How to Hire for an Undefined Role


Hiring is not easy. But it is a critical part of growing a successful business. Time and again we find that the most productive or the most innovative organizations are the ones with highly competent, diverse teams. At the end of the day, it starts with the people in your company.

And hiring is hard enough when you know exactly who you need. When you have a detailed list of tasks and responsibilities that someone will need to do once they get hired, with a clear title and vision for where and how this person fits into the organization, it makes your job much easier.

But what happens when none of those things is true?

Sometimes you just need to hire someone. You know that there are things that need to get done that aren’t, either because you don’t have enough time or enough know-how. Your team is stretched too thin and you need to add another player to meet your growth targets.

Here are a few things you can do to get started:

1. Review Your Strategic Goals

What are you hoping to accomplish this year? What new initiatives do you have planned? How do you plan to grow the business?

These kinds of questions are the ones you will answer in your strategic plan. If you don’t have a strategic plan, I recommend starting there. You need a roadmap that details how you plan to get from A (where you are today) to B (where you want to be in 1-, 5-, and 10- years).

A careful review of your strategic plan will highlight key areas you need to pursue.

2. Look for Gaps on Your Existing Team

Once you have reviewed your strategic plan, you must review your existing team. Match people up with the plan, highlighting their current skill sets and where they can continue to add value.

In most organizations, this will reveal certain gaps. These gaps are areas where you don’t currently have the right people to do the job.

Perhaps there are skills or sets of experiences that your team is missing. This will clue you in to what a new hire should add.

3. Find Out What Peer Companies are Doing

It’s possible that you are working in uncharted territory. Perhaps you have many different gaps and aren’t sure how to prioritize them.

It can help to take a look at what other companies are doing. Look to peers in the industry, even competitors. Find out who they are hiring, and how they are planning to grow and succeed. Often this will open your eyes to the types of positions needed to achieve your goals.

4. Look for Soft Skills

Whenever the hard skills for a position are not well-defined, you will need to rely on soft skills. You are going to look for someone who fits well within your existing culture, someone who is passionate about the company and its mission.

You also want to find someone who has demonstrated the ability to learn and grow professionally. This person should have strong creative thinking skills, as you may end up relying on them to define their role and think up new ways to add value.

5. Hire and Adapt

Hire the best person available and design the role to fit them rather than the other way around. The exact responsibilities that this person has on their list might change over time, but if you have the right person, everything else should fall into place.

Prioritize New Hires

For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, one of the greatest joys that comes from running your own business is being able to hire new employees. It just feels good to be a job creator, to give others an opportunity they might not have otherwise had.

May we all be so lucky to be able to hire new people. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Or at least you shouldn’t rush into it.

Because the big question remains, who should you hire?

The keys to prioritizing new hires:

  1. Fill a gap – hire someone who can do something you urgently need and can’t do yourself
  2. Free up your time – hire someone to take on tasks you’re doing that are keeping you from more important chores, like growing the business
  3. Open new doors – hire someone who knows how to do something you don’t, preferably someone who can lead new growth, ie. Product development, marketing, business development, sales

For a small business, your first hires are incredibly important. As the team grows, those first hires will help you lead and grow, helping to establish a culture and define strategy. So make sure you are hiring the right people, for the right positions.

Marketing Trends – Part 7

Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly blog series, Marketing Trends. Each week, we will identify a key trend in the world of marketing. We’ll discuss the trend, why it’s important, and suggest ways that you can take advantage of this trend in your company.

Last week’s trend was Marketing Partnerships.

Today’s Trend = Marketing Specialists

The jack of all trades is dying out in many companies. The best way to get what you need from your marketing team, according to recent hiring trends, is to find someone who specializes in exactly what you want to do.

If you want to start advertising on search engines, bring in a search engine marketer. If you want to improve the conversion rate of your website, bring in a conversion optimization guru. If you want to create a more active social media following, bring in a community manager.

The marketing generalist, the person you rely on the manage all of your marketing, is more a manager than a marketer these days. He or she should be sure to put the right specialists in the places they are most needed.

That does not mean you have to expand your marketing team by ten extra people. It means prioritizing and working smarter. What activities will you do this year that will have the greatest impact? Once you determine those, you can figure out how to get the right people in place to execute on your vision.

You might hire people. You might bring on someone part time. You might use a consultant or agency to fill in the gaps. Or you might train someone already on staff so that they become more specialized.

There are a number of options you have at your disposal as a manager. But the important thing to remember is that whatever you want to do, there are experts out there who can help you do it right.

What marketing trend should we cover next? Now accepting submissions for marketing trends that we will cover in an upcoming installment of this series. Submit your ideas via our contact page or in the comments section below.