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Hey everyone. Welcome back to The Testing Psychologist podcast. My guest today is a return guest. We’ve got Adrianne Meldrum back on the podcast. She came on 2 or 3 months ago, maybe more to talk about math and [00:01:00] math intervention.
Now she’s back to talk about an entirely different topic. Adrianne is talking with us all about hiring and retention. This is an area that many of us as business owners struggle with. She has some fantastic ideas about how to handle and maximize hiring and retention practices.
We go through her framework of basically the five mistakes that we make in hiring and retention, and what to do to combat each of those mistakes. So this is a great conversation. I made some notes to myself as we were talking and I found it very helpful as the owner of a practice. I think many of you will as well if you are struggling at all with finding applicants, getting them onboarded appropriately, and retaining them.
Just a little bit about Adrianne. This [00:02:00] biography is certainly geared more toward her work as the founder and owner of Made for Math, which is an all-online math center focused on serving students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and math learning disabilities. She’s a certified Multisensory Math Instructor and holds a Master’s degree from Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity. She’s married with three boys and lives in Mesa, Arizona, where she enjoys soaking up gorgeous sunsets.
Before we get to the episode, I will invite you as always to reach out if you are in need of group or individual coaching or support. I have a few individual spots every quarter, but I primarily like to help folks in a group format. So I have beginner, intermediate, and advanced coaching groups depending on where you’re at in your practice. I would love to chat with you and see if any of those might be a good fit. You can get more information at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting.[00:03:00] All right, let’s get to this conversation about hiring and retention with Adrianne Meldrum.
Hey there, welcome back to the podcast.
Adrianne: Hey, I’m so happy to be here. This is going to be fun.
Dr. Sharp: I think it’s going to be really fun as well. I’m always super grateful when people are willing to come back a 2nd or 3rd time. I’m super appreciative of your time.
We’re going to talk about an entirely different topic than math, which we talked about three months ago. This is just as important but a different side of the business; it’s hiring, recruiting, retention, and all those kinds of things. So again, [00:04:00] thank you for being here.
Adrianne: I’m excited. I love to nerd out about this stuff.
Dr. Sharp: Well, that leads well into my first question that I always ask, which is, what is it about this that has captured your energy and attention so strongly?
Adrianne: Absolutely. I think many of us listening to this call, you start out, it’s just you and you start to get busy and realize I can’t do all of this and so you start to dabble in the idea of hiring people, bringing people in. I’ll be honest that I was really terrible at it in the beginning. I’m not anymore.
So just like anything else in life, you have to learn how to do these things. I’ve really honed this craft and have found what works for me. But what I’m excited about is because I took the time to learn how to hire people, the results we’re giving our students is fantastic. Our [00:05:00] culture is really special. I truly enjoy my people and I look forward to going to work every Monday. I don’t know that most adults can say that, but seriously 6:00 PM, Sunday evening, I’m looking forward to seeing them Monday morning.
Dr. Sharp: That’s a pretty powerful testament. Something is going right. I think that in today’s work culture, where we’re talking a lot about working from home and who’s in the office or who’s not, the power of that connection with your co-workers and colleagues at work just gets amplified. It’s like the time you’re in the office, it’s got to be good.
Adrianne: It got to be. It’s such a big part of your life. You’re spending eight hours of your day with these people. I would hope everyone wants to be around people they enjoy. And we can talk about how you find those people.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Well, I hope that we can. [00:06:00] I have also made a lot of mistakes in hiring over the years. Those are the times it seems like when I lose sight of the folks who I know would be a good fit for our practice and let other influences shape my hiring decisions.
Adrianne: Absolutely. Yes, I can relate.
Dr. Sharp: Well, maybe we should just dive right into it. I know you have this framework, I suppose, of five mistakes that we make in hiring, but I wonder if you could just tell us a little bit about your business. You’re great at math, and that’s what you do, but like business characteristics in terms of the size of your company and how many employees and that sort of thing.
Adrianne: Sure. So size of the company, let’s see, well, I’ll start with employee size. There’s 21 of us. What’s interesting about the work that we’re doing is, because we’re working [00:07:00] with students one-on-one online, the lion’s share of those 21 people are part-time and the rest are full-time. I don’t know, it’s probably 3 or 4of us who are full-time and the rest are part-time.
That can be a challenge in and of itself because you sometimes run into problems with commitment level, but again, because of the practices that I’ve followed, we have relatively good commitment from our team and we’ve really created a place that people want to stay. And so, as far as size, we’re serving hundreds of students a year.
One-to-one is the only thing that we offer. So we have a lot of systems around that. And unlike in your case, if you were to hire another psychologist or neuropsychologist to come to work with you, they have some training. They came from some sort of professional education setting, whereas with [00:08:00] us that’s not the case. Multisensory math isn’t being taught in universities. It’s not being trained in schools. And so we have to train them.
So we have to put that money up forward and bring them in. It takes about two months to get them good enough to start working with kids. And then it’s lots of mentorship. And so we have a whole quality control system around our team, which some people might say, gosh, that sounds like micromanaging. It’s not. It’s a very loving environment. We all care so much about the kids. So it’s about getting feedback and getting tuned into what the kids need and crafting. You’re getting really good at your craft of teaching multisensory math.
Anyways, we have probably just like you, are a lot of providers listening. We have a slow season in the summer, and I actually think a lot of businesses have a slow season in the summer unless you’re in the tourist industry. It [00:09:00] does get quiet. People are busy. But we’ve even figured out how to navigate that with a team of 21.
