Tag Archives: Person

“The Person Next To Me Will Become A Celebrity!”

In “The Sadness of the Kardashians,” Sophie Gilbert’s Atlantic essay about the Reality TV family that has stretched its 15 minutes of fame into a decade-long stay in a Warholian vomitorium, the writer shines a light on the melancholia the women may be feeling about their less-than-brilliant careers, which seems like an odd place to put the piece’s emphasis. “If Kris were offered the same Faustian bargain again,” the article asks, “would she accept, knowing everything the next 10 years would bring?”

Hell yeah, she would. Kris Jenner is a monstrous person who was happy to shamelessly sell her soul as well as her daughters to the highest bidder in exchange for some recognition and a string shiny baubles. Even if she hadn’t been especially good at her disgraceful line of work and they’d never managed to attract an unblinking spotlight to their famous-for-nothing act, they would have been a damaged brood drowning in their own tears. With that mother, they were doomed from the start.

The more important questions are what enabled the Kardashians to be famous, and why do so many people all over the globe wish for the kind of notoriety they possess? The first question is easier to answer. Two technological changes made the brand possible: A decentralized media allowed for an explosion of channels on TV and the Internet which created an overwhelming need for cheap content and new stars, and the advent of computer-based non-linear editing systems for video made such Reality fare technologically simple to piece together. The second query is more knotty. There is currently a hole inside us that makes many crave for attention beyond all satisfaction. The Kardashians may best represent that dynamic, but they are far from alone.

· · ·

In Doug Bock Clark’s excellent GQexegesis of Kim Jong-nam’s Malaysian airport murder, he writes of how simple it was for North Korean agents to dupe fame-hungry young women into unwittingly committing murder with a nerve agent by convincing them they were merely participating in a hidden-camera Reality TV show. As shocking as the wetwork was—and it was purposely so bizarre to send a chilling message to the world—you could hardly blame the clueless culprits for failing to recognize the ruse, not in a world of endless cameras and emotional cruelty, in which reality and fiction have become so blurred. 

An excerpt:

After James enticed Siti [Aisyah] with his too-good-to-be-true offer of salvation, they toured the luxury hotels and malls of Kuala Lumpur from January 5 through 9, smearing oil and hot sauce on Chinese-looking men. Each prank was rewarded with another windfall.

According to Siti’s lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng, before long, “Siti started telling James she was tired of her present career, and that she looked forward to the new life of being a star.” She bragged to acquaintances that she was going to be a celebrity. When a friend video-called Siti on her birthday and joked with her that she would soon outshine a famous Malaysian actress, Siti agreed, laughing and jauntily flipping her hair.

At least once, Siti asked to see the recordings of herself, but James told her the film was still being edited and, according to her cousin, wouldn’t let her see it because it would make her self-conscious. 

Then, on January 21, James flew her to Cambodia for more “spoofing,” as they called it. Gooi told me, “It was when she went overseas that she really started to believe she could escape her old life.” James had even suggested she might spoof people in America.

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, James informed Siti that “Chang,” a 34-year-old “Chinese” man who spoke fluent Bahasa, would replace him. Chang led Siti through three practice sessions at the airport.

Siti passed the end of the month back home in Ranca Sumur, with her family. She was there when Chang called, ordering her to return to Kuala Lumpur. Before flying out of Jakarta, Siti visited her son a final time.

On February 3, 4, and 7, Siti dirtied victims at Kuala Lumpur’s airport under Chang’s supervision. He increased her salary to two American Benjamins per hit, instead of half that in Malaysian ringgits. On February 8, Chang gave Siti $ 4,000 to arrange a trip to Macau—Jong-nam’s home. But the next day he canceled that. Jong-nam was already in Malaysia.

Two days later, she practiced again at the airport. It was Siti’s 25th birthday, and when they were finished, Chang bought her a taxi ticket home as a present. He told her that the next prank would be in a few days, on February 13.

Siti spent her last innocent night at a Hard Rock Cafe decorated with an enshrined Gwen Stefani bra. Her friends chipped in for a steak that cost two-thirds of her monthly salary at the sweatshop. An American pop song wailed over the speakers: I was supposed to do great things. At a table laden with fruit-bedecked cocktails, a friend announced, “And now the person next to me will become a celebrity!” Siti exposed her braces and bashfully tossed her hair. After her friends sang “Happy Birthday,” she blew out a lone candle on a cupcake-sized cake. Then they clubbed into the witching hours.

