to suck. You also want to know how well your contact at the center speaks English and what the quality of English is and you should ask them if you can call in and speak to some of their reps first to see the quality of English of the people that work at the center if they’re overseas. If they won’t let you talk to some of the people that are actual agents at the center, that’s a warning sign. Also, you want to look at the overall size of the BPO’s operation in the number of seats they have. You ask them how many seats do you guys have? If they say they have 50 seats, they’re small BPO, and they may not do an excellent job for your campaign, they may not have been able to expand. Or maybe they’re super amazing, and they’re at 50, but they’re growing. It’s up for you to decide. Now if they have 500 to a 1000 or hundreds of people, you at least know that they’re a multimillion-dollar operation and they have to have some management expertise.

Otherwise, you cannot run a call center with 500 to 1000 people; it’s just doesn’t work, it’ll go out of business. BPO margins aren’t huge. They’re going to be anywhere from 15 to 35% on average, and so they need to be good at operations if they have hundreds of people or they’ll fail. I like to ask them how many campaigns they’re currently running; if they say two, I’m concerned if they say 25 I’m less concerned. Because that means they’re good at bringing on new campaigns and they do it regularly and so if they do it typically, they probably won’t screw mine up. I ask them what their training process is for new campaigns, and I ask them to walk me through how they train all their agents in detail and do their onboarding process. If that seems like a thorough process and they know exactly what it is, that’s a good sign. I want to know how long they’ve been in business; I want to work with a BPO that’s been around for a few years because if they’ve only been around a year or less, that could be a problem. I ask them for their employee turnover statistics because every time someone quits that works on your campaign, they got to train a new one.

If they have low turnover and they take good care of their employees, those employees are going to get better at my campaign and then I’m going to be more successful. I’m going to ask them their average hold time statistics. Because it’s vital for me to know that, and then when they give those to me, I’m going to judge them based on whether they’re lower or higher, and I don’t want my people on hold if it’s inbound, I want them to answer. That’s the original guideline we go by. If I’m okay with their AHT from the get-go, I’m going to judge them by that, and if they exceed it, they’re fantastic, if they’re worse, then we got work to do.

I’m going to ask what percentage of sales versus service do they maintain on their floor? Because I want to know because I’m focused on sales, you’re going to be focused on sales, if they have sales experience, do they have sales leaders? Do they have people who are great at sales that can teach other people how to do that? If they’re an entirely service based organization and I want them to make sales, that means I need to fly a trainer out to their facility to train their trainers on how to be experts on our campaign and that’s a lot of work. Lastly, how do you find these? Simple, you Google it, hey, BPO in the Philippines. You referrals, that’s a great way to go. If you need help with this, hit up your Ringba rep, we can show you where to find some of them, message boards and then contact center trade shows, a lot of BPOs exhibit there. You want to work with the big ones, the big ones exhibit, and that’s how you find them.

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