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As a small business hiring is one of the biggest hurdles you will have to jump.  The first hire can be pivotal to how you feel about growing your business and having more staff.  

Michelle talks about that first hire she added and what that was like for her as a business owner and now being at the place of having seven employees and growing.  JoyGenea gives insight into using subcontractors to grow her business and supporting other solopreneurs. Together they talk about the tools they use and the best steps they have found to attract the best talent to work with.

They touch on a section of an article in the Harvard Business Review Nov/Dec 2019 “For Women In Business” Professor Sheppard about hiring as anonymous as possible. Assigning numbers to applicants and removing ways to google candidates.  JoyGenea talks about recently being on a hiring committee and actually doing these things and what that was like for her.

Don’t be afraid to grow your business because you are not sure how to hire. You can be afraid you will screw it up, we all feel that way at first and then you push through it.  Learn some tips from Michelle and JoyGenea and laugh with them as they explore hiring and expanding your business.


M:  Hi Everyone I’m Michelle, owner of BadCat Digital.

J:  I’m JoyGenea and I own Solutions by JoyGenea and welcome to IF These Heels Could Talk.

M:  Today on our show we’re talking about hiring people.  Ugh, I don’t like hiring people. Do you like hiring people?

J:  I haven’t quite decided yet. 

M:  Everybody so far that I talked to struggles to find the right staff.  Struggles with the hiring.  Interviewing is really disruptive.  Just putting out a job.  Sorting through resumes.  It’s very time consuming and it always comes at a time, especially for a small businesses, when you don’t have extra time because the whole reason you’re hiring somebody is that you’re busy and you need someone.

J:  Well remember when I finally hired my first like major employee and remember the reason why. My mom had been hit by a car while walking across the road and I was trying to take care of her.  Like we were at desperate.  People don’t wait this long.

M: Right.

J:  FYI.  Just learn from those of us…

M:  So the first tip is-

J:  Do not wait that long.

M: Well actually this is something that for those people who are familiar with the entrepreneurial operating system and Traction, will be familiar with is knowing and planning your next several hires including in your executive team and in your leadership team.  And that’s something that’s really important.  I’m constantly thinking who am I going to hire next and because of that…

J:  Now that your business is at this size. That was not how it originally started.

M:  Noooo. God no. 

J:  How hard was it to hire that first hire?  Let’s talk about the first hire.  For the small business owners that first hire.

M: The first hire.  Ok, I had no idea what I was doing.

J:  Uh huh.

M:  I was super nervous.  I was probably more nervous than anybody that I interviewed.  I ended up hiring the worst interview that we did.  That I did.

J:  Yup.

M:  Because there was just something about him and I couldn’t put my finger on it.  And I couldn’t figure it out.  But now 2 years later he’s still with me.

J:  I would tell you that you got really lucky with your first hire.

M: I totally got really lucky.

J:  Ok I would tell you about 85-90% of the small business owners I know the first one is one of your worst.

M:  Yeah.

J:  And you just got to get that.

M:  And learn it.  My second one was my worst. Yeah cuz I just totally and completely lucked out with the first.  I didn’t even post a job.  A friend of mine who I was telling that I was gonna hire and kind of what I was looking for cuz I had no idea really.

J:  Yup

M:  I didn’t even know if I wanted part-time or full-time.  She gave me the name of somebody that she worked with who she knew was looking.

J:  So do you already recognize the two differences.

M: Absolutely.

J: And what were they.

M: Well the first one was a personal referral. And the second one I put out a job description and interviewed people and chose one to hire.

J:  Boundaries.  You started out with the specifics.  I need these things.  Like this is kind of what is required.  Like you were very specific about it. And not to say some of my best even sub-contractors have come from conversation. 

M: Absolutely.

J:  So it’s a great thing, but when you’re not clear…

M: Right.

J:  About what you’re hiring for and what their goals are gonna be and so forth.  You can wind up in the weeds.

M: Right.  Well and the thing is for me that I wasn’t clear with the second one which was the worst one.

J:  Yeah.

M:  I’m sorry that I wasn’t clear with the first one which was the best one but I was clear with second one.

J:  Ok.