Dr. Sharp: That sounds good. Yes. So you have been around the block once or twice with hiring.
Adrianne: Yeah, we’ve had a team since about 2018. That’s when I started hiring people.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. Was there an experience or catalyst that really kicked you into gear to get the hiring right? Was it like a particularly disastrous hire or was it just a string of slow burn failures? I want you to get really sad and deep here.
Adrianne: You want me to talk about my failures? Absolutely.
Dr. Sharp: I’m being totally transparent.
Adrianne: So many, yes. Well, I’ve been through two cycles of that. In [00:10:00] 2020, it was crazy. We hired several people and it was weird because they would start their job and then get going and then decide, they would come back to us and say things like, well, I can only work one hour per week. What is that about? So very strange stuff like that. Or they would ghost us- stop talking to us. That was particularly frustrating, obviously to let those people go.
Sometimes quitting can be contagious too. I don’t know how many of you experienced that but it never fails. In our business, we’ve noticed a pattern that every spring, people start to turn over if they’ve been in and out as far as their commitment level.
One year, it was 2021, we lost one person and then no joke, five days later, another person quit [00:11:00] and then another one got really sick and couldn’t work with kids. And so overnight, we went from having, everyone was full to a bunch of kids were talking, oh, 25, 30 kids now didn’t have anywhere to go. They didn’t have anyone they could work with.
We had no offer in our team. It was devastating and extremely hard. I realized that was probably the, okay, enough tolerating this mayhem, let’s go all in on figuring this out so that we find the right people that are not going to necessarily turn over so much in the spring.
Dr. Sharp: Oh, my gosh. It’s funny. It sounds like our experiences are pretty similar. The worst cases for us were folks who started and then two months into it were [00:12:00] like, this is not working. This is not what I expected, or this is not the kind of work that I want to do.
And because we also invest, you said it takes two months to train folks, it’s kind of similar to building someone’s caseload in our practice. It’s really pretty demoralizing for the admin team who worked so hard to get the client set up with this person. And of course, the leadership team and just the staff, like to see somebody start and then leave, it’s like…
Adrianne: Yes, it’s such an expensive, and in the moment, it feels like a mistake but we’re all really doing the best we can. I’m getting closer to just embracing, this is what happens. When we do our yearly planning, we actually put a buffer in thereof, okay, we’re going to hire 10 people and we know that 2 to 3 of those are going to turn. And so we just plan for it.
And so then when they do it to us, we’re like, who does that? Oh, people [00:13:00] do that. And we can laugh it off and be like, okay, well, nice knowing you. And we’ve got team members. We’ve got room for things to move around.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. That’s such a good reminder that sometimes expectations are a huge part of this.
Adrianne: Yes, because wouldn’t it be nice if we hired someone and they stayed with you for 30 years? It just isn’t that way anymore, though. It’s really common, especially with younger people. They’re bouncing jobs about every year.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Since you brought that up, I’m going to go ahead and ask about it. I had it bookmarked for later, but we hear a lot of talk about the “younger generation”, is there research that you know of that supports this, that there are actual differences in work practices for Generation Z that we know of, or millennials as well.
Adrianne: I don’t know of any research. Personally, it’s just a pattern that I’ve noticed, but [00:14:00] typically anyone younger than about 28, tends to bounce a lot. And so that’s a fascinating thing. Another characteristic, and I hate to generalize because not all of them are like this, but there are people like this, where they don’t want to start at the bottom and work to the top. They want to come out of college and be making that $100,000 right away. And that has never been the work environment.
When I started out as a teacher, it was like $30,000. Wow. And then you work up. And the same with my husband. He’s a civil engineer. His first salary, I think, was $32,000 and he’s had to work his way up. So I think maybe there’s a disconnect between what college graduates are expecting and coming out of. They don’t know what it all takes as far as finding a match of the salary of what they [00:15:00] expect. I get it.
Another interesting thing I’ve noticed too, is people are looking for a place where they feel purposeful. In some workplaces, they don’t feel like they’re filling in a purpose, and so they bounce from job to job. I know when I was in graduate school for gifted education, that is often a common trait with gifted people, is they jump from job to job because they lose interest quickly.
So anytime I see a resume that has lots of changes on the job site, often wonder it, are they a gifted person? Is it possible that they just lose interest quickly in whatever task you’re doing?
Dr. Sharp: That’s an interesting question.
Adrianne: Yeah. But if anyone listening to us knows of this research and has the differences between age groups, send it our way. I’m curious.
Dr. Sharp: Certainly. I know it’s got to be out [00:16:00] there, at least anecdotally. A lot of folks are chatting about it. I feel like we could go down that rabbit hole. I’m just coming off of a gathering of 20 other psychologist business owners, and there was a lot of chatting about this just turnover and younger folks and how we might…
Adrianne: And I think it hurts less when you can plan for it.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. Well, let’s get into these five mistakes that we make in hiring.
Adrianne: Absolutely. So first I’ll tell you what caused me to figure out these problems and what to do about them. A lot of you on the call are probably wishing you could take a week-long vacation and not worry about the business or possibly have a medical emergency and know that everything’s going to be okay.[00:17:00] For me in 2020, it was like the worst of the worst. I was moving to Arizona from Idaho and I got word from my sister that my mother almost died from a low blood sugar event. She should have died actually. I can’t remember what the number was, but it was scary low, like she should have been dead, but she didn’t die.
And then I get settled in Arizona and they can’t figure out what’s wrong with her. She gets incredibly sick. It turns out that she has lupus and the worst kind of nephritis, which shuts down your kidneys. I had to leave the business and go take care of her. It was amazing and very humbling to me that my team was willing to figure out what Adrianne knows because they didn’t know hardly anything because I had such a hard time turning things over to them, but they did.
