If you don't have an obvious candidate to delegate to, you might need to hire that person—as a staffer or a virtual assistant/contractor. Learn how to choose the right person wisely.
- If you already have someone you can easily delegate to, a direct report or a trusted colleague, that's fantastic, and later we'll talk about how to handle that interaction optimally. But what if you want to delegate, but there's no logical candidate to help? In that case, you may need to hire someone. Of course, if you're working inside an organization you'll need to get budgetary approval and permission to do it first. But assuming you have the go ahead, how can you find the right person? Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you're choosing wisely.
First, make sure you're very clear on exactly which tasks you'd like someone to perform and understand the skillset that's necessary for them to possess. Do they have to have experience in order to do the job well? Or is it something they can figure out on the job? For instance, if you're hiring someone to help with social media, it may not be a big deal if they're unfamiliar with a certain new platform that you're experimenting with, but if they've never used Facebook and that's a primary driver of your business, that may be a bridge too far. You need to take the time to write a great job description.
And by great, I mean one that will get you the kind of candidates you most want to reach. You can't simply borrow a job description from elsewhere in the organization and retrofit it. Instead, start from your knowledge of what the position will entail and be incredibly specific. If you need them to be experienced with certain software, say so. And if you're looking for someone with a specific attitude or mindset, like massive attention to detail or someone for a sales position that never lets themselves get discouraged, be explicit about it. The goal is to weed out the wrong candidates as much as it is to draw in the right ones.
Once the applications have come in how do you know who's any good? Clearly references are important, and as with all hires if you can find mutual connections, LinkedIn is great for this, rather than just the names they supply you with, that can be a valuable source of information. It's also useful where possible not just to ask the typical shoot the breeze type of interview questions, like tell me about yourself. That benefits the smooth talkers and handicaps people who might be a little more shy. What can be especially helpful instead, is questions that ask for specifics about a time where you dealt with XYZ, and get them to recount for you exactly what they did, so you can see their thought process in action.
Another variant of that is to give them a hypothetical issue like they'd face working for you and ask how they'd handle it. They can't prepare for that as neatly as for the standard interview questions. And it gives you a window into how they actually act and think. Finally, it's essential for you to set aside proper training time the moment someone is on board. This is a place where many new hires fail, and it's your fault, not theirs. They can't do their job properly if they don't know how or they don't know what you're expecting. It's painful and annoying, but you need to deal with the fact that for the first few weeks, let's say a minimum of two, and sometimes up to six or eight, you'll be spending way more time training your new hire than you would have doing the ask yourself.
You have to build this in or they'll never get the foundational information they need. But if you do, before long they can take those pesky tasks off your plate forever.