Employee Hiring, Retention, and Management

Employee Hiring, Retention, and Management

As tedious as the hiring process is, it is also one of the most important stages that a business undergoes before going all out on the operations department. Business owners may be skeptical in entrusting operations, especially if they know how things should go. But in business, all one can do is all one can do; the rest can be done by the employees.

Upon onboarding, the keeping up (or breaking up) with employees part can be very challenging. For this episode, the Matts shared what makes or breaks an employee in a company, how to hire them, how to separate the good ones from the bad ones, and what to do when you end up with the bad ones.

Watson noted that having to work and handle employees can be akin to adult day care. There’s a lot of different characters and attitudes an employer has to deal with. In the end, it’s all about the employer’s ability to identify which ones are actually adding more value to the business and which ones are the boogers. Regardless, employees are very vital in a business. DeCoursey admitted that he wouldn’t have found the success that he has now without them.

Things to look for in a good employee

Just looking for a single specific trait does not make a good employee. It’s a perfect mix of abilities and attitudes. Watson pointed out that he likes people who like to be trained. He said that people who are eager to train can help in training new people. Another one is people who likes to travel. He associated this trait with one’s organizational and planning skills.

Here are other qualities that good employees have:

  • Openness – These employees are transparent and take criticism in their work. They are professional and also very vocal about things or issues that arise in every situation.
  • “I Can Do” Attitude – These are the kind of employees who are not intimidated by a challenge. They are also willing to do things that are different or anything new.
  • Positive outlook – Optimistic people can be very helpful in uplifting the dynamics that go into working. DeCoursey points out that these kinds of people “make doing things that suck not suck.”
  • Aggressiveness – Employees who take on things with focus and determination are very valuable. They make sure to approach every task with passion and accuracy.
  • Flexibility – Being able to easily adapt and understand change is a very definitive trait an employee can possess. They have the ability to make sense of the changes whatever the situation is.
  • Punctuality – People who have a sense of time are generally very attractive for recruiters. These are the type of people who are always timely and know how to workaround complex schedules and deadlines.

Aside from these, DeCoursey also says that he looks for people who are outgoing, patient, assertive, friendly, caring, and generally have a sense of hygiene.

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What are the red flags on an employee (a.k.a. What traits make them suck)?

  • Negative attitude – Watson correlates it as “one apple can make the rest of the basket bad.” A negative attitude is simply something that cannot foster in the workplace as it can be influential to the rest of the people.
  • Excuses, excuses, and more excuses – People who make excuses show lack of accountability and it weakens the trust of the employer towards their work.
  • Chitchatters – People who gossip are very counterproductive. This makes them up as unethical and no employer wants to deal with that.
  • “I’m-here-for-the-money” attitude – This raises a red flag—one that says this employee is only here for the money (which is not necessarily a bad thing). It is just that it shows that an employee does not care as much about what they do, but on what they get.

Ultimately, dealing with people entails that you have to make deposits before making withdrawals. Meaning, you never really know what employees can do until they show up and work. What you can do is adjust your level of patience specific to each employee as rooted in the concept that it’s just like an adult day care.

When they do good, employees should be appreciated. Be loyal to the people who do great with their job. Make their working experience worthwhile and you will surely retain them. When they do bad, let them go.

The Matts add that letting them go is an opportunity for them to ‘free up their future.’ They get fired because the job is simply not for them.

Listen to Episode 34 of the Startup Hustle podcast – Employees Love ’em or Leave ’em

Listen to Episode 34 of the Startup Hustle podcast – Employees Love ’em or Leave ’em

