The Remote Show

Show Notes:

Links to Corey Haines' internet things:

Corey is the Founder of Swipe Files

Corey's podcasts are Everything is Marketing and Default Alive

Follow Corey on Social Media as well:

Twitter (@coreyhainesco)


Personal Website


Tyler Selhorn (00:03):
Hello everyone. My name is Tyler Sellhorn and welcome to another episode of the remote show, where we discuss everything to do with remote work, with the people who know it best. Thanks so much for listening. The remote show is brought to you by we work remotely, the largest community of remote workers in the world. With over 220,000 unique users per month, we work remotely is the most effective way to hire today's guest is Cory Haines. Corey is a marketer maker and host of the everything is marketing podcast. He is slowly attempting to stair-step his way to entrepreneurship while staying sane, giving back and living well. He has previously served as the head of growth at Baremetrics and was the first marketing hire at Cordial. He consulted with dozens of startups on marketing and growth, including SavvyCal, Evercast, Riverside, Holloway, Beamer, and Timetastic. We are excited to be learning out loud with Corey today. Greetings Corey. Hey, I'm really curious. Tell us about the problems you're trying to solve with swipe files.

Corey Haines (00:59):
Yeah. So for swipe files, I can give you some kind of backstory into how it sort of evolved over time, because it certainly hasn't sort of turned out that it wasn't the master vision from the beginning, but how it goes was I, I keep like this log of business ideas and content ideas, and I've gotten to the practice of just getting all the ideas out of my head. And so when I was at Baremetrics, I was spinning up our affiliate program and it came time to create our landing page. I was like, what the heck goes on a landing page for an affiliate program for a B2B SAS business. It's like, what in the heck? So I had to go and Google around, ask around on Twitter, look through a bunch of other people's landing pages, try to ask around to see, you know, what was good, what was bad, what worked, what didn't work.

Corey Haines (01:41):
And finally, after several hours of research and putting something together, I figured out what I thought made for a good landing page for an affiliate program, which is very sort of obscure, but there's a million. And one other things like that, where I was like, gosh, I wish there was just something where I could reference like an example and have some sort of commentary about why it was designed this way. And what's good and what's bad about it. So originally had to start a swipe files basically to create like this library of marketing examples, you know, landing pages, ads, emails, just things I saw out in the wild with some kind of short commentary and analysis on what I liked about them. What I didn't like about them from there. One of those other key components is feedback and community. I mentioned before I was asking people about, Hey, why don't you design it this way?

Corey Haines (02:24):
Or why does he use those words versus these? And so after the tear downs, then I sort of bolted on this private community for swipe files as well. And so it was basically just like a diverse group of marketers and entrepreneurs and founders, everyone who is working to make their marketing better and wants a community kind of fall back on and give feedback. And that was a few other components. There's the podcast as well. But basically the problem answer your question is really having a good source to draw from when you're doing marketing. I hate starting from scratch and trying to reinvent the wheel all the time. I love sort of working from example learning. What's working for other people and not trying to start from scratch. And I want to build off of a template, a foundation that I know is strong.

Tyler Selhorn (03:02):
Fantastic. Thanks for sharing that information. And we hear it. We work remotely. We're trying to do something similar, you know, best practices around hiring and around working remotely and sharing information. I mean, obviously you all have listening that have found that here, here we are on the podcast, but when you think of remote work, how do you explain it to other people that maybe don't have as much experience of working successfully away from an office? Or maybe do you even have like a favorite metaphor for remote work?

Corey Haines (03:31):
Yeah, I mean, pre COVID when I was telling my parents, for example, when I first broke into tech and I started working for cordial, I told them that I could work flexibly. It wasn't like all remote. My first remote job was actually with the Baremetrics when I started there as the head of growth. And so when I started three metrics, the one I told them was I basically only need a laptop to work. And so my desk is anywhere and there is no office. So we all work from home and they're like, wow, interesting. You know, that's weird. My parents were older. And so, but now, especially these days, I think that the metaphor is, or the way they describe it now is that there's a lot of value and a lot of work to be done with knowledge and with words and with things that aren't tangible, right.

