This is a reverse-guesting episode where I was interviewed about my story in starting up SEO Hacker as the leading SEO Services company in the Philippines.
In reality, contracts are the lowest form of trust… I don’t trust you, you don’t trust me, so we have this piece of paper to keep us in check.
What do you think is the cause of people going AWOL? Was this a problem when you were still starting out?
AWOL was a problem. We even had a recent experience with people going AWOL just around a year ago. That was when we already improved our hiring process.
It was more common before because they got in too easily. I hired the wrong people.
My whole hiring process sucked. It was just one seating where I asked a few questions. They’ll get in immediately just because we needed help.
I should have worked harder to fulfill my need in hiring that spot instead of hiring someone that will just leave more problem with us.
If I just took time in the hiring process, they would have AWOL’d within the hiring process.
Contracts are another thing. We make our people sign and they’re bonded with us for an x number of months or years.
For me, contracts are the lowest form of trust and agreement. The highest form is verbal.
Needing a contract is the lowest form because it basically says that you don’t trust one another and that you need a piece of paper as proof of your agreement.
That being said, it would be stupid of me not to have employment contracts. These are to protect the employees and us, the owners, as well.
I can argue that even with the contracts, people still go AWOL. It will not solve AWOL problems.
You still need contracts, but what will really prevent that from happening is to prolong the hiring process. Weed out the people who would have gone AWOL anyway.
The reason why people go AWOL is several. Most of them get bigger job offers, some say they have family problems.
What we do to them, is we put them in a blacklist.
I don’t think a person went AWOL because they didn’t like how things were done here. Instead, most of them do so because they found something else, or they were not mature individuals.
You can’t really say why they’re going AWOL. What you can only do is to prevent it by prolonging the hiring process. Optimize it so that you can really check on your applicants.
Do you think there are still many holes in your hiring process?
When we started our current hiring process, we’ve only hired two, maybe three people that were wrong hires compared to 80% of the past hires being bad ones.
We’ve already hired 50 people over the course of one year. Some of them didn’t become regulars and that’s fine. At least we part ways well.
Those who did choose to be regularized will be staying with us for two more years and then they’re going to graduate. It’s up to them whether they want to stay or go.
One thing that we can improve is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. That would be to have the strengths finder exam for the probationary hires just to know them better.
We pay for that exam, but it wouldn’t be that much help to someone if they didn’t enter the workshop.
It’s difficult to learn how to internalize it if they don’t see how it’s supposed to work.
My wife has suggested doing that in the hiring process, which can be too risky and costly.
We’re still trying to improve our hiring process, but right now it’s working fantastically.