Matt DeCoursey: Hello and welcome back to another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here with Matt Watson. Hi Matt.  
Matt Watson: Can I get some time on your couch today for a little psychiatric session?  
Matt DeCoursey: Too bad, I’m already on it, bro.  
Matt Watson: I am not getting on the couch with you at the same time, that’s for sure.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, you shouldn’t do that with any of your employees either, which is what I want to talk about today.  
Matt Watson: Oh, man.  
Matt DeCoursey: First off, before we get into this episode of Startup Hustle, if you happen to be an HR professional, hit stop right now. Not safe for the radio, podcast, airwaves, however you’re listening to this. This also could be a three or four hour episode.  
Matt Watson: What if one of our employees is listening to this?  
Matt DeCoursey: Too bad.  
Matt Watson: Okay.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m feeling kind of salty today Matt. I’m a little worn out.  
Matt Watson: Well, so what exactly do you want to talk about? I mean, we know employees are awesome and our busiensses wouldn’t survive without them.  
Matt DeCoursey: Actually, you’re right. But, with that comes a lot of responsibility.  
Matt Watson: It’s sort of like an adult daycare.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I was going to say sort of like raising children sometimes, but then sometimes I can be the child too. I mean, I’ll take a little better responsibility.  
Matt Watson: Well, sales people are always like that, though.  
Matt DeCoursey: Sales people make your business go round, baby. All right, so we’re going to get back to employees here, and we’ll talk about how awesome sales people are later. Yes, honestly, sales people are oftentimes the worst employees for a variety of reasons. But, I think overall you’re either a good employee or a bad one.  
Matt Watson: Employee or employer?  
Matt DeCoursey: I think that’s a yes or no question as well. You know, kind of like you said, employees are a vital part of any business that you run. The real reason for that is, all you can do is all you can do. If you’re trying to do something big, well, I mean, run out of capacity very quickly.  
Matt Watson: Well, the alternative is to clone ourselves.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m working on that.  
Matt Watson: I did do that.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, I know, and I’ve seen how that’s going for you [crosstalk].  
Matt Watson: But, he’s only eight.  
Matt DeCoursey: I know, and I did that for me too, and my wife wouldn’t let me name my daughter payback, but that is certainly what she is headed towards being. But you know, we talk a lot about startups and that’s the theme of this show. With that, you’re invariably going to have some employees if you grow.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, and it’s one of the most important first missteps a lot of startups take. Right?  
Matt DeCoursey: Sure.  
Matt Watson: Is, who they hire early on, it makes or breaks them.  
Matt DeCoursey: Sometimes it’s also the greatest thing they ever did. How many employees did you have, in any companies you’ve either owned or managed or whatever, how many have you had?  
Matt Watson: Well today we have like, 20.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s a small portion from what you had previously.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, my last business when I left there, we had like 250 to 300.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay, I think I’m somewhere in that ballpark, not all with companies that I owned.  
Matt Watson: I mean, with my first company it got to the point where you get on the elevator and somebody asks you like, “What floor are you going to?” I’m like, “You work for me.” Right? Yeah, I mean, that’s a whole different circumstance, set of problems.  
Matt DeCoursey: Now, I’ve had some really great employees, and honestly when I look back at my own story, my own narrative, I think it’s really possible that without them, I wouldn’t have found some of the success that I found. Would you agree?  
Matt Watson: I agree.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’ve also had some really bad employees and coworkers. They’re the worst.  
Matt Watson: And business partners.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, I know. I know what that’s like right now. Just kidding. Before we kind of get into what a bad employee might be or maybe how to avoid hiring them, or even what do you do if you get one in your grasp, what are some things for you that you look for in an employee or the things that really kind of make a lot of sense to you when you’re building a team or working with someone?  
Matt Watson: Someone once told me when you’re working in a startup or a small business, that when you’re hiring people, one thing to look for is to hire people that like to train other people and people that like to travel. Because, if they like to train that’s good because you’re always training new people and that. The travel side really comes to about organization and being flexible.  
Matt DeCoursey: I was going to ask where that component came from. I thought maybe it would be more related towards just willing to do something that a lot of people won’t.  
Matt Watson: Well, I mean yeah, and people who like to travel tend to do a lot of planning. They’ll go somewhere that they don’t know where they’re going and they kind of have it figure it out, which is a lot like a startup.  
Matt DeCoursey: Sure. I’m looking for the person that’s willing to do whatever they need to do. Like, that’s an important quality, and someone that has a good attitude. I really just don’t like working with negative people. That shit’s contagious, like, really bad. If you put a bunch of employees in a room with someone that’s outwardly negative and just not really that great to work around, well, it can really put a damper on everything you’re doing.  
Matt Watson: It definitely can be bad culture for the whole team and the whole company. It just takes one or two bad apples to kind of bring everybody down for sure.  
Matt DeCoursey: Sure. Now, back to some of the good qualities. I’m typically looking for people, you know, you hear these kind of buzzwords like a can do attitude. I can do it. People that aren’t generally intimidated by a challenge or a need or like, you know, wanting to do something that might be different.  
Matt Watson: It’s just having people that are positive.  
Matt DeCoursey: Sure.  
Matt Watson: I mean, one of the ladies that works for us, we refer to her as the exclamation mark around here.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay.  
Matt Watson: Because, she was just always just fun to be around and exciting and very positive.  