They persevered. [00:18:00] They figured it out. They figured out how to do all the things right. I think the only thing I had to worry about during that time was making payroll run on time but they figured out the rest. But talk about stress, complete stress, I was worried and that went on for months at a time.
And so these problems that we’re going to cover, if you’ll take the time to solve them, it’s going to lead to you to able to be, heart yourself or take care of a loved one or go on a vacation. I’m excited because I’m going to go to Hawaii this month and I don’t even have to turn on my phone. I don’t have to check my email. I know that the team has got it. I don’t have to worry about any of it because I followed these five things.
Dr. Sharp: That’s amazing.
Adrianne: It’s amazing. It’s such a gift. So the very first problem that I think a lot of people can relate to is when you are the practitioner, you’re assessing students, children, adults, what have [00:19:00] you, and you’re trying to run a team or it’s just you and maybe one other person, you’re overwhelmed. Money’s coming in but you’re so tired. You’re so burned out.
So the first problem that happens is that you end up hiring at a desperation. It’s like the warm body; whoever will apply and actually show up to the interview is going to get hired. Or maybe it’s your mother-in-law or a friend or someone- you are just scattered and willing to hire just about anyone to get some sort of relief.
So the way we actually solve that is to apply what I call ready, aim, hire. So anytime that we get in that frazzled mode and we are desperate, we need to slow down so we can speed up. And people really don’t like that slowing down, speed up.
Dr. Sharp: Of course, not.
Adrianne: No, but when you slow down, there are four things that you’re going to do. These are actually things that I learned from my business coach, Alex Charfen. [00:20:00] He has a program that’s similar to EOS; he’s teaching you how to do operations. The first thing you do is, you yourself, complete-time study.
And you’re going to hate this because you’re overwhelmed. Who wants to write down what you’re doing? Not me, but seriously, it matters. It makes a huge difference to write down every day what’s happening.
Then the next step is to analyze that time. And then you create your position document of who you’re going to hire to help offload some of these things. And then you’ll create your job listing from that. If it’s okay, Jeremy, let’s talk about each of those a little bit more in-depth.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, let’s do it.
Adrianne: Okay. So time study. You’re going to laugh at this. You have to do a time study for about two weeks, which is the worst. You have to slow down to speed up. I bought an appointment hair setters book that goes from 6:00 AM to [00:21:00] 9:00 PM, and there’s columns and I fill it out. I’m documenting everything. It’s in 15-minute increments and I do weekends as well.
And so I’m writing down what I’m doing. And you’re going to be coding what you’re doing as either family time, like that, you’re with somebody, you’re doing something with someone in your family, or your friends or whoever. Your personal care, so that’d be like sleeping, eating, working out, meditating, whatever those things are for you.
Then you’re going to mark tactical. So in your case, Jeremy, maybe it’s when you are sitting down to assess a student or you’re writing a report, that would be considered tactical because truthfully you could pass it off to someone else.
But anytime you’re doing something strategic, so strategic could be like I’m working on annual planning and I’m [00:22:00] forecasting the income for the year, or I am working on hiring. In this example, that’s strategic. I’m going to try to lower our turn rate as far as team members go. So that’s an example of strategic.
So you keep your time for two weeks, and then you sit down and you analyze it. So you’re going to start highlighting trends. And so the first trend you want to look for is all the tactical stuff that you’re doing and highlight those things and then start looking for trends of what kinds of stuff you’re getting pulled into. Note, feel free to put a rating on your enjoyment level of that thing.
When you’re running a smaller team, maybe it’s that you keep getting sucked into bookkeeping and you’re not enjoying that. Maybe that’s not your favorite thing to be doing, or you’re getting sucked into writing reports and that’s not your strength, make sure you’re rating those things.
And [00:23:00] then you start seeing trends. At that point, that’s when you’re like, you start categorizing and pulling those things out. What things are you willing to let go of? And you cast a vision for the position that you would like to hire for. Sometimes we think we know what we want, like what person we need but when you do a time study, it can be very revealing that what you thought the problem was is actually not what the problem was. It’s something completely different.
And so at that point, you take a piece of paper, fold it in half, and on the left side, you’re just going to brain dump all the things that you saw from that time study that are a problem, that you don’t really want to do any more and more ideas will come to you like, oh, yes, okay, I also don’t want to be in charge of this. I don’t want to be worrying about any of that. Then you take the stuff from the left-hand side and start grouping it over on the right-hand side.
And you might [00:24:00] discover that it’s a blended position. Maybe it ends up being something like clerical and bookkeeping. Maybe you were doing more clerical stuff than you thought because you were hanging out in two different roles. Like, don’t we all wear multiple hats? Or maybe it’s customer service and marketing.
And so at that point, you can decide, do I want to hire two part-time people or do I want one full-time person that does all of these things? Sometimes, these skills are so different. I wouldn’t recommend that; I would try to clump them together as much as possible. But bookkeeping would be relatively easy to go hire somebody, a contractor, or a company. You could get that taken off of your task right away.
So that helps us start getting a better vision of how this person is actually going to fit in the business and bring you relief in a relatively quick manner. Do you have any questions [00:25:00] about that?
Dr. Sharp: So far so good.
Adrianne: So far so good. Okay. Then once I’ve got an idea of the vision of what I want, the next step is to actually create the position document.
We have a position document for every job, and every role in our company. Mine used to be 10 pages long, and I hated that it was so long because I was wearing so many hats.