By 8 A.M., Siti was drinking coffee with Chang in a faux-Colonial coffeehouse that offered an excellent view of the airport terminal. Finally, Chang led her behind a pillar near the AirAsia self-check-in kiosks. There, Chang told her that a second woman would join the prank and that she should leave after the second woman struck. When Jong-nam strolled into the terminal, Chang identified him to Siti by noting his gray blazer and dark backpack. Then he told her to look away and stick out her hand, likely while unwrapping something from a white plastic bag he’d withdrawn from his black backpack. An oily substance slicked her palm. She noticed it smelled like machine oil, though the previous liquids had been odorless. Chang reminded her to apologize after striking and to leave quickly, since the target “looks rich.”

As Jong-nam approached, Chang ducked away, and Siti advanced on her target. After rubbing Jong-nam’s face, Siti fled. Her first few strides were measured, but by the time she neared the bathrooms, she was running. There, as she’d been instructed, she washed her hands of the affair. Then she went shopping at a middle-class mall. By the afternoon, she was laboring again at the spa, awaiting the next spoof, which would inch her closer to the life she had dreamed of when she had left Ranca Sumur.


What Siti would not comprehend until weeks later was that the North Koreans had stage-managed every detail of her recruitment and the assassination.•


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theconcealedweapon: People will honestly ask “Does that poor person deserve food?” but never ask…


People will honestly ask “Does that poor person deserve food?” but never ask “Does that CEO deserve ten cars, three houses, and two yachts?”

And before you respond with “the poor person is buying that food with someone else’s money”, the CEO bought those luxuries with money earned from other people’s hard work.

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Hiring the Perfect Person to Run Your Social Media

Planning to increase your social media budget this year? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmark report, 93% of marketers use social media, on an average of six platforms. Writing for Forbes, Christine Moorman says social media spending is expected to climb to a 20.9% share of marketing budgets in the next five years.

If you’re planning to expand your social budget, there are probably three major investments you’re considering:

  • Social media advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Social media engagement

Top 3 Areas for Increased Spending Hiring the Perfect Person to Run Your Social Media

To make all that happen, you’re going to need the right people. Or at least the right person. If you get the social media staffing part of this down, the rest of your social media program should fall in line.

Let’s take a look at the issues around the decision to hire someone to run your social media. Here they are, in approximately the order you’ll need to address them:

  • How to tell when you really need a social media specialist
  • Deciding whether you need someone full-time or part-time, as an employee or a consultant, or an agency
  • Defining what kind of returns you’ll need to see to make this hire a success
  • Outlining what your social media hire’s job description will be
  • Assessing your budget, and what to expect to spend
  • Finding sources for candidates
  • What criteria to use to sort candidates’ eligibility
  • How to interview and vet the most likely candidates
  • How to finalize job terms and bring the new hire on board
  • How to track and assess their performance

And now let’s dig in. I’m going to assume you’re up to speed on general hiring practices, so we can just focus on the issues specific to hiring a social media person .

How do you tell when you really, truly need social media help

Sisyphus would have felt at home in social media. There is an almost endless list of potential tasks for social media marketers. Even if you’re doing well on the big networks (perhaps especially if you’re doing well there), it’s always tempting to expand out into smaller social platforms.

Because of all the potential work, it’s actually not the amount of work that could be done that justifies hiring someone. Even a micro-company running out of a second bedroom could justify hiring social media help if the only criterion was “we’ve got a ton of work to do.” The time to hire for social media is when you’re missing out on potential business. Hire when you know you’re leaving money on the table.

Get clear about what you expect from social media

There’s something you have to clarify before you hire someone to do any social media work. You have to define how your business sees social media.

Are you approaching this like a direct marketer, who wants to track everything and know their ROI for each platform? Or are you approaching this more as a brand marketer, who simply wants a presence on social media?

If you are willing to take a brand marketer’s approach, can your business financially support doing social media purely as a brand-building exercise? And if you would be happy simply with a larger presence on social media, will your finance department be happy with that? If finance is not happy with that, what could the consequences be?

Two examples of when it’s time to hire for social media

Example 1: You’ve built a decent following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You are tracking results. Your social media work is generating a small but steady trickle of sales. You are certain you could increase this trickle, but either you can’t get to it personally, or your existing social media staff is already maxed out.