Matt DeCoursey: Those people can make doing things that suck, not suck.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, exactly.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s a thing, you know, especially in a startup or anything new. I look back at any startup and talking to people about, I’m sitting here in the studio and I’m looking at a list that I made for a potential startup, and it’s really, really long. I start looking at it, I’m like, “Man, I sure wouldn’t want to do many of those things because they’re not fun, but all of them are really important.”  
  You know, I think another thing too is, you know, the ability to be thorough or patient in the places where it needs to be. But, at the same time, also have an aggressive approach towards things like problem solving. I think it’s probably the thing that will drive me kind of nuts is, it’s like the house is on fire and I’m going to sit down and watch it and wait for you to come with the bucket of water, sir. That’ll kind of drive me nuts. What about competitive people? Do you like a lot of competition or not?  
Matt Watson: I think it’s good, definitely in sales people or different roles.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, you employ a lot of developers. Is that ever competitive environment? Doesn’t really go well with that personality style.  
Matt Watson: No, I mean some sure are more than others. I mean, we have one guy that did MMA and I’m sure he’s pretty competitive. But, I think in general it’s kind of a different personality and breed of people.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’ve been sending him cryptocurrency quietly with the notes of not from Watson.  
Matt Watson: Like a hit list, or what?  
Matt DeCoursey: No, I don’t want to say that, because I would never ever … I’m just trying to build up a little positive account with him in case I got to take care of some business, in case I get a bad employee.  
Matt Watson: Okay.  
Matt DeCoursey: We told the HR professionals to turn this off. You know, I think some other things too that make a good employee are people that are direct. People that, they’ll say it to you. They’re not yes men or women.  
Matt Watson: Need to be open and honest, wiling to take criticism, willing to listen. These are all important traits of a good founder or manager.  
Matt DeCoursey: I agree.  
Matt Watson: Right? Like, just being able to figure shit out and not take it personal.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right.  
Matt Watson: It’s the people that take things all personal that are the hardest to deal with. It’s like, we’re all in this together. Let’s just figure it out, make it work.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right.  
Matt Watson: Not get overly uptight and personal about every little detail.  
Matt DeCoursey: You know, we’ll do a little recap of some of the stuff we were just talking about. You know, the word agile comes up. That’s flexible, ability to change, ability to maneuver in a way that makes sense to whatever the project or situation is. People that are friendly or outgoing. Assertive, that can do attitude. You know another thing? That people that just have a general sense of hygiene.  
Matt Watson: Oh, don’t get me started on that one.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m being serious, man. You know, you look at, all right, so if you’re a startup you’re probably not working in individual offices. I mean, reality of it is I remember looking back in the Million Dollar Bedroom story and like, you know, we had three people in something that was probably the size of a prison cell at one point. I mean, look, here’s the thing man …  
Matt Watson: That sounds efficient.  
Matt DeCoursey: If I had to fart a lot, you guys are going to smell it.  
Matt Watson: I’m sorry.  
Matt DeCoursey: Or if, you know, there’s a lot of different things that can really be kind of gross there. I think another thing that we didn’t mention is people that are punctual and timely.  
Matt Watson: Right.  
Matt DeCoursey: How do you feel about people that are late? It really drives me nuts.  
Matt Watson: I really can’t stand it. I mean, there’s nothing worse than if somebody’s always got somebody in their family that’s always late, I mean, all that, it just kind of drives me crazy. I’m a very punctual person.  
Matt DeCoursey: If it’s family stuff, I’m always late because that means that I oftentimes have to do less in certain spots.  
Matt Watson: Do you spend less time with them?  
Matt DeCoursey: Not intentionally, but yes intentionally sometimes. It depends on what we’re doing. It’s not really like I’m trying to get out of it. But as far as work stuff goes, especially when I’m doing things that are sales related, nothing’s going to drive a spike through your sale faster than just showing up really late for it.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, yep.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think that as a teammate and an employee, and this is a pretty common way to look at tardiness, is that you’re not respecting other people’s time. You almost feel like you’re more important than the situation. You get these spots where you got five people waiting for one person to show up, and also, as a startup founder, well, that’s a waste of your resources.  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: You know, you’re taking five minutes, and, “Hey, but I’m only five minutes late.” Okay, well, back to the yes or no scenario. You’re on time or you’re not. I get it, sometimes stuff happens. But, you ever have these people that are like, consistently 10 minutes late? They’re like, “Yeah, I just can’t seem to get here on time.” I’m like, “You know, you could leave 10 minutes earlier.” That would be a very efficient mathematic solution for the problem here. Well, those are the good people. How easy is it to find a good employee?  
Matt Watson: It’s hard. I mean, especially if you’re looking for software developers, it’s really, really hard.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think it’s just hard if you’re finding them in general. I think there’s one more component too that we didn’t mention. How about people that care, just generally care about what you’re doing? You know, like people that have … You know, when I first started employing people as a business owner, it was really frustrating for me. I had a really hard time on a lot of days. I’d be driving home or driving around, like, talking to myself, you know. Just like, “Why did they do this or why did they do that?”  
