How to Grow Your Team Using the H.I.R.E Framework with Jamie Van Cuyk

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Are you getting ready to hire a new employee? Jamie Cuyk shares from over 15 years of leadership experience, how to hire team members, including employees and long-term contractors. Jamie explains to us the H.I.R.E approach to find long-lasting team members and avoid the hiring and firing cycle.


Listen Here, scroll down for full transcript


Conversation Highlights

{01:41} Who is Jamie Van Cuyk
04:43} When your volunteers or staff don’t have the support they need
07:06} Hiring details
14:48} Initiating the advertising plan
26:08} Reviewing the candidates
31:24} Good interview questions
36:41} Expectations for success
46:42} Vision for growing a team

Notable Quotes

The purpose of the job posting is that when someone sees it, they can say yes. That is the job for me. No, that doesn't work. That doesn't describe me. I'll go look at the next opportunity.

They put the wrong people in positions, and that's one of the reasons people are leaving.

You can't hire the right person for you if you don't know who the right person is.

The average turnover rate is 18 months for volunteers.

Jamie Van Cuyk Bio

Jamie Van Cuyk, the owner and lead strategist of Growing Your Team, is an expert in hiring and onboarding teams within small businesses.

Drawing 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 long-lasting team members and avoid the hiring and firing cycle.

On a personal side, Jamie lives in St Petersburg, FL, with her husband and two daughters, is a hobby winemaker, loves to travel, and enjoys exercise that takes her feet off the ground, including rock climbing and aerial dance.



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Full Transcript

Hey, welcome back to the show, I’m here with Jamie Van Cuyk, Jamie. How are you doing today? 

I’m doing well Travis. Thank you so much for having me. 

This has been crazy because this is the third time, we’ve talked in two weeks we said hello, then I was a guest on your show, then your guest on my show. I don’t know what I’m going to do next week. 

I know we will just have to figure out another reason to get together. 

Who is Jamie Van Cuyk

Perfect! Jamie runs the growing your team podcast and I had a lot of things to say about military and small business and podcast teams and all that fun stuff. Why don’t you give us a little bit of your Background?  

Yes, my business is called Growing Your Team, and we guide small business owners through the hiring process. I kind of stumbled into creating this business. It’s a weird journey. I came from corporate leadership. I wasn’t in HR, but I was leading a team on internal operations where I got a lot of experience with hiring because it was entry-level. So, people would come in and then, a lot of times, branch elsewhere into the company. And of course, my team was amazing. So, my team members were always getting poached. This means I was pretty much always hiring, but then we had a bunch of other managers. I led very similar teams. And the same thing was happening to them, except they didn’t have time to go out and conduct interviews or review resumes, and our HR department was always overburdened. So, I was like, I’ll help how I can.

If I help, I’ll review the resumes. Instead of having to charge him. I’ll do the initial phone screen instead of having HR do it. They didn’t have time because they were short-staffed in HR With our teams, we’re doing slightly the same thing. There’s a difference because there are different nuances with all the accounts that they work on.   Tell me, what do you need for this account?   I got very good at figuring out what people needed for their teams and did a lot of work with the HR departments to learn what goes into the entire hiring process. I left that to start another business that I quickly realized was not for me, but then sat there. What do I do now? I’m not ready to go back to corporate and I realized that I loved consulting during that time because I did some one-off consulting projects while I was starting that other business.

I started talking to a bunch of business owners and small business owners, and when we talked about issues going on in our business, they always said their number one problem was. “And I was.” And that’s when I learned that most small business owners have never been hired before unless they were doing it within their own business. Or if they did hire, it was when they were with corporate, and they had amazing HR teams and senior leadership that pretty much did everything for them. And they were finally realizing everything that went into hiring a good employee. And they’re ours. Lost, help us.   finally, one day, I was alright. I’ve been hearing this enough. I know how to hire. Well, I know-how. Even though I came from corporate to break things down in a way that works for small businesses, let’s do it now. 

It’s been four years since growing your team launched. And love everything that we do for small businesses. That’s exciting.  

