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PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business, Chapter 5: Hiring Takes Time — Here’s How We Do it in Four Steps

Before you read…

Printavo is simple shop management software. We help you streamline your business, keep jobs moving forward and your team on the same page.

Scheduling, quoting, approvals, payments, customer communication, automation and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

As you begin to grow, you will find yourself needing more help. Hiring employees is a critical step for your business, and making the correct early hiring decisions pays off later. Great team members are worth much more than average ones. Poor hires are a drag on your entire business. 

Here are four steps we’ve used to hire the right employees: 

Create a great job description

Create a thorough and precise job description that contains:

  • A meaningful paragraph about your company & brand
  • A summary of the role: the “big picture” view of the job
  • A list of job functions and day-to-day duties: the gritty details of the job
  • The salary & benefits (optional)

Hunt, hunt, hunt

You can find great people anywhere, but it takes time. Anticipate interviewing around 30 people before finding the perfect fit for the role. After interviewing 5 or so applicants, you will be able to establish a baseline for the average qualities of a candidate. After many interviews, you’ll be able to determine whether the candidate exceeds that baseline. You’ll have an easier time knowing whether or not they’re going to be a great potential hire as you develop a feel for where the candidate pool is at.

Here are a few ways to find great candidates: 

  • Text close relatives and friends and send them the job description
  • Post on Facebook and Facebook groups
  • Post on Facebook Jobs
  • Email everyone you can think of that might know a great candidate
  • Tap existing employees: they may know others in the industry
  • Post on Indeed
  • Post on Craigslist
  • Post on your city’s local job boards
  • Post on LinkedIn & communicate with prospects
  • Talk to other local print shops about their hiring practices

Your search doesn’t have to stop there. If you go to a restaurant and receive incredible service, maybe that server could be a fit for your company. The approach is simple: “You know, you offered great service. I have a company and we’re looking for someone. Interested in chatting?” It could spark an interview and potential hire.

Create a repeatable hiring process

Create a formal hiring process and interview your potential hires carefully. Write down a list of questions to score candidates with and save them in a spreadsheet. Here are some examples of questions we’ve asked:

  • Do you have experience in a role like this one? Can you tell me more about your role?
  • Can you tell me about your last position and what you were responsible for?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are you looking for in your next role?
  • What was your salary at your last company?
  • Give them an example project based on their potential role to help determine their competency.
    • For example, we might ask a production manager: “How would you organize the following tasks? What if we added three more tasks that needed to be done that day — how would you prioritize? How do you organize your day?”
  • What are your pet peeves? What makes you really excited?
  • What’s something you’ve failed at, and how did you resolve it?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Do they use the word “we” a lot? Be sure to ask what they were directly responsible for.

Hire for attitude. Train for skill. 

Just like playing a sport, a coach cannot do their job if the player doesn’t show up on time for practice. Consider a shadow day for potential hires. They can see if the company is a good fit for them – and you can evaluate them throughout a workday. 

We also recommend having your candidate speak with a family friend. Let them know this is the next step. Reach out to someone who has interviewed candidates in the past and can provide a different perspective on your potential hire. The reason this works so well is that the candidate will let their guard down and divulge more meaningful information. 

We utilize a firm called BHRS Partners, owned by Wendy Davids, who interviews our candidates after we’ve spoken to them. She provides a richly detailed summary of her opinion of the candidate, which helps to weed out poor potential hires. 

Lastly, bring the candidate in for an in-person interview with the top members of your team. As a group, discuss beforehand what the person is being measured on, and the types of questions that will be asked. Review their performance after the candidate leaves and go over how everyone felt. Your team can give you valuable feedback that you might not expect.

Evaluate candidates according to your goals

Your goal is to look for people who:

  • Are passionate about what they do
  • Went the extra mile in their last role
  • Want to be part of your company
  • Can speak well and handle difficult customers (especially if they are customer facing)
  • Are a great cultural fit

Your goal is to find the “Wow!” employee, a person who impresses you based on how they exceed expectations because of their passion. Be prepared to make an offer quickly — and overpay if necessary. High-quality employees are truly worth a premium for the stability and performance they provide.

Hiring is a slow, purposeful and deliberate process that requires time and energy. Don’t rush to get a warm body – you might regret it in a month. 

Screen printing is a multi-billion dollar industry with customers from every part of the world. Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs discover their passion for screen printing – and they want to claim their cut of the billions and billions of dollars spent on custom printed apparel.

But the majority of new screen printing shops fail before they reach the 5-year mark. They fail because of poor business planning, dull branding, and a lack of ability to scale.

Your shop can be different.

This is an excerpt from our book, The PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business. Written by Printavo’s dynamic founder Bruce Ackerman, Campus Ink’s enterprising Steven Farag, and Adam Cook. The PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business is the next generation’s guide for building your own lucrative print shop.

You can purchase a physical copy of the book on Amazon.

Previous chapter: Chapter 4: Branding and Professionalism

Next chapter: Chapter 6: Sales and Commission Team Management
Coming soon!

About Printavo

Printavo is simple shop management software. We help you streamline your business, keep jobs moving forward and your team on the same page.

Scheduling, quoting, approvals, payments, customer communication, automation and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.


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