Jamie Van Cuyk is a small business consultant who helps high-performing business owners learn how to grow and lead their teams. Jamie’s passion is teaching her clients how to hire, onboard and manage their perfect contractors or employees.
In this episode, Jamie goes into detail about hiring as a small business owner and everything you need to know as you go through the hiring process to bring on your perfect candidate.
In this episode, Jamie also discusses:
- Jamie’s journey into entrepreneurship 2:50
- The 3 main ways she helps clients in their transformation during the hiring process 6:29
- Why you don’t need to duplicate yourself when hiring 9:48
- The ROI with hiring 12:23
- How to attract the right candidate 17:01
- Shifting your mindset when it comes to attracting the right candidate 18:01
- Listening to your gut during the hiring process 30:15
- Building the team culture you want for your company 41:29
Connect with Jamie:
Website | https://growingyourteam.com/
LinkedIn | https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamievancuyk/
Connect with Danielle:
Website | https://www.kickstartaccountinginc.net/
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/kickstartaccountinginc/
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/kickstartaccounting
Twitter | https://twitter.com/KickstartAcct
Things Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome back to another episode of entrepreneur money stories. Today join me in welcoming Jamie Van Cuyck, The owner and lead strategist of growing your team. She is an expert in hiring and onboarding teams within small businesses. Jamie draws from over 15 years of leadership experience. Jamie teaches her clients how to hire their early team members, including employees and long term contractors by learning the dynamics of each company and their specific needs. She helps them find the perfect fit long lasting team members and avoid the hiring and firing cycle. On a personal side. Jamie lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband and two daughters is a winemaker who loves to travel and enjoys exercise that takes her off her feet, including rock climbing and aerial dance. And no I forgot to ask her about rock climbing and aerial dance like, I know that hiring is the absolute number one question that we get from our clients that kick started accounting Inc. and so I wanted to bring Jamie onto the show to walk through all of her secrets, all of her tips and tricks. So we will start by defining this hiring process for both first time employees or contractors as well as for our business owners who are hiring for their growing team. We'll walk through how to set responsibilities, setting clear expectations, how to create the ideal candidate, writing job descriptions, how to review resumes, and then what to look at through the interview process. And then will we finalize this conversation with how to successfully onboard an employee because that is one of the number one keys to building a long lasting relationship with our staff members. You're gonna love this conversation. So let's jump right to it. Here's my conversation with Jamie. Jamie, welcome to entrepreneur money stories.
Thank you, Danielle, so much for having me. So we
We talked a little bit before we pressed the record, hiring is always a challenge for businesses. But I think for small businesses in particular, the number one question that we get from our clients is when to hire, how to hire all of the very specific questions about hiring the right person and training them and onboarding that right. There's so much that goes into this. So I want to just jump right in and get the audience as much of your time and attention as we can possibly get. Let's start out with how you come into your business and start your podcasts? Also a little bit about your background?
Yeah, I love this question. And it actually ties in a lot with what you were just saying. So back in 2016, I finally decided it was time to quit my nine to five job and start my own business. I've always wanted to run my own business, I really just didn't know what type of business I wanted. And I decided, hey, it's time my husband and I started a software development company together. And I quickly learned I hated it. I'm like, I gotta get out of this, I gotta do something that I'm actually passionate about that I actually want to do. But once again, like what is that, and I've been doing some consulting work on the side. So I knew I really liked consulting and working with people to become better leaders and to have better teams within within either their corporate structure or within small businesses. But it was like, let me figure out exactly what I want to focus on. And so I took the opportunity to go to a lot of chamber events, talk to a lot of business owners, I found myself always attracted to the small business owners. And when we got into the conversations, one of the things I heard over and over again, was how much of a struggle hiring was, how they've never done it before until doing it within their own business. They've gone through so many bad hires in order to find that good hire, or even if they had hired before, they were doing it before in a corporate structure where you have HR teams, you have senior leadership, you have job postings, interview guides, all this stuff handed to you. So you're just kind of going through the motions. And now they're like, wait, I have no idea what to do now completely on my own. And when I was in corporate while I was in operations, leadership and not in HR, I got a lot of experience hiring, because the team that I lead was entry level, and my team members were always getting poached to go elsewhere. And so the company, and so I was always hiring. And my peer managers, they were always hiring, but they wouldn't always have time to do interviews, review resumes. So I got very good at reviewing resumes and interviewing for other people finding out okay, what do you need on your team because what you need on your team, even though our team members do mostly the same thing is slightly different. And so I really got used to figuring out let's focus to make sure we get the right person in the right position. And so it was like I have all this knowledge and it's variants of how to hire Well, let me bring you into the small business world because at that point in time, there were not a lot of people that were helping small businesses with hiring.
Yeah, and boy do small business owners need it, I think you hit the nail on the head for most of our clients, who have opened their own businesses, they maybe came from a corporate background, but we're not the specific person doing the hiring. And if they were, yes, they had all the templates and all the resources, but they also had a bigger brand behind them. So you're, you're not just hiring for you to come and work for for you as a leader, but they're coming to work for your entire brand, and that entire company. And so as we shift into our own small businesses, we have to start thinking about what is our brand and how we can attract talent to that brand, because we don't have the backing of a big company, right. And that's always
one of the things that we we focus on, when we go to help clients hire, we're like, what's going to make someone want to work for you, because God are the days where you could just put out, we're hiring, apply within signs, and you're gonna get great candidates, like people really want to know who they're coming to work for. And when you're not that well known brands, your opportunity to tell people who you are, is in that job posting, it's what people see when they go and research your company. So you need to make sure you're really telling the story of who you are, and what a day in the life is going to be once they start working for you.