  Eventually I matured and I realized that no one was going to care about my business as much as I do, and once I got past that, my expectation for that level of caring by my employees lessened and I became less frustrated. But at the same time, I really do, this is a certain intangible thing. When someone cares, they care about your customers, your clients, your business. They take a little more thoughtful approach to the situation in general, and that’s something that’s really hard to teach. You either are kind of like that or you’re not.  
Matt Watson: Well, another thing I always struggle with is people doing the job the same way that I would want them to do it, or doing it at the same …  
Matt DeCoursey: Pace.  
Matt Watson: Speed, pace, quality. I mean, that was something I struggled with for a long time in my career of-  
Matt DeCoursey: Especially if you’re good at something too, “Why can’t everybody be as good at this or as fast at it?”  
Matt Watson: Yeah, “Why isn’t this stuff done yet and why doesn’t it work?” Then not being a total asshole to those people because it’s not. It’s really difficult, especially if you’re a really high performer to work with other people that just aren’t at your level. But, you’re not going to find necessarily other people that work at your level. Right?  
Matt DeCoursey: Man, if we could find people that did what we do, how we do it, when we do it, the way we do it, they probably wouldn’t be working for us on some [crosstalk].  
Matt Watson: No, they would probably own their own company.  
Matt DeCoursey: Or, be into it or on the way to it. I think that’s a good point. I’ve had the same issues, the same frustrations. I think right around that same process of kind of like resolving myself to the fact that no one was going to care about it as much as me, I was kind of going through that same thing. In conjunction with that as we kind of transition into the things that aren’t really great traits about someone … You know what, actually, let’s talk about this first. Because I think after that, we can talk about how we resolve it, deal with it, address it or turn the page on it. What’s the least favorite quality you have?  
Matt Watson: I think it’s people that are negative.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah.  
Matt Watson: To me, that’s one of the biggest ones.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think that’s almost like the top level category of all the other bad things.  
Matt Watson: People that make excuses or they’re negative or they just bring everybody down. That’s the worst.  
Matt DeCoursey: When I hear about excuses, there’s something that, and I think that you can learn a lot from this if you’re one of these people, it’s just general responsibility. If I’m employing you and you mess something up, and you come to me and you say, “Hey, I need to tell you something. I messed up. I really could have done a better job of this. I know what I did wrong. I’m going to be able to get this right next time.” The chance that I’m going to be, I might actually just be excited that you took responsibility for what’s going on. It’s that same mentality of, do you ever know someone that gets a speeding ticket and it’s the police officer’s fault? You know, like, is it really the police officer’s fault that you were going 60 in a 35? They’re like, “I can’t believe that cop gave me that ticket. How dare him.”  
Matt Watson: It’s their fault, they made the speeding liking.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right.  
Matt Watson: It’s their fault.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right. Now, with that are the same people that are going to also you know, like … Notice these same people, they feel slighted and shorted. They’re not getting their fair share. You know what I got my fair share of today, though? The barbecue you have in [crosstalk] cafeteria.  
Matt Watson: I was going to say barbecue.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, and that’s the one time, on Tuesdays at noon I always pretend that I work for Stackify long enough to get barbecue, and then I quit. Then I quit.  
Matt Watson: Free loader.  
Matt DeCoursey: Hey, it’s hard to do. You know they say when in Rome, well when in Kansas City you will eat barbecue. You ever work with someone that says, “That’s not my job”?  
Matt Watson: Oh, in a startup that just doesn’t work.  
Matt DeCoursey: That doesn’t happen.  
Matt Watson: Because, I am also chief cook and bottle washer around here.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, I know I hear you. I’ve done it all, and oftentimes I find myself doing the things that other people don’t do, and I’m never really happy about it. Do you have job descriptions?  
Matt Watson: No.  
Matt DeCoursey: I don’t either. I don’t believe in them. I think they’re limiting. Now, I understand if we had an 8,000 person company they might be a little more required, but nothing drives me crazy more than hearing, “That’s not my job.”  
Matt Watson: I mean, you know when we put up a job ad for something we have a job description and list the responsibilities, but I think those are always just a starting point.  
Matt DeCoursey: Did I ever tell you the content I used to post? I’ve always had some kind of assistant or someone that kind of assists me. I don’t really get very specific about it, but a few years back I posted for entrepreneur’s assistant, and the description was, “If you’re willing to get paid like shit, work too hard, but learn a whole lot, this is the job for you.” I had an overwhelming response. It was people that like, in that particular role, I attracted a lot of mid-20s just out of college type people and they wanted to learn something, and that was the trade off. Maybe they became great employees, maybe they didn’t. The particular hire that I made, eh. How about the guy that has worked somewhere for 25 years and he’s paid his dues, and for some reason that means he plays by a different set of rules?  
Matt Watson: Does he work for the union?  
Matt DeCoursey: Maybe.  
Matt Watson: That’s usually people that work for the union. They have seniority. Everybody owes them.  
Matt DeCoursey: There’s a lot of these guys. I’ve worked with a lot of sales people that have this affliction. They also are the same guys or gals that are always saying, “Oh, everything’s never like it was. You know, back in the heyday of doing this and doing that, we were able to make a zillion dollars and we didn’t have to do anything. I can’t believe everything changed. Who moved my cheese?”  
Matt Watson: Just grumpy old bastards.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, I think that kind of goes with that same mentality of overvaluing your own experience. Like, just because you’re worked in an industry, like, look at your industry. Okay, well technically, we work in the same industry. I have no idea what you guys do at Stackify, other than what the product does. That doesn’t mean that because I’ve worked in or around software for X number of years that somehow I have this amazing hand me down knowledge that somehow applies to anything and everything like a skeleton key.  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Can I tell you a secret about someone?  