Just for a frame of reference, when I had a 10-page one, I think we had a team of 6 or 7. So I was still fulfilling a lot of roles. And so my goal was, okay, let’s get rid of a lot of this. And so I started circling things to get rid of.
Anyways, everyone has a job description and you want to make sure you’re giving an overview of what the role is. What are they going to be doing in your company? Then you want a list of what responsibilities will they have on the day-to-day. And then what expectations do you have? We [00:26:00] should have something that we are measuring people against, something that we can talk to them about. If you’re going to do these responsibilities, you’re expected to have this kind of result.
And then requirements. Obviously, especially in your industry, that’s super important. Maybe you’re making a strategic move to hire somebody in another state because you want to expand online and do assessments online, and they have to have licensure in that state. So get really clear on your requirements for the position as well.
And once you’ve got that all written down, now you can actually write the job description to put out into the world of who you’re looking for. It makes it a lot easier to look clearer about who you’re looking for, and you can use this document to guide your interviews.
Dr. Sharp: Great. I like that.
Adrianne: Okay, good. So then once you get that all done, put your job posting out there. [00:27:00] Sometimes, I hear people say, well, I can’t find enough qualified applicants. The amount of garbage we get on Indeed is insane. The amount of people we get that halfheartedly apply is insane. I’m sure anyone on your team could probably relate, that’s dealing with the HR side. You get a lot of garbage applicants and you’re struggling with that. You can’t seem to find those qualified people.
The solution that worked out for us is to really lean into cultural alignment. So your job posting should really be culture heavy and you need to stop thinking about it like mechanically, here’s the position, here’s how much it pays. You’re really marketing to this person. You are trying to call out to your ideal candidate and have them resonate with what you’re saying and say, gosh, I’m really excited about this job, come and apply.
If you want, you can go to our website, to our careers page, and look at [00:28:00] some of our job postings. You’ll see that they are not normal job postings at all. We all use emojis because that’s part of our branding. We use dumb puns and jokes and different kinds of things. This actually really helps us attract more applicants because it looks like a fun company, which we are, and it really helps us find those people.
The other thing you could do too is, people are going to come and check out your website and your socials to see what kind of place that says they’re going to go work for, so make it part of your social media planning that you’re always talking about either the culture at your company, so you’re sharing things the team is doing or various behind the scenes of your work.
A lot of my team, it has pets. Lots of pets. So you’ll see pictures of pets all over our social media. They’re also big nerds [00:29:00] into video games and sci-fi. So you’re going to see a lot of those references.
A lot of them love Harry Potter, not me, but hey, they’re all connecting over it. So we want to make sure that when people are looking at our job posting and then they come over to our website, that they can see the culture. There’s a clear connection between both of those places. That’s really important.
Dr. Sharp: I love that. I would totally reinforce that. I’ve talked before about the importance of really well-defined business values and I get the sense that’s kind of what territory we’re in here with making your values super clear, making your culture super clear, not being afraid to put your business personality into the job advertisement and recognizing that you [00:30:00] really are trying to stand out and attract these applicants. We can’t get away with just, such and such business has been around for 15 years and this position is a full-time position. It can be boring. It’s got to really speak to people.
Adrianne: You’re totally right. And your culture is based on your values and values are things that you’re willing to hire and fire over. And one of our values as a company is we create fun and safe spaces. I had a business coach ask me once, you would fire someone over not being fun?
So you know if it’s crossed my mind, but they usually self-select out after a while, because they can’t handle the silliness that goes on between our team members. So these are important things to have.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, absolutely. I am right with you.
Adrianne: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re still struggling after that to find people, [00:31:00] start looking into industry-specific job boards, like in mathematics and CTM has a career board. So tap into that, but also don’t be afraid to look into complementary industries and list over there.
And if you’re looking for more support staff, think about like, what are complimentary jobs? So a waitress is really good at customer service actually. You could recruit someone, and if you’re willing to train them to come into an office environment and provide great customer service. So don’t be afraid to go outside of what you normally are looking for.
Dr. Sharp: Love that.
Adrianne: Another problem that happens is you get all these applicants and they come in and the issue is your interview process is shallow. I’ll be honest, when I first started hiring, it was like, hey, let’s get on Zoom and let’s [00:32:00] chat. And it was so laid back. Thankfully, for the most part, that worked out for most of those hires. They’re even still with me, some of them, and they’ll know who they are but for others, that did not yield good results, and it was really difficult.
And so the interview process needs to be more rigorous. You need to create a hiring process. Ours has multiple steps. When people apply for our jobs, they’re shocked at how much it takes for them to get in. However, we hear over and over from people, that they actually really enjoyed it, and then they found that they were learning things and that they got more excited about the position as they kept going through the processto try us on as a company too.
I’ll share what ours is and I’d love to hear what yours is, Jeremy.
Dr. Sharp: Sure.
Adrianne: So the first one’s [00:33:00] pretty basic. They see our job posting. They fill out the application. The application has two questions and we keep that relatively short. Anything really lengthy, you’re going to turn away people. I think we have maybe 10 questions and then they attach their resume and the cover letter.
Then if we’re previewing them and it looks like they might be a fit, we send them what’s called a VideoAsk. VideoAsk is a platform made by the Typeform, and this saved us so much time. It’s basically us, my HR girl records videos ahead of time, and it’s a whole process built out, and it feels like you’re having a conversation with this person. It really does.