Corey Haines (04:12):
There's this whole like system and economy on the internet. And so why would you need a physical space to work out of if everything you're doing is on the internet. So that's how I sort of describe it today. And, uh, I think when a lot of people like other family members ask, well, will you work from home? What does that mean? What do you do? It's basically just, I have a laptop. I work on the computer. And so the, world's my oyster for wherever I want to work. And however, I want to work and now, especially sort of going on my own, set my own hours and I get to choose when and how I work. And so, yeah, that's basically how I describe it,

Tyler Selhorn (04:43):
Sharing that you said something about working anywhere and working in the internet. We have a lot of job seekers listening, and they're really interested in doing the very thing that you did back with bare metrics. When you started working there, tell us the story of you joining a remote company for the first time. What's the background there? Cause we're all trying to do the very same thing you did tell us that story.

Corey Haines (05:08):
Yeah. So at cordial, we started working a little bit more flexibly and we basically had like one or two days a week where we could work from home if we wanted to. And so I started taking advantage of that and taking usually Fridays to work from home or like Mondays, if I was doing like a long weekend or, you know, just came back from somewhere and didn't want to have to drive into the office the next day. And so that kind of got me to dip my toes into the waters, so to speak of remote work a little bit. And then when the opportunity presented itself for Baremetrics, basically the story goes that I've wanted to be an entrepreneur and a founder since I was like 19, just didn't know what that looked like or what that meant or really what I wanted to do.

Corey Haines (05:43):
Exactly. And so I always, I'm trying to put myself in a position where I could gain skills and knowledge and experience that would help me later on down the road when I want to go on my own and sort of do my own thing, quote unquote. And so Baremetrics, I had been following Josh the founder for a few years, I think because you had this whole open startup movement and transparency where he was telling stories and sharing all the numbers like the monthly recurring revenue and the turn rate, even of Baremetrics. And so I read this blog, I read the podcast. And so I saw that he was kind of poking around on Twitter a little bit, looking to hire someone more in a business role because the entire team at that point had been more product and customer success. And I knew that there were remote company already.

Corey Haines (06:26):
And I figured that that was something that was interesting. It wasn't the main draw for me, but it was just sort of a cherry on top and added bonus and especially not having to move somewhere else, cause I didn't want to move away from San Diego, my hometown. And so I had seen the, he was poking around and then finally he posted the job for it. And I saw it was Ramona. Actually, it didn't even apply at first. Cause I didn't think that I was qualified enough or that it was like, uh, I wouldn't be picked essentially, but I ended up sending them a few ideas on Hey, for whoever you hire, like these, just some thoughts, like do it, this what you want to. And he was like, are you sure you don't want to apply? And so I was like, Oh, well, if that's an invitation, then I'll take it. And uh, I ended up applying and was fortunate enough to get the role.

Tyler Selhorn (07:03):
Fantastic. Yeah. A cold email works.

Corey Haines (07:06):
Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And we had sort of interfaced on Twitter a few times before that. And he was just very lightly. He had some Disneyland tickets that he needed to offload and I almost got them from him and, you know, random things, I would just respond to emails. And so I think that he sort of saw my face, but it was more like a warm email. Um, I think that's actually a good tip for anyone listening out there. It's just, it doesn't have to be a cold email. There's always a way to make it sort of a warm email, warm introduction to yourself.

Tyler Selhorn (07:32):
Fantastic. Okay. So we know that, you know, on the flip side of that, you've done some, some hiring remotely as well. And we're curious, what are the touch points for you as you think about I'm making a hire marketing is your specialty. I'm making some marketing hires. What are the signals to you that say, Ooh, this person is someone I want to spend some more time with in this candidate experience. What are those signals that say, Ooh, this person is ready to work remotely.

Corey Haines (08:01):
Yeah. I think the interesting reality of today and a lot of knowledge workers is that there's a lot of sort of signals and proof of work and things that are interesting, that happened outside of work actually. And so for designers, you want to see some sort of like portfolio, right? And that could be related to work or not usually not usually it's, you know, freelance gigs or just having fun and designing interfaces or logos or things like that for developers as well. It's Hey, here's a little like mini web app that I built or some sort of like script to automate something. And now it's finally coming to the world of marketing. And for me, what I really look for and what I advise other people to do, who are markers looking for a job is to build that portfolio of things that they can show outside of work, especially, and really showcase their skills and their talents and what they can do and their expertise.

