June 21, 2022

Which Position Should You Hire for First (or Next)?

Which Position Should You Hire for First (or Next)?

As an online entrepreneur, the interview process can feel daunting. But armed with the actionable hiring tips from this episode, you’ll be ready to confidently post your position, conduct interviews, and find the perfect fit for your business!

When it comes to growing your team, what is the worst part of the hiring and interview process for you?

As an online entrepreneur, it can be super stressful to not only know what position you should hire for next (or first!), but also to find the right person for your team.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be complicated and with the hiring tips I’m sharing today, you’ll be able to weed out those less than ideal candidates and find the best fit for your business.


  • My foolproof, 4-step hiring and interview process to find high-quality team players as an online entrepreneur
  • What to say in your job description & how to structure your application to bring in the right people
  • The hiring tips you need to know which applicants are worth interviewing AND what to do when an applicant isn’t a good fit

PLUS: I’m giving you the inside scoop on whether you should discuss salary in an interview or not.

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.

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© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


Courtney Elmer 0:00  

Welcome back, you're listening to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast and this is episode 127. You're right in the middle of a four part series on hiring, we have been talking about what to do, what not to do, and what to look out for whenever you're hiring for your team so that you can easily find and hire Rockstar team members who will actually help your company grow. Because there is nothing more frustrating than spending all that interview process time on someone only to find out in hindsight that they weren't a good fit from the get go. But with this interview process in hand, you're going to save yourself hundreds of hours of wasted time, I guarantee it, this interview process is going to eliminate the confusion and the overwhelm. And this interview process help you make your first or your next hire with complete and total confidence. That's all coming up next.


I have seen the interview process time and time again, you go into a business Facebook group, and inevitably there is a post there from someone asking for recommendations on who to hire. Okay, I need a VA can anyone make a recommendation? I'm looking for a social media manager, can anyone make a recommendation, I really need an assistant. And that's what most people do, they put a post in the Facebook group, and they hire based off the recommendations of other people in that group. Let's fast forward about, three months, six months out 12 months out, the majority of them have already trained that person spent time with that person and let that person go. It usually doesn't work out. Why? Well, as we've covered in the last couple of episodes, there are some key interview process components that are missing.

And so if you haven't listened to those episodes, I highly encourage you stop this one right now. Go back and listen to episodes 126 and 125. The reason that the interview process post in the Facebook group method doesn't often work is for a couple of reasons. Number one, because those people who are recommending people to you to hire, don't know what your company values are, they can't actually know if that person is going to be a fit for you or not. And secondly, because oftentimes you'll get responses like, Hey, I'm looking to pick up a little bit of extra work, or I'll have some extra time available, or I know so and so she's, you know, got some extra time on her hands.

Wat you need instead is something called an intrapreneur. This is more of a technical term. If you google this, you might not find a clear answer as to what this is. But basically the difference between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur is that an entrepreneur has their own vision for their own business that they want to ultimately build. And at some point, whether it's in the near or far off future, that vision will likely conflict with your vision. an intrapreneur on the other hand, is someone who is so content, working in support of someone else's vision. They don't necessarily have a vision of their own that they want to bring to life. They have no desire to go out there and start a business of their own. but they are all for supporting someone who has that vision. And when that person can lock arms with you in support of your vision, man, is it powerful.

Courtney Elmer 5:11  

The other key thing is that you need someone who is aligned not only with your values, but also with your working style, which means to find someone who is aligned with your values and your working style, you have to first know what your values are, and what your working style is. And you know, it's interesting, because through the years, I have made every interview process mistake when it comes to hiring. And I've learned so much from that. And so often, I was always just desperate for the help. And so I didn't slow down and take the time durning the interview process to find out what that person's working style was, or if they aligned with my values and our values as a company. And so we've hired team members throughout the years who ultimately never worked out, and I had to let them go eventually, because their working style was different than mine.

We need more people who come with their own Spark. I am not going to be the fire under anyone else anymore to get things done. So let's roll the tape on that training right now.