So tell the audience when you work with a small business owner, how do you help them? And what is the what is the end result? What is that transformation look like for them?
Yeah, so we help clients in three main ways. Every one of them, it starts off with, let's really identify who your ideal candidate is, you're not just hiring someone to do these tasks, you're hiring someone to do these tasks inside your business that's going to meet your expectations as the business owner. So we really helped figure out who is that ideal candidate. So that way, everything in the process focuses on getting that person and not just putting a warm body in a seats that might or you might or might not be happy within a few months. So a lot of our stuff is helping with hiring education, we want business owners to feel confident and empowered with hiring. So we do a lot of one on one consulting, where we're walking people through the entire hiring process, really teaching them how to navigate each step. And our big transformation there is we've had a lot of clients that hiring is super stressful, and they hate it when they start working with us. And by the time they're done and making that first hire, when they go through the process with us are like, Oh my god, that was so easy. Like, I actually know, I feel competence bringing this person in, because sometimes they're like, I've had a bad hire before, am I making the right decision. And they're like, No, I actually know this person is the right fit for our organization. And then, outside of that, we have clients that need just a little bit different support, when it comes to hiring, they kind of know what they're doing, they feel a little bit more confidence, but they they know that they're not good at every part of the process. So then we help clients where we just write job postings and interview guides that really target their ideal candidate. They do everything on their own. And then we also work with the business owners that say, that's great, I don't have time for this, Help me Help me, I can't interview people because I don't have time on my schedule. And then we do full service recruiting, where we take the bulk of the work off that business owners plate so they can focus on their business, serving their clients doing everything else that they need to get done, while we're identifying the ideal candidates for them.
Beautiful. So it sounds like you have a wealth of experience working with business owners in each of these spectrums, which I absolutely love. So let's tap into a little bit of of your experience. And maybe the audience can walk away with the few action steps that they can be take on their own during this process. So say you're a business owner who has decided that you're finally ready for your first hire. So let's let's talk first hire versus, you know, building a team because I think that they're very different things. Right. So for the audience member who's listening, who I'm ready to start hiring my first team member, what are some things that I need to start to do to prepare? The audience has heard me talk a lot about fund the financial side, right. So we've talked a lot about numbers to prepare and budgets to to put together but once they have that financial piece set in place, what are some next steps that they need to start to think about? Because one thing that I hear business owners say quite frequently is I need to duplicate myself. And so when they start to hire, they think that they're replicating themselves. And so maybe you have some experience shares and best steps for them to take.
Right? Yes. So the first thing I would say with your very first hire, you're most likely not duplicating yourself. You should be hiring for your weaknesses. There's things in your business that need to get done, that you're in doing or that you're not doing very well, maybe there are also those things that keep getting pushed to the bottom of the list, but they need to get done. So you should be hiring someone that really is going to give you that good ROI, because they complements whatever you're doing in the business. Because most likely at that early stage, you don't need a second you, you need someone to do what you're not doing, or you're not doing well. So think about it that way. Where in your business, I always say when you're trying to figure out exactly what that first position should be, I always say think about what's not getting done, think about if there was two of you. So if you were kind of in that mindset of duplicating yourself, what would you give the other you because you don't want to do it, or it's not your strength, it's not where you want to focus your time. And then once you really create that list, start looking at the list and say, what's gonna give me the biggest ROI, to pay somebody to do that, and start with those tasks, what's gonna give you that good ROI. So that way you feel good about giving someone a paycheck, because that first time it's a little scary, like you're, you're adding a big expense. So you want something that's going to produce a good ROI. So you see the value of hiring and getting help on your team. That might mean there's some tasks that you want to get rid of that it's not the right time to delegate them yet. And you need to keep them for a little while. But find out what's going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. So you can feel good about that hire. And also things are getting done, that are making an impact on your business. Because you might also figure out that there's things that you want to get off your plate, but they really don't make that big of an impact on your business. And you should just get rid of them completely, instead of paying someone to do it for you.
Oh, that's profound. What do we need to just stop doing? Yeah, I think that too often, we think that there's a required set of tasks that has to be completed by taking this first step and actually listing out everything that needs to be done in your business, identifying what needs to continue to be done. And then are you the best candidate, right? So almost thinking of yourself as a candidate? Am I the best candidate for these responsibilities? or would this be better served at somebody else to give myself more time, bandwidth or even energy, right, because those things that are falling to the bottom of the list, that's not where the those are the things that are energizing us to be consistent show up in our business,
right. And the one thing I want to point out is, a lot of times when we talk about ROI with hiring, we're talking about financial ROI, that you're making more money because you hired somebody. But sometimes with that first hire, it's not always about financial ROI. Because you might say I have the money in my budget, the ROI I want to measure is getting time back in my day, because maybe you're working 70 hours a week, and you're like, I just can't do this. And you need to be able to get some of that work off your plate, give it to someone else. So you can get part of your life back that you can be energized and focus really well on what you need to do. So, you know, like I said, most of time we talk about ROI, it's financial. But you might look at that and say that time is worth it. I will pay someone out of my existing budget in order not have to work 70 hours a week.
Yeah. Okay. So we have taken the first step, we've listed out our responsibilities, we've determined a rough estimate of responsibilities that we want to give to that new person. And I say a rough estimate, because I want to always give business owners permission and a reminder that this is not set in stone. So if you find a candidate who is really good at the first five tasks, but not the second five, is it still worth bringing that candidate on and knowing that you'll hire for the additional tests moving forward? They don't have to be good at all things.