What to do when your volunteers or staff don’t have the support they need

I wanted to. Have you considered nonprofits? They face the same challenges. A lot of them just don’t understand how to find the right people. How to hire Whether it’s hiring for a paycheck or cultivating volunteers, because that skill is low in the nonprofit sector, they have a huge turnover rate. The average turnover rate of 18 months for anybody, doesn’t matter if they’re the lowest rung or the top billet. As executive directors, people are not sticking around. They have no idea how to build and cultivate teams. Find the right people, get them on board, and develop them. And it’s just a shame because people get in for the altruistic. reason for wanting to help and then realizing there’s no support for them as employees or volunteers.

I agree with all that. I feel like any problem that a small business has is kind of blown up inside a nonprofit and sometimes because hiring is looked at, should I be spending my donor’s dollars on a person versus doing something else with those dollars inside the nonprofit?  

I feel they have put off hiring the people that they need way too long. And then when they go to hire, it’s “Let’s find someone that supports our mission.” We’re a mission-driven mission. Everything and they don’t always look for it. The right skills and then sometimes they put the wrong people in positions, and that’s one of the reasons people are leaving and the other thing is, as you said, this thing of whether they’re not ready to cultivate employees internally and it creates a lot of turnovers because even though they love the mission, they don’t feel connected to the job. 

Interestingly, people want to hire for skills and then not train new ones when they show. This is crazy because we talked about it when I was a guest on your show, how the military does it. You take someone off the street. You assume they You know; you bring him into boot camp. Teach him how to march, fold clothes, do laundry, and shave. You teach him a little bit about the Navy, and you send him to a job-specific school. They’re niche. The thing that they’re supposed to learn is their job. 

They go through that school, but in aviation, you’ve got many different types of airplanes. After you leave that school, you go to an airplane-specific school to learn how to do it, but then you get to your squadron. You’ve still never done your job yet. Even though you have all this training and all these schools, you show up, and you still don’t know how to operate within the shop or the office. You still have more on-the-job training, ongoing skills, building, learning the people, the systems, and all the things you must do. 

I mean, shoot just the paperwork alone. Is this a whole other thing you’ve got to learn? And that’s how the military doesn’t put into the nonprofit world or the small business world. Or we’re going to hire someone who’s got these skills. They’re going to come on and they’re going to crush it. 

Well, they run through their bosses. They don’t know how they work with teams, and they don’t know the expectations that are set before them unless you tell them so. right? 

HIRE details

I know you have this HIRE framework for a girl that you want to talk about today. Go ahead and talk a little bit about how you created this framework, and then we’ll hop right in.

Yeah, with creating the framework, it was breaking down. What do you need to do? 

To get a good hire on your team, it’s not about just going out and saying, “Hey, we’re hiring you to love our mission.” If you love what we do, come work with us. It’s saying OK, you might have people who want to work for you, but who is that? How do you go from having a hiring need to having a fully trained team member who will meet your expectations and be happy with both your organization and you? The HIRE framework breaks the process into four main steps based on what you should be doing in each one of those steps to get the ideal team.  the first place we start is with H, which we call the hiring details. You can’t hire the right person for you if you don’t know who the right person is. And a part of it, you can sit there and say, “Well, their title is XYZ.” That’s a basic title. 

OK, yep, maybe that title exists in every nonprofit that’s out there. 

But what does it mean inside your organization? What are your processes and systems that are already set up? Are you very on top of things where you’re already using project management tools? You have all these systems. You have all these workflows created and you need someone who can come in and just do all that. Or do you need someone who’s going to be able to help you organize the mess that’s going on internally and create those? Processes, workflows, and everything else.

 it’s very different. Who are the clients that you’re working with? What’s going to make you happy to give this person a paycheck, especially if they’re a paid team member? Because once again, as we talked about Travis in nonprofits, hating someone is what holds people back from hiring a lot because they want to make sure that every dollar that goes out is a dollar of value.  how can you make sure the person that you’ve hired deserves that dollar before they’re even hired? And it’s going through and creating. Who is this idea for? Candidates, not just the basic tasks they’re going to do, not just the title. But how to figure out what success looks like? What is the true picture of this idea? The candidate that I’m going to be happy with. And you need to start there because one thing you’ll notice throughout the rest of the framework is that it all ties back to those hiring details.  if you don’t spend time figuring out, those hiring specifics, chances are the rest of the process. is going to either be a challenge or it’s going to lead you to the wrong person.