Matt Watson: Sure.  
Matt DeCoursey: I don’t like people that gossip.  
Matt Watson: Maybe we should spread some rumors on the podcast.  
Matt DeCoursey: Oh man. What would that be?  
Matt Watson: I’ve heard some weird ones. You know, even, yeah. I’ve heard some weird ones.  
Matt DeCoursey: Time out.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, I don’t really want to get into it. But yeah, people come up with some wacky stuff.  
Matt DeCoursey: Did you hear that I’m trying to replace you as my cohost on the Startup Hustle?  
Matt Watson: Yeah. You have done that before, actually.  
Matt DeCoursey: Dude, it’s because your startup is way further down the line than mine and you actually take vacation occasionally.  
Matt Watson: Every once in a while.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’ll be honest with you, the reason that I’ve replaced you is because really deep down inside I’m super envious that you are doing something other than working.  
Matt Watson: Well, I was recently at the premiere for Westworld, and I was trying to get one of the hosts, and I was going to make him like me and bring him back, and then have them be your new cohost.  
Matt DeCoursey: You were going to replace me with a robot?  
Matt Watson: No, myself.  
Matt DeCoursey: You were going to clone yourself with a Westworld-like robot and then replace me on the show?  
Matt Watson: No, replace myself so I wouldn’t have to do it anymore.  
Matt DeCoursey: I fully support that. Yeah, I’m into that. Yeah, what do I need to do to help facilitate that?  
Matt Watson: I mean, I’d probably replace you too, but …  
Matt DeCoursey: Do I get to do it with another robot? You want to talk about weird gossip-  
Matt Watson: You can do whatever you want with robots.  
Matt DeCoursey: All right, so there’s been some weird, you know, gossip about us, or about myself. It’s really funny. We’re sitting here recording a podcast, someone’s either sharpening 10,000 pencils in the room next to us or trying out their new saw.  
Matt Watson: I think they’re doing construction upstairs.  
Matt DeCoursey: Maybe. They’ve been doing a lot of that lately. I actually vacated my office a couple weeks ago because I was positive the ceiling was going to fall in. Some of my employees, they joke, they think I’m a robot, a vampire, or an AI chat bot. That’s because I am just kind of like always there. I’m always online. I just don’t sleep for long periods of time. You know, when I’m weighing in on something at 2:00 in the morning, 6:00 in the morning, 8:00 in the morning and they ask me a lot if I sleep or not.  
Matt Watson: Maybe you’re already a host. Maybe you’re not human.  
Matt DeCoursey: That one dude on that show didn’t even know he was a robot. Right?  
Matt Watson: Yeah. That could be you.  
Matt DeCoursey: Isn’t that like, the most advanced model? Like, when you become self aware.  
Matt Watson: Bernard didn’t know.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s right.  
Matt Watson: Why don’t we talk about-  
Matt DeCoursey: Hey look, if you don’t do what I’m going to tell you to do right now Matt, I’m kicking you off of this podcast and I’m telling the producer. Peer pressure man, it’s not a real cool thing to do in school and it sure isn’t a good thing to do in the workplace either.  
Matt Watson: All right, I’ll do whatever you want.  
Matt DeCoursey: That worked, that worked.  
Matt Watson: Why don’t we talk about now some of the worst hires we’ve ever done in our startups.  
Matt DeCoursey: Oh my god.  
Matt Watson: I got one for you.  
Matt DeCoursey: Lay it on me.  
Matt Watson: At Stackify, one of the worst hiring decisions we did was actually hiring a sales person before we had a product to sell.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay, but was-  
Matt Watson: He was a good candidate, he was a good guy, but we hired him way too soon.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s actually one of the things when they talk about hiring is making sure you actually really need the position.  
Matt Watson: Right.  
Matt DeCoursey: You know, I did that at GigaBook. I did the exact same thing. It’s really funny when I look back at it and I’m kind of like, “Man, what was I thinking?” Just right at the beginning 2015, I felt like I could basically throw a square peg into a round hole. I learned a lot about validation and just kind of, we weren’t ready. I sure wasn’t ready for a couple people that were trying to sell a product that was not ready to be adopted on a large scale. Yeah, I kind of did the same thing too. It’s kind of tough to deal with. You know, at the same time, like, how do you avoid hiring someone that’s not good? Oh wait, I didn’t get to share my … One of my worst hires may have just recently occurred. Yeah.  
Matt Watson: Was it me as your cohost?  
Matt DeCoursey: No, we don’t get paid for this so technically you haven’t been hired.  
Matt Watson: Okay.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, we should do something about that.  
Matt Watson: What was the worst hire you made?  
Matt DeCoursey: If you’re willing to send $1 to the Startup Hustle podcast, we no longer have to say that this isn’t monetized. Figure out how to do that and send it on.  
Matt Watson: We need a tip jar.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, I recently hired someone, they lasted five days. Cumulative lateness in five days of almost eight hours, fell asleep at the workstation.  
Matt Watson: I’ve had that happen before.  
Matt DeCoursey: Spending as much time text messaging … Wow. You know, the crazy thing too is, it was someone that interviewed well. What’s you’re hiring process? What do you put someone through? Like, how do you try to get the turds out of the punch bowl, Matt?  
Matt Watson: I think the best thing you can do is talk to them as much as possible and have them talk to as many people as possible, get them in different situations.  
Matt DeCoursey: I like a three in three configuration. Three different people talk to him on three different times. It can be, I don’t know, like, the person that you like that first day, you might not like the second day, definitely might not like the third day. Then, you also might like someone and someone else might see right through their BS. That’s really the whole purpose of that. Now, would you say it’s probably a good idea to not just hurry up and hire someone?  
Matt Watson: I think it depends. I mean, you definitely want to take it slow, but you don’t want to overanalyze it. At some point in time, it’s going to be a coin toss if they’re going to work or not.  