Courtney Elmer 9:37  

So now we're going to talk about the interview process, how to use your accountability chart to determine your next hire whether it's your very first hire ever, whether it's just simply your next hire, as well as the interview process that will take place anytime you go to expand your team and bring on new team members. So as you learned in the last lesson, you can either trade your time for money and forever hold your business back, ie that bottleneck, right, your organization's never able to grow past the amount of hours you're able to work. Or you can learn how to leverage your time by buying it back. This is an investment upfront into your business.

Having the right interview process doesn't mean it'll go perfectly every time. But when you know how to hire well, and you have an interview process in place for finding the best fit people for the role that you're looking for. You're going to save yourself so much headache, and so much wasted time and wasted money from hiring people who you only find out 60, 90 days, six months, one year from now that they're not a good fit, you've been paying them all this time, right? It's actually been a drain on your resources. So many people make the interview process mistake of hiring first for small tasks like emails and social media and things that we as the visionary leaders get frustrated by and we know what has to happen, but we don't want to do it ourselves. But I want you to flip this around and look at it a little bit differently.

The most effective interview process is to hire is to hire for revenue first. So here's what I mean by that. For example, if you're not making money from your Instagram right now, then hiring a social media manager might not be your next best hire doesn't mean they can't come down the road. But it might not be the most immediate need that your business needs in order to grow. However, a launch manager would certainly help you bring in revenue or a sales manager someone to take on your sales calls. A conversion copywriter could even be someone to consider bringing someone in to write your sales pages, write your sales emails, maybe a bookkeeper. Maybe it's as simple as hiring a bookkeeper or contracting a bookkeeper an accountant, someone who can take a look at your business finances right now. And notice where you can consolidate expenses, and start putting money away for profit and for taxes. And start leveraging the things that are making you money in your business because they can help pinpoint where the revenues coming in and where that lowest hanging fruit is for you to really put your focus and energy and attention.

Courtney Elmer 14:05  

So rather than looking at your accountability chart and asking, Okay, who can I get in here to help me take the load off of my plate? Instead, I want you to consider asking, Who can I get in here to help me make more money so that I can then buy more time by hiring more people and further reduce my workload. It's a very leveraged way of looking at it. If you hire someone who can immediately impact your bottom line and help you make more money, then that in turn will give you more money to hire more people versus hiring someone who can take a few tasks off of your plate while you're the still the one out there hustling for sales.

Here's what interview process I would recommend. If you're making your very first hire ever, then the interview process would make sense for your first hire to be a virtual assistant VA or an online business assistant OVA to free up some of your time. So you can get out there to generate some revenue initially, then your next interview process hire would be a revenue generating hire to create leverage another revenue generating hire to create leverage, and then future interview process hires down the road can either fall into revenue generating or other roles. However, if you already have a VA, or you've been in business for a while, and you have someone who's taken some of those immediate tasks off of your plate, you really ought to be looking interview process wise at the next person you find for whatever role you're looking to fill that it should be a revenue generating roles so that you can continue to create leverage within your business from this interview process.

A huge interview process mistake that I made early on in my business was I was so desperate for help that I would hire these four people looking back, like, Oh, my goodness, I bring them on, there was no real onboarding, to speak up, I would just start throwing tasks at them and saying, Hey, can you handle this? Can you do this, and there was multiple things coming at him at once. And it was no wonder they began to feel overwhelmed. And many of them were just like, I'm out like, this was not for me, because there was no rhyme or reason to it. And I was just desperate for that help. And so that's often the position where we come from during the interview process and hiring, right? I want to get you to the point where you're not coming out of desperation in the interview process anymore, because you're doing this in a very methodical, very leveraged way. So in the very initial stages, like I said, if you're just starting out, then yeah, maybe you want to look at what on my plate, as you're going to kill me first. What's draining me of my energy and time right now? And how can I get support there to free me up to go and generate revenue. And once you have those resources to be able to start the interview process and hire again, focus on revenue generation, so that they can support you in generating revenue, and so that you can continue to expand.

