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5 Steps To An Amazing Hiring Process For Agencies

Gray MacKenzie
Gray MacKenzie is a true operations nerd who has spent the past decade helping hundreds of agencies build more productive, profitable, and healthy teams by solving the core issues plaguing their project management.

To chat with Gray and have ZenPilot lead your team through the last project management implementation you'll ever need, schedule a quick call here.
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Hiring is not easy. It can be an extremely challenging process. Employers need to find someone with the right skills, experience, attitude and fit their budget.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for labor is at an all-time high. Earlier this year, there were on average 40 more jobs available than unemployed workers.

And to make matters worse, most agency owners don’t even begin the hiring process until they are well beyond capacity. They wait until their employees start to feel overwhelmed before they even write the job description. Hence the reason why burnout has become an even bigger factor in today’s work environment. This leads to current talent leaving, and now adding an additional replacement hire that needs to be made.

JobRack is a company that helps agency owners through this process. Their mission is to help online business owners hire amazing remote team members from Eastern Europe.

On the latest episode of Agency Journey, Gray sat down with Noel Andrews, Owner and Founder at JobRack, to discuss how agencies can improve their hiring process to bring better team members on board and keep them around for longer.

Here are the 5 steps to create an amazing hiring process.

Step 1: Define The Outcome

Don’t start the hiring process by defining a role. Start with the outcomes. Look at what you need to be done.

  1. Focus on the outcomes.
  2. Look at the outputs that a new hire would need to hit those outcomes.
  3. And then look at the skills and experiences someone would need to reach complete the outputs and reach the outcomes

After you’ve determined these three points, meet with your team to decide the role or roles that are needed.

Pro Tip: Hire 6-12 Months in Advance.

As mentioned above, agencies typically start hiring at 100-120% capacity. They start overworking the team and then think about what they need right now. This needs to be flipped. Be proactive and ask yourself what role you need in 6 or 12 months.

This ensures that you don’t hire and onboard someone that is outpaced or overwhelmed from day one.

Pro Tip: Make the Hard Decision That Makes the Other Decisions Easier.

If you niche down and focus, you’ll find hiring a much easier task (amongst plenty of other benefits). You’ll be able to predict what problem you’ll need to solve in 6 months and you’ll know the skills needed to solve that problem.

If your agency does everything for everyone, you lose predictability and have no idea what problem(s) you’ll be solving in the future.

Pro Tip: Follow the “Jobs to Be Done” Framework

If you’re going to hire someone, make sure they understand fully what you want out of them.

What’s the real job to be done?

If you’re hiring an Executive Assistant, you need to communicate to them what’s important to you. And this can’t just be surface level. What’s the real driver behind what you want to accomplish?

After they have a clear understanding of what your goal is, then move into the process, systems, and work they’ll need to do to accomplish that goal.

Step 2: Define the Task Needed To Be Done

Eliminate, Simplify, Automate, Delegate

This is a great exercise to figure out how you spend your time.

  1. You want to find someone who is taking as much time off your plate as possible.
  2. And they should ask you every day what they can take off your plate.

Find someone who is proactively challenging you to figure out what can be taken off your plate.

Before you even start writing the job description you should know:

  1. What’s the goal?
  2. What are the tasks that need to be done?
  3. What skills are needed to succeed in this role?
  4. What attitude is needed?

Step 3: Craft the Job Description

Your job description needs to sell people on the position. But it also needs to attract qualified applicants. Similar to solution pages on your website, your job description should excite your audience and explain exactly who you’re looking for. If it doesn’t you’ll receive a lot of unqualified candidates.

The main elements you need to include in this job description are:

  1. Introduction – An overview of your company and the position
  2. Qualifications & Requirements – What makes a great candidate
  3. Job Description & Responsibilities – Crystal clear details on the role
  4. Benefits & Perks – The fun stuff! 🎉

Here are some great perks Noel recommends:

  • Birthdays off
  • Wellness stipends
  • Training budgets
  • Research & development pot for the team to submit ideas (encourage the team to brainstorm ideas on how to improve the business)
How to Apply – Clear instructions on how to apply and the timeline.

👉 For an in-depth guide on writing a job description, refer to JobRack’s article, “How to Write a Great Job Post”.

Step 4: Crafting an Amazing Applicant Experience

Set Clear Expectations

Set clear expectations at the beginning of the process. Tell the applicant exactly what is expected of them during the process.