Matt DeCoursey: You’re saying you don’t truly know what you’re getting until they show up and do the job.  
Matt Watson: You really have no idea.  
Matt DeCoursey: I agree.  
Matt Watson: I mean, especially hiring a sales person. You have no idea if they’re really going to sell stuff or not.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s so true.  
Matt Watson: Or, software developer. Like, yeah, they sound smart, but do they actually get anything accomplished?  
Matt DeCoursey: You know, another thing too is also like, the rate at which people accomplish things. You know, I’ve really learned to appreciate that over the years. Someone that hypothetically makes $100 an hour needs to be two times faster than the guy that makes $50. You know, some of that, in the world of baseball they say WAR, win above replacement.  
Matt Watson: Right.  
Matt DeCoursey: It’s just a mathematic calculation that this player is statistically going to help you win three more games than the average guy in the minor leagues. Well, I look at employees the same way, I actually call it CAR, cost above replacement. Sometimes you just have people that maybe they have a bloated salary compared to whatever is being produced, and then some people are the opposite way. I’m like, oh my god, we just added someone like that in our office in Cebu, I’m just like, “Wow, thank you for making my life easy, I really appreciate it.” Being good at your job is something that I enjoy.  
  Do you really define the specific needs of what you need for a position? Like, even if it’s internally, I know we said that we don’t always do job descriptions, but I have a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for when I go to hire someone. I mean, past personality traits.  
Matt Watson: Well, I guess I kind of think of it as like, problems I’m trying to solve. Like, my business needs help with X.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right.  
Matt Watson: Right now, we’re hiring an account manager.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right.  
Matt Watson: It’s like, we have a pretty good idea of the void we’re trying to fill, what that person kind of looks and feels like, what they’re good at, what we need them to do.  
Matt DeCoursey: You said something to me recently that’s relevant. I’d rather have a guy or a gal that’s great at one thing than someone in specific places that’s just average at 12.  
Matt Watson: Right.  
Matt DeCoursey: Now, that other person we just said wasn’t the right hire, early stage startup actually might be the better.  
Matt Watson: It could be. You know, in the past for example, I’ve had like, a graphic designer that worked with me that was sort of pretty good at marketing, sort of pretty good at editing videos, sort of pretty good at a lot of things, but wasn’t really good at any of them.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right.  
Matt Watson: Sometimes those people are great, I mean.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right, and I think that depends, you know, do you need a Swiss army knife? Do you need a cleaver? Or, do we need like, Rambo’s survival knife?  
Matt Watson: Right.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think that that can, or maybe a scalpel. I think that’s the true specialist. I think as your business or your startup begins to grow and advance and in its stage, I think that’s where you get more towards the surgeons. Although, you know, sometimes you do need a whole army of other people depending on what’s going on. I know that when you had VinSolutions, what did you guys have, 2 or 300 employees when you sold that thing?  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Wow. That’s a lot. Do you know them all?  
Matt Watson: No, did not.  
Matt DeCoursey: How many did you know?  
Matt Watson: Most of them. I mean, it’s weird, because it starts out where it’s 10 people, 20 people, 50. You get to a place where it’s like 50 to 100 and all the sudden you can’t keep track of everybody anymore. Can’t remember their names.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s the thing too that makes business growth interesting, because now you need people to manage your people, and you need people just to fill out paperwork about your people, and then you need people just to fill out insurance paperwork about you people, and then you need people to clean up after your people.  
Matt Watson: Well, and ultimately your biggest problem becomes retaining people. Right? Like, you’ve got these great employees, how do you retain them? How do you keep somebody else from coming along and stealing them?  
Matt DeCoursey: Has that been a problem?  
Matt Watson: Yeah, from time to time. I mean, especially with software developers and stuff that are in such hot demand.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m a raider.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, I know.  
Matt DeCoursey: You do?  
Matt Watson: Yeah. Can you help raid some people for me?  
Matt DeCoursey: Do we have to do it here?  
Matt Watson: No.  
Matt DeCoursey: Because, I’ll tell you what, if you’re in Kansas City and you’re a software developer, congratulations. It’s a very interesting market for that particular position here. What do you think drives that?  
Matt Watson: Supply and demand.  
Matt DeCoursey: I was listening to a podcast with you on it, which was weird. I felt like I was cheating on this podcast, but you were on the Mixergy podcast, which is widely listened, very well put together. Did you say something like there was a million shortage …  
Matt Watson: Of IT professionals in the United States.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s just the United States?  
Matt Watson: In the United States, yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Good lord. Wow. It sounds like-  
Matt Watson: That’s why they make so much money. Right? It’s like anything in life, it’s all based on supply and demand.  
Matt DeCoursey: I could help you with that.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, I know. That’s partly why we hire people in Cebu. We’ve worked on that in the Philippines, because it’s impossible to find people here. We’ve had employees in South American and other places because we just can’t find them. They make so much money.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well some of that too is just the need as well. Like, you talk about retaining employees, well, in order to retain employees, they have to be happy.  
Matt Watson: Right.  
Matt DeCoursey: If you’re burning them on a red line schedule and making people work at times they’re not happy and do things that they’re not passionate about, eventually that catches up and that’s where when your company becomes global, and Stackify very much has where you guys have over 50 countries, or …  