Example 2: You’ve already got an intern part-time and a social media person who works full time. They have built a decent presence on the big social sites, with footprints on the smaller social sites. Results are a little sketchy, but you’re approaching this more as a branding exercise, so you’re okay with the fuzzy results. Where you’re really lacking is in tracking. You also feel like the whole social media program needs a thorough audit. You have neither the skills nor the time to do such an audit. Neither does your existing staff.

Define success and set expectations

Suppose you’ve got enough success with social media to justify a new hire. The next thing is to spell out what success for this new hire would look like.

Whether you’re hiring a 10-hour a week intern, a full-time social media manager, or an ad agency, you need to define what success is going to look like. What kind of business results do you need to see to justify that 10-hour a week intern? Even if the intern is free, there’s still a cost to your company. The intern needs supervision and a computer. Those are costs.

The results required get more demanding if you want to hire a 10-hour a week consultant, for, say $ 50 an hour. That’s $ 2,000 a month, which means there’s got to be a quantifiable business return based on that kind of spend.

Even if you see social media as brand marketing and not direct marketing, there still must be some defined results. Otherwise, three months from now you could be sitting across the table from this consultant or new hire, looking at a report with some very disappointing results, and realizing you’ve spent $ 6,000 to $ 24,000 for nothing (or the wrong thing).

Setting goals for your new hire

I find it helps to have three levels of goals for marketing initiatives.

  • The rock-bottom minimum results required to keep the project going (say, 1,000 new Facebook likes per month).
  • Plenty good enough: Results that are good enough to at least consider expanding the program, and to keep it safely off the chopping block.
  • Wild success: Very positive results that justify expanding the program by 20% or more.

Social media is an inexact science. You can start out with a focus on one thing and have that initial goal fail, only to discover that some other part of your work is actually creating great results. For example, after you finally get some tracking set up, you could learn that your Facebook work is a bust, but Tumblr is actually generating a positive ROI.

How much does a full-time social media person cost?

Social media help is expensive, and it’s not something you want to go cheap on. According to the Creative Group’s 2015 Salary Guide Moolah Palooza, these are common salaries for different social media positions in the US:

AdvertisingMarketingSalaries Hiring the Perfect Person to Run Your Social Media

Advertising and Marketing Salaries Hiring the Perfect Person to Run Your Social Media

To help you get 100% clear on what a salary like that buys, here’s the job description for a Social Media Specialist. This is again from the Creative Group. You can get other social media job descriptions from the Creative Group’s Social Media Job Descriptions Guide.

Social Media Specialist

Responsible for defining and executing a specific social media strategy. Duties may include cultivating new communities and managing branded online communities on the company’s behalf using Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and other social media.

The specialist will provide relevant content daily while tracking metrics and monitoring relevant conversations. The right candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, communications, anthropology or business administration, and 3+ years of experience in marketing, public relations, advertising or a related field. Additionally, the candidate must possess a solid understanding of the social media universe, including YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg, reddit, forums, wikis and blogs.

These are other common social media job titles:

  • Social Media Product Manager
  • Social Media Account Manager/Channel Manager
  • Social Media Planner
  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Director of Social Media
  • Online Community Manager

The cost for a part-time social media consultant, or an ad agency

If you decide to hire someone only part-time, how much will that cost? It varies widely, from $ 50 to $ 200 per hour. If you go the agency route, things can get even more expensive. The website ContentFac.com estimates that it’s common for agencies to charge $ 1,000-$ 2,500 per month to manage just a Twitter account. That doesn’t include setup either – that would be even more expensive. To have a PR agency manage your Facebook page, expect to spend $ 2,500 to $ 5,000 per month. Some agencies will charge as much as $ 9,000 per month.

If you want a comprehensive social media strategy planned out and then executed, you’ll pay anywhere from $ 3,000 to $ 20,000 per month for just two channels (like Facebook and Twitter). An average cost would be $ 4–7,000 per month.

With prices like that, you may be better off just hiring someone to help you full-time. If you used the mid-range of the Creative Group’s estimate of a social media manager salary ($ 80,000 a year) and added a conservative (15%) burden, that would work out to $ 7,666 per month. On the other hand, the agency should be able to provide rock-solid skills in 360 degrees, more than a single person can be expected to bring to the table. If you have a slate of highly diverse tasks each calling for a high level of competence, you might be better off with an agency, at least to set things up.