Do you figure in personality types when you’re doing this framework when you’re writing the job description? Are you trying to figure out if you need someone bold? That’s going to speak up, and you need someone that’s going to sit back and just be analytical. Do you need someone that’s just going to sit down and just chug away and plugin and do the work? I guess that’s something you decide before you create. 

Yes, in a lot of ways. 

There are a lot of things where people think personality assessments and all this, and they sometimes get into that mindset of only someone with this type of personality can do this type of job, and that’s not true. If you look at, for example, when I was back incorporated, we did a personality assessment with our team of account managers. But we had a team of amazing account managers, and if I said, “Well, this is the personality that we’re looking for and we need for everything across the board.” I would not have had all my Rockstar team members because I would have just excluded people. After all, they didn’t fall. into that bucket, so. We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves much. Think good talent can’t do the job just because they’re Not a certain personality. However, what we do is say You’re running a nonprofit. Typically, there are not a whole lot of people there, what’s going to fit in with that in a way? Company culture is how you work with people you don’t. Want someone who’s going to be? coming’ in and out. Every day you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe they did that again.” I can’t stand working with this person because working with them is important and it’s not a large organization. They can just hide in the organization. You’re going to feel that dynamic across people when it comes to things you say, being bold or things like that. Those are things that when someone tells me that I’m why? Why is that important? And they might be, well, this is a position that must go out and help us become known in the community.  Not a lot of people know us yet. You need to be willing to go to networking events. 

Start those conversations. Ask people at those events to come and have coffee with them. Or if you have a physical location, it comes to your mission and action. You know, things like that, that’s maybe what they mean. By being bold but being bold doesn’t necessarily mean we’re being bossy and pushy and taking people’s space. People hate them being around. It’s figuring out what you need and why you need it. That way, we’re not just saying, OK, is this person bold when we go through the process. Can this person do what we need to be done because they have the right skill set and personality to enter those situations and do what we want?

Some of the other things are that I’ve worked with nonprofits that, with the type of clients that they work with, need people who are very good at working with people in high-stress situations. Every one of their clients is in a high-stress situation, and can they deal with those situations? Do they have the patients? Do they accept diversity and understand that this person is not in this situation because of, you know, something that they can’t control as this could happen to anybody?  do they have patients and are open and working with them? Things, it’s figuring out what does that. What does that look like? Personality plays a part in it, but as I said, we dig deeper into that. Why is this the case?

This is important, then. We focus on the right things throughout the process. 

Yeah, I mentioned the word boldly, and then you went into a definition of the word, and it’s important to understand why someone picked the word that they Picked, have you ever looked at a bill that’s being written by Congress? 

The actual text of it, have I read it? Maybe bits and pieces but not read. 

Well, most people don’t write the entire thing. Most people find whatever clause that they care about on social media and Alyssa when you read about a bill that’s being proposed. Or even when that’s been written, the first thing they do is define a bunch of terms. They have a term, and then they define how it’s going to be used within the text. If you don’t define what some of that stuff is if you don’t define what bold means, I mean, because you can use bold to define a hot sauce, you can use bold to define it, right? A person can use bold to define their color, but unless you define what exactly you mean by bold, do you mean outgoing? Do you mean outdoor smoking? Do you mean someone that’s going to challenge you as a boss? If you don’t define exactly what that is, people won’t understand what you’re going for and what you need from them. Because what’s the famous military one? If you ask someone in the marine core to secure a building, they’re going to go in with guns drawn. Two by two to make sure that the building is clear. If you ask someone in the Air Force to secure the building, they’re going to make sure all the doors are closed and locked before they leave for the weekend. Secure does not mean the same thing. The different groups of people understanding exactly how it’s defined and in what context it’s used is vital to the success of whatever it is that you’re doing.