Corey Haines (08:51):
So I tell people like, look, just get out there and do things like ship stuff, create a website, start a Shopify store and put a couple hundred bucks into ads and then write about what happened or what you learned. Start a podcast and interview people and learn what it's like to grow a show and to reach out to people and get guests on and to build sort of a, a loop where you're interacting with your audience, start a blog offer to do some work for free to people, just so you can have the experience and you have a case study out of it. And so when I'm looking for candidates, I'm really looking for what are those like actual, tangible things that they've done. That one tells me that they're driven and that they're self-starters, and that they're innovative that they can sort of figure it out and make it work.

Corey Haines (09:33):
But to that actually, so has that they know what they're talking about because there's a lot of people that will say, Oh, I have skills in digital marketing. I'm like, well, what does that mean? Like this digital marketing can encompass so many different things. That's social media, it's Facebook ads, it's sponsoring events on conferences. It's SEO, it's concept like that. It's such a huge bucket that you really have to get more specific. And even if you nail something like content marketing it's okay, great. You did content marketing, show me a blog post, or what's your traffic like or what have you learned through the process? Like I really need to see, I want to, I want to see what you've written, how you thought about it, who you've hired the whole process. Right. And so, especially for people that I've hired, the things that I really look for are whatever's related to the skills and expertise that they are advertising for the job that they want to get.

Corey Haines (10:20):
What are the proof points and things that they've done. So someone is really into content. For example, I was fortunate enough to work with a really smart content marketer, Dominique at Baremetrics, shout out Dominique. Yeah. And one of the things that really encouraged me about him was one, he had a really long track record, but also he had been running these like affiliate sites on the side and he was really good at SEO. And I knew like, man, this guy really talks the talk and walks the walk and this guy has his own sites that he's, you know, making some side income for. Then I know that he's trustworthy. I know he's he really knows what he's talking about.

Tyler Selhorn (10:54):
Well, that's something that we think about, you know, my day job is at Hubstaff. One of the questions we ask in interviews is what does remote working enable for you? Right. What are the things away from work? Right. We're really trying to expand the distributed work movement to even more of the world. And we would like to see, okay, well, what is fitting your work around your life mean to you? So, do you have any particular like interview type questions like that? That might be something that really helps you kind of identify, Ooh, these are the types of people that I want to either be hiring or I want to move on in the interview process.

Corey Haines (11:30):
Yeah. I think one of the questions, and it's not really like the specific question itself, but it's more sort of the mindset and strategy behind it is really asking the specifics of how someone came to do that thing. Did they think of the idea themselves? And they thought, Hey, this is a good strategy. Why was that? Are they just copying a competitor? Or they just heard it somewhere and they thought it was a good idea. Or did they really understand the, and they understand the metrics and they understand the context to our business or, or to their business for why it would be a good decision. I'm sort of like the principle of asking five why's. You don't really like hit the truth until you ask why a few times, and then you sort of like break down the layers. You, you peel back the layers of the onion.

Corey Haines (12:11):
Now you get to the core of what it really was. And so for anything again, like SEO, the content marketing for marketing in general, um, as, okay, cool. It's like you had some success with, uh, with the blog, for example, or for social media growing a Twitter following. Why do you think that that happens? You know, if they can't answer that question that tells me that it was either dumb luck or that they're making it up or it's just some sort of phenomenon, right? Maybe it was just unrelated to the work that they were doing. Maybe it was just the overall brand of the company was raising, but if they can tell me, well, we employ these specific tactics. Like we started writing Twitter threads or, or we started engaging with high leverage accounts who have big followings. We started sharing more, we started sharing less links and more just, you know, helpful content.