Yeah. And I think that's really important. But when you have that list, it allows you to consciously make that decision. So you know that, okay, this person's not good at these things. And I'm saying that's okay. And I'm making that decision before they come in. Versus like, Well, I wanted to delegate these things. Now this person is on my payroll, and they're not doing these things I wanted them to do because they don't have the skill. But when you're really conscious about it, you can make that decision and say, I am deciding I want this instead of this. And you know that how to measure that employee correctly and what to give them
we've got the responsibility sketched out, what is the next step for a business owner who is ready to hire?
Yeah. So once you have those responsibilities, really figuring out what your expectations are with that role. So you know what you want them to do, but what's going to make you happy. I always say, you can take the exact same position with the same responsibilities and put it in a different business and it's a completely different role. Because what you want is different than what that other business owner wants. You really need to think about what makes you happy. What's gonna make you say, signing that paycheck was worth it. And once you really dig into that, it starts to create that picture of that idea candidate Because the ideal candidate is more than someone who just does the tasks, it's that whole picture of of different things that make up whether someone fits in your organization or not. If we think about it, as businesses, we're always told about what makes you unique when it comes to marketing, and who you want to work with. And all those things. Well, it's the same about finding your ideal candidate, they're looking for the right fit for them. And the right fit, doing the same tasks in one company is different than doing those same tasks in another company. So what is that overall picture those candidates? How do you work with your clients? What are your expectations for communication? And things like that? Are you a company that is always moving, go, go, go go? Are you more laid back, because people operate differently in different environments, and you want to find the person that's going to operate best in your environment. And once you know who that ideal candidate is what's going to make you happy, you can narrow your focus onto those people while you're interviewing and sourcing candidates. So that way you get the person that's right for your business, and not just the person who's good at doing the tasks.
I love that you said, “You like style, right? So if you're a business owner, who is go go go, right, you're gonna want somebody who can communicate with you in that way. Or maybe you're a very laid back business owner, right? And you're your preferred method is to really slow things down and be very thoughtful, and and take your time for each task that will attract very different candidates, right? Yeah. And we want to be very clear with candidates on the front end, because you never want them applying for a position, and then they get here and you're moving a million miles a minute, they're over there waving their hands, like, Hold on, I need to put some thoughts into this. And I need some time and, and space in order to be able to think through these things. So understanding that, as a business owner, and what your personality style is, it's gonna be really helpful. And you're attracting the right candidate.
Right? Yeah. And it kind of goes to like, once we really develop who that ideal candidate is, and we have that picture. And in our minds, we develop the job posting, speaking directly to that person. So I know a lot of people they're like, Well, I want to get hundreds of applicants and then sort through them. And I'm like, Why? Why don't we just get 10 applicants that are really good that match what you're looking for, versus 100 applicants where you're going no, no, no, or getting through the process, and then then deselected themselves, because after talking to you, they're like, nope, not where I want to work. So I believe in setting up a process where candidates have the opportunity to deselect themselves, before they even apply, because they realize that it's not the right fit for them. I would say with the job posting, someone should read that and either go, Yes, this is totally speaking to me, this is the job I want. Or say, No, that's not the job I want. I don't see myself fitting in there, I'm gonna go apply somewhere else.
Awesome. So just to recap, we are the steps here for a listener who's ready to hire is set, set the responsibilities, then set the clear expectations, which is going to help you create who the ideal candidate is, once we have the ideal candidate, we are writing a job description that speaking directly to that ideal candidate so that we're weeding out the individuals who are not a good fit. Are there any other suggestions that you can make to a listener on how to write a job description to the ideal candidate? Or how to even get comfortable with the mindset of that? I might not have a lot of candidates, and that's okay.
Yeah, so one of the things like touching on that, that second part about not having a lot of candidates and not being okay, I have clients that we work with, and there'll be like, well, we only have two clients that made it to the final final round of interviews, I would like more, and I'm like, why someone doesn't become a better candidate. Because of other people that you interview. They're either right for the position or not. And we really need to look at each candidate as an individual, instead of comparing because when you compare, you could be hiring the best of the worst, but you're like, they're the best out there. So let's do it. It's like, what is that person? That's the best out there, really the right fit for you? If not, don't hire them. But if they're the right fit, and you've only interviewed one person, they check every box. Why? Why are you going to wait until you interview more people? So you really need to look at each candidate as an individual. And know that when you have a really good hiring process, people weed themselves out, you're able to narrow it down. We're able to say okay, maybe we had 10 people we interviewed in that first round, but we asked really good questions. We were able to really focus on who that candidate was and whether they're the right fit. So we only invited to to that final round of interviews and that's okay because we already identified people who weren't the right fit. So someone is the right fit. It doesn't matter how many other people are in the process. And if that's the wrong fit, it doesn't matter how many other people are in the process. So just start thinking about that mindset as you're going through. And in
today's economy or today's hiring economy, you don't have time to wait. Right? When they're the right fit.
