Article and Photos by Jodie Brim, Owner, Jodie Brim Creative
To thrive, hiring the right people at the right time is essential. I have worked with my team members for a minimum of two years and know them well. I have leaned into my zone of genius while trusting that they’re leaning into their zone of genius. This is one of the keys to building a successful creative team.
RULE #1 – OUTSOURCE TASKS THAT YOU’RE NOT THE BEST AT, AND FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS.
Hire for gaps in your skill set when building a team. For example, if you procrastinate about completing specific tasks or find that they take longer than they should, it might be worthwhile to hire a virtual assistant to help you with them.
By delegating some of your tasks, you gain time that would have been spent on them and relieve a portion of your mental load. Often, we think, ‘It only takes me 15-minutes to answer this email or do this task.’ A factor to consider is the time it takes you to switch from one task to another. It is not just about the task but also how it affects you mentally.
RULE #2 – A SUCCESSFUL CREATIVE TEAM IS AN ALIGNED ONE
When hiring, it is essential to consider the alignment of mission, vision, and values between the company and potential new hires. Hire team members that are in alignment with your business. If you feel very strongly about punctuality and a potential hire’s idea of “on-time” means arriving at the same time as your client, that could create problems. If communication is a priority and your potential hire only checks their email once a week, that will be an issue.
Writing down what’s important to you makes hiring people who share your values easier. When you can clearly articulate what is most important to you, your team will be better equipped to help you achieve your goals.
RULE #3 – BE SPECIFIC
When hiring a team member, provide that person with as much detail and guidance as possible. You cannot hire someone for a task, pass it off, and expect success. This leads to frustration for both parties. During the interview process, be clear about the scope of the job and its duties. If you’re looking for a marketing assistant, list the skills they’ll need. If you’re hiring a professional, then less handholding will likely be needed once they’ve learned your editing style and voice. Are you hiring an amateur? Then expect to spend more time training them to do the job the way you want it done.
The more specific you are in the process of hiring, the better qualified your applicants will be.
Hiring an admin position:
- How long have you been in customer service?
- How would you respond to the following email? (Link an email for them)
- How would you handle a client issue if I’m out of the office or unavailable?
- When you have too many tasks to complete, how do you handle it?
Hiring for a creative team member, marketing, associate photographer, content creator, etc.:
- What is one trend you’ve seen in marketing this year that you like? What’s one that you don’t?
- My target audience is X – what platform would you recommend I focus my marketing efforts on?
- You realize that a client is uncomfortable during a session; how do you approach that situation?
- Here are three images from a recent photoshoot; what’s a caption you would write for my audience?
With these questions, you’re receiving feedback on how they would handle your business. This will give you insight into their skill level and ability to harness your voice.
RULE #4 – GIVE FEEDBACK
Feedback is essential to keeping your team members on track. If you see something that needs improvement, take the time to explain how they can make the change. I’ve seen many business owners hesitate to give their team members constructive criticism because they fear the person’s reaction.
To be a strong leader, you need to do just that – lead. This can be uncomfortable at first. You’re used to being a solopreneur. However, now that you’ve hired someone, it’s time to delegate and empower them to do their job. This means letting them know how they can improve but also when they do the job well. If you love a particular response to an email, let them know and tell them to save it for next time. Love a blog they wrote? Tell them! Want them to rework your caption to fit your voice better? Let them know. The more you communicate what is working and what isn’t, the better your working relationship will be.