“People aren’t your most important asset. The RIGHT people are.” – Jim Collins

“There are only two things in this world that grow for growth’s sake: cancer cells and bureaucracy.” – Eddy Badrina, paraphrasing Edward Abbey

Recently I read Good to Great by Jim Collins [affiliate link], which talks about commonalities in companies that grew in excellence and market share compared to their competitors. As I read through the chapter on the team-building within these companies that “made the leap”, I was surprised (and a little comforted) that we were following the same concepts in how we are growing Buzzshift. We have had only one mutual parting of ways in our 3+ years of being in business, and as we grow, we are confident that our “churn” rate will be virtually non-existent. Why? It starts with purpose.

Cameron and I always make sure we have the purpose for Buzzshift as our “north star”, which is to make our client-partners smarter and more effective online. As Peter Drucker once said, “Profit… is the result of doing things right rather than the purpose of business activity.” If we are sticking to our purpose, then, it is essential to hire the right people, no matter the timeframe, and no matter how much pressure we have on us to grow.

With that purpose in mind, we’ve developed three relatively simple steps to hiring:

1. Identify Cultural fit.
2. Identify Strengths fit.
3. Identify Functional fit.

[one_fourth]How To Hire Your First Employee: 3 Steps To Ensure The Perfect Fit[/one_fourth]

Cultural fit. We believe this is the most important, and the hardest, piece to fill. Our core values include: being early adopters, having a curious approach to life, being proactively helpful, and doing everything with excellence and “polish”. We also have a LOT of fun doing what we do, which you can readily see on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. Why do we post all that? Because we believe our core values and unique culture attracts likeminded individuals (and potential clients-partners). We don’t want convince people to work for us; we want the right individuals to be drawn to working alongside us. Drawing the right people in is the easiest way to start to identify cultural fit. It’s also why we are diligent in networking, because it allows us to come into contact and identify potential hires in a slow, organic, relational way. We take our time in hiring because we allow ourselves time and space to hire.

[one_fourth]How To Hire Your First Employee: 3 Steps To Ensure The Perfect Fit[/one_fourth]

Strengths fit. I was a psychology major, and the Myers Briggs played a huge part in helping me identify my career path coming out of college. Later on in life, the Strengthsfinder test by Gallup [affiliate link] further helped me in determining what my particular character strengths were. At Buzzshift, we have found that Strengthsfinder has been essential in identifying what each person on the team brings to the table. We give the test and the book to EVERY applicant and intern that we interview. Aside from helping us to see past a resume, it provides the interviewee with something tangible they can use down the road, even attaching to the back of their resume or adding it to their bio. We believe it’s the best $20 we can spend in the hiring process, and it’s one of the best $20 gifts anyone gets for spending some time with us. In fact, we can’t think of another company that gives a gift of any kind to applicants!

We go one step further and combine it with the Strengths Based Leadership book [affiliate link], which helps us identify how to utilize people within our team and where to place them. Those two books have been crucial in successfully building and developing the team, as well as showing us areas where we need more leadership.

[one_fourth]How To Hire Your First Employee: 3 Steps To Ensure The Perfect Fit[/one_fourth]

Functional fit. This is simply roles and responsibilities, skill sets like knowledge of Excel, social media savviness, and experience with keyword research and SEO tools. It’s the basic reason we hire, but it is not the essence of what we look for, nor the true nature of why we hire. You’d be surprised at how little we look at a resume, and how much we listen for industry reputation, explore past work scenarios, and gauge their curiosity.




Our Hiring Process

All together, our hiring process goes something like this:



And this is our team thus far. We admit that we don’t know if this is scalable past 20 employees, but we are pretty sure that the three layers of “fit” will still apply. How are you hiring for your company? We are curious to hear how other companies are successfully growing and retaining their team.

Icons by Sven Gabriel, Dirk Unger, Dolly Vu, Ben Hsu, Thomas Le Bas, Lauren Gray, and Travis J. Lee of the Noun Project.