Summary: Employing people is like marriage - rush in and things can go very wrong.
This post is for employers looking for great people to solve their problems. It contains opinions. If you disagree, rant at me on twitter - I’d love to hear your perspective.
Hey I’ve just met you
“And this is crazy, but here’s our HR department, let’s work together permanently”
How often does this happen. You put out a call for talented people to help you build your business - maybe you need to improve sales or build an app or website, and then get started interviewing people. When you find someone you like, you extend them an offer and hope they accept.
I’ve been through this many times myself, both as an applicant and interviewer and I’ve come to the opinion that it’s flawed. We’re doing it wrong.
Horses and carriages
When we approach hiring people like this, I like to think of it in terms of dating and marriage. As a single person I went on dates. Sometimes they’d go well and we’d get on great, we’d maybe even set up another date and get to know each other better. But nobody ever proposed marriage after one date. That is madness.
Instead we date, maybe even move in together to see how we get on. Then if everything is right, only then, maybe, is the subject of marriage brought up.
In terms of hiring people, we jump from the first date to offers of marriage.
Starting with a lie
When we do this we set ourselves up for problems. Few people say “I’d love to be your employee forever and ever” and really mean it. Yet when we’re hiring people we look for this. It’s like starting a relationship with a lie. Sure, maybe things might work out but is that really a healthy way for a relationship to begin?
A better approach
Marriage isn’t for everyone and when we rush into it, it can be an expensive, painful mistake. Hiring people is a serious commitment too - and getting it wrong can be expensive and painful also.
Yet many companies seem to think hiring permanent employees is the only option. It really isn’t. Look at the problems we’re trying to solve. Do you really need someone to work with you permanently to solve them? Can these problems be talked by bringing in an expert, as a contractor or freelancer?
Maybe you do need a permanent person to help you grow and take on big challenges. Well, marriage is a fine option when you need that sort of commitment. But how about starting with a contract first to see how it goes? It gives more options than trying to lock people down to a permanent commitment without knowing you’ll even get along.
It’s all about solving problems
I’ve been a employee, independent contractor, freelancer and even run my own businesses, but what I love doing more than anything else is helping people solve their problems. My current approach to this is freelancing - working on projects with clear goals and using my experience and skills to build amazing web sites and applications.
Yet I frequently find myself disappointed by companies who seem more interested in proposing marriage at the first date. I’m sure you’re wonderful but I’m more interested in helping you solve problems, not signing away my life to you!
This is why I’m writing this. If you’re running a company, selling your services or products and wishing you could hire better people, look wider than just hiring permanent employees. Maybe you’ll find someone with just the skills you need who can come in and solve your problems, and maybe they’ll get on with you so well you’ll end up working together again, or maybe not. But either way you’ll have a better chance of getting your problems solved.
Over to you
Ready to throw off the shackles of a monogomanous life and enjoy the benefits of working with a freelancer? If so, call me, maybe.