Posts tagged Hires
Recent image updates show University of Phoenix Stadium being prepped for Sunday’s Super Bowl.
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Guest author Scott Gerber is founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council.
The last thing an employee wants to feel on their first day of work is lost and confused. Each company should have an organized, specific system in place to make the onboarding process go as smoothly as possible.
To learn more about how to make this possible, we polled nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) on unique ways they welcome and orient new hires. Their answers are below.
Have Them Spend Time In Customer Service
Each person in our company spends two to three weeks in customer service and support. We want everyone to be able to jump into this position if needed. This also helps every person in the company know our product and what our real customers are saying. It also helps the C-level executives get to know almost every person in the company and truly understand what they are going through.
In addition, we make every person spend 40 hours a quarter in customer services—even the CEO. This engrains in them that we’re all about our customers.
Hold Informal Second-Round Interviews
Typically when a company employs a multi-tiered interviewing process, they use the second-round to ramp up intensity. I take the opposite approach. During the first interview I ask the typical questions; and then, if I feel the candidate has potential, I invite them out to dinner or happy hour.
I do this for a number of reasons. First of all, my work environment is informal and seeing the person in that context gives me an idea of how they might fit in. Another reason is that a laid-back setting can help lower an applicants defenses and be more open and honest. I’m really not interested in hearing about your biggest weakness (which is inevitably somehow a strength in disguise). I want to hear about your hobbies and quirks and (most importantly) what makes me want to work with you every day?
Hold A Scavenger Hunt
To preserve that “everyone knows each other” vibe our company enjoyed back when we were a smaller team, we’ve developed an in-depth scavenger hunt for new employees that encourages them to meet and talk to other people at the company to find out their interests, hobbies, nicknames and professional functions. It’s helped preserve our company culture as we grow our numbers.
Make Sure There’s A Welcoming Environment
For new hires the most stressful part of a new job is the nerves around all of the unknown and all the “new”: new faces, new programs, new systems. We try to make each individual feel welcome by making their desk on their first day feel like home.
We ready the desk with fun office supplies, write a hand-written welcome note and, depending on the season, have fresh flowers waiting for them on their desk. Making a new hire feel welcomed and appreciated from the moment they arrive sets the tone with how your team will work together moving forward.
Start With The “Why”
We do our two day onboarding where we teach the strength finders, our core values, and our “why.” We watch TED talks, have a company-wide team-building event and weave in an interactive training. It is very well received.
Fly Everyone in for a Team Meeting
We spend a couple of days together so they can take part in critical team operations and we can have dinners and drinks together.
Hold A Company-Wide Lunch
Whenever we have a new hire, I always buy lunch for the whole team on their first day. Lunch together allows the new person to meet everyone in an informal manner and share a little bit about themselves.
It allows them an opportunity to identify people who they have common interests with and could converse with later. By the end of the day, the newly hired employee feels like they know everyone and the anxiety of meeting new co-workers is gone.
Connect Them to Our Core Mission
It’s easy for a new hire to get tunnel vision around learning the tasks of their job, and in doing so, lose sight of where they fit into the vision of the company. During their first week, every new hire—from analysts to customer service—spends an hour with our logistics team packing a product box for shipment.
We do this so they stay connected to our mission and experience what our customers receive after making the decision to use our products.
Onboarding a new employee can be a long and difficult process. The software LearnCore is great, especially for sales teams. Employees learn faster and can get feedback as well. It’s very efficient.
Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock
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Guest author Scott Gerber is the founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Council.
Some people may think it’s ludicrous to try to break into an industry where you have no specific expertise. But lack of experience doesn’t necessarily mean failure, as long as you work smart and align with the right resources—and people.
Curious about how other founders think, I asked 12 entrepreneurs from the YEC to weigh in on the debate: How important is it that your co-founder or first few hires have a lot of experience in an industry where you don’t? Their best advice is below.
You need to hire someone in the space that you’re entering in the beginning. They should be able to tell you what’s going on in the industry, what events you should be going to and have a lot of contacts to be able to push your business to the next level. Pay attention to the leaders in the space on LinkedIn, see if they have recently left their job or reach out to them to see if they are interested in leaving their current job.
Learn From Scratch
Neither of us knew anything about the hair business when we got into it, and unlike many other industries, our company is probably better for it. We learned all we could by talking to those who ran successful multi-unit enterprises and even dove deep into what a franchisee would need to know and do to open a chain outlet.
But coming from different backgrounds (marketing and finance), we wanted to put our own spin on the business, and we did it mostly by questioning the assumptions many associate with hair salons. Why close Mondays? Why all the mystery pricing? Why does drama have to come with the territory?
Since we empower our employees to manage the quality part of the haircut experience, we use our time to put butts in chairs. We work much more on our business than we do in it.
Look For Domain Expertise
Domain expertise is a must for any co-founder or startup. Starting a company is easy, it is the middle and end parts that are hard.
As a startup, time is one of your most valuable assets. Every company faces unforeseen challenges and events—how you and your company respond to these events will make the difference between success or failure. If you don’t have mastery over your industry, you will find yourself spending undue time and energy (which you don’t have) getting up to speed trying to learn the industry.