oh, yeah, like, candidates are especially great candidates are off the market so quickly, like you need to move it. We've been working with a bunch of clients lately, where they've lost great candidates because they're like, Well, I want to wait and make a decision next week. And we're sitting there like, No, you can't make a decision next week, you got to make a decision today. And then it's like, see, this is why we were pushing you, they got another job offer in the meantime, and they decided to take it. So you really need to move quickly. I would say it's good to move quickly in any market. But right now it is it is essential. But some of the other things for tips for when you're writing that job posting, is I believe that all job postings should have a minimum of four sections. And then there's a fifth optional section you can put on there. So the first one is a brief company overview. So that's your opportunity to tell them who you are, who you serve, possibly where you're located. And other things like that. Three sentences maximum, we're not looking for paragraphs, three sentences enough. A good summary is for people to say, Yeah, I'd like to work for a company like that. Then the next section is the position overview. Once again, three sentences, we're not looking for big paragraphs here, it's a three sentence summary, the process, or that's kind of like the template we follow for this is one sentence, that is a summary of the job. So it's something like this position is responsible for XYZ, then it's another sentence where we say the ideal candidate for this role is and we list out some things that do you need in your background? How do you work with clients? What experience should you have? And then the last sentence is this position is for you, if and once again, listing out some of those things that is that ideal candidate? So people read that and say, That's me. Okay, let me keep reading. So the third section is the job details. So that's a bulleted list of roles and responsibilities. I say you want at least 10, no more than 20. And probably somewhere between 12 and 15 is the sweet spot, you don't want a laundry list of things there because people are never going to look at it. You don't need to give every detail in the world. You can say something like, you know, interacts daily with clients? Well, you don't need to go through three different bullet points of all the different ways that they interact with clients. It's just a short and sweet list, they get an understanding of what they are going to do day to day, what are they going to be responsible for? And then the fourth section is the requirements. So do they need certain certifications? Do they need to have so many years of experience? Do they need to have certain skills that are deal breakers? We don't want to create a bit once again, a big laundry list. It's like what are the deal breakers, you have to have this or sometimes pointing out the preferred candidate has this. The other things that we include in that section is it was a full time job or a part time job, or their set hours or is it flexible? Do they have to be in office or is a remote. So one of those things, it's like you have to be able to do these things in order to be able to get this job. And then the last section, that's the optional section is benefits. So if you're offering things like health insurance paid time off, or any of those things, put them on the job posting, because those are things that matter to candidates when they're looking, there are some candidates that one of the reasons why they can't work for small businesses is because health insurance is and provide it. So if you're a small business and you provide health insurance, you want people to know that. So you can have that section where you put benefits, you don't have to put details around the benefits, but just putting something like health insurance, and then you can have that conversation later of what that means.
That's beautiful. And you had me thinking about our job description, how many bullet points I have. It was something that we did. And if somebody if you agree with this is put, we really prioritize the bullet points and those things that we really felt like we're really insightful. And we're really going to help the candidate understand the position we put up at the top of the bullet points in terms of priority in our mind. So where did we want to go? What were the most specific skill sets that we wanted, we put those at the top because I think that we have this really short attention span these days. Really just reading the bullet points. So that's something that we did. What do you recommend? Yes,
I agree. The things that they're going to be doing most often are the core of the job, what's really important should be at the top of the list because you're right, there's a lot of candidates that aren't going to read the entire list. So put what's really important at the top of the list, we always ends every one of those lists with performs other duties as assigned, so that way because people are like what if I don't put it there, they're gonna say that's not part of their job and it's like no Oh, we put perform other duties as assigned because other things, you might ask them to do other things, but here's the core, and most likely those other duties are going to be connected to those core responsibilities. But it's that way of saying, Okay, this, this might not be everything. But here's the most important. And yeah listed from most important to least important on that list.
Yeah, business changes, jobs change, and you want it that way. You want people who can ebb and flow with you and your business, once we've put out the job description. And we start to have candidates applying for the role, any best practices in reviewing resumes, and deciding who to interview and then any best practices on how to invite them to do an interview.
Yeah, so I love this question. So the first thing I want everyone to remember is, resumes are a gatekeeper to the interview, you're not hiring someone because of their resume. So stop looking for perfection, you're saying, do they have what they need to warrant a conversation? So too many people will spend sometimes 10 minutes reviewing each resume because they want to figure out the candidate's entire story? What do they mean by this? What did they mean by that? And you shouldn't do that. You're looking for sometimes basic things to say, Does this person have the experience and skills that are needed to get a conversation where we dig deeper into those skills and experience to find out, do they have the right experience in that area to match what we need, because you're not going to learn everything from a resume, people can put the same bulleted responsibility on their resume, and mean completely different things. So just keep that in mind, you're not looking for perfection, you're not hiring someone because of their resume, you're saying this person deserves a conversation. The way we teach our clients is they look for three things on a resume, and what those three things are, will differ depending on what the role is, and what matters to them. But we create a list of three things that are typically easy to detect on a resume if the candidate has that skill or experience. So it might be that you're you want to hire someone who has five years of experience in this field in this industry or under this type of job. Okay, well, what's one of the things you're gonna look for? Have they actually done this type of work before? If your person is working face to face with customers all the time? Has this person actually worked with clients face to face? Or have they always been in the background doing behind the scenes stuff? So different things like that? Have they done certain project management type tasks and things like that? So depending on what the role will make a difference of what we look for. But we say, if they have these three things, they get an interview, if they don't, they don't get an interview. Because why? If you really want someone who's strong working with clients, why are you going to interview someone who has never worked with clients before? And so we say that's the good way to really focus on who should get an interview, and who should it
I'm, I'm off all because my team and I were looking through resumes, and you know, maybe you can share any experiences you've had with working with clients that have done this, that and I can see the value in deciding what are those three most important things on the front end, because as we've gone through resumes, we have said, these are these are some skills that we didn't think of right? These are other experiences that we didn't think of on the front end, but actually could be very valuable in this actual position. So when you are working with clients, what do you say about changing those three things as you're looking at applicants and learning about what other skills might be out there for that type of role?