Where to Find Social Media Experts

Now that you have a job description and a salary allocated, where can you start looking for your new hire? Place a job listing on all the usual places, like craigslist, Monster.com and LinkedIn’s job boards. But also look through Hootsuite’s Certified Social Media Consultants Directory. Try putting a job listing up on MediaBistro.com, too.

How to Screen Social Media Applicants

As the responses to your job listing start trickling in, you’ll realize you need to know if these people who say they know social media … actually do know social media.

They should offer links to examples that demonstrate their social prowess. (If they don’t, toss that resume right now.) The first place to check would be on their social media profiles. Notice follower counts, plus what they’ve been sharing and liking. If people have interacted with their shares, or asked them questions, have they responded? Can you tell if they’re using any of the major social media tools, like Buffer, Hootsuite, Oktopost or SproutSocial? If they’ve included past social media clients or jobs on their application, how do those social media accounts look?

Be mindful of job discrimination as you scrutinize your hire online: There are pending laws about using social media to discriminate against job applicants. This applies to race and religion, but it applies to an applicant’s age, too. Just someone is over 50 doesn’t mean they can’t be a rock star social marketer. The most conservative action is to check only the links they provide.

How to use social scoring numbers to assess a social media hire

After you’ve checked someone’s social media accounts and gone back at least a month through their activity, it’s time to check their numbers. Do a quick sweep to make sure they haven’t bought followers or likes. Start with tools like Social Baker’s fake followers check.

fakefollowers Hiring the Perfect Person to Run Your Social Media

For Facebook likes, there’s no one tool to use to snuff out fakers, but Social Media Examiner wrote a nice article recently about how to spot a spammy Facebook page.

If you really want a way to quantify someone’s social media skills, you’ll probably have to look to social scoring sites like Klout, Kred and PeerIndex.

As with all tools, take what they tell you with a grain of salt. There’s a very funny post titled “Two Weeks And $ 40 Got Me A Klout Score Of 60” that can give you some healthy skepticism.

Dirk Fiverr Hiring the Perfect Person to Run Your Social Media

Take everything a social scoring tool tells you with a grain of salt.

How to use Klout and Kred

Klout is probably the best-known social scoring tool. It gives a score from zero to 100. A score of 100 is nearly impossible to achieve. Even Justin Bieber only got a 92 when I checked his Klout score. Barack Obama was doing nicely with a 99.

A Klout score of 40 is about average. Anything over a 60 typically means you’re looking at a social media power user, or one of those “influencers” that drive influencer marketing. Some ad agencies require their social media people to maintain a Klout score of at least 50.

Here’s what a Klout score page looks like.Klout Score Page Hiring the Perfect Person to Run Your Social Media

Kred is the next place to check. It’s a bit more refined than Klout because it shows a person’s level of influence in different topic areas. Once again, though, take what it tells you with a grain of salt.

Kred scores people on a scale from zero to 1,000. Here’s how those scores break out:

  • Above 500 is above average
  • Above 600 is in the top 21.5%
  • Above 700 is in the top 5%
  • Above 750 is in the top 1%
  • Above 800 is in the top 0.1%

All this assessment of someone’s social media stature raises another issue: Will you expect your new hire to use his or her personal influence and personal social media accounts to promote your brand?

Now it’s your turn

That’s enough information to get you well on your way to finding the perfect social media hire. Hopefully, about a year from now, when you sit down to do their annual review, you’ll have nothing to discuss but success.

Are you planning on hiring someone to head up your social media this year? What are your criteria for the ideal social hire? Tell us about them in the comments.

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How to Hire the Perfect Person to Run Your SEO

How to Hire the Perfect Person to Run Your SEO FI How to Hire the Perfect Person to Run Your SEO

Narrowing Down Candidates: Resume & Cover Letter Review

If you’re lucky, you’ll receive a flood of resumes and cover letters to your inbox. Where does one even start?

It starts with looking at each resume and pinpointing, quickly, those that just aren’t a good fit. They may not have the experience you’re looking for, or the right education, or they may have a resume ripe with grammatical errors and other indications of lacking attention to detail. Weed these out first. Don’t waste valuable time feeling bad or trying to convince yourself a candidate might fit anyway.

Next, email candidates a series of questions (5-6 works best for me). Ask them to write responses and send them back to you before continuing on in the interview process. That way you’ll see their writing skills, their ability to follow directions, and how quickly they respond with their information. These are all ways to filter out the good candidates, the ones worthy of a phone or in-person interview.