She did such a good job with it, but she’ll introduce herself. She says something like, hi, my name is Braley, blah, blah, blah. This is my position. And then she asks her first [00:34:00] question and the applicant clicks a button and replies, and then it moves forward to the next video. And Braley asks another question and on and on it goes, and then they hit submit.
And this allows Braley to look at a lot of applicants in a quick way. It’s also very revealing about some of these applicants. We’ve seen some crazy stuff, like people doing it from their car or from their bed or, there’s interesting things. A friend of mine had a guy completely doing drugs while he was on this thing. There’s some crazy stuff. I think it’s interesting but it allows us to quickly filter out those people that are just not going to be up to our core values.
So if they make it past that, then the next step is we have a task interview. So the task for us is we ask them [00:35:00] to record a video teaching something in mathematics. We usually give them a topic and then we tell them it has to be within less than 10 minutes. You can’t go longer than that. And then they send it back.
What that does for us, because we work online, it allows us to see, do they know how to run tech. Allows us to see what their cadence is like, how creative they are, and did they follow our instructions that we provided. I know that sounds maybe like it’s too much but seriously, it’s a really good measuring tool.
If they make it past that one, we give them a second task, and that one’s in real time with Braley. And it’s one thing to be able to teach math, but it’s a whole other thing to be able to identify why the error happened and how to guide a student towards the right answer. And so she does a basically mock lesson with them where they’re teaching Braley to the correct answer based on an [00:36:00] error that she makes.
And so if they make it past these things, by this point, we’re really clear on who we like. And many of them, we honestly could make a job offer to, but we do one more final interview with other team members besides Braley. And in that interview, they make the job offer. We try to get at least three candidates to that step and then make a hire based on that.
But this flow has worked really well for us and it took us two years to get it right. It’s changed a lot over the years, but this has yielded really great team members for us.
Dr. Sharp: I have two questions to cover some of the stuff that you talked about over the last few minutes. As far as hiring platforms, you mentioned Indeed, where are you seeing the best turnout for applicants?
Let’s take a quick break to hear from our featured partner.
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Adrianne: Yeah, Indeed beats everybody. [00:38:00] However, if you look at our hiring metrics of who we actually hire, the highest one ends up being referrals from our employees. I think there’s some debate about incentivizing that behavior, educators are not typically motivated by money but if they were, they wouldn’t be working in education.
So my team isn’t super excited about that but we count a referral, even if it’s a distant referral, it might not be the exact team member but maybe they told a friend and that friend told someone else. Those hires have worked out really well but the other place we’ve had more success with is LinkedIn. If I look at who we actually hire, I can only say we’ve maybe gotten one or two good hires from Indeed. You are surfing through a lot of less-than-stellar applicants.
Dr. Sharp: Yes. Are you using any software to manage this whole process?
Adrianne: [00:39:00] Yes, I am. It’s called Prevue. The pricing is based on the size of your company but how it works is they have a software where you put the job posting and then it will go put it on, oh, I think it’s like 60 different sites for you, and then it tracks all that data of where people are coming from. And then it has various ways for you to track the process of each step that people are in.
And so we’ve been using that for about two years and that really helped us as well because when you’re dealing with hundreds of applicants, it can get really overwhelming to try to manage it in your own inbox or in a spreadsheet or-
Dr. Sharp: 100%.
Adrianne: -anything like that.
Dr. Sharp: Yes. And does Prevue do, does it go start to finish? Does it help you post the job and then keep track of onboarding once a person is [00:40:00] hired or is it just the hiring process or to…?
Adrianne: Just the hiring process, not onboarding. Our onboarding is done inside of our payroll provider, which is Gusto.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. A lot of people love Gusto. So my other question was, if I was tracking right, it sounds like your candidates don’t actually talk to someone in your business until the third or fourth step in, is that right?
Adrianne: That’s correct. They are talking to them in the fact that Braley is emailing them on our team. She emails them back and she’s often reassuring them, I’m a real human. I’m a real person. And so by the time they make it to that final interview, they are just giving her all the praise, they love working with her during that time.
Dr. Sharp: That’s great. And how long from start to finish is this process?
Adrianne: So from start to finish, on average, we can get people through that process in about 20 [00:41:00] days. And that’s fast. It did not used to be that way. And the VideoAsk is what sped it up significantly.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. How long is that VideoAsk?
Adrianne: Oh, I think it’s maybe eight minutes of your time as far as watching the videos, I think even shorter possibly, we’re going to experiment this month with taking a few questions out too, and seeing if it yields different results.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. I think that’s where we run into some trouble is that we have a really deep process that sounds somewhat similar, but it just takes longer because a lot of the meetings are happening in person or over Zoom with actual members of our team. And so it’s limited by scheduling restrictions and can’t match up our schedules and that sort of thing. And so it can take longer than we would [00:42:00] like to bring someone on.
Adrianne: Yeah. For us, we used to get way more of us involved, but now Brayley’s really spearheading it and she has a workflow and a checklist of things she’s watching for. And anytime she’s like in the gray area, I’m not really sure about this, then she’ll send the recording to that person. So can you check this out?
So that has ended up being a really helpful time condenser for us to be able to do that. I know it’s not uncommon for it to be really in-depth. A teacher told me recently that she went through three interviews that had 12 people each there interviewing her. Talk about overwhelming. That’s bananas to me.
No wonder it takes so long to get hired. I can’t imagine coordinating 12 people’s schedules just to make it a hiring decision. So any way that you can streamline it, but two that really helped us speed that [00:43:00] up was the VideoAsk and then using Prevue helped us be much faster in our response time.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that’s great. These are great resources.
Adrianne: Yeah. I’m curious what does yours look like? I’m sure other people are wondering.