Yes, exactly 100%.  then you know, with the framework, once you figure out those hiring details, we move to the next step, which is the I. And we call that launching the advertising plan. Because people can’t apply for your job if they don’t know that it exists.  you need to tell people that the job exists.

Initiating the advertising plan

And I said it’s More than Just Saying we’re hiring and expecting all these great people to flock to you It’s telling people what the job is and who is right for the job. Because we talked about those hiring details, you developed that ideal candidate in your mind. That person you envisioned hiring who will excel in that field. you need to tell people who that ideal candidate is using a job posting.  you need to create that job posting. Don’t want to create a super long job posting that also needs to get out the right information. So, typically a job posting has a brief (no more than three sentences) overview of the organization. 

Who are you? 

What do you do? 

Who do you?  

Don’t assume that everybody knows right then you get to do a brief overview of the job. Once again, no more than three sentences, but what is the basic role of the job, and who is right for the position?  that’s where some of those things that we start to pull out, and we wouldn’t necessarily just say a bowl here are on the bold side. I don’t know. Well, account director, it’s well, what does it? meaning we could use the word you’re a bold account director who does and then adds.  we’re describing who it is that we’re looking for a job for. The posting should also include a bulleted list of typical responsibilities. I say that a list should be no more than 20 bullet points, and 20 might be pushing it a little. A bit too far, figure it out. How do you combine things? Because you don’t. I need to give everything. There are, but you need to Give them a good picture of what they’re going to be doing with data. Okay, you then list out the requirements, if they need a certain degree, if they need to have done this position before if they need experience working with nonprofits, is it a full-time position? Is it a part-time position? Is it a position that has standard office hours or does a lot of times, nonprofits require evenings and weekends because they’re going to events and meetings? Do you do board meetings?  what are those requirements of the job, and then if you offer them benefits, what are the benefits? Do you offer health insurance? Do offer paid vacation and any of those things that are there.  The purpose of the job posting is that when someone sees it, they can say yes. That is the job for me. No, that doesn’t work. That doesn’t describe me. I’ll go look at the next opportunity.   

Oh, I love that. I want to touch on one of the things that have bugged me over the last couple of years, and I want to know if you’ve seen this. You mentioned whether or not a degree is required. And many businesses now have larger industries. Google is saying we don’t require a degree. We care about these skills more than we care about the degree. Have you ever seen a job posting where they say all these things and we only have 40 things listed? They want you to do it and they say a master’s degree is required and then they say 12. a buck an hour

Yeah, I’ve seen those things circling and I think this degree thing is such an important thing to talk about because I don’t think a degree is required all the time and I think you need it. To ask yourself why? Why is a degree required? So, for example, I was recently working with a nonprofit, and because of the work that they do in my area of expertise, you can’t be doing that without a degree. You know, they need some sort of degree that has given them the education that is needed to be certified in those areas.  for those, it’s adding it on, someone else couldn’t be reading this and being well, I’d be interested in that. It’s making a call out of no. You need a degree because it’s the only way you’re legally allowed to do this. 

Working with us, there are other areas where I say, especially the more experience you want the person to have, a degree doesn’t. If you’re looking for someone with experience, experience is what has mattered. What have they done throughout their career? What makes them qualified for a degree? They were 10 years ago, 15 years ago. even five years ago. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. It’s what they’ve been doing since getting that degree. Now there’s sometimes an entry-level, some of the lower-level positions I will be more likely to put a degree on there as a requirement because they’re looking for different things where having that degree could mean they’re dedicated to something they got through that. 

Or they don’t have a lot of the field’s working knowledge yet, but they were able to gather a certain knowledge through this degree program, we know that they’re not coming in with anything, even though they’re still entry-level. In the workforce So, to give you an example of this, a while ago, I was working with a nonprofit and they were hiring a team. They, excuse me, on the job posting originally required a degree, but when we went through everything that they were looking for, there was nothing in there that required a degree, and they were also looking for someone who had probably. I think it was about eight years of experience. And when I put together the job posting that we used to help with recruiting, we left the degree off completely. 