Courtney Elmer 17:10  

Thats how we want to look at the interview process is where are the revenue holes, and where are the time leaks. And the more we can begin to plug that and fill those, the more you're going to notice you're you're able not only to get your time back, but you'll be able to spend that time doing the thing you got into business for in the first place, which is whatever it is, that's your zone of genius, the things that light you up. Unfortunately, I had to learn this interview process the hard way, as many of us learn things in business. I've made so many interview process mistakes, like it's embarrassing. I'd be here all day, if I were to just tell you story after story about all the interview process mistakes that I've made. But it's through those interview process mistakes, that we learned the right interview process and that I was able to put together this interview process to pass on to you so that you don't have to go through the headache and the pain of learning the interview process the hard way. Because once you've identified the position that you're hiring for next, now it's time for you to learn the application and vetting process.

How do we actually go out there and find that person? What do we put in their job description? What are we looking for in the applications that come through in the applicants? And then the actual interview? When do I sit down to interview someone? What questions do I ask them? How do I know of the applicants who've applied which ones I need to spend my time interviewing. So I will say this before we get into that part of the interview process.

This is not just some magic interview process, that if you follow these four steps, then voila, you're gonna find them unicorn person you've always been looking for, this interview process will help you get much closer to that unicorn versus the old way of doing it, which is kind of more like just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing who sticks. But I want you to remember this and keep this in the back of your mind as we move through this. The sole purpose of the interview process is to see if their values align with yours. That's it because if their values intrinsically as a person, their core values do not align with the core values of your company which are also your core values. There will be conflict down the road and it will most likely not work out at least not favorably your you might have them working for you but there will always be some sort of contention or underlying issues that it's just not going to flow the way that it should be flowing. So this is why having clarity on your core values would you've already done that work is so critical here because it is going to play a definitive role in the interview process. So let's take a look at the 30,000 foot view of the four step interview process or the four step hiring process, I kind of use those terms interchangeably. So first, you have the job post and the application. Then there's the applicant review. Net. Next, there's a test project and a review of that test project. And then and only then do we get to the interview.

Courtney Elmer 20:31  

In the old days of running my business, I would put a post out there, I would set up interviews with whoever apply, I would sit down on all of those interviews. And then I would try to choose the right person based on just kind of what I felt was the best fit based on their skill set. And what they told me during the interview process, and it was a very scattered way of going about this. But this process is going to eliminate the need to sit down with everybody who applies, because who has time for that? And it's also going to help the cream rise to the top throughout this process so that by the time you get to the interview in the interview process, you're only sitting down with a handful of people, in fact, many to really determine who is the best fit for this role.

So this interview process is designed to help eliminate a lot of the fear that can come with hiring, and how hopefully it will also help you heal your relationship with hiring if you have hired and been burned in the past. Because if you've ever gone down that road where you have hired and it hasn't worked out, and you look back and you realize how much energy was wasted, how much time was wasted, then it's natural to be fearful of doing this hallway, again, only to have it not worked out, right, it becomes kind of this catch 22 repeating cycle that we don't want to get stuck within. So this interview process is designed to give you confidence in the hiring process so that you can hire with confidence from here on out, but it's no longer a big thing. 

So let's start with interview process step number one. This is the actual job post. And the application. These are crucial elements of the interview process. Most people don't use them the way they should. Most entrepreneurs when they go to hire, especially for the first time, like I did, will just throw up a quick post, they might post it in a Facebook group, or they might send an email and say, Hey, we're hiring, we need a person to fill XYZ role. I need a social media manager, I need a sales team member. And so they get applications. And if they've even put together an application, sometimes they just get people sending in their resume, right they're looking at the resumes are trying to make sense of these people on paper, because it's really difficult to get to know anybody on paper. 

