Hiring the wrong people was the biggest and costliest mistake that I made

I’m going to outright say that I made so many mistakes in hiring during my first year of business! I’m going to share all of these mistakes so that others need not follow and can learn through my own mistakes.

Hiring Friends

When I first started the company, I figured that I needed someone to do sales. I decided to hire a friend who is also an accountant to do it, and pay them on a commission basis.

Unfortunately for me, I learned that my friend wasn’t very reliable, nor was he very good at sales. He couldn’t even articulate what the company does in order to make a sale. Turning to friends may seem convenient because they are in your social network, but it’s not always the best especially if you’ve never worked together before on anything real.

Hiring Family

I decided to hire family. I am lucky I got out of this one unscathed. I love my family and I think that is all the more reason to not hire them. Again, for the same reason that hiring friends that you’ve never professionally worked with is a bad idea, hiring family is a bad idea.

Okay, so at this point, I realized that I needed to hire outside of my social circle. I needed to post a job ad out there.

Hiring Freelancers

I can write an entire blog post about hiring from the online freelancing community, but in short, I was able to find a few gems that eventually turned into longer-term team members. I found my right-hand woman this way, and I cannot see myself being where I am today without her!

The secret? Having a filtering process to be able to test candidates for language competency, technical skills, communication skills, customer service skills and the ability to work autonomously.

Hiring Local Employees

At this point, I had a few contractors now and decided that a full-time local employee would be the way to go. I took the same approach as I did online and applied the same tried and true strategy. In short, it didn’t work.

The hiring process does not take into account those that are articulate about their skills but do not have the actual motivation and discipline to own up to the job. I can say for certain that hiring the wrong employees was the biggest and most costliest mistakes as I was starting out in the first year. If I could go back to give myself just one piece of advice, it would be to own up to the mistake and end the relationship sooner.

So what worked?

I went back to focusing on hiring freelancers since that was working fairly well. For those freelancers that were doing well, I gave them a raise and asked them to commit all of their available working hours to my company. I guaranteed them security as best I can. Since they were working well, I asked them to refer their colleagues and this has worked really well.

What was sacrificed?

To the best of my ability, I do not let poor hiring practices impact the work that we do for our clients. What I did sacrifice instead was my mental well-being in having to fill-in for poor hires. I knew that I needed this to work in order for the company to move forward.

Hiring Interns

Stay tuned for an article on how I was able to turn an internship from a burden on resources to a positive experience for both employer and intern.

Your Start Up and E-Commerce Accountant

Jenny Tran, CPA, CMA