When they found their new team member, they wished to go write the introduction email to send out internally about this person’s joining us. They realized that this person hadn’t graduated from college. They didn’t have a degree. And then, what do we do with it? a requirement of ours. We see that it didn’t end up on the job posting. What do we do? And I was like, “Let’s look at your job posting.” That which you originally had was not a degree or equivalent experience. What is the equivalent experience? This person has 10 years of experience doing something very similar. If 10 years of experience is not enough to say or equivalent experience, how much is it? And once we were able to look at it that way, it’s like, OK, yeah, this person could have gotten a degree 10 years ago in something completely unrelated to this position. Or maybe they have 10 years of experience doing things that make them the perfect candidate for this experience. What is better to tell your team internally is that a degree doesn’t make them qualified. It was that experience that made them qualified. 

Yeah, absolutely. 

If you look at the overarching degree, it largely doesn’t matter unless you’re a doctor, lawyer, dentist, or engineer. When you get into some of them more. fine-tuned specific things. You can get something from a licensed professional accountant or a licensed professional social worker. Those things would require a degree, but by and large, I can’t think of a lot of reasons why I agree. It wouldn’t matter unless you got some higher position, working through the program to become the head of a hospital. There are certain types of degrees that are much more relevant to a position than others, but it’s just interesting that you see these and they’re like, “Yeah, we want ten years of experience, and you get to have 3 master’s degrees and we’re going to give you 9 bucks an hour.” What are you hoping for? What kind of dynamic? If you’re a business or if you’re not profitable, who do you think is going to show up for that job listing? 

Who’s going to have all that experience and all the craziness that you need and be $9 an hour? Yeah, I’m definitely on board.

Who do you expect to show up? 

Yeah, and I think it’s one. 

Of those things, in the nonprofit world, it’s well that they’re going to work for us because they care. But it doesn’t matter how much they care about the mission; if they’re working for money, they still need to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. They need to make a living, and unless what you’re looking for is I don’t know. Possibly the housewife of some rich person who’s not working for the money. You’re not going to get good people. At really, Low wages, and those are the people that would probably volunteer for you instead of working for you because they want the flexibility of OK, I don’t feel like doing it. Guess what I’m not going to? I’m not going to be there this week, but once they’re in a plea, there’s that requirement that they have to be there. Unless you’re giving them really good vacation time, and most low-wage positions don’t give really good vacation time.  

 we cover the hiring details. We covered, initiating the advertising plan, or does that stuff get posted? 

Yeah, that’s part of the I as well, because we could have, I would say hiring is a lot like marketing in general. You could have the best marketing message out there, but if you don’t put it in the right place for people to see it, no one’s going to buy the product.  you have to make sure you post the job where your ideal candidate is going. For all the positions we do and for everything when we’re coaching our clients, we always say post on Indeed and post on LinkedIn because they have free options. And they tend to be good platforms. They have a lot of people. On both of them. Platforms will try to get you to pay for your posting and suggest, “Oh, you’ll get this many candidates if you post to put some.” dollars behind it. Don’t put dollars behind it at first because most candidates look like nuh-uh. First, it’s sort of the newest is on top and if your job posting is just posted, you’re going to be on top anyway. I always say wait to put any dollars behind it and you’ll get good candidates without having to put a lot of money behind it. Or any money on those sites. Outside of those platforms, it is going to make a difference on what you’re hiring for, and being a nonprofit, there are a lot of nonprofit-specific job boards out there, you can post on them. 

Where do you know? You’re getting in front of candidates that are looking for nonprofit opportunities. As you know, we’ve mentioned pay a few times. Typically, if you take the same position and put it in a for-profit company, the nonprofit position is going to pay less, though sometimes it’s not. That is the place to go to post a job because you know those are people that are specifically looking to work in nonprofits. They understand what it’s like to work for a nonprofit, and it’s not always as lucrative as working for a for-profit company. Outside of that, it’s finding that are specific niche job boards where it would be good? There are a lot of jobs instead of just general nonprofit jobs. There are a lot of nonprofit-specific niche industry job boards. So, for example, we’ve recently helped a lot of people in the legal aid area, though there are job boards out there specifically for legal aid companies and organizations to post on.  figure out where your people are looking for it. What job board is attracting your ideal candidate? and post it. There are a lot of job boards out there that are expensive to post on, we always go for the philosophy of trying the free and cheap first and then investing more money into some of the more expensive ones if necessary. 