Yes. So with that, very rarely do we change what those three must have things are throughout the process. And we might better define what they are. So for example, we are working with a client that wanted someone with sales experience. And as we continued on the process, like better defining, what should we be looking forward to determine if they have the right sales experience, because sales is not the same from one company to another from one industry to another, but we are still looking for sales, the thing that we sometimes have is what we call the nice to have criteria. So these are additional things that we'll look forward to say, we're not going to knock someone out of the running if they don't have this. But if they do, that candidate goes higher on the priority list to get in for an interview. Sometimes we'll have clients who will say, Okay, I found 20 people that I would say yes to but I don't have time to start with 20 interviews, how do I narrow this down? And that's when we look at those nice to have things, what's going to make someone a potentially better candidate. Let's start with those items. And then if we don't find who we want there, then we can move down to those other people because these are nice to have things. They're not deal breakers. And with the process we go through with our clients, we pull out those things at the beginning. So we know what those nice to have things are and what we're looking for at the beginning versus lead times having to wait later in the process to be like, whoo, but what about this, because we've already asked those questions to really pull it out well. What would be a bonus thing here? What other experience and we have a method that we go through that helps pull out all those details early on in the process.
Alright, so there is a very specific reason why to work with somebody like yourself, so you don't end up like me.
Yeah, but it's natural. Like, I remember a client that I worked with years ago. And I always love telling the story we were, she went through the process, and she created her list of candidates that she wanted to interview and she says, okay, Jamie, can you just be like, gut check on me, like, review them? Making sure I'm saying yes to the right people. And most of them are good, but we came to this one. And I remember looking through the resume, and I was like, Okay, tell me, why did this person get it? Why do you want to give this person an interview? And she looked at the resume, and she was having a really hard time answering the question. So I said, Okay, you're our must have criteria. What does this person have this on our list of must have criteria. And she read through the resume again, and again. And she was like, they don't have anything. And I was like, Okay, well, so once again, why do you want to give this person an interview? And so she thought about it, she's like, the only thing I can come up with is that the resume is pretty. And I'm like, okay, and like everyone chuckles whenever I say that, but it happens. Like, I'll tell clients a story, like when we're going through training, and they're like, oh, my god, I almost made the exact same mistake, because it's human nature, there's things that are going to attract us to candidates that are biases, or things like that we're not even realizing we're doing, but we're bringing people into the interview process, that are never going to be a good candidate. So when we really focus on these must have criteria, it allows us to focus on who are the right people that are worthy of our time, because your time is limited. So you really want to focus on that, so that we bring the right people into the process, and you say no to the right people, I will add a little caveat to that. There's been times when I've been doing interviews where I'm like, something's telling me to talk to this person. But they don't have the must have criteria. But I'm going to make the decision to talk to them anyway. But I know going into the conversation that chances are moving on in the process is pretty slim. But I want to talk to this person anyway. And there was a gentleman I talked to once where somebody was just telling me that found out during the conversation that he really wanted to start his own business versus, you know, working for someone else. But he needed a way to pay the bills, and was able to connect him with other people who could really help him get his business off the ground. But I knew going into that conversation that he was never really going to be a fit for this role. But something was telling me to talk to him. So I consciously made that decision to talk to that candidate, versus just saying no, but I made that decision. So I knew it was possibly a waste of my time. But I was allowing it to happen.
Yeah. And I think that story can go either direction. I've had different experiences of gut checks. You know, it was just my gut telling me this person had an interesting background. And then if it didn't work out, it was just, you know, my time and the interview. And I was willing to, I was willing to go for that time to listen to my gut. And I actually ended up hiring that person. And they're still with the company. And there is value in setting these guidelines. And then also being willing to listen to our gut and continue to learn and pivot once we've gone through the resumes and we've decided who we want to invite for interviews. What are some best practices around inviting candidates into this interview process?
Yeah, so do you mean, how do we get the interview scheduled? And stuff like yeah, all those Yes, get? Yeah,
I know, it's a pretty detailed question. But I think it these are some of the things that when we hear from our clients, that they're sitting in serious overwhelm, and they like, well, then how do I interview them?
Okay, yes, let's dig into that. So the first thing is, I think your interview process should have at least two rounds of interviews, not everyone's going to make it to that second round, but have at least two rounds, because there might be someone you love on that first rounds. That's a quick no one that second round. And that's happened to me when I've hired for my own business, both employees that I've hired, when I was going through that process, I had a front runner and my first rounds that came to that second round, and they were quick No, because you ask different questions, and you dig into different things. And it gives you a different, another opportunity to have a conversation with that person. But when it comes to inviting people for the interview, we do a pretty simple method, that first interview, you want it to be fairly short, no more than 30 minutes of your time, possibly a little bit less, because you're not digging into everything. The purpose of the first interview is for you to have a conversation with the candidate to determine like I said, you could have two people put the exact same bullet point on their resume, and it means completely different things. So you're really going to dig into some of the basic things that this person needs to be qualified for the job. And you're gonna have a few questions around that. I would say no more than 30 minutes of the interview, possibly a little bit less. So that way you can go because you're gonna have more candidates in that first round than you are in that second round. So you don't want to take too much time with each candidate. And remembering that if a candidate is a good candidate, you're going to have another conversation with them later. So with inviting him to the interview, we use Calendly to schedule our interviews. And we tell a lot of our clients do the same thing. We send out an email saying thank you for applying, we'd like to invite you to the first round interviews. Typically we do well not typically, we always do that first round interview over zoom comm. So even if it's going to be an in person job, we say do the first interview, either over zoom or over the phone. So that way, it's less of a commitment, you're not asking someone to come into the office, make that commute, when you might be five minutes into that interview and decide you don't, you're not moving forward with them. So with Calendly, they have a great feature where you can actually embed available times into the email, so that way, they can just click on the time that works for them, schedules it, we have it set up, so it automatically puts the Zoom link in there. And then so all we have to do after that is show up for the interview. So it's a really, it's really easy process you want to make the process is easy for the candidate as possible. I always say you would never go into a first date and ask someone for their wedding plans, because you still need to get to know each other. So it should be the same thing with interviewing, don't ask them to jump through a lot of hoops in order to get on that first interview, especially in today's market where candidates have so many opportunities, make it easy, make it easy for them to schedule and make it easy to be available for them. So you can have that first conversation. Then once that first conversation is happening. Like I said, Keep it short, no more than 30 minutes. So typically, that's will fit in somewhere between 10 and 12 interview questions, focusing on the basic things about the job. So some of those must have skills, you're then going to ask interview questions around them. The best interview questions are behavioral interview questions. So you're asking questions of Tell me about a time when can you give me an example of when you experienced XYZ and what you did some things like questions like that, because past behavior is the best indicator of future performance. You don't want to look for the best storyteller. Because if you ask someone, what would you do, if they're going to tell you what they think you want to hear, or they're going to tell you what they researched? doesn't mean they're actually going to perform that way. So when you find out how have they performed in the past, you can then see how they might perform in the future. And with that, they might not have done the particular role you're hiring for. So you might be looking at relevant experience versus direct experience. But you can still see for example, we talked about before, how they work with clients. Okay, they might not work have worked with clients the exact way you want them to work with clients, and they want the exact same products or services. But how do they interact with clients in the past? So asking questions to really identify what they have done before to determine are they a good fit? Do they actually have the skills and experience that you want out of them?