And I remember I would sit there and I was like, okay, this person has this skill set, this person has this skill set. I don't know I guess this person, I would also look at what their pay rate was. And I'd say like, well, they're less expensive, that's gonna save me money. So even though that they don't know, this skill, this skill, this platform, this platform, maybe if I hire them, I can teach them those things, because I'm paying them less. And it was just this whole mess, it was a mess. And so my interview process was based out of desperation based on affordability. And then I would get stuck training people and then it wasn't the right fit, it was just totally do not recommend zero stars don't recommend that. 

So in your job description, this is the very first step, you're going to outline the specifics of the position, you're going to outline the specifics of whatever that intended role is, and I want you to give as much detail as possible. Details I'm talking what metrics, they're going to be responsible for the day to day tasks, there'll be responsible for doing don't just say like a variety of admin tasks or general social media management, tell them what your what they're expected to do, you will be responsible for managing and maintaining the founders schedule and confirming appointments, as well as creating a weekly agenda with the founder. 

For example, if you're hiring, say a personal assistant, right, or booking manager, don't just say, Oh, well, you'll be checking emails, but you'll be responsible for managing the general inbox and responding to incoming inquiries. So being as specific as possible was rule number one. And in your student portal, I will give you examples of job descriptions that we've used in the past, you can literally use that as swipe copy for whatever role you're hiring for, and just edit it based on your needs. But the key thing to remember is specific as specific as you can get, the better. 

Secondly, the number two interview process rule is have a good job description. You want to include a description of your company's values within the job description itself, so that from the moment someone reads it, they're already assessing and evaluating unconsciously whether they would be a good fit for this role or not. And when you share your values, you're going to outline the metrics they're responsible for and you're going to say out right, this is our expectation is that you are going to adhere to these responsibilities uphold these responsibility. Please be accountable for your actions. And we understand that not every person is ready for this level of commitment. And we appreciate the honesty of those who decide that this is not the right place for them. So we set that up from the get go in the interview process, because again, we're looking to weed out people here who are not a right fit.

Courtney Elmer 25:18  

We also say on the other hand, you wouldn't be an ideal candidate to join our team if you are willing to commit to the following principles, which are really your values, and you're asking them to commit to those, as outlined in the interview process. And so we outline those principles, we clearly state our values, and we say, if you can commit to and live by these principles, then you are the type of person that will thrive here. And you will have the opportunity to make a great contribution using your skills and your gifts and your talents. 

But and we also say this, if you feel that this level of engagement is not right for you, or if you're not willing to participate with us at this level, what you're doing here is you're setting the bar, then we're not a good fit for you. And we clearly outline that from the onset in the interview process. Because guess what, if someone reads any of this, and they're just like, This is not for me, they're not going to apply. And what that means for you is that you're not going to have to waste your time reviewing someone, and trying to figure out if they're going to be a fit for the role or not, they will self select. 

And this is the primary intention of the interview processs job description and the application, you want people to self select. So don't be afraid to be very direct and clear and to the point here, so that the cream again rises to the top so that you can identify the people who are best cut out for the position. This is also where you're going to want to include details about the position itself. So unlike the specifics of the intended job that they'll be doing, this is details about the position. So is it going to be full time? Is it part time? State very clearly what it is that you expect, here, and then you will also give them a deadline to apply, don't just leave it open ended, the deadline needs to be clearly stated in the description that applications are closing on whatever date. 

The final pro interview process tip here for your job description. It should not name a salary or salary range, it should not name an hourly rate or an hourly range, it should not name money at all. There's a reason for that trust me on and I'm going to explain it to you in a moment. That will come later. So often, people make the mistake of including you know, this position pays XYZ to XYZ or this position is XYZ per hour. Don't put that on the job description. 

So next interview process step is the application itself. So your application should include specific questions that mirror what's in your job description. And you're going to ask very specific questions to elicit the person's values and working style. We're looking to see if their values align with ours. Now people are going to naturally self select and weed themselves out here if they read this, and they're like, this doesn't really feel like a fit for me. And that's good. Because you're not trying to appeal to everyone. That's the last thing we want to do. We don't want to make this. So vanilla that this appeals to everyone and you're flooded with a whole influx of people that you're like, I don't even know where to begin, I don't even know who would be a good fit. 

