Welcome, e-commerce empresses, to this episode of Woman Powering Ecommerce. Join me every Tuesday and Thursday as I take you behind the scenes of my journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur. Together, we'll explore the highs, the lows, inspiring you to take action and achieve your own business goals. So let's get started.
So I'm very excited about today's topic. I want to talk about building a virtual team, especially about the recruitment part. I would be curious to know, if you have an e-commerce business, do you have people working physically in an environment, in an office? Or is your team mostly remote? I'm a big believer in remote teams. That was way long before the pandemic. I just love the comfort of working from home. We, at Zumalka, are a fully remote team, except for the shipping. We cannot ship the products remotely, so we do have some staff for that.
But other than that, we do everything from home. It's definitely a great thing, and we find it's a great benefit. And especially with the pandemic now, it's just almost not of the norm is something that you really need to be able to offer to your employees. So recruitment. And up until now, having two businesses, having done a lot of interviews, I have never counted how many interviews I've done. Maybe a hundred or so. I've conducted maybe hundreds. I am not counting up till now anymore. I've done enough interviews to feel confident and to feel I can provide some advice in that area, because I've tested so many things. I did so many mistakes. I've learned from then. Tested again, tried something new, to finally come with what I feel is a really good process. You can never be a hundred percent exact when you hire, as if you cannot have a hundred percent success rate.
You will always, ultimately, not hire the right people somehow. But in general, we're doing pretty good on that side. I actually still remember my first hire. I had no clue what I was doing. I was overwhelmed. I don't know if you watched or listened to my last episode, where I was talking about wearing all the hats in the business. Eventually , when you start a business, that's fine. You can be that one person doing everything, but eventually, you cannot. You have to learn to let go and hire people and just delegate. And our first employee, the first person I delegated some work to was for the customer support position. And the way I did it is I started reaching out to all my Facebook friends. That was approximately 10 years ago. So that's where we were. And this friend I grew up with, her name is Suzanne.
She agreed to meet up with us and my husband, actually, me and my husband. We went and met at Starbucks. So I didn't know how to do it, but she was looking actually for a remote job that would allow her to live abroad. She was doing six months maybe in Canada, six in another country. So that's what I did. That was my only criteria. She was someone I grew up with, and she was looking for a job remotely. And I was able to offer that for her. And she was looking for part-time. So at that time, I was okay with that. I didn't feel like I could let go of much more than a few hours in a week. So those were my criteria. And looking back to that first time, yeah, the only criteria was almost like availability. And she had not much experience in exactly what we were doing, some customer support experience, but that's it.
So all of this to say I was just lucky, and still up to today, she is one of my best employees, maybe nine years later. So yeah, now, she's in charge of operations at Zumalka. I love her so much. I'm so glad we found each other. But in between, like I said before, I made many mistakes. What are those mistakes? So if you're looking into hiring and maybe you've just hired a few people or haven't really hired anyone, then learn from me, instead of doing those mistakes. So one thing I did was hiring too fast. That was probably the biggest one I've done over several hirees. And the mistake was not screening enough. I didn't see the important lacks, start off. So either the person was not tech savvy enough, the person had a bad attitude, she had, or he had, no people skills, especially if you're doing customer service.
I did no due diligence. I just did a quick interview, made sure they were available, felt like a good fit, didn't ask the right questions, and just decided to hire, because we had that need. We were growing. I needed someone quick. Put them there and hoped and prayed and crossed my fingers it would work. It doesn't work like that. So you want to make sure you learn to have a good screening process and to avoid, as much as possible, not seeing certain things that could easily be brought up within an interview process. And then, there's the opposite. Hiring too slow. Not being fast enough to fulfill the staff needs can be a problem. If you take too long or take your time so much before you need to hire someone, then that could create a problem within your company, where the rest of your staff is overloaded with work and it really puts a toll on them.
And if it's maybe for a new position, for a new department that you haven't yet implemented, well, maybe what's bad about it is that you're just slowing your growth, because you're not quick enough into hiring. So just make sure you can see ahead of time who you need to hire and start thinking about hiring that person, putting a job post online, prior to needing one. Just don't wait when it's too late. Don't wait for the day you need one to start to think about hiring a certain position. Try to be proactive about it. Another mistake I did is hiring looking only at past performance results and ignoring culture fit. So especially when it comes to sales and anything that you'll need to measure for position, sales, marketing, things like that, it's great when you find someone that has a really good background in their results.
And definitely, that's always the number one thing we're looking for now, someone that's very goal-oriented, results-oriented. But you have to take the time to make sure they're also a good culture fit. Because an employee that brings a lot of results but has a really bad attitude or just don't have the same values as you do in your business, it'll cause friction in the team. It'll just weigh them down. So you want to make sure that you take that into account as well. And one last thing. I think that was my first biggest mistake when we first started our e-commerce, or a few years ago, we were growing pretty quickly, and we hired a lot of people too fast. And it's great for the workload. You're never overloaded, and that's wonderful, but it does really weigh you down on the cash flow of things. On the cash flow side of things, it's not good for the business.
So you want to make sure that every hire you do is really needed, that every time you invest in a new employee, you'll get a return on your investment pretty quickly or in a relatively good matter of time. So think about that, because once you hire, it's really uncomfortable to have to fire someone, just because you've hired too much. So those are a few things. And now, how do you attract the right talent? That's a great question, and I just want to give you this excellent resource that I discovered a few years ago, two years ago maybe. It's a book. I read a lot. I read, read, read a lot. It was recommended by me by a mentor, which I appreciate very much. The name of the book is Who.
