Chat/AMA with Emily Perron on hiring and building teams (2/17/20)

On Monday, February 17, Emily Perron (https://www.emilyperron.com/) joined us to discuss all things about hiring and building teams.

She helps bloggers expand and improve their teams with people who care about them and their businesses. She has developed a strategic hiring process that’s allowed her to find dozens of knock-out contractors on behalf of her clients, as well as within her own business, and is passionate about aligning the right person with the right role.

Also, now’s the chance to listen to her episode on Eat Blog Talk, if you haven’t already. It’s great!

POST QUESTIONS BELOW and/or join us on Monday for the answers!!

I’m so excited that you’re here to share your HIRING knowledge with us, Emily! Thank you for taking the time to be here. I know you are busily preparing for your new baby!

To kick off the conversation, can you tell us why is it so important to have a job posting when we want to hire someone??

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Thanks, Megan. I’m excited to be here.

And, this is such a good question and a topic I’m super passionate about.

In my mind, there are two primary reasons…

The first is so that you attract the best freelancers.

I’ve conducted dozens of informational interviews with freelancers to understand what they are looking for and what they avoid, and I’ve found that they are super selective.

My first job posting (back in 2016) had about two bullets on what I wanted the freelancer to do and said I wanted someone who was “sparkly and reliable.” Yep, those were the qualifications. I had four or five people apply and hired one.

Now, my postings regularly get between 30 and 70 applications depending on the role.

The second is because you’re starting to build a relationship with your new team member when they read the job posting (even before they apply!).

A job posting that has clearly had a lot of thought put into it is a good way to start a positive, professional relationship for the long term.

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Great info!! The more specific you get, the better, obviously.
What are your top recommendations for creating a great job posting?

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Hi Emily, I am a VA and interested in connecting with another VA to add more hours to my schedule. I have been a little intimidated about the hiring process I heard you outline though. While I know I’m able to do my job well, I struggle to know my strengths so I can really stick out from the crowd. Any thoughts from this side of the desk?

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Yes! And so of course my guidance around creating good job posting is:

Be specific and detailed especially around what you want the freelancer to do and who you want to work with.

This will go a long way in finding your ideal freelancer.

For one, you’re more likely to have talented, high-performing freelancers apply because they can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into the job posting and you’re really clear about who you’re looking for.

In turn, they can use that job posting like a checklist to see if they are interested in the responsibilities and if they match the criteria you’re looking for.

Being specific and detailed will also help you identify the top applicants more easily because you know who you’re looking for and will know them when you see it.

When you interviewed me on the Eat Blog Talk podcast, I reviewed the five things that I include in every job posting around the 13:49 mark of the episode: https://www.eatblogtalk.com/emilyperron

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If I work as a VA in MN and in CA, the wages vary quite a bit for employees. Should I have a standard rate or different rates for the work I do?

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@mmgtorres Hey Melissa!

Hiring can definitely be intimidating, especially the first few times. To save yourself some (or even a lot) of money, time and stress, I believe it’s super important to be clear about your strengths and weaknesses before you hire so the VA can complement your skillset.

Here are a few of my favorite assessments that have helped me uncover my strengths and weaknesses.

CliftonStrengths Assessment - There is a fee for this one but it’s the gold standard for determining strengths. (It was previously called StrengthsFinder 2.0.)

Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment from 16 Personalities - The reports for each personality type are really thorough and cover a wide range of topics such as work habits, career, parenting and romantic relationships.

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@mmgtorres

Here are the other two assessments that I love:

Enneagram Type - Another way to look at personality that has become popular in the past few years.

Four Tendencies Quiz by Gretchen Rubin - A quiz developed by Gretchen Rubin that gives insight into how you respond to inner expectations (e.g., deadlines) and outer expectations (e.g., New Year’s resolution).

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Hey Emily! I love the Myers-Briggs. I’m an INTJ, which is fairly rare, especially for women! And I think a 5 on the Enneagram, although I’ve not done much with it. Emily, what are you … and everyone else (if you know) what you are you on these tests???

It’s been so long since I’ve taken tests like these @BethanySmith so I don’t remember what I am… But now I’m inspired to go brush up and learn my strengths!

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@mmgtorres

Melissa… Ultimately, I think this is your call.

I believe all of the freelancers who work for me (a writer, a project manager and a virtual assistant) all have one rate for all their clients regardless of where they live.

But on the hiring side, you may pay more for a VA based in California than Minnesota because the cost of living is so much higher in Cali. When I post a job, I always make sure to collect the applicant’s location and rate so I can consider both of those elements.

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@BethanySmith

We are almost opposites… My Myers-Briggs is ENFP and my Enneagram is a 7 and I’m SO both of these.

In my job postings, when I share about me and my business, I always include both of these because I want candidates to go check those out and know what they are getting into.

@megan… It would be so fun to hear yours when you have time to take the quizzes.

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SUCH a great idea to include this info in job postings!!

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@emilyperron haha, that’s true, if I saw your Meyers Briggs type in a job posting, I’d either run away or try to be clear that I’m opposite of you so we might have a harder time working together :slight_smile:

So, another question, can you give us your best advice for food bloggers who are thinking about outsourcing but have no idea where to start.

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Thanks, @megan! I’ve done a lot of testing to get my job posting formula just right so that it’s super attractive to high-performing freelancers.

@BethanySmith

Exactly! (re: my personality) That’s what I want. I want to be honest about who I am so I don’t waste anyone’s time. With every freelancer I hire, I want to be their ideal client (just as much as I want to find the perfect freelancer for me).

All right, my best advice for food bloggers on where to start…

Honestly, it’s to start with yourself, especially your strengths and weaknesses. What do you love to do in your blog? What are you putting off or never getting to?

I’ve noticed that burnout is a big problem for a lot of food bloggers and it seems to be connected to doing all the things for a long period of time. By identifying the work you love to do… the things that energize you… From there, you can start to build your team around you.

One of the bigger mistakes I made early on hiring was selecting people who were too much like me. Our strengths and weaknesses were too similar, and it caused a lot of problems.

But once I became more clear about who I was, I could start hiring freelancers who complement me and it has worked so much better. Now I receive robust support from my team because they are strong where I’m weak.

I already shared my favorite assessments for finding your strengths and weaknesses in a different response within this thread but I’m including them here as well:

CliftonStrengths Assessment - There is a fee for this one but it’s the gold standard for determining strengths. (It was previously called StrengthsFinder 2.0.)

Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment from 16 Personalities - The reports for each personality type are really thorough and cover a wide range of topics such as work habits, career, parenting and romantic relationships.

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Here are the other two:

Enneagram Type - Another way to look at personality that has become popular in the past few years.

Four Tendencies Quiz by Gretchen Rubin - A quiz developed by Gretchen Rubin that gives insight into how you respond to inner expectations (e.g., deadlines) and outer expectations (e.g., New Year’s resolution).

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I love this. Sounds like you are saying to hire to round out your personality or ability weaknesses, rather than specific tasks? (I’m sure both are true, though!) I’ve seen some food bloggers talk about making a list of things they don’t like doing and hiring for that. Or, hiring a VA and just giving them the list. Is that similar to what you are saying, or does that sound different?

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