Matt Watson: We have customers in over 50 countries, yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: We’ve had more listeners in more countries. When is Stackify going to catch up? You really need to get your shit together dude.  
Matt Watson: Well, we’re working on it. We’re working on it.  
Matt DeCoursey: At least Stackify generates revenue. We pay money to do this. I’m going to need to borrow a couple bucks to pay the podcast bill, by the way. What do you do if you realize you’ve made a bad hire?  
Matt Watson: It’s hard. I mean, I think it depends on the circumstance. Right? It depends on if somebody’s really not doing their job, or what if it’s a person that has some medical issues or personal issues that are maybe something they can straighten out? It’s tough.  
Matt DeCoursey: Do you have a different level of patience if it’s someone that has immediate issues as opposed to someone that’s been with you for a while? Because, I do.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, I mean I always try and be loyal to people, especially if they do a really good job.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah.  
Matt Watson: I mean, your example of somebody who shows up to work late all the time and stuff like that, you don’t feel so bad letting them go.  
Matt DeCoursey: No. I always say when it comes to employment, and it’s kind of the same with dealing with clients or customers too, is you need to make some deposits before you start making withdrawals. Yeah, I’ve had employees in the past that have gone through rough patches. You know, like [inaudible] talking people that are on their third, fourth or whatever year, and I get it. Those things happen. If you feel that that’s someone that’s going to rebound and be a good contributor and a productive member of your team or someone that you feel good continuing to write checks to, then that might be worth dealing with.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, I think a couple tips I have there is always try to make sure you don’t get to a place where you have one employee that sort of holds you hostage. Like, they’re the only person that knows how to do something.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s the tiny general, Matt. That is the tiny general and that’s someone you definitely don’t want.  
Matt Watson: I mean, I always referred to it as the bus factor. Like, how many people have to be hit by the bus before there’s nobody to do the job?  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay, sure.  
Matt Watson: You don’t want the bus factor to be one.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, people that very willingly throw others in front of that same bus are also not really a desirable quality. There’s a few things that I’ve learned to pick up when interviewing someone that in my … We were talking the other day, you’re never going to hire at a 100% success rate. Honestly, if you get four out of five right, I think-  
Matt Watson: That’s really good.  
Matt DeCoursey: You’re doing really good, right. I think if you’re getting down to 50% range, it’s no good. Like you said, you don’t know until they show up. Then sometimes, circumstances just happen. You know, you can’t control things you can’t control. But when I’m interviewing someone, there’s a few things that’ll definitely red flag me. People that come in and ask about compensation, like, immediately tells me you’re selfish, you’re only concerned about the money and nothing else. I want you to want the money, but we haven’t even talked about the job yet Matt, and by the way, this job pays nothing. Are you still interested?  
Matt Watson: Yeah, I’m still interested.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay, well I like that.  
Matt Watson: I’m not employable, so …  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m not either, I’m not either.  
Matt Watson: I don’t expect to have a job that pays anything.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m going to try to get a job soon maybe. I’d have a tough time. I really would. I don’t think I’d make a very good employee at this point. I work with other businesses quite regularly and I enjoy that, but I think it’s because I eventually know that I’m going to get set free, or whatever, it’s part time and I kind of like helping people. You know, some other things that … All right, look, if someone’s late to the interview, they’re not going to be on time for work. That’s a red flag for you right there. You know, people that are attentive, that ask questions that matter. Like, I love finding people that have a passion for what you’re going to want them to do, not just like, “Oh sure, I could do that.” You know like, I love doing podcasts, and if you hire me for nothing as your podcast host, I think that you will not regret it, because I’m awesome.  
Matt Watson: Let’s go, let’s do this. Come on.  
Matt DeCoursey: See?  
Matt Watson: Let’s go, woo.  
Matt DeCoursey: It’s contagious. Now, all right look, I’m going to be honest, and this is why I told the HR people to turn it off. I flush the turds, man. I don’t wait long. I have had a lot of employees and I look back at all of them. Look back at your own hiring record and the people you’ve worked with. If someone isn’t good right away, they usually aren’t.  
Matt Watson: That’s been one of the problems I’ve had over my career, is sometimes you get these people that are like, they do a pretty good job but I’m kind of on the fence.  
Matt DeCoursey: Between-ers.  
Matt Watson: My gut instinct has always been to flush them, and I always fight against it.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’ve heard people say, people that claim to be experts, that the best time to let someone go is the first time it comes up in your thought process.  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Because, in this weird subconscious way, you’ve basically made up your mind. Like, you know it at that point.  
Matt Watson: You become very negative about that person.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s another thing too, it’s another reason I take a very aggressive approach, because not only will whatever they’re doing that makes you want to let them go continue to eat at your solutions, it also will eat at you.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, one of my good friends refers to this as freeing up their future.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah.  
Matt Watson: It’s like, I’m not going to fire you. I’m freeing up your future to do something else, because this is not it.  