Hey, listeners, Danielle Hayden here of kickstart accounting. I am interrupting this episode to take a moment and extend an important reminder of how important it is to get your business bookkeeping in place. Our team of experts are here and ready to help you make data driven decisions necessary to grow your business. Our proprietary process has helped hundreds of small business owners understand their financials. Let us show you what it's like to have an accounting team and accountability partner so that you receive regular financials and KPIs for your business. To learn more text, get started to 844-499-6969. Again, text get started 28444996969. All right, now back to the episode. Awesome. How do you stay organized? Any any tips or tricks for listeners? I remember talking to clients who were very early on in this process. And they said, I started to get really overwhelmed with you know, a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of small business owners, a lot of us are visionaries. And so the details and the organization is very difficult. So any tips or tricks to stay organized with all the candidates? Yes.
So there are a lot of what are called applicant tracking systems out there. But when you're a small business and you're not hiring very frequently, they're typically not worth the cost. So you have to look to see what is going to be worth the cost for you. And some of the things that we do is a lot of the tools, a lot of the job boards, they have built in things there where you can add notes about candidates, you can keep track of your candidates there, put them in different statuses and everything, we could do it right in the system. So indeed, you can put candidates into different statuses and add notes right there in the system. So you can look there to see okay, who's still in the running and everything. And that gets a little bit more complicated if you're going to be posting the position on multiple job boards because they don't integrate. If you use the applicant tracking system, you can have it integrate. But once again, a lot of times those systems aren't worth the cost for small businesses that aren't hiring all the time. So what we do is we use click up for our project management tool, and we put candidates in there. So we'll create a project area that has As all the candidates that we've reached out to, they go into a different area, like a different status. Once the interview is scheduled for that first interview, they go through a different status, when we're gonna invite him in for that second interview, we keep track of all the interview dates, we can put our interview notes, attach them right there. And in the process, we then also have another status when we're gonna say no to a candidate, but we need to communicate to that candidate, we put them in that status that we remember to actually tell a candidate that they're not moving forward in the process. So we created that workflow in clickup. So that way we can keep track of who are we talking to? Who's in the running? When are these interviews? Who do we need to inform? They're not moving forward, and everything so we can see it very visually, right there in the system.
Beautiful. I keep on hearing you say use technology. Use technology. I think so many of us forget that we can use these systems to help us along our entrepreneur journey. As you're interviewing candidates, I think this is very important in your first hire. But then especially as you continue to build a team, how do you think about fitting clients into your brand, and really building a brand so that you can create a culture of people who are serving your clients or delivering your product? I know that you went through this a little bit when you're deciding who your ideal client is? Was there anything else that you should be looking for? Or focusing on how you think about building the brand and culture you want for your company?
Yeah, so a part of that is really thinking about, well, knowing what culture are you creating? You'll What do you want? How do you work with your clients? What's your clients expect from you, because the best way to get your clients used to having someone else in the process, whether it's just helping on the back end, or actually going to be another face that's working with that client, the easiest way to do that is making it so they have the same experience, whether they're working with you, or working with one of your team members. So what is that experience? So really knowing what it is? And sometimes that's hard at first, because you just do things on autopilot, that sometimes hard for you to think about what is this experience? I'm giving this client's but you really need to think about it. And sometimes you're not going to get it right at first. Sometimes you need to get that team member in. And then really start realizing and putting things together and everything to create that overall experience with it. Creating, I say sometimes, even from your first hire map out of where would I like my business to be in five years? What positions do I think I would want to have? How would those positions serve my clients? Or are they back in positions where they don't serve the clients and really starting kind of picking that bigger picture. So you know, I might be starting with this one other team member today. But here's where I think I'm going to go and how I'm going to work into that picture and how each one of my team members is going to work into that bigger picture. So that way, you're starting to build that culture that's going to lead there.