M:  Or at least I thought I was. And that’s the difference because you think you know what you want.  You think you know what you need and then the person gets into the roll and oooooo crap.

J: And as a new small business that’s really common.

M: Yes.

J: So that’s what we’re trying to pass along here.  That none of that is odd.  All of that is really kind of normal.

M: Right.

J:  And it leads us back into that knowing being slow about the hiring.

M:  Yes.  So what does everybody say?  Hire slow, fire fast.  Right?

J: And what does that mean though?  Like you throw it out there nice little quip.

M:  Yeah.  Well for me it means, and this is something that I did, resisting the good enough.  It means not picking somebody from your first pull of applicants just because you’re done.

J:  Yeah.

M:  It means waiting until you find exactly what you need and it means spending a lot of time – time you don’t necessarily have.  Thinking through what it is you need.  And so it kind of goes back to 2 years later the lessons that I’ve learned are, I’m thinking always about who do I need next and I have a short list in my head of the next 3ish people that I kinda want to hire. The last person that I hired with that skill set was somebody that I just met and I was like you would be really good and I knew that I needed that person in the next 6 months and so I waited until it was about a month before I needed them and I had a conversation. 

J: And I would definitely tell you that is exactly how businesses grow and segue. 

M:  Yeah.

J:  That’s a perfect description.  That was not how you started.

M:  No not at all.  Oh my gosh.

J:  Pants on fire is kind of where you start

M:  Pants on fire is where you start. 

J:  But after a couple of hires.

M:  Yeah.

J:  You should be evolving to the place of we don’t wait till pants on fire. 

M: Right. 

J: We’re observant.  We’re, you know…

M:  We recognize the signs that our pants are about to be on fire.

J: Exactly.  It’s getting warm.

M:  It’s getting warm.

J:  It’s getting warm.  It’s like I’m feeling a little stressed about timelines.

M:  Notice that we’re not saying liar pants on fire.  We’re just saying we’ve got to move because our pants are on fire.

J:  Yes.  And make better choices.

M:  Yes.  So what are some of your hiring tips because I know you work with a lot of sub-contractors.  You do a lot of virtual hires.  I don’t do that so what is it that you can kind of share about how that’s different.

J:  There’s a variety of things that are different with that one in particular if like they’re in-person sub-contractors.  Again they are not employees.  So I have to be really clear on I don’t regulate your time.  I anticipate you’re going to spend 4 hours in here’s the list of things.  But I don’t, you know, your time is flexible.

M:  You don’t actively manage their time.

J:  I can’t.  Is it frustrating at times.  Do I really need something to happen?

M:  Yesterday.

J:  Yup.  But that’s not how sub-contracting works and I have to be really respectful of those boundaries.  And sub-contractors are very comfortable in the fact that well I’m not able to work today because this came up.  Unlike employees, yeah it’s not their problem.

M:  Right.

J:  It’s mine if I choose to continue to work with them or not.  And I would say one of the things I like about the sub-contracting process in particular is the test drive. 

M:  Yeah.

J:  I do feel like I get to take a nice test drive with things and I do get to establish different types of boundaries as far as not responsible for certain things. I am not responsible for their health insurance, their vacation time. Ya know.

M: Right.

J:  I’m able to just be like you did X amount of work here’s money.  I got a tangible result. And understanding the difference between sub-contractors that are just getting certain things done, tasks done particularly in the virtual world and contracting and hiring consultants. 

M: Right. That’s very different.

J:  Those are very different things.

M:  Yeah.

J:  But virtually I’m really starting to understand people use it interchangeably.

M:  Yeah, they do

J:  And so I’ve had some really interesting things that way.  Also in the virtual world you’re rated. 

M:  Right.

J: And so I actually have to respond to people as they apply for positions and thank them and tell them the timeline when I’m going to be getting back to them because they get to rate their experience with me also. 