Corey Haines (12:52):
Maybe it was even, we started sharing memes. Like it doesn't matter. I just need something. And then I want to ask how'd you get to that conclusion that this would work and that it was starting to work for you because marketing is very ambiguous, especially. And so for the questions that you ask, you really have to get to understand, does this person know what they're talking about? And even if they don't that's okay, but as long as they can say that, you know, I'm not really sure why it worked as well as it did, or we just happened to kind of stumble upon it. And we were testing things and one time this thing just worked. That's also completely okay. As long as that, they can say that we know that,

Tyler Selhorn (13:25):
Okay, we mentioned right off the top that your podcast is everything is marketing. Um, when, when we think, you know, to zoom into our conversation right now, as we think about the hiring process and recruiting and candidate experience, when you apply the idea of everything is marketing into this context, what are the things that kind of pop off to you say, okay, these are the items that really are saying, okay, we really need to think about this from a marketing lens as it relates to the hiring process.

Corey Haines (13:54):
Yeah. I think you could take a very, there's kind of two different parts of this. There's like the brand aspect, which is very like Ethereum and sort of a much more feeling and emotion. And then there's also the much more tactical part, which is like, you know, sort of creating like a hiring funnel and think about optimizations and what it actually looks like sort of day to day. So I'll start with the brand part of things. I think that a lot of people will think it's sort of easy to just, well, I write up the job description, which is probably copy and pasted and sort of tweaked from someone else's that you've just found randomly. I think you posted on the site and then you pay for some job boards and then you call it a day. But that really doesn't tell anyone about who you are and why they should work for you.

Corey Haines (14:34):
You're just sort of like checking the box and going through the motions essentially. So from a brand perspective, I think it's really important to really show people the personality of the company, show people the personality of who's actually going to be the one that they're working for. Who's the hiring manager, who's the, who is the leadership team? What is the company doing? What is their story? What is their mission? Where did they come from? What are they trying to achieve? What is the narrative? Cause I think that a lot of people, especially nowadays, they don't want to just work for any company who will give them a nice check. They want to work for a company who stands for something and who shows up and makes an impact where they can be proud to work there and where it's disconnected, just from the day-to-day checking the boxes off my to-do list, whether they feel like they're making an impact, whether it's, you know, very indirectly or small or whether it's large and it's very close.

Corey Haines (15:22):
And dear to someone, what someone cares about, whether it's a social issue or a financial issue or a global economy, things like that just is it connected to something. And that really needs to come through in the job description, in the job ad, even with the job ad itself, I've personally found that the ones that attract me the most are the ones that don't really look like job ads. And this is kind of a principle in marketing, which is just like be different. It's not that hard. If you want to stand out, if you want to do something different than you have to be different. A lot of people put out that same type of job description with the same sort of bullet points and it's the template. And then they expect for a flood of candidates to come in or for people to really get it.

Corey Haines (16:01):
When it doesn't look like anything that's different, right? You have to be intentional about standing out about looking and feeling different base camp has one of the best job ads I've ever seen because they literally wrote a story. It was like a letter to whoever they're to hiring to. Now, if everyone is writing a letter, a style job ad, then I would tell people maybe to go the opposite way and do something a little bit more formal or formatted or, but that would be different, right? So I'll wrap up here on the, on the brand side of things. But I think it's really about personality. It's about reputation. It's about mission. And it's about the story of why this company is hiring someone like you and what you'll be joining into on the tactical side of things. Um, yeah, I think there are a lot of things you can do to optimize the experience.

Corey Haines (16:43):
One, I think you should always have something on your website, but also you want to make it as easy. Well, you want to introduce friction and you want to remove friction at the right points in the process. So I think early on, it's actually a really good idea to introduce some friction where it's, you know, having people ask a question or answer a question, you know, send an email with a specific subject line, or maybe it's an assignment of some sorts or, you know, they have to, they have to enter in some writing examples or just, you know, portfolio examples in general, for example. Um, but then, uh, as the point goes on, you actually want to remove friction. You want to make it as easy as for people to engage with you as possible. There's a lot of really innovative ways to hire these days.

