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Value Added Ep.09 – Hiring Pt.2


17 Jul 2020


This week, Jarod and Jonathan deliver part two of their take on one of the biggest challenges facing any entrepreneur or manager: how to hire and retain talented people.

Despite getting sidetracked temporarily by tales of cocaine and penis-pumps, Jonathan and Jarod delivered tons of value in this episode…


  • Get creative using industry-specific job boards. For example, when Jonathan wanted to hire writers to work in SEOButler’s UK office, they advertised on a journalism website. The cost was relatively low and resulted in over 300 applicants submitting their CVs.
  • Beyond job sites, cast your net wider when looking for potential candidates with experience and enthusiasm for a particular subject.For example, affiliate marketers are always looking for content writers.Typically, they’ll seek them out on freelance websites or hire a content writing service (like SEOButler).

    What they rarely attempt is looking for writers from alternative sources that are highly relevant to their niche.

    For example, if you have an affiliate site related to horses, rather than going to Upwork or Indeed and trying to hire an experienced content writer who may have no interest or knowledge of horses, go to a horse-related Facebook group instead.

    Call out for people who are passionate about horses that also have some writing experience and offer to pay them to write an article.

    Often, this can result in much more compelling content than what you might get from a more experienced writer who has no interest or knowledge of the niche.

  • Hiring a writer with expertise in your niche may sometimes be more expensive, but you will usually get faster turnaround times and better product.
  • Neither Jonathan nor Jarod are fond of corporate HR-speak when hiring, and both inject some humor into the process right from the start.
  • While recruitment sites like Indeed and Upwork have their advantages, they also make it very easy for job seekers to apply for positions without even reading the requirements.Wading through hundreds of applications can be time-consuming and ultimately unrewarding.

    Loyal Value Added listener and outreach allstar, Bibi Lauri Raven, has a brilliant technique for weeding out the one-click-fits-all applicants many job search platforms encourage.Towards the end of your job ad, insert an instruction that the applicant has to include a specific word in the subject line of their application in order to be considered.

    For example, “donut.”

    Then set up a filter that consigns all the applications that don’t conform to this requirement to the trash.

    After all, who wants to hire someone who can’t even be bothered to read and follow a simple instruction?

“Greg Elfrink from Empire Flippers actually gave us a great tip.

For roles that require creative, outgoing people, video applications are a must.

All applicants must submit a CV and a video. People who won’t submit a video are eliminated immediately.

When hiring for a marketing position, we asked applicants to talk about SEOButler and what they could envision themselves doing for the company.

You instantly know from the video whether you want to go further down the road with the applicant.”
Jonathan Kiekbusch

  • For content writers, Jonathan has applicants submit an unpaid 300-word trial piece to evaluate the proficiency of the applicant. Right away, you eliminate many applicants who can’t be bothered to take the time, and you have something substantial to evaluate from the ones who do.
  • For Jonathan, having a potential employee be a good fit for the company culture is at least as important as skillset and more so than experience.
  • Both Jonathan and Jarod make use of 90-day probationary periods for new hires. However, they both agree that it usually takes up to a year before you can truly evaluate how effective the hire is going to be within their role.

“When it comes to evaluating potential SEO hires, I always start out by checking out who they actively follow on social media.

If they follow Rand Fishkin, they’re going to have a very different opinion and style of SEO than if they die-hard follow Charles Floate.”
Jarod Spiewak

  • Adjacent to hiring, retention is one of the most pressing challenges for many businesses. Jarod recommends revenue or profit-sharing as a way of incenting and retaining valuable team members.

Subscribe to the Value Added Podcast — featuring SEOButler founder Jonathan Kiekbusch and Blue Dog Media head honcho Jarod Spiewak — to be notified about future Live Streams and Podcasts.


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