M: Right so you’re rated as a person hiring them as well as you’re rating them as A.  That’s really important because this is why I’ve avoided this – because I’m terrible at this.  I let things become emergencies.  I want to be able to turn to somebody and say I need you to do this today.  You need to drop what you’re doing.  I need you to reprioritize.  And I’m not as organized as you are with handing over tasks.  I’m just not.  And I after 10 years of this world and 10 years of managing people’s tasks and managing people moving forward and my own company and in somebody else’s I can tell you that would not work for me.  I would be rated poorly.  Because I’m bad at it and so I think that that’s part of this conversation as well, understanding your own leadership style.  Understanding where your own capabilities lie. Where your own problems lie cuz it hasn’t changed and it’s not going to.

J:  No and part of the reason that the virtual world, the upwork and those types of things work for me is I’m actually building a pool.

M:  Yes.

J: So I have a pool of a variety. So I can reach out to them and say ok I’ve got this project and they can bid on it and I’ve got 3 or 4 trusted people now and about 4 different buckets.  I’m starting to build that up.  And that’s, I’m really liking that. And that allows me my freedom and flexibility that I’m just not quite into that employee position yet.  But that’s worked like I said that’s working well.  But it’s very interesting when I’m like you said building for that.  I do have to spend that time of immediately responding which I think a lot of people would appreciate that much communication when they apply for a job.

M: I completely agree. 

J: They want to know that you got the information, you’re looking it over. On this date I’ll be making a decision and I’ll let you know.

M:  Stick to your own timelines.  Stick to your own promises.  Just like you would with a client.

J:  Yes.  I really wind up treating it just like that when I’ve got a new need for a technician or something and I’m in there, that’s really… and I do virtually, I also do web interviews. If we can’t even get the video cameras to work and they can’t work out the software, I’m usually pretty clear we’re probably going to struggle with other directions.  Whereas I had an interview last week we used 4 different softwares before we found one that worked but we didn’t quit. 

M: Right.

J:  She’s like well I’ve tried this one.  I’m like ugh nope still can’t see you.  Like it took us 15 minutes but she didn’t quit and neither did I.  And that told me something about her character and so forth so I don’t get even jittery about the technical breakdowns.  I’m like oh let’s see how we handle this.  Let’s see how much they know.

M: Well it’s just the same as you know I now refuse to give people the address of our location.  When I invite somebody over to an interview and I say this is the time and we can interview here and they come back to me with what’s the address, I’m out.  Because I need somebody who’s willing to solve their own problems and come up with their own thing and the address to a business is readily available.

J:  Yeah.

M:  It’s readily available online in a variety of places. Google has it so to me that’s a sign of, I’ll just be really frank, laziness.  Because if I can’t trust you to come up with the address for where the interview is then I can’t trust you to solve a problem that is going to face you, you’re going to need me to spoon feed you and again my own limitations as a manager, as a leader…

J:  I think any leader…

M:  Well not everybody.  Not everybody sees that as a problem

J:  In a small business your time should not be spent spoon feeding your employees.

M:  But some people like it. Some people have a more of a micro-managing style and I’m not going to take that away from them. Some people…

J: That’s nice of you.

M: Want, you know, some people do have that style where they want to bring people up from nothing and they you know sometimes in some jobs you don’t have a choice because you’re hiring people who are teenagers. Who have never had jobs before.

J: That’s true.

M: Who don’t understand the protocol.  I mean my expectations for a 16 year old and my expectations for a 22 year old are very different.

J:  And they should be.

M:  I agree.  So if I’m hiring at a gas station, a bunch of 16 year olds or like let’s say grocery, because most gas station employees are over 18 cuz they’re selling cigarettes and booze.  If I’m hiring somebody and it’s their first job, they don’t know all of this.

J:  No they don’t. 

M:  So you’re gonna need somebody who’s coachable, teachable, trainable and help them understand that they get to take initiative and they get to solve their own problems.

J: Good point.

M:  My expectation is that people will be there already.  By the time there in their mid-twenties. 

J: That’s what you need on your bus.

M: And that’s what I need.

J:  Yes. 

M: That’s what I need from a teammate. That’s what my team, my other employees need from their teammate, is the ability to solve problems on their own.

J: So, there’s another issue about hiring that you just stated.  My sub-contractors and my virtual people don’t have to know each other, like each other, or engage with each other.