Some additional things to consider as you sift through resumes and cover letters:


SEO hasn’t been around for decades, therefore you’re not likely to find candidates with a long tenure in the field (although they do exist!). Candidates with less than 2 or 3 years of experience can be worthwhile candidates, depending on what you’re looking for.

Many SEOs who have been in the industry for 3-5 years or longer have seen the worst of the worst when it comes to penalties, spam, and the surge of content marketing. Having been in the industry during this time, I can tell you that it allowed SEOs to get good hands-on experience pulling clients out of penalty, future-proofing strategies, and mitigating risks. Can someone with less experience do these things? Certainly! It’s simply something to consider when vetting experience in resumes in relation to your needs.

Ask for a portfolio. Get examples of their work or prior PowerPoint decks they have developed to get insight into their experience. Don’t be shy about asking someone for these things or setting up tests to test them on their knowledge yourself first-hand.


SEO hasn’t been around long enough for major universities to offer degrees in it. Having a marketing-focused or other college degree is not a prerequisite for a great SEO expert, but might be useful. In particular, look for candidates who have degrees with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) influence. These degrees focus on skills an SEO will need.

That said, there are many successful SEOs who have had amazing careers without a college degree. I highly recommend looking at candidates with and without degrees, because you may uncover talent that exceeds what a resume can show. True hands-on experience and excellent on-the-ground results are hard to beat.


Words sprinkled throughout resumes can be a great indicator of a person’s keyword sensibility and fit for your SEO needs. Someone who understands the depth and breadth of online marketing can be an added benefit. Look for experience with content marketing, web development, social media, pay-per-click, email marketing, marketing automation or information technology and related roles within their resume – in addition to experience with SEO, of course.


Candid, unbiased feedback is useful to determine if someone is the right fit or worth the time to interview. References on a resume or LinkedIn recommendations are a good place to look. The best feedback, however, comes from a personal contact you have at the company they used to work at, or work at currently. Many states regulate what an employer can and can’t say about a former employee; make sure you’re aware of the laws in your state to understand what employers can and can’t share.

Social Media & Google Search

Social media and a Google search for an individual can provide an unfiltered view of a prospective employee. Should those pictures from Spring Break 2007 affect your decision to hire someone in 2016? Or how about that negative review they wrote about their old company? Depends on your company, your culture and your gut. Other things to look at may include indications of how much attention they pay to details, their professionalism, or even their ability to handle stress. Caveat: do read what Monster has to say about using social to research a potential employee. While you can learn that a potential hire loves all things marketing, you might also learn about that person’s “protected characteristics.” It’s not difficult; just be aware of what’s legal (just as you need to be aware of what you can and cannot ask in an interview).

Red Flags

Even the savviest hiring managers may miss common red flags to avoid when hiring. These red flags include:

  • Someone promising they can get you to #1 in the search engine results, guaranteed. There are no guarantees in SEO. Avoid these candidates.
  • They practice only search engine directory submission services. These are outdated tactics. SEO morphs constantly, your good candidates will be current.
  • Their secrets are proprietary and they cannot share details of what they do as an SEO. This lack of transparency isn’t likely to be what you want in a candidate.
  • They claim a special relationship with Google. Sure, many in the industry have networked with the likes of Matt Cutts, but an in-line to Google? Not very likely.
  • They suggest buying links or link three-way trades as a strategy to improve rankings. This is an outdated that can result in penalization if Google notices.
  • They suggest putting a directory on your website for reciprocal linking opportunities. This is a spam practice and should be avoided at all costs. (As should be anyone who suggests this tactic.)

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They’re Beating Up Every White Person

Taplytics adds new ‘smart push’ to get the right message to the right person at the right time

[Are you a growth marketer? Do you want to know what it takes to be one? Join us at GrowthBeat, on August 17-18 in San Francisco. Thought leaders from the biggest brands and most disruptive companies will share winning growth strategies on the most pressing challenges marketing leaders face today.]

Mobile engagement platforms have sent over a trillion push notifications to people like you and me. Most of them, frankly, are mindless updates that somewhere, something has happened.

A few of them are useful and smart.

Increasing that few is something that Taplytics CEO Aaron Glazer is working hard on. Taplytics is an emerging player in the mobile marketing automation space with significant customers like Target, RBC, Shyp, and RetailMeNot. It is trying to go deep, not broad, in making the hundreds of daily interruptions that push generates useful, not annoying.