Corey Haines (17:22):
You can do sort of asynchronous video interviews where you go back and forth on a tool like loom or zip message or even, yeah, if you want to do it, just do audio. Um, there's a lot of assignments and things you do to give people homework where it's not just like a performance through an interview, but it's actually a, Hey, let's do something together and let's see how you work with something. Yeah. I mean, from the perspective of everything is marketing, you really have to think from, I think, a brand perspective and from a, how do we want this process to work? And for the ideal person, what are the sort of like hoops we need them to jump through to really show that they're a good candidate for both of us, right? Not just for the sake of, you know, letting them jump through hoops and sort of go over these obstacles. And I'm not really a fan of the whole Google type questions where it's like a mathematical equation or some sort of weird question that I have to answer as a trivia almost, but allowing them to show themselves for who they actually are, that they are the best candidates kind of surfacing all those things from the candidate

Tyler Selhorn (18:17):
In your experience when a candidate is looking at that brand, that a company is expressing through their job ad through their company website, through their careers page, what are the signals that we should look for in a remote company's messaging to tell us that they're really committed to remote work? You know, cause we're we work remotely, we're, we're trying to find out, you know, to find a real remote job, not just one that's, uh, you know, friendly, or maybe that is one of the words that we're looking for, but what are the messaging that you kind of identify as, okay, these are people that are serious about this.

Corey Haines (18:53):
Yeah. I think there's some interesting nuances in the way that people describe the work environment and sort of what they're looking for. You'll see, for example, there's a lot of companies that will say that they are remote, but it'll be like Chicago USA or remote. But then in, in like in reality, it's like Chicago preferred, but they're just trying to like widen the net and open up the candidate pool. Essentially. You'll also see things like remote. Okay. But maybe it's not actually preferred. And like, you know, once you're kind of deep into the interview process, they want you to move to New York or Chicago or San Francisco or wherever it is. And so I think it's important to really first understand like, is this company a remote first company, is remote a core part of their culture? Or is it like something that's just tolerated because people want it or expect it or that's how they source candidates and then the sort of bait and switch you into moving somewhere.

Corey Haines (19:40):
I think that remote goes far beyond even just the literal application of working remotely. It's what is the culture and what are the practices of this company? One thing that I really admired about Verimatrix and Josh and his approach there was that we had a minimum vacation time. It wasn't just an unlimited vacation time. And I think what happens to a lot of companies as they tout this culture of where remote and the unlimited vacation, but what that actually means is you're supposed to be at your desk all day long basically. And you can take time off, but we're not going to tell you how much time you should take off. And even if it's no time off, we're also not going to say anything. Right? So there's things like that. I think that time off is one of those things it's benefits as well.

Corey Haines (20:23):
Like if they're not providing any sort of, I dunno, remote stipend or a benefit or something to help you work remotely, even things like health and fitness, a gym membership, or even something that they send to you, a care package, those are all good signals that I would look for. If it's just like a plain bland, like bare minimum, you know, we work remotely, there's unlimited vacation that would raise some red flags for me personally, because that tells me that remote is more tolerated than it is accepted and encourage. If I see things like minimum vacation time and care package and stipends, and you know, that they're really tied in that they're proud that they're remote and that they don't want people to be at their desks all day long. They want them to get outdoors and have hobbies. That's a great signal for me personally,

Tyler Selhorn (21:07):
When you think about the timing of hiring that you've done, either, either being hired or, or hiring yourself, what do you think is the right amount of time I'm trying to drill down into, you know, you're thinking about how to structure a good hiring funnel or a good hiring process. And obviously this depends on the role, but you know, for me, I'm really interested in learning from your experience about what is the right amount of time to give to remote roles, because it's a different process than what we're used to in brick and mortar style of things. What is the right cadence for getting a good read on a candidate?

Corey Haines (21:50):
I think it depends on one, like how many candidates you have to filter through that. Obviously it's going to extend the process. I think there's usually in the hiring that I've done. There's about, you know, four to five different steps. There's that initial, you know, you put the job out there and then you're collecting the applications and are just sort of doing that initial, like sifting through to remove all the ones that are sort of bogus or not a good fit or maybe a little bit spammy. And we're just trying to find a surface, the ones that actually can do some initial outreach to, and that can take anywhere from a week to a month, again, depending on maybe how long that, that takes to actually sift through them. Once you get down to a list of people that you want to reach out to, I think that a good sort of first step, it can either vary between like a video call introduction or even something like I mentioned before, like an asynchronous video where you have them send it in or a message or some sort of even assignment, maybe be like something you have them write about themselves so that, you know, that one that they're interested in, but you can also kind of vet anyone who maybe isn't prepared to do that, or isn't serious about the role and that can take anywhere from a week to two weeks.