M: Right. So, they don’t have to fit into the team

J:  No.  And I know your environment.  Well and I have to thank you.  Last week you invited me over to enjoy Friendsgiving which was fabulous because as a solopreneur, my virtual assistants that are all over the world I don’t have all of those types of things and so how awesome was it to sit at the table and hang out and hear all that but I get you’re hiring for a whole team now.  Like it has to work.

M:  It has to fit.  And that’s part of when you’re looking at hiring so one of things that I see people do when they’re hiring for a team is they will put out a job description with a list of skills and requirements.  So I want somebody to know these softwares.  I want somebody to be able to do these tasks.  And then they will put that job description out with maybe some fluff about the mission of the company or whatever.

J:  Sure.

M:  And then they’ll interview people and the interview will all be focused on those skills and tasks.  And at no point will they have gotten to know the person that they’re interviewing.  Not in any sort of real way. They’ll know what skills they can do and what tasks they can achieve but in my world that’s the easiest thing to teach.

J:  Yeah.

M: The traits that that person brings to the job, work ethic, timeliness, initiative.

J: Drama, no drama

M:  Creativity.  You know problem-solving skills.  None of that is prevalent in that process where I put out a job description that is full of skills and requirements and that’s where I think sometimes the traditional kind of interview process that a lot of people are aiming for. Because in small business you emulate large business, right?

J: You do.

M:  And a large business does just that.  There’s an HR department that will put together a job description and post the job in six places and then, you know, they’ll do an initial round of interviews maybe with the manager from the department maybe without.  Clearing those people then it goes to the next step and so as small businesses were all trying to emulate a process that I frankly think is flawed.  I think that the process of small business owner goes through is better. Where we are looking for people that fit.  People that fit our culture.  People that fit our team.  And sometimes we fumble on some of the legalities of it cuz there’s a lot of things that you’re not allowed to ask.

J:  Yes.

M: But what I’ve discovered is that if I can break down a person’s, you know, interview mode

J:  Yes.

M:  And get them to just have a conversation with me. I’m gonna learn a lot more in that conversation about the traits that they will bring to the job.  And frankly, if the person has the right traits but only some of the right skills on a small team you can still juggle things around to get them to fit.  Because you can still understand these are the essential tasks that need to be filled and the right person will fill those tasks and the right person you can juggle things around and in your team because when you have a group of the right people they’re open to that.  They’re open to learning. They’re open to growing.

J:  Well and your team is usually open.  You’ve been adding so many people.

M:  Yeah.

J:  In 2 years that’s the reality of it.  At this point they are very much like oh who’s the new person and how can we help them. You know oh great this is going to take a few things off of my plate.  So I’ve definitely found them to be very amenable.

M:  Well and everybody is doing things that they would rather not do.  And everybody is doing things that they love as well.  So when I bring a person in my, what I’m looking for is I’m looking at the things that I know that my current team members don’t enjoy.  Or the things that they’re not as good at as other things.  And so when I bring a person in it becomes a relief point and not a point of contention.

J: Good observation and a really good thing to point out for people because that is how you organically grow. 

M: Right.

J:  And keep that team intact and excited about new people.

M:  Yeah cuz nobody is trying to protect their territory.

J:  You know for a person who is really competitive.

M:  Yeah, very competitive.

J:  It’s really impressive that that does not translate in that environment. 

M:  Yes, because I am very, very competitive.

J:  You are.

M:  And there’s a lot of people on my team who are competitive as well.

J:  But in that space, I mean I’ve worked there. They’re not…

M:  Yeah, each get to own what they own.

J: And they’re responsible for that and you keep them responsible for their lane. 

M:  Yeah.  And we have conversations about where they want their lane to be. And so then when we bring somebody in who’s a part of that and can help refine their lane to the lane they want then there’s no harsh feelings, resentment problems. And it’s still a small team so we will see how that goes and how that grows.  But it’s a very competitive team.

J: Don’t play games with these people unless you plan to like mean it when you play it…. I love them but I’m just saying I can tell I’m in.  Overall a 100% in.