If you want to learn about an industry, don’t waste your investors’ money and time trying to start a company in an industry you know nothing about, just go back to school. It will be cheaper and much less painful.
Experience Isn’t Always Necessary, But It’s A Plus
If you happen to have a co-founder who has experience in that industry, great—if you don’t, nothing to fret over. Make sure you make connections with people from that industry that you can gain guidance from, try to establish mentor-like relationships (without forcing it) and get as much advice as you can. You don’t want to waste years on the wrong path because you were misguided or spitballing for whatever worked.
Also, in hiring people outside of your niche, it’s best to find a connector between yourself and that new hire—someone who can vouch for that person. Find someone you know in that industry and ask, “Do you know anyone who’s looking for a new position? Anyone good?,” and try to go from there.
Look for Employees With Complementary Skills
Depending on the industry, there’s a minimum amount of subject matter competence one might need (tech, for example). But in general, I’d put my money on the entrepreneur who has the passion and smarts over the experience any day. That said, a smart entrepreneur in this situation should look to recruit others who bring a diverse array of skills to help the company sustain and succeed.
Having Industry Expertise Is Critical
I’m a co-founder or board member in nine different companies. I don’t invest in companies, I invest in co-founders. My background is online advertising. I was intrigued by the idea of a personal media brand and knew I needed to consistently build mine. I met Clint Evans, whose writing experience and background with media made him a great co-founder to help me reach my goals.
You must be a true connector to recruit outside your space. You can’t fake it here. Join local or even virtual groups of lateral thinkers. Mastermind groups are also a fantastic resource. You’re exposed to divergent thinking and ideas you’d never have thought of. Synergies occur and even if none of the group members have the expertise you seek, many times somebody in the group can refer you to the expert you need.
Intellectual Curiosity Is Key
At some point in your career, you were a novice in your respective industry. Over time, you came to learn all there is to know and you can certainly do that again. While it is advantageous to recruit a co-founder who has domain expertise, it isn’t necessary.
The most important thing is having enough intellectual curiosity to quickly understand most of the ins-and-outs of the industry, so you can at least navigate your way through and develop initial traction. Otherwise, you may be paralyzed and unable to get anything done. Moving forward, as you grow your business and begin recruiting talent, your best bet is to search online communities dedicated to this niche and submit postings to job boards catering to applicant pools filled with candidates that have the skills you are looking for.
Hire Someone Eager To Learn
It could certainly be an advantage, because knowledge is key when entering new products or markets, but I think it’s even more important to hire or partner with people who are open to learning. The knowledge you need is out there, but if you surround yourself with efficient people committed and willing to learn, you can do wonders. If they don’t have the knowledge, they’ll find a way to get it.
You Need Someone With Domain Expertise
It’s very important because success is often about diving deep into that industry—this can often be an advisor as well, but make sure there is someone. For hiring, have an outside consultant (hired or friend) who is an expert in the space help you with the interview process. We had a wonderful acquaintance who helped us interview developers to make sure they had the right experience, for example.
Experts Really Help For Raising Capital
If you’re starting a business outside of your domain expertise, you absolutely have to surround yourself with people who have experience in that area. Investors typically want to see domain expertise, so that’s important for raising capital.
Even more important, as you build a business, you need to have a story behind the company that every partner, employee, investor, media contact, etc. will want to know. Why this? Why you? It’s incredibly important that the story and answers to those questions are compelling. Otherwise, you’re starting at a disadvantage.
Be A Facilitator
If you don’t know much about the space, the only thing you can be is the facilitator: the person that knows how to build the right team. At a minimum, you have to have a vision for what the product has to be and know who you need to bring on board in order to make that happen. Otherwise, you’re just a poser.
It’s very important that you find some co-founders that know the space, but you have to at least understand the space and the product you’re trying to complete at a high level. It takes a lot of intuition. However, if you’d like to bring in people from outside your realm of expertise, you should invest a lot of time in understanding their world, going to their events, figuring out what makes them tick. You have to understand anybody’s position and beliefs before you can earn their respect.
Build A Team Smarter Than You
It is essential to hire employees that are extremely experienced in your business’ industry. My theory has always been that you should build a team that is smarter than you and can be independent of you. It is equally as important, as entrepreneurs, to recognize our own weaknesses and fill those lacking areas with staff who can compensate.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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OPUBCO Digital Marketing hires SEO expert
Burr Reedy, the company's new SEO manager, has eight years of SEO and digital marketing experience working for industry giants such as MOZ, formerly known as SEOmoz, in Seattle. She has spoken at industry events all over the world including Pubcon …
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Chinese search giant Baidu has stolen away the head of Google’s “deep learning” project, dubbed “Google Brain.” Andrew Ng is an artificial intelligence expert, Stanford professor and founder of online learning company Coursera. Google Brain is a machine learning…
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Raleigh SEO Company Hires Additional SEO Coordinator
SBWire (press release)
Raleigh, NC — (SBWIRE) — 12/20/2013 — TheeDesign Studio, a Raleigh based web design company, is proud to announce the addition of John Gibbings to the SEO and Internet Marketing team. John will be responsible for implementing SEO and internet …
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