Corey Haines (22:55):
And then that third step usually is like an initial video call. We're just trying to get to know the person personally, I'm a fan of not doing like the very drill instructors style. Let me interview you and just like drill you on all these hard questions, but more just like a, who is this person? And let's have something a little bit more conversational and casual. Let's just get to know who they are. Do we like them? Do they think that they would fit in with us so that we think that they would add something you'll obviously want to account for things like diversity and inclusion and culture and who this person is. But once you move past that stage, which again can take another anywhere from two to three weeks, probably at that point. Cause it takes a while to go through a lot of calls with people.

Corey Haines (23:32):
And also it depends on if you're doing it all yourself or you have a team of people who's also meeting, then you can move more towards a, a homework assignment or something a little bit more intensive, you know, for programmers is probably some sort of coding exercise for designers, maybe like a project for marketers as maybe like a plan or salespeople it's maybe mock sales calls or things like that, presentations, but that can take an extended period of time, maybe two to three to even four weeks. And then after that, there can be any number of other things that you want to throw into the mix. Maybe it's another video call and maybe it's another assignment. Maybe it's even like a trial period where you just, you have someone come on board for a month and then you see how they work out. You make them an offer or maybe it's, you know, after that you just send out the letters and try to get an acceptance letter, right. To hire for that role. So, I mean, it really varies. That's sort of like the process that I like and that I've stuck to you. I can only speak from experience, but that's taken for me personally, usually around two to three months, really

Tyler Selhorn (24:30):
Like you zooming it back into just that this is my experience and what we've done, and we're really appreciating the opportunity to learn from that experience and being someone who has those experiences to share. One of the things that we mentioned right off the top was talking about swipe files. And if we're interested in going deeper in terms of the way that we are marketing ourselves as companies and you know, in that brand space and inside of the hiring process, do you have anything for us today that we might be able to make use of some of the things that you have available at swipe files?

Corey Haines (25:06):
Yeah, absolutely. I have a free newsletter. I send out fairly occasionally. I would say it's not like every day. It's also not every week sometimes, but that's free advice about, you know, marketing sort of my thoughts and it's not your standard kind of SEO style article where it's just sort of plain and dry, but it's more of my take on things and very opinionated and editorial. It's also the podcast everything's working also completely for free. And if you're interested in swipe files, membership, it's mainly that community aspect, there's also tear downs and a literal swipe file. If you wanted some inspiration to draw from a, you can use the code, we work remotely to get half off any one of the memberships. And we'll love to have you there sort of a groundswell. I have this a thousand true fans, public experiment going on. So if you go to swipe files.com/open, you can see my progress and I'm getting close to about a quarter way through. So this is my kind of entrepreneurial journey if you want to follow along as well.

Tyler Selhorn (25:54):
Well, thanks for that, Corey, I'll be sure to include that in the show notes for listeners and Cory Haynes at Cory Haines on Twitter is also a really great follow. I know that for myself, I've learned a lot from the things that you're already learning out loud about here on the internet and on your podcast. And I'm grateful for the ways that you've prompted some good, deep thinking and some intention, and even the ways that you've done that for us today. So I just want to say thank you very much, Corey, for appearing here on, we work remotely, the remote show. Would you please say goodbye to the listeners? And uh, yeah. Just anything else you want to add here, as we say goodbye.

Corey Haines (26:28):
Yeah, no, thank you so much for having me. I think it's really, really important to think through all this stuff, especially as we move to a more, uh, remote and sort of global economy and, and world, and you know, it's a world of possibility out there. So it's important to think through the details and the nuances. And I appreciate you having me to be able to share everything from experience and I look forward to you at anyone's open also to email me anytime or DMEs, whatever we'll love to interact and answer any questions you have.

Tyler Selhorn (26:54):
Corey blessings. Thanks so much again for listening to the show and be sure to check out we work remotely.com for the latest remote jobs. And if you're looking to hire a remote worker, we work remotely is the fastest and easiest way to do so as always, if you have someone we should talk to any advice or if you'd like to advertise on the podcast, please reach out to us at podcast at weworkremotely.com that's [email protected]. Thanks again for listening. And we'll talk to you next time.

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