You hired who?

I must admit a rather large mistake I have made on my entrepreneurial journey.

It has to do with hiring. 

More specifically my methodology on hiring. Or better yet, my old methodology.

Being the astute bean counter and tax stallion that I am, I thought I needed to surround myself with other astute stallions to build a successful team.

I was taught that if you have a service offering, that you search for an individual that can best deliver that service offering.

I was building a team based on technical competency.

Yea, that is the best way to describe it.

I was building a team based on their technical knowledge of accounting and taxes.

I have many colorful illustrations of my approach, but I’m pretty sure if I start dishing out stories I could get in trouble.

Ok, just one…

The Nomad

We have been virtual since 2017. Sometime after that a young woman named Jane, applied for the position of Remote Brewery Accountant. 

She looked great on paper, and the reason she was so attracted to this position was that her commute in a major city was consuming up to 3 hours per day, and she wanted to spend more time with her kids. 

During her technical interview, which was the only interview, I checked all the boxes and made her an offer soon after. 

Jane wasted no time getting super comfortable in her role as a remote brewery accountant… because she could never be found. 

When Jane did show up to zoom calls, she would be in a loud coffee shop or in a car traveling cross country. 

picture of a van in the desert

This #nomadlife was not what I had intended when I envisioned a virtual business of expert knowledge workers.

Ok, one more and that’s it. I promise.


Rob was an accounting student at the University of North Florida before joining SBS. 

He had a ton of energy but was inexperienced when it came to accounting and tax. 

I knew what I was getting into hiring a new graduate, and was willing to take on the challenge of teaching him. 

What I missed in the interview process was that Rob was personally transitioning from new graduate to CEO. 

guy in a suit

He forgot to mention that. 

So instead of understanding the concepts or processes, Rob would suggest a sales strategy, or he would handle a customer question as any 21-year-old would.

These two stories are NOT a coincidence folks, I have many more. They are a direct result of hiring solely based on technical experience.  

It becomes discouraging when you hire someone, expect them to help in many ways, only to learn that the specific skill set you hired them for is unavailable.

Over the past year I have heard from many brewery owners that the reason they are choosing a managed service such as Small Batch Standard is because they are unable to retain a team in the back office.

The time it takes to hire, on-board, train, only to have that person leave after 120 days is very frustrating and expensive.

The SBS Way

Enter in a new way of hiring.

Here at SBS we have a set of core values:

  1. Be antifragile
  2. Play the long game
  3. Embrace technology
  4. Build and trust the process
  5. Act as a team of expert knowledge workers

These core values set the tone and actions of our culture.

Culture is an intriguing buzz word to me. 

For some, culture means they have a ping pong table and deliver pizza to the team every Friday. To others it means who shows up first and leaves last. 

The way we define culture here is by first looking at our core values. 

Next, we encourage our team to fly, rise up, and figure it out. 

Give them the tools and training they need to operate at their highest potential. If they fall or crash, we gather around, pick them up, help them out, and move on.

We have reengineered our hiring process to lead with these core values first, which includes a hard look if they will be a culture fit. 

We go so far as to ask new applicants to define which of our core values they most identify with, and why.

Admittingly, this approach was foreign to me at first. 

I was stuck in the mindset that we needed experts in technical experience. 

But after time, the truth began to reveal itself. 

People who fit in the same tribe will thrive together.

Our hiring process has changed also. We now have a lengthy application process which usually reveals a lot. 

We are not concerned about their knowledge of debits and credits at the get-go. We want to learn more about the candidate’s motivation and how they will react in certain situations.

If they make it past the application process, they meet with our executive assistant, Kelly. The first interview is pulse check to verify key points on their application and answer any questions they may have about the position. 

It is also the first glance at the core values check.

The 2nd interview is with me and this is 100% technical. 

Depending on the position they are applying for, I will ask them some detailed questions about accounting and tax. I gauge their knowledge of various software tools we use. I ask them about the processes at their current position. Did they improve existing processes or accept the status quo? 

Always circling back to the core values.

The 3rd and final interview is with our COO, Tom. This is yet a deeper dive into our team structure, core values, career tracks and more.

All three of us are crystal clear on what makes up the ideal candidate for SBS. We lean into our core values as the foundation for whether this person will thrive at SBS.

My goal of this post is to encourage you to take our processes and apply them to your brewery. 

Steal our stuff.

See you in 2 weeks!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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