“Push is precious,” he said. “You need to get the right message at the right time to the right person in a way that enhances the relationship.”

logo placeholder 160x160 Taplytics adds new ‘smart push’ to get the right message to the right person at the right time

Smart push is messaging that is not just push, but notifications that are augmented with intelligence around location, relationship, purchase history, timing, and even your implied calendar: not just where you are, but where you’re going. An airline, for example, could send you a push message when you land, telling you which carousel your baggage will be at — but only if you actually checked bags. That’s critical, and that’s an example of providing value by upping the signal and reducing the noise.

375 mobile developers with over 900 million MAU
told us what’s working in mobile marketing automation

A retailer — Frank & Oak, for example — would have very different messages for different clients. In Vancouver, where the primarily subscription-based retailer has an actual physical location, it’s one message. In San Francisco, where the company is a virtual resident, it’s another. The acquisition funnel is different, the customer relationship is different, and purchase pattern is different … and so is the relationship.

So the communication is, too.

logo placeholder 160x160 Taplytics adds new ‘smart push’ to get the right message to the right person at the right time

Taplytics’ new smart push service enables extreme levels of segmentation that allows what the company calls “hyper-personalization”: customization down to the individual level. That’s impressive — though I wonder whether companies would have the time or personnel to utilize it frequently. Messages can be based on “any combination of user data and in-app interactions,” the company said, including browsing activity and previous purchases.

“The importance of sending the right notification has gone up substantially … especially since the Apple Watch,” Glazer said.

(On the Apple Watch, of course, notifications are extremely terse, and should be even more relevant to immediate activity to justify the physical tap the wearer gets.)

Aside from simple updates on social networks, push messaging has typically been transactional and siloed. Glazer’s goal is to change that and make it part of a conversation that brands have with you, a relationship that goes far beyond using their apps … while utilizing all the data that the brand has about you. Assuming you want that, of course. And assuming the companies you patronize care enough to make it happen.

Otherwise, push messages are just noise:

“They’ll backfire 100 percent of the time if they’re generic and untargeted,” said Glazer.

Taplytics is a mobile A/B testing platform for native mobile apps. Taplytics is built to enable mobile teams to deliver exceptional experiences with their apps. We love mobile applications and building them. We think mobile provides th… read more »

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person: so how was your weekend?

  • person: so how was your weekend?
  • me: the animals, the animals. trapped, trapped, trapped ’till the cage is full. the cage is full, stay awake. in the dark, count mistakes, the light was off but now it’s on. searching the ground for a bitter song. the sun is out, the day is new, and everyone is waiting, waiting on you. and you’ve got time, and you’ve got time. think of all the roads, think of all their crossings. taking steps is easy, standing still is hard. remember all their faces, remember all their voices. everything is different, the second time around.

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How to Hire the Right Person for Your Small Business

by Maria Montoya

If data are anything to go by, Eddie Entrepreneur is not enamored with HR tasks, and hiring is one of the most important HR tasks in which you’ll engage. But it’s not a particularly thrilling process for most because, honestly, it’s like dating: you have to kiss a lot of frog candidates before you find your new-hire prince or princess.  

And it’s a consequential quest: hiring the wrong person can cost six, 15 or even 27 times the position’s base salary.

Trying to match the incentives the medium and large businesses are throwing out there has huge implications for small businesses: How do you find and attract people who will champion your purpose while forgoing potential signing bonuses or free gourmet snacks?

The secret is to focus on attracting people who want to work for your cause rather than work for your perks. Sure, you might not be able to offer a free gym to your employees, but you come with a very different, more abstract set of perks that will attract the kind of people you actually want to hire, the people who believe that what you’re doing is important and will deliver on their goals.

So how does a small business owner hire the right people?

Create compelling, non-traditional job descriptions

Too often, corporate job descriptions sound like a jargon mish-mash rather than an explanation of what the position actually is.

Start by brainstorming what makes the job and your business different. You might just need “an IT guy,” but put a lot of thought into your company’s culture and what kind of person would fit in there. Consider the employees you already have and how another person will ideally mesh with them.

Then make the description attention-grabbing and interesting. This will help you stand out from the jargon mish-mash and attract qualified candidates who are in better alignment with your values, and will save you time by heading off the people who aren’t the right fit. Jobscience has some actionable tips for crafting effective job postings.

