Every black entrepreneur I’ve ever come across has complained about this at one time or another.”Finding good help” it’s one of the greatest challenges of most black entrepreneurs. So what is the problem? First and foremost, many times in our search it’s a last ditch effort. We will never make the best decisions at the last minute. I too have suffered through trying to find the right people for a much-needed job, taking the time to train them or worse yet, training them and they fall through then allow myself to get frustrated and ending up doing the job myself. As we all know, this turns us against hiring other people, our lesson becomes, it’s better just to do the job ourselves. But is it? I did a survey and asked several black entrepreneurs how they find the right people I’ve also included my own experience on how I try to make the process easier. Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.
Looking in the Wrong Places
Quite often, black entrepreneurs are friends with other black entrepreneurs or we rely heavily on them as well as contacts on social networks in the search to find someone to do a job. This is a HUGE mistake. We have to keep in mind, that quite often, our friends and people in social networks know a lot of “unemployed” people. To make matters worse, in a lot of situations, they’re either related to those people or friends with them. They are doing those people a favor because they “need a job” rarely because YOU “need a job DONE.” Their loyalty extends to their family and friends or whatever the situation may be. It does not extend to you. They’re not often thinking that this is wasting your time as much as they are thinking the relative or friend just needs money. In addition, this could be destructive to your relationship with the person.
One of my greatest pet peeves, is wasting time. So in essence, the last person you should ask for help to hire someone is a friend or business associate. Sometimes it does but moreover, it rarely works out. You need to be able to maintain your composure and remove all emotion or obligation when hiring someone and express your dismay when the job has not been done to your standards. You lose control of the situation when you depend on friends and business associates to help. There’s a good chance you may need to fire the person and this probably won’t sit well the original contact. (Click NEXT above or below for next segment)
This may or may not apply to your industry all I can do is give you an example of what I’ve done wrong. In the process of looking for writers, for example, or someone to cover an event for my industry business, I’ve often looked for people with a heavy social network presence in an effort to kill two birds with one stone. This is a mistake because they’re not focused on what I need their focused on what THEY need. While it’s okay to create win-win situations, that balance shifts when you’re paying for services … to YOUR advantage.
Why should you pay someone to build their brand or pay them to pimp YOUR business? If you send them to an event that they would otherwise not get into, the job is to completely cover YOUR BRAND. If they can start a relationship by getting a number that’s fine, but a majority of their time should not be spent mingling and taking pictures not following one person around and trying to get to know them while they are on your clock. They can’t forget their main job but if you are not there … oh well. Nevertheless, the beauty of it is you get to see the results on your social networks, hopefully, DURING the event. I would strongly suggest hiring someone who has mediocre or small numbers on social networks and no ulterior motives to cover events for you but they should KNOW the key players, that’s the MOST important part.
At the end of the day, the great thing about most industries is relationships, they are paramount and it is rare if not impossible to develop them in one meeting or by using your brand as a gateway for themselves. Another great thing about relationships, if someone is not a good fit, your clients will usually let you know. Also, be very wary of people who use the word “we” in describing your business. This is a great indicator that they feel they are an equal instead of a freelancer or contractor.
You’re Too Available
In the 21 years that I’ve been doing business, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve allowed myself to listen and get sucked into the vortex of other people’s problems and extend myself in ways that I should not have. The bottom line is, when people have access to you, they will ask you for things. This is not your job, you are hiring someone. You’re not a welfare agency, psychiatrist, bank, or a until-payday service (unless you want to charge them heavy interest like they do) until something better comes along. This is why as I’ve said in “looking in the wrong places” it’s best to higher people where you can remove all emotion and attachment. Unfortunately, people take advantage of your kindness and we all know what they say about kindness.
At the end of the day, a job needs to be done. No ifs, ands or buts. I would strongly suggest people connect to you by email as a primary source of contact and use discretion in your response times. If it’s not an emergency don’t respond as quickly. This gives you time to think about your responses and your strategies for responding. Can you reach Walmart’s board by phone if you’re an employee? How often do employees even know who owns Best Buy, for example? You have to create some distance between you and the person you’re hiring they are NOT your equal and you have to establish that.
You’re Too Soft
When interviewing a potential candidate be very careful about being too friendly. I know this sounds harsh but truth be told (again) they’re not your equal there someone you are hiring to do a job that’s it. When you’re too soft it’s an easy way for people to take advantage perhaps not intentionally, but it’s just human nature. They learn your soft spots and your buttons and how to push them. This is why it’s important not to hire friends. friends of friends or associates. They already know where your soft spots are.
TD Jakes said something really interesting one day, he stated that if you didn’t know him and you work for him you’ll probably think he’s abusive. While that may sound harsh, as black entrepreneurs we should know exactly what that means. There is a job to be done, You’re getting paid for that job… there is no excuse, just do it!
Job Not Defined
It would be a perfect world if potential candidates could think like us. But the truth is, they can’t and they don’t. Therefore, it is necessary that we define what we expect of them and it is best that it is in writing. I know, more work, but at the end of the day less stress! Write out exactly what you expect, put it in PDF format, And email it to them and have them sign it and send it back. At the end of that statement, include that you will pay for when job assignment has been completed ON THE DAYS THAT YOU PAY EVERYONE.
