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.

Read more from


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matt Siltala, steveplunkett, Alan Bleiweiss, James Zolman, SEO Aware and others. SEO Aware said: RT @Matt_Siltala: RT @AlanBleiweiss: New Article: 24 Tips on Hiring an Apprentice/Assistant http://bit.ly/24Tips [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alan Bleiweiss, Ognian Mladenov. Ognian Mladenov said: 24 Hiring Tips | How to hire an apprentice | Search Marketing Wisdom http://goo.gl/NEii [...]

  3. This was one of the most engaging convos on Twitter! Thanks, Alan!

    Many of your nuggets are best practices for training employees and working in a team. Why is it that people forget about the “people aspect” of working with other people? #rhetoricalquestion

    Having run a couple firms with employees and now running solo and looking for an “apprentice,” the biggest challenge on my part was not having a training manual and delineating expectations clearly.

    The other is being too much of their friend. That’s why I like #21: Be understanding, yet always consistent in where the line is.


    Thanks again Alan for this super reference!
    Dana Lookadoo´s last blog ..Twitter – You Both FollowMy ComLuv Profile

    • Thank you Dana

      After years of abusive employers when I was younger, and after just as many outstandingly excellent employers, I learned what feels right to me as the one learning, doing the grunt work, so I do my best to apply that to how I treat those who work for me. Of course my rants about “New Sales Guy” don’t convey that very well. So it was an awesome opportunity to put these thoughts and views out there.

  4. Ash Buckles says:

    Great tips here and a lot of helpful insight. My favorite, if I have to choose just one, is #7: If you treat them like a young version of you (read that equal as human yet needing loving guidance) they will prosper
    Ash Buckles´s last blog ..Artist Profile- Ray SchlossMy ComLuv Profile

  5. Christina says:

    Exactly what I needed. I’m planning to hire an apprentice and this will really be helpful. Thanks.

  6. [...] Bleiweiss knocks it out the park with these tips on hiring an apprentice. Reminds me of something I saw via Problogger.com, Outsourced My [...]

  7. Hellooo? says:

    I wish I was treated so nicely when I was an apprentice.

  8. flash banner says:

    These all are really key tips and a way leading to develop a skilled and worthily trainee.but unfortunately,in most of the organizations,the ethical concerns are usually left behind.

  9. Kayden Kelly says:

    Tips pages like this rarely deliver these days but this one sure did. I’m glad I took the time to read your great, concise insights. Well done, Alan!
    Kayden Kelly´s last blog ..How to Remove Google Duplicate Listings FinallyMy ComLuv Profile

  10. i would also like to add that if apprentice does a task at 80% of what or how you would do it as the mentor, then don’t knock them down for not doing the task exactly as you would have done it. let them have the moment and later if its that important make a note of it with them but don’t berate them. it will build confidence in their ability and will make them less dependent on you.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv Enabled