But there's another section to the book. It's The A Method for Hiring. The name of the author is Geoff Smart. Not sure I'm pronouncing it right though, but just look up Who and hiring in Google and Amazon. And you'll find it pretty easily. It has good ratings. And basically, what this book is it gathers advice and stories from more than 20 billionaires, 50, 60 CEOs, and it just kind of gives all of their best advice. And honestly, it's a really good book. It has really, really helped our screening process, when we try to hire someone. And I've really gotten great talent from following that. But another thing you can do is, when you create the job post, make sure you have a checklist, make it consistent, so that, every time you hire, you're not forgetting things. It's pretty straightforward.
It's nothing. It's basic, but still have a checklist. And one thing I'd definitely recommend, if you're going to add a section, like in About Us section or About the Company section in your job post, make sure to add somewhere in there, talk about your mission, your vision, your company values, because that will attract the talent you want. And the talent you don't want, they won't be attracted to your job post this way. So I think that has been of great value to us. And for posting the job post, there are several things you can do. There are a lot of platforms as well that you have access to, a bunch of different various ways. First of all, use your staff. If you have your current team members, they know the values, they know exactly what the company needs, they know what would be a good culture fit, they know a lot of things.
So use your staff referrals to hire other people. They understand your needs. And what you can do is just incentivize their efforts, give them a bonus, a little something, if they bring someone in. So that's what we've done. Depending on the position that you're looking for, sometimes we've hired some Filipinos in the Philippines, for all kinds of reasons, they are really, really, really great people. Of course, it's cheaper than North America. And we've hired for SEO, writers, just social media coordination. What else have we hired Filipinos for? Anyway, so those are just a few examples, but you can hire for so many things. There's a great website, actually, that I always go there to recruit these Filipinos is onlinejobs.ph. So if you don't know that website, please go and look for it. It's a really, really good place and platform to look to hire Filipinos. And again, yes, it's because it is cheaper labor, but they're very good people. They're loyal, they have just such a good culture.
So they're easy. I love them very much. So for me, it's an easy place to go for when I need extra staff. So another good place, if you need someone who has more specific qualifications or you need them to have a certain degree or just be at a higher level position, then LinkedIn is definitely a really good place to go and look for talent. So for any specific high level expertise, you can go there. And of course, you can just put a post on LinkedIn saying you're looking to hire, but there's LinkedIn Recruiter Lite that I've used, which allows you to really send offers to specific people that you looked for on LinkedIn. You have a pipeline that you can add your potential candidates. It's really a beautiful platform just for the hiring.
So I definitely recommend going there, if you don't know about it or never used it. And then, for the interview process, we do three interviews when we hire someone now. So the first interview is what I call the screening interview or the cultural interview. So we ask several questions, just to make sure, kind of screen them out quickly, would they be a good cultural fit? Are they results driven? Those are kind of things you can know pretty quickly during your first interview. So we ask questions like, "What professional goals would you like to accomplish over the next five years?" That tells us if they aspire to something bigger. Are they looking to grow, personally or professionally? We also want to ask, "What are your salary expectations for this role?" Just because you want to screen out people that are either much more than you can offer or you wanted to offer.
So that's just a quick way to screen out people that wouldn't be a good fit from the start off. You can ask also what past three positions they were in and what results they were responsible for. I really like to focus on results, and you have to be careful, if you want an A player, make sure they talk to you about the results, the numbers, what they were able to do within the company. And you don't necessarily, you want people that were getting along with others or worked on fun projects and things like that. But if you want to grow your company pretty quickly or you want A players, then you want someone that's very comfortable talking about the results they've gotten in the past. And also, "What questions do you have for us?" That's another question we ask, because we want to see how curious they are. If they have no questions, it's not a good sign.
They should have questions. It means they're curious, they did their research. So it tells you something about that person. Another thing, so not another thing, but the next interview we do after this one is a technical interview. Meaning that we don't necessarily meet with them depending on the role, but sometimes, we'll just ask them to do a test. So that's representative of the work that they would be doing for us. So let's say, lately, I was looking for a writer to write blog posts. So we just asked them, we gave them a brief of what we'd like for a blog article as a test, and then, they just send us back through a blog article and that we can see a real life work example, if we'd be happy to work with them or not. And I'd recommend definitely calling references, if you have them.
And the last interview would be a core values fit. Just you meet up with them again, they've passed the test, they've passed a screening interview, and you can just ask them how they would fit with your company values. And then, they can answer, and you can just see with their answers and see if you feel that they're a good fit for your company. So usually, that's pretty effective. Those are effective interview techniques that we've tested. We've tested a lot, and this feels like it's the most bulletproof, not a hundred percent, but the most. And we improved our process with the years, and that's what we do today. So the importance of learning from past hiring mistakes and implementing a thorough screening and selection process, that's one takeaway I would go with today. It's important to craft compelling job posts to attract top talent. Make sure to add in your About Us page the, and not the About Us page, but the section in your job post, the mission, vision, and core values.
You want to showcase those to attract the right talent. And you want to implement a structure interview process with multiple rounds. We do three. You can do as much as you want. You can do less, more. But that's what works for us, just to evaluate different things, so technical skills, cultural fit, and also, to see if they fit within the core values. So reflect on your own hiring experiences. Maybe you can identify areas of improvement. I hope that what I've given today maybe gave you some ideas as to what you can improve on your part or implement, maybe if you've never really hired anyone yet.
And I definitely recommend reading the book, Who by Geoff Smart, which gathers insights from successful business leaders and CEOs, to further enhance your hiring practices and strategy. And before we wrap up, I would really love it, it would mean the world to me, if you could rate and share this podcast or episode. And your support is crucial in helping us reach and inspire more women entrepreneurs in the e-commerce business. Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I hope you gained some valuable insights and inspiration today, to keep learning, growing, and taking action towards your goals. See you in the next episode.