M: So that’s what I would say.  I would say resist good enough which is my definition of hire slow and fire fast.  And I would say interview conversationally and I would say look for traits instead of skills and I would say just don’t throw out the job description, it has to be out there so that people can understand what their day is going to look like but be flexible with the job description.  Let go of it in your heart and your head when you’re talking with somebody.  If they feel like they’re going to fit well, find them a place.  It might not be today but find them a place because when you find the right person it’s so much better to just find them the right seat then trying to find the right person for the seat.

J:  Yeah.

M: If that makes sense.

J:  Nope. That’s really well said.

M:  Yeah.

J: And you know when we were talking about small businesses and that one of the best places to start is part-time. 

M:  Yes and no.  I like where you’re headed.

J: For me, definitely, part-time was a good place for me to start with sub-contractor that I had doing a majority of tasks. 

M:  Oh for sub-contractors I agree.

J: Cuz that was so overwhelming, that first process….

M:  Yes.

J:  …of delegating and that kind of stuff.  I was surprised.  Like I was so overwhelmed I thought this would be super easy I’m just going to hand this person stuff.

M:  No.

J:  There’s a whole bunch of training and onboarding that needs to happen. Just FYI.  And as you’re doing that you are delegating but you spend almost the same amount of time either training.

M: If not more.

J:  Right. So training and then double checking.

M: Right.

J: And then giving it back to them to do again because that’s how they learn.  And so I really was…. I wasn’t anticipating that and the pants on fire part.  I just shouldn’t have waited that long.  It would have been much, much easier. So back to the part-time/full-time thing.

M: I think for sub-contractors you’re absolutely right. 

J:  Yeah.

M:  I mean if I’m looking for somebody to fill in gaps and do work on the side kind of thing on their own time and their own space with their own equipment, I completely agree.

J:  But how about employees now.

M:  That’s where I disagree because when you put out a job posting for a part-time job you’re going to get a different pool of candidates than a full-time job.

J: That’s fair.

M:  And you’re going to get a pool of candidates that may not, and this is a gross stereotype by gross I mean large not disgusting.  It is something that I have found true. By and large the candidates that you get have other priorities in lives bigger then you.  And I have a realistic expectation for a work-life balance but with a full-time employee you get a person who wants to make the job for you a part of their life in a bigger way. Literally.

J:  That’s true. It has a bigger impact in their life. 

M: Right.

J:  Like mutually.

M:  Monetarily, mutually it’s a larger commitment.

J:  Ok that’s a really good point.

M: And so to me, it’s kind of like the difference between like Tinder and

J:  Yeah.

M: Right.  So if you’re looking for somebody who’s committed on Tinder you’re looking in the wrong place. Right and so for those of you who don’t know what Tinder is just go look it up because we aren’t going to devolve into that.

J:  No.

M:  Right now. 

J:  Two married women should not devolve into that. Our knowledge base is low.

M:  I shouldn’t even know what Tinder is.  But that’s kind of what I’m trying to get at. When you are less committed to a person you are going to attract people who are less committed to you and that just part of that expectations versus the reality.  So if I’m looking for a part-time person, my expectation is I’m going to have to be really flexible with hours because they’re going to be a stay at home mom with kids in school or they’re going to be a student who has class schedules that share the time or they’re going to be… and in my perspective from a staff point of view, the onboarding still takes time.  It still costs just as much to bring them in and they leave a lot faster. 

J: All good points.

M: The training you disrupted. You have to keep track of their schedule.  It’s just a pain.  So, from my perspective I would rather wait for a full-time person and when we have the extra work that needs to be done we put it out as an intern kind of level.

J:  Yeah.

M: Because that’s a different pay scale.  It’s a different level of expectation.  We pay interns.

J:  It just doesn’t work to not pay them.

M: Right.

J:  There again we attract something when we do that.

M:  Right.  And that’s kind of my point you know what is it that I’m willing to give because is my level of commitment is going to match theirs? 

J:  I think that brings up a really good point.  I know as a small business, as a solopreneur type of space my next leap might only be able to afford a part-time.  But really keeping in mind everything that you stated, it’s a part-time that might work into full-time and I’m looking for that type of person that can possibly blend on that. They’re slowly merging into the working world again potentially.

