You’re ready for the next stage of business expansion. But your employees are slammed with work already. And you have enough experts on your team already.
What do you do?
It’s probably time you consider hiring an apprentice. Or two, or ten.
But entry-level employees are a risk, you say.
Yes. And that’s why I’m differentiating between an apprentice and an entry-level employee or an intern. An apprentice comes to the workplace with a different mindset. And that’s what makes apprentices a valuable asset to any company.
So, what makes the mindset of an apprentice so special? Glad you asked.
The Apprentice Mindset
Hustle. The apprentice joins a team with the goal of working as hard as possible. He recognizes the benefit that the job brings him, and doesn’t care what it takes to get the job done and create value for the company.
Enthusiasm. Learning is the main goal of an apprentice on the job. That’s the point of him landing the apprenticeship, right? An apprentice has the mindset of a lifelong learner. He’s always excited to tackle the next project, big or small. That attitude carries over into everything he does.
Forward Tilt. Some people call it the X Factor. If it’s not there, you just have an entry-level employee. A person with Forward Tilt will do anything to accomplish their goals. Growing in his or her role at your company is one of an apprentice’s main goals. You know what that means.
Fresh Perspective. You’ve got plenty of expert ideas already. What you need is ideas from someone who isn’t calloused to the tactics that startup gurus are accustomed to using. This new perspective is probably what your business needs to get to the next level.
Growth. Apprentices don’t come to your business because they want to stay apprentices. Their main goal is to learn and grow on the job. This is the biggest differentiating factor between an apprentice and a typical entry-level employee or intern. An apprentice, by definition, cannot stagnate-other entry-level positions most likely will.
How does this mindset help my business?
The practical application of the apprenticeship mindset is easy. Here are the best things an apprentice can do for your business that you otherwise wouldn’t have the bandwidth for.
Projects. You’ve got ideas at the back of your mind that you’ve wanted to implement, right? Those are perfect for your apprentices to explore. Prioritize your projects. Then let your apprentices run with them. Projects are the perfect way for apprentices to own the work they do, and having ownership is a key part of a successful apprenticeship.
Research. While many other team members may have other focuses, your apprentices will have plenty of time to deep-dive into the research projects you’re curious about. In fact, before you hire them they’ll probably have completed a load of research of their own. Let them deep-dive into your prospects, search out new marketing tactics, or investigate new software options.
New Roles. Want to expand your brand on social media? That’s a role that any apprentice can grow out. Starting a new sales process? Apprentices will be happy to hit the ground running and build it out. Roles that are undefined are perfect for apprentices to build out. (And they’ll love the challenge!)
Experiments. Pick up those tests you’ve always wanted to try. You’ve probably defaulted to normal processes to save time, but apprentices love experimenting and learning while they work. Besides, they recognize the value of learning from failure, and experimenting is the perfect avenue for failure and growth.
How PandaDoc succeeded by hiring apprentices
One of our business partners, PandaDoc, recognized the power that apprentices could bring to their business.
They doubled their sales revenue in 6 months.
We started an apprentice program with 12 positions. We hired them all. They started with live chat. They learned how to talk to customers, and we saw that some of them were proficient writers. We graduated them to an SDR or an SMB sales role. That’s been the success story of the sales function here at PandaDoc. Source: How PandaDoc grew from $1 million to $10 million in 2 years
Here’s the advice Jared Fuller, Pandadoc’s VP of sales, has for businesses thinking about hiring apprentices:
You don’t always need lots of skill and experience, but you do need to know key traits you value and can build on. For example, I love hiring apprentices who are phenomenal writers. It’s a skillset that’s proven vital to success in sales but doesn’t require a particular background or experience.
You also need apprentices who are hungry to build a career, understand the risk you are taking on them, and acknowledge the investment the business is placing in the program and culture. Articulate the long-game of the program and their career possibilities to ensure they will invest what is required to succeed.
Jared wrote an article explaining in depth how your business can build similar results to Pandadoc. Check it out here.
How Praxis Screens for Apprentices
How do you weed through the hundreds of young people that want jobs?
You shouldn’t have to.
Here at Praxis, we want businesses to have access to the top talent and hustle today. Our apprentices are eager to create value for the companies they work for.
But can Praxis be the answer to building your apprenticeship pipeline? You’re not alone in asking. Here are 6 questions most business partners ask us before hiring apprentices.
We have a 5-step application process including quizzes, writing challenges, staff interviews, and more. Once young people have been accepted into Praxis, they complete a vigorous professional boot camp where they develop their portfolio, learn the art of the value prop, and build their tech stack.
Tell us the role you want to fill, and we’ll connect you with apprentices that are most likely to succeed in the role. Or, you can check out all our current apprentices’ profiles and reach out to them yourself.
In fact, you can send over specific projects that you’d like to have completed and our apprentices will complete them as value props. This is a way you can test possible job candidates in a real-world situation similar to the role you’re trying to fill!