5 Hiring Lessons I've Learned as a Newbie Interviewer

Hiring is hard. I’m still so new to it a year into doing it. But I’ve learned a lot in the last year. Here are 5 things I’ve learned about hiring that might help you whether you’re doing the same or applying to a dream job.

The 5 Things (for Readers in a Rush)

  1. Trust your gut 

  2. Passion is often greater than someone's current skill set

  3. Nervousness is not a bad thing

  4. Map out growth in the role, then sell the vision

  5. Be relatable, be human

Keep reading for my experiences in each lesson.

Trust your gut 

There’s a gut feeling you get when you hire for a job you used to do. The first hiring mistake I made was not trusting the instincts I’ve developed as a social media marketer. I dismissed it thinking maybe I was being too harsh of a critic. It was a headache for me and for my team to deal with the effects of picking the wrong person.

So the next time around, I trusted my gut.

Applications I reject in under 60 seconds

  • Applications with no cover letter - rejected

  • Content creation applicants without their own content - rejected

  • Cover letters and resumes loaded with typos and broken links - rejected

It’s hard. But when you review hundreds (sometimes 1,000+ applications) you are looking for people who go the extra mile. 

Passion is often greater than someone's current skill set

People who love what they do but aren’t an expert yet have insane hunger to learn. They crave immersing themselves in environments that will grow them. You can feel this passion and hunger in what they say. They want to prove themselves and will make it known to you that they want this opportunity.

It’s one of those things you take a leap of faith on but feel in your gut that they will do everything they can do to shine. But you have to be willing to be a good mentor for it to (hopefully) work out.

Nervousness is not a bad thing

I got tongue tied and confessed I was nervous AF at my interview with HR for my first marketing job ever.

“I-I-I’m so sorry. I’m really nervous. I reaaally want this job. Argh can I restart my answer?” - I stuttered to Teresita, the HR person screening me.

I ended up getting the job. But also I learned that sometimes nervousness because you care isn’t a bad thing.

As an applicant to a new job or entrepreneur wanting to land a client, don’t mistake passion with weakness and vulnerability. People who love what they do but aren’t an expert yet have insane hunger to learn. They crave immersing themselves in environments that will grow them. You can feel this passion and hunger in what they say. And sometimes, because we’re only human, we want something so bad that our nerves get the best of us. 

Own it. Maybe you get lucky with a nice person who gets it like I did.

Map out growth in the role, then sell the vision

People who are interviewing are selling the vision of what they can do for you. But you want the best talent. So why should the best talent want to work with you, your team, and in the company?

I mapped out the following basics to be clear on what success means for YouTuber hires:

  • Our KPIs (more traffic from youtube plus higher engagement)

  • Our goals (15% traffic from YouTube and 40,000 subscribers by end of year)

But I also mapped out these things out:

  • What does success look like after 3, 6, and 12 months?

  • What does a day in the life look like on the job? A typical week?

  • What does it feel like to work at VEED and with my team and I? How will I grow you?

These are the things that can take a boring job description and interview into a living breathing opportunity people will want to seize while they can.

Be relatable, be human

His words were carefully selected. He was tip-toeing because well I forget that people who meet me in an interview for the first time don’t REALLY know how I am. That is until I sprinkled in some relatable anecdotes from my career and got some laughs going.

Me:

So, maybe you can relate, one time an old boss would literally breathe down my neck watching me type hashtags and tell me not to pick them because they didn’t sound cool.

Him:

Hahaha oh my gosh that’s the worst! What’d you do?

Me:

Yeah! Well I didn’t know any better so I just let it slide and hated myself for it. I always wanted to defend my ideas and with time I started learning how to do that. I’m curious though...what would you do if you were me, you have an idea for something you believe is a smart move, but you get turned down - how would you defend it?

Prefacing questions with some context, usually a story from real life experience, helped me melt away jitters and see the real candidate. Sometimes people rush through interviews. But I think it can be worth taking that extra 15-minutes to dissolve the tension and create connection. This is what helps you both understand who you each are and be more likely to receive truthful responses.