On Hiring: How To Test For Real Skills

Lately we have been on the lookout to add more members to our team. With the number of marketing tools in the market, there are likely over 20 tools you can use for email marketing, another 30-40 to create content and post onto the many different social media platforms, and even more to manage follower engagement.

A lot of times when people hire, we first skim the various tool the prospective employee is comfortable with using. CHECK – great they are familiar with these key tools we use. (We should also keep in mind that a lot of times familiarity with various tools is inflated in a person’s resume.) During the interview, they then ask them questions about themselves to assess fit. CHECK – seems to fit in with culture.

The missing piece is actually interviewing for the marketing SOFT skills required to make use of the tools. Does the potential candidate show promise of a strategic mindset that can utilize these tools to improve your business? I suggest testing this out by throwing a few real life business scenarios at them and seeing what they approach is to solving these problems.

The rest of the questions we ask them people can usually BS through, but business scenario questions are a good way to gage how much they really know and can apply. So the next time you interview a candidate, try this out and I guarantee you will have more useful information to make a better hiring decision.


Management Tip: Tell Them Who’s Boss



A lot of us have to go through a few years in the business world to figure out what our leadership styles are. Canadians are always made fun of for how polite we are, and this spills over into our management styles. 


I’m at a new client’s office meeting with their team to go over branding/marketing strategy. There were a total of four people in this meeting including myself. It is a relatively small company with less than 20 staff so it operates like a startup with staff each wearing numerous “hats”.

I spoke mostly with one of the staff as he explained all the details to me. After leaving the meeting, I was catching up with another staff and casually asked whether Person A is the manager of the project. The person responded and said that Person B is actually the manager of the project. From the dynamics of the few meetings I have had with them, it definitely felt like the direct report had a louder “voice” over the project. 

Here’s how this affects you as a business owner:

  1. Nobody Knows Who’s Boss. This means that no one knows who has the final say for important decisions. We love to ask: “What do you think?” 
  2. Decisions Oddly Bypass You. When your direct reports are leading the business, external contractors and business partners/affiliates you deal with will revert to that person for decisions. I would assume that as the business owner you would want a say in that, so you have to project the image that you are the one in control. 

So tell them who’s boss. Tell everyone who’s boss. It’s better for business and minimizes internal power struggles. 

Businesses Spend Too Much Time in Alpha/Beta


Are You tired of hearing about and meeting people with businesses that are in alpha/beta “testing” phases for an indefinitely long amount of time?

Many entrepreneurs insist on shipping a perfect product. The problem with that is they usually set out building the perfect product as they see it in their minds, not the perfect product as in their customers’ minds (which is infinitely more important because customers that love your product pays the bills).

So what should entrepreneurs do? I am not saying give up your dreams and build a product that you don’t believe in but that customers want; I am saying that you should ship your product as soon as possible and opt for doing revisions based on feedback from people that matter the most – the users.

It’s great if your team thinks a mechanical arm that helps you paint walls is an amazing product… But if your customers think their own arms do a pretty good job of painting the walls I doubt you would generate much revenue.

So the takeaways:

1. Make sure there’s a large enough customer need (and one that customers are willing to pay for) by talking to the market, not just amongst you and your team.
2. Launch your product ASAP.
3. Revise/tweak your product. You are allowed to update it, so stop dreaming about launching the perfect product.