M: So this was actually something that I had conceptualized for my first employee too cuz I was like I really just don’t feel like I can commit to a full-time salary.  It’s a lot of money and I just can’t commit to it.  I just can’t commit to it. And I had another business owner who just point blank looked at me in the eye and said skip it. Figure it out.  You will find work for the full-time person if they’re here full time.  So whatever you’re thinking about like dancing around it just bite the bullet and do it and figure it out in your own personal life how you can cut your pay for a month to get it sorted out and get a full-time person in because your onboarding costs are the same.  Your equipment costs are the same.  Your body costs the same.  The only thing that you’re saving is the least cost of an employee which is half of a salary.

J:  Good points.  So glad we brought this up.  This is a good good point.

M: And by the way I resisted it so hard core.

J:  And that’s what small business owners do.

M: That’s what they do.

J:  We do.

M:  Yeah that’s what we do.

J:  If you’re listening to this you got a million excuses. We’ve heard them all. We’ve said them all.  And we’re telling you on the other side of that.

M:  On the other side of it I am so glad I went straight for full-time.

J:  Now you brought in an article.

M:  I did. I did bring in an article. So super quick.  I was reading the most current issue of Harper Business Review because I am a pretentious jerk.  No, I’m just kidding. 

J: I would not say that.  You are a small knowledge junkie. You’re just a knowledge junkie.

M: I am a knowledge junkie and frankly it’s one of the things that when I like I just keep in my bag because you can dip in and out of a magazine way easier than a book.  They’re lighter, easier to carry.  It only comes out every couple of months.  It’s a little pricey but I think I’m gonna subscribe to make it cheaper.  Anyway focused.  Ok so there is an article in here that we’re actually going to talk about in a different episode because it is about women in business and whether or not beauty is a liability for women in business and I find that very interesting and when I brought the article to JoyGenea she was like yes please.  But there’s a section in here about hiring that I’m gonna read. Just so everybody knows so I can site my source Harvard Business Review, November to December 2019. An article by Professor Shephard.  Called For Women in Business Beauty is a Liability and this is Leigh D Shephard and assistant professor at Washington State University.  She says the recruitment process should be as anonymous as possible for a long as possible.  For instance, you can have a third party assign ID numbers to resumes or applications so that people’s names don’t give any clue to gender or race.  This also make it less likely that someone involved in hiring will google the candidates.  Naughty, naughty.  And find photos that show their gender, race, and level of attractiveness and other personal information, in my case, age.  That’s what I’ve done it for.  At the interviews – I’m just owning it.  Back to the quote.  At the interview stage organizations should make sure that lots of people interact with each candidate to balance out individual biases and idiosyncrasies.  So when JoyGenea and I were looking at this we talked about this a little bit because she has an experience recently where this was really hard to avoid.

J:  You don’t realize everything they just talked about in there like neutering something to the point of being just very blanched makes the interviewing process really, really challenging from the other side.  It was really was… MY brain craved all of those questions. 

M: Gender, race, age.

J: Gender, race, age.

M:  A picture.  Some sort of visual.

J:  Something to go to.  It was fascinating as I would read I’m like oh let’s see if they graduated college here and here they must be about….  Like my brain was literally doing the gymnastics to like fill in as many puzzle pieces.

M:  I do it too. I facebook stalk people before I interview them.  I look them up on google.  I want to see what their online presence is

J: And I wanted to be really authentic to this because it was a large committee.  It was for a big kind of position and I really wanted to learn.  And I forbid myself from doing anything that would beyond that. And it really was challenging.  I will just let everybody know for me it was really challenging and I spoke to other people and they said to just know people as a number.  No name, no ethnicity.  Like nothing to that and so you’re not taking any of that into account.  That’s where I struggled actually.  Is not reading it and saying oh well this written by a man in his fifties. This reads like a guy in his fifties ok.  I can translate that or this is written by a woman in her thirties.  This makes sense.  Every year I do scholarship application reviews and when I’m reading those gender, age, all of that I do take into consideration because they translate and write differently.  Their ethnicity writes differently and so I like to have the same expectation for the first year, first generation immigrant and what he’s written in his scholarship compared to the person from central Minnesota who graduated right here in town and she’s female and she’s in the nursing program.  Like those are different. They’re written differently.  They might be telling similar stories and I’m going to hold them to the same level but I’m also going to be knowledgeable of the fact the information is coming from a different space a different head space.  

