Sometimes growth and development comes from afar in the form of one person’s vision. Take the youngster Ryan Allis who shares his entrepreneurial secrets in a new book called Zero to One Million: How I Built My Company to $1 Million in Sales . . . and How You Can, Too. He also launched an email marketing firm called iContact.
Recently, I sent Ryan some questions to answer for this blog. Here’s part two of our Q&A:
LGL: You provide a solid list of questions to ask applicants, but what if your entrepreneurial skills don’t include stellar interviewing skills? How can you get around that? What if interviewing is the last thing you want to do?
RA: If interviewing isn’t your strong point, you must hire a Human Resources Director to screen and possibly interview applicants for your company. Originally, I conducted all employee interviews for building the iContact team. Today, our HR Director screens all applicants, and the manager within a specific department conducts the initial interview. If the manager wishes to submit the applicant as a potential hire, I will then interview them. After the manager ensures that an applicant is qualified and has the necessary experience, I like to interview them to see that they are sane, have a good work ethic, and can communicate well. As the leader of your company, it is your responsibility to grow your team with well-qualified, high-quality people, and you should do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal.
LGL: You say that the two most important things you look for when hiring are initiative and work ethic. Can you elaborate on each and tell us why?
These are the main things I have learned to look for after conducting many interviews over the past few years. I’ve learned that no matter what someone’s level of experience is, if they have a bias toward action, take initiative, and has a solid work ethic, you will want them to work on your team.
Having a bias toward action and taking the initiative means that a person will never become idle due to indecision. If they see a problem, they will be proactive and figure out a way to solve it, and are always looking for ways to improve the company. Having a good work ethic means that a person is able to see any issues that arise through until a solution is reached. These people will often have to multi-task and work on several different projects at once, and being able to focus to complete the tasks at hand illustrate their strong work ethic.