Dr. Sharp: So the first step is very similar. We have people fill out a Google form essentially. And it has, I don’t even know, 6 t 8 questions that get submitted, and then a member of our team reviews it. We actually just changed this. I stepped out of the hiring process except for the final interview, final approval. But now I am back in the hiring process because I missed it.
And so now I do the first step, which is like a 30-minute Zoom chat. We just get to know the person, ask some basic questions, [00:44:00] make sure that we’re talking about the same position and so forth. If that goes well, then they move to an interview with the team lead. So this would be our counseling director or testing director or admin director.
If that goes well, they move to a round table with any of the staff that can come. None of our leadership team is involved. It’s just kind of a drop in, like I said, round table informal discussion with our team so they can get a sense of the applicant and vice versa. And if that goes well, historically, that’s when I would come in for the final interview. Again, just to close any loops, make sure there are no misunderstandings, that sort of thing, and then make the offer. So that’s historically been our process.
Adrianne: Very similar. And do you feel like that’s [00:45:00] yielding good retention for you or do you feel like, oh, I don’t know, it could be better.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Let me see, I think it can always be better because, I don’t know, it’s always heartbreaking to me when people leave but…
Adrianne: Oh, absolutely.
Dr. Sharp: I think it’s been pretty successful for us. It has been maybe slightly less successful just as we spread it out over the different departments. I’m not sure if we’ve done the work to have consistent messaging in these interviews as far as values and commitment and that sort of thing. So that’s something that we probably need to work on.
Adrianne: Yeah. I would recommend the book, All In. It’s coming out in, I think, January or February of 2024 from Mike Michalowicz. I did his beta program and that was really good. It helped us get a framework of questions to ask, which also helps us be [00:46:00] consistent and not accidentally interject our biases or any discrimination that we didn’t mean to because that happens to the rest of us.
And then he helps you come up with a grading system for each applicant. So that’s also really helpful. Helps you be less objectionable. You might, without even realizing it, be tempted to offer this male applicant more money than this female one, even though their experience is the same. And so that helps us keep things fair for people. Anyway, so that’s a really good book.
The other one I really like is, I think it’s called something like, oh, shoot. I’d send them all to you, hiring rock stars or something like that. They all kind of have similar threads, but I would say Mike’s book, I’m really excited it’s coming out because it went deep into frameworks and helping you make sure you’re creating a really great team around you, that you’re hiring all-star players, [00:47:00] that they’re all in.
Dr. Sharp: I love his stuff. Yeah, it brings some good material.
Adrianne: Seriously. And you get so much from his books. If you just read it and apply it, you see change. It’s not like you need a program on top of that. That’s the other thing I really appreciate about his writing.
Dr. Sharp: Sure.
Adrianne: So we kind of already talked about this but sometimes this happens where you bring someone in and they’re not feeling it and they have one foot out the door, and you can see it in their behavior. They start withdrawing during team meetings. They start missing more things. And so again, just emphasizing, really focus in on your values.
One thing that we do is we have a mission statement, a student-centric mission is what we call it, and we read it at every team meeting. And it helps all of us align around why we’re actually here. What’s the outcomes we’re going to get for these kids?
I think it’s a key element to helping people self-select out [00:48:00] quicker. They realize like, oh, actually, I’m not sure I really want to be here. This isn’t quite what I was expecting. In the interview, we try to do that ahead of time. We share this mission statement but to their credit, like what else are you supposed to say during an interview? Like, oh, that’s great. You wouldn’t say something other than that.
But again, that really helps us. And what’s so fun is that this mission statement, it’s not something we put on our website. It’s not something I have printed in my office and we never look at, it’s part of our daily habits as a company. And when we get feedback from families, what’s crazy is, the parents don’t even realize that they’re doing it, but they’re echoing back what we put out there in the world, and it gives me chills every time I see it.
And so it’s a really worthwhile effort to make sure you get that mission statement right. And your team members, when they’re invested at that level, they’re looking for those things too, and get just as excited as [00:49:00] I do about that stuff.
Dr. Sharp: I like that idea. We don’t read ours nearly enough.
Adrianne: Yeah, we do it every huddle that we’re together.
Dr. Sharp: That’s great.
And we also have one written for our team. Like who is our team made of? What are they like? What kind of outcomes? Because the other fascinating thing is people on our team change. They become different people as they work here because we create such a safe environment and they love it here. You don’t want to go anywhere else. So that mission statement is also focused on them as far as what kind of transitions and changes they’re going to be making as a person.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. That’s a great point.
Adrianne: Yeah. So the last problem that I’ll share is that sometimes the new hire is unproductive or it feels like gosh, she should becoming online faster or they should be figuring this out quicker. [00:50:00] And so the solution actually is to overwhelm them fast. I know that sounds maybe counter to what you would think normally but throw them in, but give them support while you’re doing it, assign them someone from the team that’s going to be there with them while they’re getting used to it. You’re going to overwhelm them quickly.
When you overwhelm someone, they also get a taste of what it’s really like to work here and they can get out quicker out of your company instead of wasting 90 days plus of your time of training only to leave because they finally understand what the job entails and they don’t want any part of it.
I think I mentioned before we were on the call, we hired five people this summer. I hired that many knowing at least one would turn and sure enough on hire number three, she turned one week after getting inside. She was like all-star. We were all [00:51:00] just wow. She’s amazing. She’s great. She’s the, she’s that, but she got inside and left a week later for a different opportunity. She knew quickly, like this isn’t going to work because we overwhelmed her quickly.