I love that. And I think it's really important to think about the experience that you want for your clients, and then the experience that you want for your staff member. So when we were hiring a kickstarte our one of our priorities was making sure that as a virtual team, that we had consistency in our time and our schedules in which we can collaborate together. But then also providing our staff with our culture, our brand with flexibility, you know, we hear so much about that even work life balance, but having a life that you want to live so that you can show up energetically at work. So as you're thinking about the brand and the culture that you want to create for the experience for your clients, but also thinking about the experience for your staff members.
Yes, yes, I think that is so important. And it is one of those things like a lot of times when I'm working with clients, and they're going to hire that first team member, and they're thinking about, well, flexibility. And I was like that's what things are like, well, we'd like to offer flexibility, work life balance, and we're like, Well, what does that mean? So you want to know what that means. Because what that means to you is going to make a difference of who fits into that. So working with a client right now, where they're like, Okay, well, what we mean by flexibility is we want you work in pretty standard hours as a full time position. So pretty much Monday through Friday, nine to five, ish, but if you have a doctor's appointment, you're welcome to go do it. You need to go pick up the kids at school at three and finish up the workday at home, you're allowed to do that. And I was like, Okay, that is something to know. Because that is completely different than saying we have a flexible schedule. So if someone's working midnight to 3am for part of their to shift, it's okay. And she goes, Oh, no, no, I definitely don't want that. And I'm like that, that's good to know. Because some people are looking for what's what's a job I can do any time of the day, I don't need to be tethered to my computer. And that's different than we're gonna give you a little bit of work life balance, you need to leave office a little early, go ahead and do that. But here are core hours that majority of the work should be done.
Yeah, I think it's really important to define that because we forget that just because we think of it that way doesn't mean that everyone thinks of it in the same way and people can really take flexibility to extremes. I appreciate you laying out that example. I think this is an area where there can be a lot of confusion. But especially in today's environment, it can be a very appealing benefit for somebody to have that flexibility. And so think about what that would do to your time, your culture, your brand, your clients, and what all that would mean thinking about it. We started this conversation thinking of our first hire, but as we start to build out a team, how does this process change? I mean, I'm thinking that it's just, we get better and better at it. But maybe you could share some other tips, tricks or experiences that you've seen as people moved into building a team.
Yeah, so one of the first things that I definitely want to stress here is as you're going from that first hire to now your second, your third, your fourth is chances are you're not hiring for the same position over and over again, maybe you are because you're gonna you expand things out, you're like, Okay, I had one person doing this, now we have enough work where two people can be doing this exact same role. So maybe it's account managers, now you have two account managers. But most of the time, when you're expanding your team at first, you're not hiring for the exact same role, you're hiring for a different role, you're delegating more off your plate, which means you need a different job posting, which means you need different interview questions, because you're looking for a completely different person. Sometimes it could also mean that you have to, you're breaking out that team members role. So maybe you hire them to do X, Y, and Z. And now as your business continues to grow, they're going to hold on to x and y, but Z needs to go to a different person. So it's remembering that most of time as you're growing in those early stages, you're hiring different positions every time. So make sure you have a process that identifies that ideal candidate, versus sticking to the process that was created the first time that found you, the candidate that you needed at that time, it's even important to remember as your team continues to grow, and as your business continues to grow, the position that you hired for initially, might no longer be serving your organization. And to give you an example of this, so when I first made my first hire for an employee, I hired a lady she was working for me $10.10, that $10.10 hours a week. And that's what I needed. At that time. My business continued to grow, I needed more help. And at first I was like, well, she's amazing. I don't want to get rid of her. But I need someone more than 10 hours a week. So I started thinking about how do I split this role to two and have 210 hour a week employees. And then the more I thought about it, I was like, that's really not going to work. This really doesn't make sense to have this roll split out into two rolls, it really needs to be one roll. That's 20 hours a week. But my team member couldn't do 20 hours a week because she had other commitments. And then it was kind of going through the struggle of okay, what do I do, and in my situation ended up working out perfectly as I was going through that struggle of like, oh my gosh, I don't want to let her go. Because she's amazing. She got a new full time job that would make it so she couldn't work a part time job on the side. So we were able to make the split at the right time for both of us. And I was able to get someone in for 20 hours a week to do the job that I needed. And that's one thing sometimes you have to realize is as much as it hurts sometimes those early employees that you hire your business outgrows them and their ability and sometimes you need to relook at and say I need the person who's right for this position. And this person's no longer that. So what do I need to do? Do I need to train them? Do I need to do something different? So they can be? Or do I need to say it's time to part ways with that person and get the right person on my team?
That's beautiful. It's I think we get really emotionally attached to and that's okay, right? We're human beings, it's okay to do that. Right. It's okay to be emotionally attached to a person who's worked for you. But it's important to not let that get in the way of making the decisions that's best for your business, because they have to be the right financial decisions. And they have to be the right people for what your business is today. Yes,
Do you help with onboarding with team members once they actually find the ideal candidate? Are you doing anything with your clients to help with that onboarding process?