This is why you're also going to ask really specific questions in the application itself to elicit their strengths. And also to help you see where they might have some room to grow. So this is not going to be an application that's like, broad and vague. And tell me about your favorite job that you've ever had and, and why the questions that are going to draw out their values and their strengths and help you to see their weak spots like what makes you different from others. For example, if you're hiring a personal assistant, what makes you different from other personal assistants? What makes you different from other social media managers? What are your top strengths? What are areas that you feel you have to improve and other specific questions to continue drawing this out of them so we can get a clearer picture of their values, their working style, their strengths and weaknesses, their desires, their goals, and the things that are important to them. So that you can get a really accurate picture of whether or not they'd be an ideal fit for that role. 

This is all part of the interview process. So that you know, after reviewing these applicants, you'll be closer to knowing who you should be bringing in for an interview. So you can kind of consider the application I like to think of it almost like a pre interview. It's helping you qualify people to determine who you want to bring in for an actual interview to sit down face to face with and this is going to save you time and money in the long run. Speaking of value on The application you're going to ask them for their suggested salary or salary range or hourly.

Courtney Elmer 30:07  

And typically, it's hourly, if you're hiring contractor, right, it could also be salary or salary for a salaried position. But my dad taught me something years ago when I was very young, and he said, quoting the key to negotiation is never being the first one to name your price was like, Hmm, interesting. Okay, so I have found a variety of situations in my life since then, to where this applies. And in the interview process that absolutely applies. 

This also helps you prequalify people, because once you see what their desired pay is, and some might give you a range, then you can easily see yes, this would I be an ideal candidate, because this would fit the budget that I have budgeted for this role, or no, this person might be overqualified for this position or under qualify, and it again, helps you fine tune and really find who might be a great fit. Now, the final piece of the job description, and the application is that you want to again, reiterate the deadline to apply applications are closing at this date and stick to it.

This is why we really liked Google Forms for this for the application piece, because you can turn the form off and stop accepting responses after a certain time. And so this way, if someone were to go there after the deadline, they simply wouldn't be able to apply. And again, this is another reason because we're weeding people out we're seeing if people can have if they have good time management skills, if they have the desire, they have the desire to have good time management, they're going to meet the deadline to apply if not, well, physicians not for them. So once you've received all these applications, applications have closed. 

That is when we move on to step two, in the interview process, which is the applicant review. So this is where you're going to sit down, put on your visionary leader hat, and you're going to review the applicants who stand out to you on paper. So naturally, some of them will shine more than others will. And I use a really simple three star rating system here. So what you do is when you sit down and review those applications, the applicants, you're going to put three stars next to the applicants that really jumped out at you. 

And if someone on paper just really resonates with you, you go back and you put down those three stars, then there's always going to be some who you probably liked, but maybe just don't feel as strongly about but two stars next to their name. And then next to the ones who just didn't really grab you at all, put one star. So in step three of the interview process, you're going to be creating what we call a test project. And you're going to send that test project to your three star applicants. 

For your two star app applicants, you're going to email them simply to let them know that you've received their application. And we'll be in touch soon. And you're just going to save them in a queue for now just kind of hold them off to the side. For the one star applicants, you're going to email them and you're going to let them know, thank you so much for applying, we've decided to move forward with other candidates at this time. So already, you're beginning to see who really shines based on what you're looking for.

Okay, so we're going to pause there today. And we're going to come back next week where we are going to cover steps three and four and wrap up our conversation on hiring and interviewing and finding those high quality natural fit team players who are going to help you move your vision forward.

Coming up next week, I'm gonna give you tips that are going to help you interview well and vet your candidates effectively so that you don't waste your time or theirs. So I will see you back here next week. And until then go live your EffortLESS Life®.