Remember, you don’t just want a warm body at a computer. You want a dynamic, intelligent person, and the way to reach out to that kind of person is to grab their attention with something compelling.

Look to those who are or love small business

Effective recruiting doesn’t start with a job posting – it requires maintaining your network of passionate entrepreneurs and those who love them. Tap into local universities with entrepreneurship programs. Seek out local venture capitalists. 

Talk to other small business owners, not to recruit them, but to plug into their network of people in the small biz space. They’ll understand that you’re not just looking for an accountant, you’re looking for an accountant who knows and loves small business. Remember, it’s a lot easier to teach someone new skills than it is to teach them a new attitude.

Play on the limitations of medium and large businesses

Most positions at medium or large companies offer set algorithms for time off, working schedules and benefits. Not having that – or having it in a more flexible or non-traditional form – attracts the type of people who seek that flexibility. 

Capitalize on the fact that you can provide the opportunity for someone to enter your organization during the high-trajectory startup phase. This will help you attract those with a founder’s mentality, people who want to actively help shape the future of your business. Make it part of the job description that new hires will
help set the vision and have a deep impact right from the start.

Getting your job posting in front of the right candidates

Posting jobs on Indeed or LinkedIn is expensive, so create your plan to share the job listing in other places. You can and should post the description on your website, but you’ll still have the challenge of driving traffic there. Here are some tips for getting more eyes on your listing:

  • Share on every social media outlet where you have a presence. Consider adding in an accompanying image to get more eyes and maybe more shares.
  • Heavily recruit amongst your immediate social and professional networks. There’s a good chance your peers will be able to refer you to a good match.
  • Don’t count Craigslist out; it can be very effective for finding talent in the small business space.
  • Share the opening with community colleges and universities with business programs.

I have a pool of applicants. Now what?

Congrats – it’s interview time!

Now that you’re going to start meeting the people who sent in their resumes, it’s time to remind yourself what will make your employer-employee relationship (and really, any human relationship) a positive, productive one:

1. Mutual Trust

Do you trust this person to work well in your business? And do they trust that working for you will be positive and help move them in the direction of their ambitions?

2.    Vulnerability and openness

You don’t have to tell each other all your secrets, but you should be able to be open about expectations and to communicate in an effective, functional way.

3.    Singularity of focus

Will you both work toward the same goals? Will they understand, support and enhance your vision and help you get there?

Three areas to assess company and culture fit


Determine what motivates and drives your applicant, both intrinsically and extrinsically. That means you should ask them some big questions, like:

  • What’s your purpose in life, and how does that fit into the big picture?
  • Imagine your eulogy. What would be said about you?
  • What brings meaning to your life and your work?

Assess whether their answers match up with the opportunities you can offer, and be honest with yourself and with them. 


Will this person be able to execute in the role they’re applying for, especially as the role changes and your company evolves and grows?

A great way to assess this is to give your applicant a sample project reflective of their potential role’s duties. This gives you the chance to test their real-world ability.

Big picture

Hiring under the assumption an applicant will remain with you forever is an outdated way to approach hiring. People typically remain in a role for two to three years before moving on. And given the post-recession mindset, everyone recognizes that careers are ephemeral.

So be totally honest and up front about what you can and can’t provide, and questions that give you a firm idea of an applicant’s long-term career trajectory.


A vital part of the interview process is to uncover how this person likes to work with other people – especially you. They’ll be spending at least 40 hours of waking life every week in a relationship with you and others in your company, so ensuring they’re a correct personal fit is vital. Here are some questions you can ask them to suss out how they interact with others:

  • What type of relationship do you want to have with your peers? With your leaders? With those who report to you?
  • What annoys you about other people?
  • What helps you build strong relationships with others? 

Know what you can’t ask

Remember, there are some questions you can’t ask when interviewing candidates for a position. However, we aren’t making any legal advisements – make sure to consult an HR expert or a lawyer to make sure that you’re asking the proper questions.

Hiring can be a long, sometimes tough process, but remember that the right person will come along, you just have to be patient enough to wait for them and open enough to find them.  

maria headshot How to Hire the Right Person for Your Small BusinessMaria is a hiring homegirl (aka hiring partner) at Infusionsoft, where she meets and befriends small business lovers, bleeding edge technologists, brilliant thinkers, artists, creative and pioneers. 

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
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