Yes, we do. We help ensure that an onboarding process is set up, because that's your best way of retaining a team member is by having a thorough onboarding process. And it's also one of those things that is going to make you happy as a business owner to give someone a paycheck because you're trading them on what you want, what you expect. And sometimes we fall into this trap of, okay, I hired someone day one, they're going to come in, I'm going to teach them some things and day two, they're going to be this fantastic employee. Onboarding takes time. So we like to create onboarding plans. So our clients understand how long it's going to take for this new tire to get fully up to speed. And so the new hire comes in and they understand what their training plan looks like. So they know are they meeting expectations or not? We approach our onboarding plans kind of in two main ways: one, you don't have it. Let's say you're hiring someone full time, you don't have 40 hours to train that new team member a week. So what can you train that team member on? On day one? So then later on day one or day two, they can do something independently. They can't do their entire job yet, but what can you do? Like what are those building blocks? So that way they can start doing work, even though they can't do everything yet? Or what do you need to teach them? So that way they can go and self-serve and do some learning on their own. So we phased it out that way to say what do they need to learn, so they could start doing stuff, you can slowly start transitioning things to them. So whether it's two weeks, three weeks, and four weeks in, depending on everything they have to learn, then they're that good employee that knows everything that they need to know. And they've been fully trained without overwhelming you, as the business owner trying to get them trained. The other thing that we focus on onboarding plans is, especially with your early hires, it is difficult to delegate and let go as much as you want these tasks off your plate, you've been doing them. And there's that trust thing of is this person going to do it the way I want it done. So with the onboarding plan, we really focus on what are your expectations? What do you need to train them and teach them in order for them to be able to do it right and right being the way you want it done? And everything and we go through what we call a kind of like, sometimes the stair step method is you do it, they watch you guys do it together, they do it, and you do it, but you do it independently. And you compare it, you know, did they do it? Right? If not, okay, let's teach them what they did wrong, why what they did wrong matters, then they do it, you just check behind it, you don't do it, and then they're on their own doing it. And sometimes, depending on what it is, you can skip steps in there. Sometimes it takes a lot longer to get through than others, sometimes it's very quick. And one day, you can go through all those steps. They're good on their own. But it's a way for you to learn how to let go. And trust them.
Thank you for giving both options available for the listener who's hiring because one thing that we hear from our clients a lot is I don't have time to train them. And I don't have time to put together a training manual, right, I want to assure you that that's going to come over time, right over time, as you hire more and more, you will be able to create those resources. But your first few hires as you're on the early team members and building this out, it's okay to not have all those pieces put together. But by thinking about what you can give them so that they can start operating on their own, will really help them feel successful. And for you to feel that those early days are really paying off as quickly as possible. So I appreciate you sharing those ideas.
Yeah, and I will say if you are going to take the time to put together a trading manual before your first hire comes in, you're wasting your time, it's gonna change, I always say, Don't do it, it will change, you'll realize that once someone else is doing it, that they're a different person than you, there's might be a better way that you're gonna forget to put things in that manual that don't put together a training manual for your first hire, have that be a few hires in, because then you're really going to get down to a process where someone else is doing the work instead of you and you're going to feel more comfortable and things are going to be more concrete. So don't don't waste the time put together a full training manual before your new hire comes in, it's going to be a lot of one on one training like that. So we do it in a way where you're training on something where then they can do work independently. Then it will not feel as overwhelming. One of the tips that I'll just throw out there is a lot of times you want your new hire to really know and understand your business. So one of the things that my new hires do when they come on is during that first week or two, I have them go listen to a bunch of episodes on my podcast, because I want them to know it's one way where they can start to learn who is growing your team. What do we talk about? What are we passionate about? How do we give advice to our clients and stuff like that? And so wait for them to learn the brands where they can do it on their own. And I don't have to be sitting there and teaching them about the brands. They can self-serve, they can do that. With our team members being remote. I'm just like, go take a walk if you want. You don't have to be sitting at your desk, listening to podcasts and especially because sometimes for them the first we can be overwhelmed by a firehose of information and it's a way of like, just listen, learn who we are.
Yeah, that's great. Is there anything else that you can think of that I didn't ask you that would be really important for somebody to know as they're going through this
process? Yeah, we definitely covered a lot so I'm trying to think if there's anything that you know, I don't want to overwhelm everyone in the hiring process, it can feel overwhelming at times, just remember to be patients your idea is higher. And you can find them when you put the right steps in motion, but don't overwhelm yourself trying to be trying to do everything at once if it's if it's just not working for you and if you're not getting you're good candidates and see what you can tweak, see what you can change like even sometimes for us, we think we created that job posting that's gonna speak to that idea can And then we realize people aren't interpreting things the same way that we thought they would. So we go and make tweaks, it's okay to make tweaks to your process. But you can find your ideal hire and don't settle for a bad hire, because then you're never going to be happy giving them a paycheck. So you want to be happy giving someone a paycheck. And you can do that by really focusing on finding the right candidate for you. Yeah,
hiring slow fire fast was an old mantra that I've heard throughout the years. And I think that that really rings true here. And yes, for any listeners who felt like they were drinking through a firehose today, you can always pause and re-listen several times. I know that this is an overwhelming topic. And that's why what you do is so important. And I was so excited to have you on the show and, and lay this out. But if this still feels overwhelming, and you want help in this area, Jamie, tell the audience where they can learn more about what you do, stay in contact with you, and maybe get in touch with you.
Yes. So yeah, there's a lot to learn around hiring and we're here to help you. So if you're ready to take those next steps, and you want to talk about what you need to focus on in your hiring attorneys so you can get that idea candidate, I would love to get on a call with you, you can go to growing your team.com/jumpstart jumpstart being one word and schedule a call. If you want to explore a little bit more what we do check out the growing your team podcast, you can go over to growing your team.com and learn more about how we work with small businesses.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Jamie, I appreciate your time.
Thank you, Danielle. It's great to be on the show.
Jamie is a wealth of knowledge. I hope that you were able to take notes. And don't worry we have actually summarized this episode, you can find the link in the show notes where we walk through everything that Jamie helped detail out today. Again, you can find that link in the show notes. If you enjoyed today's episode or any episode, we would like for one thing in return for you to like, subscribe and leave a review so that the algorithm can pick up by this show, and help other entrepreneurs. We are here to help one entrepreneur at a time make a difference in your business. We just want you to grow and succeed and have your dream business. Until next time
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