To start, we don’t hire people. We used to, but those days are long gone. Today we partner with people who we’ve worked with successfully. They know us and we know them. The partnerships are mutually beneficial. It used to be that companies always hired people as employees and gave them W-2s at the end of each year. Now the trend is to work with independent contractors, most of which have their own LLC. So, in reality, it’s a partnership between two business owners. I think this trend is going to continue to gain traction in the business world. It just makes sense with the new internet economy where more and more we’re working from home with people all around the world.
That said, we have two ways in which we get to know potential team members. One is building a relationship strictly online and one of them is working with them on a project in person. Yes, even with the events of the past year or so, we like meeting with people in person if at all feasible. Even if it’s in another country, we find it best to have face to face meetings in person at least initially and then once or twice a year after that. I know, some of you right now are questioning this or challenging it. It’s too expensive or logistically difficult, right? It’s not necessary. True, it’s expensive and can be logistically difficult. I agree with you.
But, I will add that when you do it, when you meet in person, you’ll find it adds a dynamic that cannot be replaced via the internet or cell phone. The people we work with as independent contractors have become our friends. We’ve had meals together and we share a history together that extends beyond simply communicating on the internet. This is important even though it’s hard to qualify.
What I mean is that the physical encounters we’ve had have helped our businesses because they’ve helped us communicate better and by virtue of this they’ve strengthened our relationship. Even if you only have a business meeting with someone over lunch once or twice a year, it still has a far greater impact on your relationship than a weekly Zoom meeting. And believe me the experience of visiting new places and learning about your new team member’s life in that place is very rewarding and can’t be substituted, especially if you’re having tacos with them in Mexico City or a cheesesteak in Philadelphia.
Also, we’ve found networking is much more fruitful in finding us new team members when we do some of the networking in person. It’s way way more productive than Facebook Groups and chat messaging. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had lunch with someone in another city or country and been introduced to someone who became a team member. It’s powerful even if only done in your city.
We also don’t allow ourselves to be in a hurry. We build teams very slowly and by initiating new projects with new people. But those people are usually introduced to us by someone who we already are working with. Rarely have we found success with recruiting on Indeed, Zip Recruiter, or LinkedIn. We’ve wasted a lot of time and money on those platforms. Again, those are purely internet experiences and though they work, we’ve not found that they work as well. And this is probably because we humans are physical in part and rely on that to build solid relationships.
We also have been very successful with finding good team members within our customer base. Sometimes customers can become the best salespeople of your solution and they come to have the deep knowledge of your company. They also bring a fresh energy and perspective to your company. This can make for a very good fit with your sales outreach or customer care. So, consider fostering relationships with your customers that open the door to that transition.
To sum it all up, I’m saying that you should at least be open to meeting with someone in person when recruiting or networking…at least at some point. You have to admit that you’ve desired to meet in person with the people you work with solely online. This is normal and so I would highly recommend inviting them to lunch.