M:  Yeah and I should say that I don’t do this.  I don’t look people up with any sense of I’m not gonna hire somebody if. 

J:  Right.

M:  I’m not going to hire somebody if they’re a person of color.  I’m not gonna hire somebody, but that would be the really blatant racist, ageist use of that.

J: Like by us blanching it to that level I felt like I wasn’t able to add content.

M: You’re not able to connect with the applicant.

J:  I didn’t.  I didn’t feel like I connected with the applicants.  And the next round of interviews were only done on phone so now we we’re just a little bit of information and the next round was then done digitally. Like then we finally had a visual and that was really interesting at that point.

M: Well I think that there’s some value in this and I need to learn from this because even though I don’t intentionally do this for that purpose I still do it. 

J:  And your brain naturally, trust me when you take it away you want it like water. 

M: Right.  Because our brains want to categorize people.  Our brains want to find out where we connect with people and so which categories am I in that matches that person’s category so that we would have something to talk about.  That we would have something to connect on but we’re treading on some super thin ice here because just like they recommend in this article, don’t do this because when you are looking at that skills based job description you don’t have anything to compare people on based on other than whether or not they know how to use Microsoft excel.

J: Right.

M:  Or whatever.  Completely by the way if one other person puts Microsoft office suite on a resume I’m going to scream. 

J:  We’re at that place.

M: We’re at the place where this is a ubiquitous part of our lives and it’s like knowing how to use a smartphone.  You would never think to put that on a resume.  Knowing how to use word is not resume worthy.  That’s my little side rant. The point here is I do this and I shouldn’t.

J:  I’ll be curious when like when you.

M: With the next person.

J:  And if you want I can put numbers on them. If you want I will be happy to help you and you will never see the names I will just give you numbers.  It’s really fascinating.  Like everything was blacked out.  This was applicant number 11. This was number 12.  I could so not like identify with them.  I never remembered their numbers.  I had to literally like make a list.

M:  Because there’s nothing about them that’s memorable.

J: Right.  I had to make a list number 11 was from this University.  That’s it.  I at least had universities and I could remember the rest that went with them but I could not remember that number 11 went to Northwestern.

M: Well and the point I will say that my interview process is pretty small like it’s just me making the decisions so I will put out a job and I read the resumes of the people that come in and I’m looking for some really specific things like if this is a copywriter position, can you spell.  You know stuff like that.  And then I bring in anybody who passes that level for an interview. But it would be really, really interesting and some I pursue harder than others because I feel like there is more potential there and it would be really, really, really interesting to see what would happen if somebody else conducted that search for me and all I knew was applicant number 11 is coming in for an interview Monday at 3:30. 

J:  It changes things. And it might be in a good way.  I can see also it hones some very different skills for me.

M:  Yeah.

J:  I just had to look at what was on the paper. 

M:   You can’t extrapolate.

J:  No.  I couldn’t add stuff I couldn’t pull things out.

M: And that’s the whole point that’s why this is dangerous because what we’re adding in our own minds may or may not be accurate.

J: Right.  And it’s not doing anybody a favor.

M: Right.

J:  If we’ve added content that’s not really there.

M: And that’s where that individual biases and idiosyncrasies come in because if we’re adding you and adding in our own experiences and you know I am much more likely to hire a kinda sarcastic maybe a little sassy, highly articulate, very high language skill woman in her thirties.  Like I’m much more likely to do that because I’m gonna connect with them better, of course I am. And that’s how I got myself in trouble before.

J: So we’re learning.

M:  Yeah.  We’re always learning.  And that’s I think the biggest thing to take away from this is no matter how weary you are in the process.  If you’re just about to hire your first person or if you’re in the process of you know growing a team of 7-8 people, 15-20 people, 30-50 people there’s still something to learn and something to make yourself better at. So that’s it that’s what we had to offer today.

J: Thank you for joining us today for our conversation about hiring. We look forward to you joining us at another time.