The other thing, too, I would say is have a onboarding plan. And we create a document for their first 90 days. What training they’re going to go through? Who is going to be their designated mentor? And they meet with them at a high occurrence in the beginning.
So we meet with that person every day to answer their questions about the work that they’re doing, then you start slowly fading yourself out, maybe it’s every other day after that, then it’s like twice a week, once a month, you start phasing yourself out. But that person feels incredibly supported, and they get their questions answered, and they feel like they’re winning at work because they understand the expectations.
And then the other thing we do, [00:52:00] too, is we try not to make that first day so boring. It’s like your first day of school. That first day drags because everyone’s going over the syllabus, and they’re going over the rules and the regulations.
Well, there are HR type things you have to do, but try to find a way to really make that first day fun. So for us we’re all virtual. So we mail a package to their house that has really fun little gifts in there for them. And each one has a QR code on it. And again, we’re pumping the prime for our values.
They scan the QR code and they watch the video and they see a message from me talking about, what do we value? How are you going to see this at work? Those kinds of things, but we give people business cards, even though this is their first week. We’re trying to show them that we’re invested in them and they come with a completely different attitude for their first day with us. They’re just so excited to be part of the team because we’re making that initial effort with them.[00:53:00] Dr. Sharp: I love that. It’s a creative solution for being remote as well. It’s a little extra work, of course, to mail them that package, but the QR code is great, the video. That sounds really cool.
Adrianne: It’s like $50. It’s not like we’re doing mountains. It’s $50. It’s not a big deal. And they feel incredibly loved by the time they get to us. And they’re excited about all of that stuff.
Dr. Sharp: I love this. Okay. Is there anything else, any other touch points or maybe anchors, I suppose, over those first 90 days that are worth talking about.
Adrianne: Yes. One thing that we fail to talk about that I’ll bounce backward and talk about a little bit is before a person makes it to our final interview, we do a DISC assessment with them. The DISC is, it’s been around for a long time. This is stuff that has been observed in humans, [00:54:00] the four ways we show up in the world.
And we know from having team members take the DISC, your disc can change over time. It’s not like you stay static as a person but you do have tendencies. And so with us being on teaching math and remote, what we’ve discovered is that teammates who at least have a C, which is conscientious, it means you’re good with details, they thrive on our team, they can handle the level of detail.
But if you’re I, which is influential, which means you’re big people person, you’re remote, you might not enjoy this, even though you get FaceTime, it might not feel the same because you can’t see the people, you can’t read the room like they like to do or hug people or any of that. So what we’ve noticed is there’s definite trends and we have hired plenty of different types of DISC profiles. It’s not like we use it to discriminate. We don’t.
We just go in [00:55:00] with a knowledge about that person. So if they’re an I and we hire them, that means we as a team are going to follow up more with them because they’re going to be more prone to forgetting. We’re going to find ways for them to be more social. I’m going to make sure to send them more messages and make sure I’m interacting with them quite a bit so that they’re feeling seen and included.
That tool has really been revealing and we’re finding with certain positions what blends we need. A lot of team members that really thrive here and have stayed a long time have an SCI profile. So an S is for steadfast, you’re a lit bit reliable; C, you’re good with the details; and I, you’re a people person.
And that makes sense. They’re excellent with the students. They might be pretty chill around adults, but you see their eye really come out when they’re around kids. And so that profile does really well with our work. So we like the [00:56:00] DISC. It just helps us to be aware of how we need to support each team member.
And I have a team member with a D. And she’s amazing. She’s a DC, actually. What’s great about her is she’s my operator. She has no problem telling me no, and telling other people no. She holds us to our boundaries and to our policies. She’s really good about making sure we support one another and use the organization chart like you’re supposed to.
She just did a meeting recently where she was showing people, like, if you have this problem, you go to this person, and then you go up the chain. So all of us play a really important role, and it’s fun to know each person’s profile and how they’re going to show up at work, and we can adjust and support them accordingly.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I’m fascinated with the idea of doing some assessment as part of our hiring and retention process. I’m curious, how did you settle on the DISC? Because there are so many out there that we [00:57:00] could use.
Adrianne: Sure. I picked the DISC at first because my business coach, Alex, used it. And so I went with that at first but actually when I signed up for Prevue, they had one. So then we did both there for a while, but we found that we still liked the DISC better over the results that they were giving us. We felt like it was a better predictor of those behaviors.
But there are some pretty crazy software that are coming out. AI is becoming a very big part of recruiting and companies are going to be able to squash each other with this advantage because I know of software that can actually predict how much income each applicant is going to bring your company.
Dr. Sharp: How so?
Adrianne:` If you want to read more about it, it’s in a book called Sales Boss.
Dr. Sharp: Okay.
Adrianne: I met this [00:58:00] gentleman at a conference here in Phoenix, and he is fascinating. Again, it’s based on core values, your peers. You take all these questions, and then the software can give that recruiter a percentage of what they could possibly bring you to your company.
Dr. Sharp: Oh my gosh. okay.
Adrianne: It’s so scary how accurate they’re getting. It’s blowing my mind. It’s been a while since I visited that book so that’s why I said, go read it. It is a fascinating read. I think the title is a little misleading because at first, you think it’s going to be about sales teams, it really is more about hiring, generally and managing a team.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. That sounds fascinating. AI is endlessly intriguing to me.
Adrianne: Right. Yes. It’s really interesting. So [00:59:00] a cool process.