  1. You’ll start by filling out an application.
  2. You’ll then go through a quick screening process.
  3. You’ll then have a quick take-home assignment.
  4. After that, we will schedule an interview so that we can get to know each other and see if you’re a good fit.
  5. And lastly, we will be asking for references to see what others say are the best parts of working with you.

Inject Yourself Into the Process

Record a video and put it in the job post. Here’s what should be included:

  1. Hi, this is [name] and I’m the [your role] at [company]
  2. I’m looking for a [role] to help me accomplish [goal]
  3. If this sounds like you, please check out the details below!

As a hiring manager, you need to inject yourself into the process even if you aren’t necessarily in the process.

This helps potential new hires see who they are going to be working for.

Provide Social Proof

Tell the applicant what your clients think of your company. And include what the team thinks of your company.

Add team member testimonials to your job post so that the applicants already know what it’s like to work at your company.

Create Take-Home Tests

This is the biggest piece of the hiring process for agencies.

Some people are amazing at interviews, but this doesn’t mean they will be amazing at the job you want them to do.

Test their skills.

This can be a 1-2 hour assignment (mini-project or scenario) that will actually test them on things they would be doing for you.

Ask For References

Though reference calls are not perfect, they are a huge part of the hiring process.

Nobody will give you a reference that will say bad things about them.

If you’re the hiring manager, you need to do the reference calls. If you hire someone else to do this part, they may get different answers.

Ask the reference, “on a scale of 1-10, how good if [name] at doing this”?

As you ask questions, you’ll be able to see how comfortable they are at answering certain questions and then you can dig into them further if necessary.

The biggest benefit in references is not in the reference calls, it’s in telling the candidate that you’re going to do the reference calls.

In an interview, you can ask the candidate who their current manager is and say…

  • “When I speak to [your reference], what would they say is the best part of you working for them?”
  • Or, “What would their biggest frustration be?”

Having this conversation will offer a massive benefit.

Step 5: Negotiation, Offer, Acceptance and Leading Up to Day-One

After your candidate has accepted the job and they’ve confirmed a start date, there are a few things you can do to wow them before they start.


Be clear and let them know what is going to happen and when it’ll happen.

If you can, get them into Email and/or Slack before they start.

Ask them if they’re willing to do some work before they start so they can get familiar with some things. Would they like to join a team meeting?

Set Expectations

  1. Do a great job of setting up their access to systems.
  2. Have a clear plan in place for their first day and few weeks.
  3. Make sure they have time to meet with others on the team.
This is a little more difficult on a remote team, but make sure they at least meet with their department. It’s extremely impactful for everyone to know each other, where they live, what they do, etc.

If you need help on this process, ask your team for feedback. When you started…

  1. What do you wish we told you?
  2. What do you wish you’d known?
  3. What do you wish you did?

Have everyone throw their ideas in a google doc to help develop your onboarding process.

Having a clear onboarding process is critical. The faster you can get new hires up to speed, the better off everyone will be.

Make Hiring Easier With JobRack

JobRack helps online business owners hire amazing remote team members from Eastern Europe.

JobRack focuses primarily on helping agencies hire amazing talent.

  • 20-30% software developers.
  • 20-30% mid-tier tech specialists (graphic designers, SEO specialists, PPC, Ops managers and project managers).
  • 30-40% executive and virtual assistants.

They offer three main services:

  • Do It Yourself – You post the job on their job board to get access to thousands of quality jobseekers, but you do the hiring leg work.
  • Done With You – JobRack acts as your hiring guide – evaluating, screening, testing, etc. – and then give you 5-10 qualified candidates.
  • Done For You – JobRack does everything for you up until the final interview, where you’ll have 2-3 interviews to find the one.

Additional Hiring Resources

In addition to JobRack, here are a few additional hiring resources we recommend:

  1. Developing a Strategic Hiring Process For Your Agency – Interview with Doug Davidoff from Imagine
  2. Hiring Smart and Managing a Virtual Inbound Marketing Agency Team – Interview with Matt Sunshine from LeadG2
  3. How to Create the Agency You’d Like to Hire – Interview with Whitney Mitchell from Beacon Digital
  4. “The Who” – A great book on The A Method of Hiring
  5. Workable – An awesome Applicant Tracking System

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