Playing Money Tree
As black entrepreneurs, many of us completely understand what it’s like to be broke.We know what it’s like to chase money, and we know what it’s like to worry about bills. The difference is, IT’S US, and OUR experienced in building OUR business! Being sympathetic will cost us dearly. If not, put us back in the same position that we were originally in. Your business money on reserve is YOUR business money on reserve! What if YOU have an emergency? The only thing that you can do as give them a day that they will be paid and leave it at that this goes back to what I’ve already mentioned, people having easy access to you and hiring the wrong people. Just about every situation where someone asked me to pay them early, the work has ALWAYS been compromised and subpar because they’re focused on the money instead of getting the job done right. Define the days that payment will be made and stick by it no matter what. The first or the 15th, for example, and tell them this in advance and let them know there are no exceptions. If they ask you to make an exception blame it on your accountant or bookkeeper or tell them you can only pay early if you can REDUCE THE PRICE that you were going to pay them by 30 to 50%. See how they respond then. Pay on time get better results, Pay early, get crappy results.
Just about every situation where someone asked me to pay them early, the work has ALWAYS been compromised and subpar because they’re focused on the money instead of getting the job done right. Define the days that payment will be made and stick by it no matter what. The first or the 15th, for example, and tell them this in advance and let them know there are no exceptions. If they ask you to make an exception blame it on your accountant or bookkeeper or tell them you can only pay early if you can REDUCE THE PRICE that you were going to pay them by 30 to 50%. See how they respond then. Pay on time get better results, Pay early, get crappy results.
Search not Planned
We are all guilty of this, whenever we need someone we wait until the 11th hour. Mostly because we are avoiding the stress and frustration that we have been through many times before. Unfortunately, when we wait until the 11th hour, we don’t find the best person. To that end, it’s because we have not properly planned out the search. This is quite often when we end up relying on friends, business associates, and social networks. This is a HUGE mistake. In order to get the best results, we have to INVEST at least an hour of our time in writing down exactly what we wand and expect.
Another mistake that I have made over the years is being too loyal to people who deliver half the service that I need. Sometimes we get an emotional bind when we know that someone is out of work they need money and we are loyal to them but not loyal to our business. What do you think is more important? As stated before, black entrepreneurs are very sympathetic to struggle. Because we have all been through it but if you want to help people find a charity or some sort of volunteer service. But don’t allow yourself to be used for or business to be mistreated or pimped by others. Your business is all you have your blood sweat and tears are in it. It is what you represent it is who you are, Hire the best people who go above and beyond not backward and below. If you’ve got to be loyal, be loyal to your business FIRST!
Not Checking References
We all know the resume game and how people play it. Of course, I’m going to put down references that speak highly of me. But the great advantage of today’s online world is that it’s easy to Google the names look at their social networks and find out much more information about them then the resume will tell you. Once again, it’s about investing the time. You are investing the time for your business, It’s better to spend an hour researching someone then 10 hours, training them and correcting their work, just to start the process all over again. The mistake could’ve been avoided. Remember the important word is “invest.”
Looking for a One Stop Shop
Another mistake that we make is it thinking that everyone is like us. We think that we can hire someone who can take direction then run with the ball in their court without having to consult with us. We think that they will think like us and do like us. We are consistently looking for ways to save time. Unfortunately, the best way to save time is to invest time. Like any other investment, you put in the small amount and hope for a much greater return. But in order to do that, you have to research the marketplace. Every now and then, you will find gold. Ironically, it could be through a reference, Unfortunately, it is still every now and then. Keep an eye on the people that you hire and see who does best and test them out for other areas to work in, you might be pleasantly surprised at how much more they can do.
Not Understanding the Job Market
Today’s millennials are all about instant gratification. In addition, they’re about branding. They’re looking for ways to build their own brand even if it means piggybacking off your years of hard work. Can you really afford that?
Wasting Your Time
We were looking for someone to design a site not long ago, I decided to go to a third party site to high freelancers. This site takes your money as a buffer then lets you look over freelancer resumes and decide who you want to hire. Then they pay the person when the job is completed. What I find really annoying is there are times you’ll come across people who act like they are doing YOU a favor. Making requests that I just don’t have time for, like trying to schedule a Skype meeting to interview me? This is unacceptable. The money is already there. I am not the one looking for job. My suggestion, see the situation for what it is upfront and move on it is you who are in control, not them.
Why are you trying to hire somebody permanently? The great thing about technology and being an black entrepreneur today is that for many jobs, they don’t require the person is actually there on the premises … you can hire them as a test, a freelance person or an independent contractor (provided you meet all tax requirements). If they work out, you can hire them for more assignments. Allow them to work themselves into part-time than full-time.
Find people who are “Hungry” or experience
You may find the BEST person for the job is someone who is not in your industry. For the most part, as black entrepreneurs, the jobs that we don’t “want” to do can often be done by other people who have no affiliation with our industry. This can be younger or older workers. If you find someone who is great at what they do ask them if they have friends who need work. Birds of a feather flock together and you may continue to strike it rich with the friends or associates of people who are hard working and focused on building your business.