Julie Morgenstern Brings Us Delegation Part 2: Pick the Right Person for the Job

Organizing expert Julie Morgenstern on hiring the “one”

Click here to read the whole story on the BEYOND TODAY blog

Delegation is a skill that when done properly, saves you time, creates a circle of support, and enables you to achieve much more than you could on your own. Last week we discussed providing clear direction when assigning work, this week we’ll look at the art of hiring the right person.

Hiring the wrong person wastes huge amounts of money invested in people not capable of delivering what you need them to do.  It also steals massive quantities of time you did not budget.  Women have particular difficulty delegating—as they often don’t want to burden others who may have full plates, are afraid to ask for what they need, and are hesitant to be too probing when interviewing.

My client, Susan, came to me with a history of poor delegation experiences. Whether hiring a handyman, housekeeper, assistant, or architect, she always ended up shocked and disappointed at the work they produced, feeling like all the dollars (and hours) she invested went swooshing down the drain.

The latest:  she’d hired a chef/nutritionist to put together a menu plan for the family to ensure the variety and balance they needed. Her assumption was she would get a complete program – 30 days of menus, no two days alike, with all the recipes to go with it. After paying a small fortune, you can imagine her shock, when all the nutritionist sent was shopping guidelines, a handful of meal suggestions, and about a dozen recipes. In analyzing the history of their communication, we discovered where Susan had gone wrong—she’d been very unclear about what she’d hired the nutritionist to do.

I suggested Susan reach back out to the woman, explain the mistake, and ask what it would take to get what she wanted. Click here to read what she learned on the Beyond Today blog

In case you missed it, click here to read Delegation Part 1


New York Times bestselling author Julie Morgenstern is an organizing and time-management expert, business productivity consultant and speaker. Her company, Julie Morgenstern Enterprises, is dedicated to using her philosophies and methods to provide a wide range of practical solutions that transform the way people and companies function.

3 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Joan Larsen says:


    It has been always a pleasure reading your articles as they “hit” the points right on, allowing the reader to be alert to red flags when they are choosing new employees.  Having held political office for many years, you find that time is at the essence.  In business, in looking for higher level employees, we always use the top source in the field to “screen” the applications for us, allowing us to personally interview the top 6 at most.  As they are doing this for many other business entities, they see many of the same applications coming in again and again — and know why they have been rejected each time.  There ARE good reason.  Then – knowing our needs thoroughly – we then personally interview – sometimes more than once – the very top list. 

    I am always interested in the applicant’s response to questions of expertise that are not necessarily listed in the formal statement.  What I find has worked out the best are those that turn out to be creative, self-starters, abilities to work with others, talking on their feet well, and tact in dealing with surprises in the workplace (and we both know that they happen constantly). 

    In beginning level jobs — which are done in-house — we have found that in any job where there is interaction with the public, it is personality and voice qualities that are what make things go well.
    Very often, long experience in what they are doing can be learned in-house quickly as these are confident people.  But in face-to-face with the public dealings, there are just moments that can make the impression or create poor impression.

    As you said – as employer — it is so important to ask very leading questions, using specific circumstances also, that will “cover all bases” so there is little chance of surprises.  Again, with household help, I find it imperative to call and talk to references given as the things they drop can make or break employment.  We can’t think of everything . . . but often someone else has ideas that we can broach in our own interviews.

    I LOVE to interview — so this article is just my cup of tea.

    I will miss you.

  2. avatar JCF4612 says:

    So did she ask for a refund, or at least a partial refund? What was supplied seems woefully inadequate — nowhere close to a menu plan. I would not let this expert chef off the hook so easily.

  3. avatar Lila says:

    True that when hiring someone to provide a service, like handyman, housekeeper, assistant, or architect, one big aspect of the process is communicating exactly what you want, and getting their feedback to ensure their mental picture of the end state agrees with yours.

    BUT! When hiring employees for a government agency, I ran into a couple of things. First, I had to craft the interview questions carefully in advance, because I was not allowed to deviate at all in what I asked the candidates. Even if they said something in the interview that led me to want to explore further – I was forbidden to toss another question in there, lest it give an unfair advantage. Gads. Well, I whittled the field down to my top two choices pretty easily, but that final choice was hard. They were both very, very good. The tiebreaker came in querying their references, and I made my choice. And that’s where the other thing came in: the brass then wanted to know why I picked A over B, and demanded to see my interview notes (apparently they were rooting for B over A, or possibly B might have complained). Thankfully – I had kept them. They were a mess, never intended to be seen by anyone other than myself – but they showed my reasoning and it was accepted as sound.

    Anyway, you can’t always run a hiring process the way you think best. Sometimes you are stuck with constraints and have to figure out how to best deal with them.