Yay, you are at a point where you need to start outsourcing some of what you do.
You do stuff. Like a lot of stuff. Like perhaps billing, admin, social media, networking, sales inquiries,… and it’s clear that you’d be able to get more done, or save more of your own time, if you had some help.
But what’s the process of hiring look like? How can you prepare? Here’s how to gracefully and intentionally hire someone:
1. Evaluate What’s Worth Hiring For
Don’t hire someone for something until you’ve evaluated that the something that you want to hire for is worth anyone’s time.
Too often I see therapists throwing their hands up and saying, “Fine, I will hire someone” but it’s for something that isn’t actually worth hiring for, like aligning an image in a certain way on their website.
What if you didn’t need to align it the way you think you do? What if you found a way to make it more simple? What if you just deleted the image all together?
Or maybe you don’t need a virtual assistant around to do this for you. Maybe what you actually need is just a one-time small project or consultancy around how to make things so simple and streamlined that you don’t need to hire someone ongoing?
Or still – what if there’s a software solution? For example, how much would setting up a scheduler help with streamlining your consult calls and scheduling clients in?
Step 1 is absolutely to have clarity on if what you want to hire for is worth hiring for at all. Don’t outsource busy work. Don’t outsource things that are not actually that important. Don’t outsource things that have an easy solve or that comparatively inexpensive software can solve for.
Hiring requires your time, energy, money, and risk – so make sure what you are getting help with is worth getting help with.
2. Clarify A Role By Grouping Responsibilities
Since the hire will be taking over work that you are doing yourself, writing out the list of responsibilities should be fairly simple. Just start tracking what you do, how often, and with that data, create a list of things you’ll be delegating to your new hire.
In this process, you’ll be able to group responsibilities together to form a role (or many roles).
For example, answering the phone, matching prospective clients to a clinician, figuring out scheduling, these can all be responsibilities within the same role: perhaps an admin assistant.
Once you are starting to form the role, you can also discover other things that you might be able to delegate easily.
TIP: At this stage, it’s also wise to pay attention to if the responsibilities are for things that are repetitive. You do not want to hire someone to help with unpredictable, complicated-to-explain-ongoing, or ambiguious tasks that only occur once in a while. Doing so will result in a lot more ongoing work for you because you’ll be scrambling to figure out things like, “what work do I need to give them?” or “I need to meet with them and explain how they should do this because they’ve never done it before” Right? Right.
3. Get Clear On The Time Commitment You Need Of Your New Hire
Clarity around the role and responsibilities will also help you understand the time that this role needs to be hired for. If it’s your first hire, it’s unlikely you’ll have a full-time job to fill but then how do you know how to structure their work?
Tracking your own time fulfilling the responsibilities you want to delegate and then multiplying that by 2 or 3 can give you a good estimate of the hours you might need. So if I currently spend 1 hour per week answering phones and figuring out scheduling with clients, my new hire will need at least 2-3 hours for the same work.
3. Make A List Of Key Competencies
Understanding and using hiring competencies in your hiring process could be the best tip in this article. Once you know about what the competencies are, you can leverage them for better interviewing, hiring, and training.
For example, if you need help with social media: creating content, posting on a regular basis, and engaging with the audience, then the human you hire for that role ought to already have a certain set of skills, abilities, or perhaps be “wired a certain way” in order to successfully fulfill the role.
(Hint: competencies aren’t skills – it’s less about what they are capable of doing and more about their behavior and who they naturally are).
Competencies that you hire for can also designed to factor in your working and management style as well.
So in the case of your social media manager, you might want to ensure they communicate effectively, so their content really speaks to your audience and engage well with others, and are nimble learners, so they stay on top of new features across social channels and leverage them for you.
What competencies does this hire need to have to be successful? Being clear on a couple priority competencies can help you describe the work and find the right-fit.
4. Write A Job Description That Sells
Most job descriptions suck. They say, “here’s all the stuff you need to do, all the stuff you need to know, and when you’ll need to start.”
A better approach is to treat the writing of the job description as if it were a piece of sales copy:
- What does someone gain from working with you? E.g., You get safe, predictable income doing something you love with enough time off to enjoy it.
- What types of problems are avoided when working with you? E.g., Avoid a long commute to and from work, this position is remote so you can work at home.
- What cool or exciting perks will you give them? E.g., We’ll provide a laptop!
- What kind of culture do you provide? E.g., We’re nerdy. Be prepared to send gifs in our group chat!
- What kind of mission are you allowing someone to rally around? E.g., We believe in empowering BIPOC!
SELL your job. And you will have more and better quality applicants that are enthusiastic to work with you.
5. For Therapists: Research HIPAA Stuff
The focus of this article isn’t going to get into the nitty gritty of hiring for roles that come into contact with protected health information, or PHI, of prospective or current clients.
But I do want to mention that if your role will be interacting with PHI, you will want to research what that entails so that you and your hire are compliant.
In some cases, for very sensitive work like handling prospective client calls, preexisting familiarity with HIPAA and ability to offer compliance guidance, could be a requirement for the role. That said: always approach such matters from an informed place.
Make More Money, Save Time, And Make A Bigger Impact
When it’s time to expand your team, it’s a moment to be celebrated. It means that you’ll be making an even bigger impact than you’d be able to on your own.
Once you put together the role, find amazing candidates, hire and train them, and allow them to fulfill their responsibilities, you will then have freed up your own time to work on things that make more money.
That said, it’s a process to get there. And as with anything else in business, hiring, training, and managing people is a skill that takes time to learn. You will make mistakes. It will get emotional (people stuff!). But it can also be really worth it.
My last words of encouragement in this post are: buckle up to level up, hiring is a new type of ride, both scary and fun. I hope this will help you prepare.