Matt DeCoursey: There’s a movie with George Clooney, or I think that’s him, they’re the guys that go around and just fire people. They’re showing them being presented with this, it’s got like a yacht on it near like, a beach, you know like, the getting fired is clearly the greatest thing that’s ever going to happen. It can be. You know, like maybe there’s a lot better opportunity out there for you and you’ve never gone to explore it. But yeah, for me, when I know, I know. I do try to give someone a chance. Like, we have bad days, but some stuff, you can just control.  
Matt Watson: Well, you know, we bring it back to the analogy of Westworld again. One of the things that somebody was talking about or was on the show was, a lot of us actually kind of work on that loop. We do the same thing every day. We do the same job. Our life is kind of on a loop, much like those …  
Matt DeCoursey: Like that Groundhog Day kind of thing.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. Sometimes getting-  
Matt DeCoursey: You know, there are some ways to break that up too, that’ll actually help you not go crazy, and maybe your employees too. Did you meet any famous people out there?  
Matt Watson: You know, I’m not easily start struck, but-  
Matt DeCoursey: Didn’t you see Elon Musk?  
Matt Watson: I did see Elon Musk.  
Matt DeCoursey: Why didn’t you ask him to be on the show? Okay look, for those of you listening, the night that Matt was doing Hollywood stuff, and I say that with like air quotes and a smirk, I would have loved to have gone. My wife probably more so, but we’ll get to that part in a second. I get a message from Watson, and it says, “Oh my god, Elon Musk is at this thing,” and the only thing that I could think to respond was, “Ask him to be on the podcast.” You know, we’re hoping to have that for the next episode.  
Matt Watson: Were you being selfish?  
Matt DeCoursey: No, I was trying to do that for the overall value of what his views on why we all live in a computer simulation would do. Did you actually meet Elon?  
Matt Watson: No, I didn’t. He was like 10 feet away from me walking through the crowd.  
Matt DeCoursey: That might be enough. Did you get smarter at least?  
Matt Watson: I think so.  
Matt DeCoursey: Did you get richer?  
Matt Watson: No.  
Matt DeCoursey: Did they give away free Teslas?  
Matt Watson: No.  
Matt DeCoursey: Anything else interesting go on out there?  
Matt Watson: I mean, it was cool just to meet the cast. There was other interesting, like, Katy Perry was there and some other interesting people.  
Matt DeCoursey: Did you ask her to be on the podcast?  
Matt Watson: No, we went on a date and everything, so yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Is that why your wife was chasing, what was the name?  
Matt Watson: She was chasing one of the Hemsworth guys. Man, she was like a teenage girl.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, I know, my wife was too when she saw the picture of your wife with him.  
Matt Watson: I know.  
Matt DeCoursey: The only comment I could make on your Facebook page was, “Jill, put it back in your pants.” It was pretty amazing. I was just really, really enamored by how excited my wife was that your wife met him. We were also really excited, you know, we’re big 30 Rock watchers. You know the guy that was Criss Chros on 30 Rock, he’s one of the main guys in the first season. I forgot his name. They usually kick his ass and shoot him and rebuild him. He’s, can’t remember, one of the main guys. He’s like, the boyfriend of the blonde girl.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, that’s James Marsden.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yes.  
Matt Watson: He was the one that helped us go to the event. We spent a bunch of time with him while we were there.  
Matt DeCoursey: You rode to the event with him?  
Matt Watson: No, not with him, but the reason we got to go was from a charity event. He was the one who like, made it all happen.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay.  
Matt Watson: He was our sort of sponsor to be able to go.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, that looks like fun. While you were doing that, I was at home regretting my hiring decisions. No, not really. You know honestly, to kind of wrap this up, I mean, I really do, I value the people that help make it happen for me. Especially the ones that really make it happen. Anything you heard on this was, and if you do work for me, this wasn’t about you. Or, was it?  
Matt Watson: There’s a lot of legal disclaimers here.  
Matt DeCoursey: I could talk really, really fast right now.  
Matt Watson: I think in general-  
Matt DeCoursey: We didn’t name any names. Anybody named during this podcast was done so in a fictional sense.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, I didn’t really see Elon Musk.  
Matt DeCoursey: By the way, you know who’s getting fired? Whoever’s sharpening pencils for the last hour in the room next to us.  
Matt Watson: I think in general to wrap this up for me, I think technology is actually pretty easy, pretty easy to create. It’s people. People are hard. Recruiting people, hiring people, keeping them happy.  
Matt DeCoursey: Getting them to work with each other.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, it’s sort of like adult daycare, it really is. I mean, I’ve had friends that were-  
Matt DeCoursey: I bet our employees would say that about working with and for us.  
Matt Watson: I’ve had friends that were managers at certain companies that felt like they were psychiatrists all day. They have employees coming in, just bitch and have grievances about things.  
Matt DeCoursey: I have no idea what that’s like.  
Matt Watson: I wouldn’t put up with it. I wouldn’t want to deal with it.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m talking about you.  
Matt Watson: Oh shit. Yeah, I’m sorry. I do come in here …  
Matt DeCoursey: Three or four times a day, like, I’ve literally seen you-  
Matt Watson: Four in a day.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, there’s been days.  
Matt Watson: Maybe that one day.  
Matt DeCoursey: We’re going to start a counter.  
Matt Watson: You know, maybe a couple times a week.  
Matt DeCoursey: By the way, before we close I want to thank the guy who emailed me about the podcast to specifically express his empathy for the fact that my Rochambeau legacy has ended.  
Matt Watson: It is over.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, thank you for caring. I do appreciate that. I mentioned that I really appreciate caring and empathy, so you know, I think onto the next episode, and that’s going to be a running count of how many times you come and crash on the couch in my office, ready to complain.  
Matt Watson: All right.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’ll see you next time. I’m going to go look for a job.  
Matt Watson: All right, thanks everybody.  
Matt DeCoursey: Bye.  

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