Dr. Sharp: Very cool. Gosh. Well, this has been awesome. I feel like hiring is something that we all struggle with a lot for different reasons. Mainly it seems like finding applicants is the toughest thing these days, especially licensed neuropsychologists. I think a lot of folks have moved to a training model as a hiring pipeline where we take interns and postdocs and hope that they stick around on staff because finding licensed folks has been really challenging.
Adrianne: Oh, sure. I’m sure. I think too, don’t forget it’s appropriate to spend money on recruiting. That’s also something that we do. At a minimum, we’re spending $500 a month on recruiting alone. I think we forget that, but there is some hopefulness in that. A lot of those professional job [01:00:00] boards are going to have, you have to pay to play, to have access to their email list of professionals or even Indeed, if you want to have better luck with their algorithm, you have to pay to play.
And I think we all could do better at just embracing that we’ll always be hiring. It’s just something that’s part of being a business owner and we have to remember that people are humans, stuff happens, they come and go. And from a different business coach, Kris Plachy, she really helped me embrace this thing, like, who does that? And my response now from what she’s taught me, people do that.
There’s crazy things that happen and people will make different decisions and you would, and that’s okay. And so the more I embrace it, the better I’m getting at this hiring stuff. Also don’t forget to track data. I was just [01:01:00] looking at our data and sometimes you get panicky about there’s not enough applicants, but there’s a clear pattern to when we get lots of applicants and times when we don’t. And so when I feel panicky about hiring, I can go look at that data and say, oh, that makes sense.
Dr. Sharp: Do you know off the top of your head when the best times for hiring are, for you, at least.
Adrianne: For us, it’s from May to August. And you can see a big spike in June, and then it starts to come down and that makes sense. Educators are questioning if they want to be in the classroom again, and maybe really freaking out around the beginning of August, like, oh no, I really don’t know if I want to go back. And then you can see it happen again around February. There’ll be another surge because spring break’s coming and they’re burned out.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. Fascinating.
Adrianne: It’ll be interesting to see what yours is with neuropsychologists. I’m curious if there’s a pattern there.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I’m trying to [01:02:00] think about that. What that might be. Typically, the postdoc application cycle is maybe from December to February but that doesn’t really match for therapists, for master’s level folks. And so I would have to go back and look. I can definitely remember low points of applications over the past few years. It seems like spring is maybe a better time for us. I don’t know if it’s April-July. I’d have to go back and look, now you’ve got me thinking about that.
Adrianne: And if you use the software like Prevue, it’ll track all of that for you and you’ll get to see trend lines and things like that. I think that’s really fascinating. I love looking at the data though. I’m nerdy that way. I like to see what’s going on. And it makes it easier for me to check my own emotions as a [01:03:00] business owner.
Dr. Sharp: Such a good point. I appreciate you saying that. There are lots of little nuggets that I’m going to take away from this, like your statement about who does that? Well, people, that’s really good to keep in mind.
Adrianne: It’s really helpful. I just want to say thank you. I listened to your episode where you talked about creating a PAYE scale. I’ve tried to do that before, and I loved your approach. And so anyways, if people haven’t heard that, I’m just going to give it another shout-out. Go listen to that. That was really good. I liked it.
Dr. Sharp: Oh, I’m so glad that it was helpful. It’s something we struggle with a lot in our realm of business. It’s a tough thing to nail down.
Adrianne: Absolutely. I think it’s really good. One last question for you, you try to hire only in [01:04:00] Colorado, right? You don’t want to expand outside of that?
Dr. Sharp: Right. We don’t have a multi-state business. I don’t have any aspirations of expanding outside Colorado. So we are typically hiring locally. We’ve had a few folks that have moved from other states. They’ve been great. They’ve stuck around a long time but I don’t think that’s our classic market for hiring.
Adrianne: That’s really interesting. And when you recruit someone from the outside to come to Colorado, how are you doing that? Are you incentivizing that behavior at all? Especially because it’s a neuropsychologist thing.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Gosh, I think that’s a good thing about being here is that Colorado kind of sells itself. People want to be here. And so that’s often enough, just to live in a beautiful place that’s expensive [01:05:00] but really nice. People just want to be here.
We’ve thought about the incentivizing and honestly, it just hasn’t come up in a number of years. We haven’t hired any out-of-state folks in a long time. Like I said, we haven’t really been advertising for licensed psychologists or neuropsychologists in a long time either because we have a really strong pipeline from intern to postdoc to senior staff.
Adrianne: That’s great. Oh, I love to hear that. That’s awesome.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. It could always be better, but…
Adrianne: Of course, but, hey, when it’s working, life’s really good.
Dr. Sharp: For sure. Well, I really appreciate it, Adrianne. This has been awesome. These resources are great. I love the framework. You touched on a lot of pain points that we have with hiring, and I think there’s a lot to take away from this.
As usual, we’ll put a lot of these resources in the show notes so that folks can check out these books and other [01:06:00] things that you mentioned.
Adrianne: Absolutely. And if people have questions, feel free to message me on the socials.
Dr. Sharp: That sounds great. Well, thanks again. I hope to see you again soon.
Adrianne: All right. Thanks, Jeremy.
Dr. Sharp: All right, y’all. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take away some information that you can implement in your practice and in your life. Any resources that we mentioned during the episode will be listed in the show notes, so make sure to check those out.
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And if you’re a practice owner or aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. I have mastermind groups at every stage of practice development; beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have homework, we have accountability, we have support, we have resources. These groups are [01:07:00] amazing. We do a lot of work and a lot of connecting. If that sounds interesting to you, you can check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up for a pre-group phone call and we will chat and figure out if a group could be a good fit for you. Thanks so much.
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