The Company You Keep: Thoughts on Hiring & Growing A Team

It is around 6:30 in the morning, I have a fresh cup of coffee on my desk, the world is beginning to wake up, it is all still and quiet.. my favorite time of day. 

Knowing myself, as I write this blog post, I can feel emotions welling up. It's about to get real vulnerable round here folks, so if sappy stuff isn't what you're into... move along...

Something you should know about me. My astrological sign is Cancer. (Sun sign Cancer, Cancer rising I just recently found out)... so I'm this big sensitive softy who carries around and often hides behind her armor. Here's the thing though, as a crab, my shell, my armor is often visible. People know it's there. I make it known it's there. I'm the first one to say "Oh, let's not go there, because I'm going to become really emotional, and I really don't have time." Because dear reader, if I allowed the feels to always permeate, I would be Alice in Wonderland swimming in her own tears ALL THE TIME. 

Ok, now that you know this about me, let us continue. 

"If you have passion for what you do, the company you keep, the life you live, it will be reflected in whatever you create"

R.D. Laing

For a few months now I've known we've needed to expand our team. Team meaning Devon and myself. I mulled over the why we needed to do it. I wrote my intentions. I journaled. I made lists. So many lists. 

Then I put the word out there. In a blog post and then posted it on Instagram. And the applications trickled in.

I always like to ask pre-interview questions. You can often tell a lot by reading between the lines. How someone constructs sentences. What words they use to describe a person, place, thing, moment. How they describe their relationship and how they relate to a brand or feeling.

From the interviews and resumes we received, I chose nine to reach out to. Nine to interview. Three rounds of group interviews. Before the interviews I wrote down questions to ask in the interviews in my journal. And because I am who I am, I wrote down WHY I wanted to ask these questions. What was my purpose for asking them? Then I came up with activities to do during the interview. And again wrote down, WHY I wanted to do these activities. What was the purpose?

I read through each gal's pre-interview questions, read through their resumes. Wrote down questions to ask each of them specifically during the group interview. 

This whole process thus far had already taken a couple of weeks. I was using up so much mental energy at this point that when I went home from work my brain felt like mush. 

Then the actual interviews. I oddly was not nervous about them. That's because I had put on my CEO persona. My "get down to bidness don't mess we gots stuffs to do" persona. You guys, I straightened my hair for these interviews. I put on make-up. Haha! I needed to do it so I could get into that "I'm a boss, I'm hiring!" character. 

Here's something else to note. My Moon is in Aquarius. "Your emotional self is intuitive, observant, detached, and rational."

During each round of interviews I was observing. Not judging. Just watching, taking mental notes. I love observing people. I love learning about them. I'm naturally a very curious person. Back when you could go into an Airport terminal without a a boarding pass, I use to sit at the airport and just watch people and imagine stories about them. I do it all the time still. I find people fascinating. I sound like a creep...ok, let's move on.

Because we did group interviews I paid attention to how each woman interacted with others. I noticed physical movements. The speed of their speech. So many micro things. This is going to sound totally weird, but during the interviews I imagined I had this blank canvas surrounding my whole being (see there's that Crab shell thing!) but I was allowing all the energy of these woman make imprints on this canvas. To leave their mark. The blank canvas allowed me to later observe and ruminate over each candidate but without letting their marks permeate into my actual self. 

I included Devon in the deliberating and musing over after all the interviews. So much more thinking. So much more brain power. I knew that because I was using up so much mental energy level, I was running on fumes. 

"Relationships matter. The roles people play in your life will influence you so get serious about who you allow to affect you. Nurture those relationships in your circle that foster success and happiness, and continuously position yourself among change agents and thought leaders." - Germany Kent

However, all of the thinking was absolutely necessary. I had been intentional about every single step of this interview process thus far and thinking and writing more lists (again with the lists!) was very important. I journaled some more. I paid attention to what my gut was saying. I prayed. I prayed a lot actually. For guidance and direction. For strength. For clarity. For trust.

Then there was a final round of interviews. Not in person. A thing I like to send out as Dream Projects/Homework. 

You thought this process was over? No my friends... I needed to make sure the proof was in the pudding! 

By this point the interview process has taken one month. By now I could feel that my emotional side was starting to tap her fingers impatiently. I was functioning on so much rationality and intuition, so much thinking that I wasn't feeling much. 

The homework assignments came in. One after the other they improved. The first one I got I was like "Whoa, dang this gal went all out!" then I'd get the next one and it was more elevated. And then another, even better and more effort than the last. 

Here again I was reading between the lines. I showed the "dreamwork" assignments to Devon and we deliberated again. I showed her what I thought of how this person presented something versus how this other person did and what I felt that meant. 

Then I sent out the offer letters. To two women. They are pictured above. Andrea (Andy) and Nora. The newest members to the Adored Vintage team. (You'll be formally introduced to them soon!) They have similar backgrounds for work experience. They both had stayed with companies for long periods of time because of the people they worked with. This fact was noted, not a hugely important factor, but noted nonetheless. 

I want to foster a work environment that feels like family. You spend so much time with the people you work with that they should feel like family, a healthy one, not a dysfunctional one. You want to like and respect the people you work with and also have a sense of loyalty to each other.

I knew when hiring anyone I wanted to start the relationship off on the basis of 100% trust. This meant I needed to put myself on the line of fire. To be 100% vulnerable. To be able to say "I trust you, you're in my circle, I've taken off my shell and my guard is down." 

It's only been a couple weeks since Nora and Andy started working with me. Twice I have almost cried. Once at Orientation. And then during our first Team Council. I know it's eventually going to happen and my face is going to crumple up (augh I have the ugliest cry face) but for now I've been able to keep "Alice" at bay. (Why does that sound creepy?)

Hiring and growing the Adored Vintage team has been a mental and admittedly an emotional ride. I actually took a little trip to Texas just before the new gals started and I slept for 16 hours on our first night. I also got sick.

You shouldn't hire lightly. You should be intentional about who you hire because they are the company you keep. Just as much as you will impact the people you surround yourself with, they will make imprints and impact you. 

Reviews (1 comment)

  • Holly On

    This was so beautiful… what a perfect and lovely thing you have created <3

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