24 Tips on Hiring an Apprentice

I’ve been managing people for 30 years and over that time, have come to learn a lot about how to make it work.  Because there’s a right way and a wrong way.  And believe me, you don’t want to do it the wrong way….

So when James Zolman recently tweeted “I need an apprentice” then Dana Lookadoo then replied, saying she needs one too,  I chimed in, letting them know that hiring one was one of the best things I’ve ever done in business. Next thing I know, they’re asking me for tips.  From there, it all just came pouring out of me.  James then suggested all this should be a blog article, so here you go!

24 Tips on Hiring An Apprentice

    1. Define what you need most help with that you can train someone on without drowning in training time

    2. Reach out to everyone you know with your requirement, post to Craigslist as well

    3. Remember they’re going to be your trainee so the 1st rule is “do we get along psychologically, emotionally”

    4. Create a training manual so they can refer to it when you’re not around

    5. If your pay is a fair, & they are passionate in the work you do together, you’ll know it intuitively during interviews.  In this economy you should get a flood of resume’s

    6. Hiring local or long distance depends on your work-style. I have a local and a long distance.

    7. If you treat them like a young version of you (read that equal as human yet needing loving guidance) they will prosper

    8. Always pay attention to what they frown at. It’s a sign they may not enjoy the work.

    9. If they don’t like an aspect of the work, find other things they do like or help them see it in a new way

    10. Sometimes they don’t like tasks because they can’t see how their unique voice can be expressed in it

    11. Show them how it helps YOU, that they’re worth diamonds to you.

    12. If possible, show them how they can express their unique experience or voice to it

    13. If their work doesn’t meet your needs, look for what’s good in it first, point that out then let them know that even tho that’s the case, you need it done differently. Explain why.

    14. It’s NEVER “because I said so” or “Because I’m the boss”

    15. If you take the time to do that, you may just learn that their thinking is better in a situation

    16. If they ever interact with other people always protect them from bullshit others spew

    17. Be willing to be their champion / protector the way you would want to be treated

    18. If they step out of line, really cross it, take a time out before reacting

    19. When you address unacceptable behavior, remember they are human, other issues that may be the cause

    20. 1st try to discover the cause of their actions. They just may have personal crisis going on

    21. Be understanding, yet always consistent in where the line is.

    22. Even when being consistent, you may need to become flexible in order to allow their humanness

    23. Remember too though, you’re running a business, so set limits to flexibility you can live with

    24. This one is more a business philosophy tip – read this article from Brent D. Payne on business philosophy – every point will help you become more successful in the business world, and more importantly, happy in your business ventures


Well that’s all I had in me to tweet that night.  What tips can you offer?


Thanks to both James and Dana for pulling this out of me.  And for Annie Cushing confirming my view along the way, and Gab Goldenberg for tweeting “u guys just made me star about 40 tweets. please blog so i can just have 1 bookmark!”  Because that locked it for me as far as jumping right on the blog thing rather than waiting til some future date.  And of course, thanks just as much to Bennet and Sharon – two of the best apprentices a guy could ever ask for or hope to work with!

About Alan Bleiweiss

Just another guy. Who happens to have a lot of experience living, breathing and sleeping organic SEO. So that's my primary focus - high end SEO audits and consulting for sites ranging from thousands to tens of millions of pages. In my spare time I blog, rant, write eBooks, and speak at industry conferences.

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