You need to. But there are job boards out there that want you to pay $700.00 upfront to post a job, and we don’t think those are worth it because you don’t know if you’re going to get a call that you want to

Reviewing the candidates

That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, indeed. and LinkedIn. Those are the ones I’ve heard. I wanted to hear from the expert. If those are the ones you recommend, that’s good. Posting is free, with no money upfront. It’s a better option to see what you get. I did that.  what’s the R in HIRE?  

Yeah, the R is reviewing the candidates, you posted your job. You’re starting to get candidates, and now you need to narrow them down to the person you want to hire.  this is a process that involves reviewing the resumes. Because you don’t have a whole lot of time, which is why you’re hiring for yours.  you don’t want to waste time interviewing a lot of people that shouldn’t be interviewed, but you also don’t want to accidentally weed out candidates that should be interviewed, but for whatever reason, you’re looking at their resume and saying no, we have to train on this very specific process to teach you exactly. What it is that you should be looking for on a resume you can quickly, in a minute or less, resume, decide should this person gets an interview or not get an interview. We’re not trying to read between the lines and create their life story of what they might have meant. This is something we consider. very specific things, depending on what the job is. Depending on those hiring details that we created, here are three things that we should be able to identify with the idea. 

Does a candidate’s resume have these three things? OK, they go into the guest pile. They don’t have those three things. They go into you can be very specific about what you’re looking for rather than attempting to figure things out by reading between the lines. I always give this example. I was working with a client once. She wanted me to kind of be that gut check of which candidates she was bringing into the interview, and I think she had five candidates in mind. Yes, pile four was. Good and the fifth one. I was told that this person does not belong. but I was like, OK, we’re here. I’m teaching her how to review these resumes, I asked her. I was like, why is this? A person from the yes pile thought about it. And she goes. Oh gosh, I don’t know. And I was like, OK, well what are our must-have criteria? What are we? Looking for OKA, B & C, which one of these? Does this person have, and she’s got none? I am why did you put him on the list? Pile and her response were after looking at it a few more times to figure out what was going on here. Her response was Because the resume was pretty, and that’s it’s always one of those things because the resume was pretty, and people hear that. And there I would never do that, but people do it all the time. People say yes to candidates for reasons that if you ask them why they’re not able to articulate, and they say no to candidates that deserve an interview because they look at that and judge them on something that doesn’t matter for their ability to do the job.  that’s why we have to follow this process. We look for these things, and we only really look at these things to decide who should move on and who shouldn’t. 

And then, once you decide which candidates you are interviewing, we always say do at least two interviews. You don’t have to interview everybody twice because you can weed people out after the first interview, but you should always have two interview rounds where you ask very specific questions that tie back to those hiring details. You’re looking for someone who has this skill. But let’s make sure we ask a question that uncovers whether they have that skill set you’re looking for in their backgrounds. OK, are we asking about that? Do we know that about a candidate? By the time we’re done with those interviews, So, every question should produce information of value to help you determine if someone is the right person for you to hire or not.  

Good interview questions

Ooh, I think that I just saw a little interview with Elon Musk and one of those little, you know, scrolling through social media little videos that pop up and he’s like, what’s the best question? That, you ask, he’s I always ask, what’s the hardest problem they’ve ever solved? And anyone that’s not BS At ING, you will have layer after layer of all the things that they’ve done to solve this problem and someone that’s just kind of making something up. They can only go 1-ish layer deep before they run out of material. To explain by talking about the hardest problem they’ve ever solved. 

Yeah, yeah, and it’s one of them. Those things where you know what we ask to depend on what we’re trying to uncover and every position that we help hire for. We have a completely different set of questions, but a lot of times we have follow-up questions for our questions prepared because one of the things I always say is don’t lead the witness, don’t necessarily tell them what you’re trying to uncover with the first question. 

And you ask the question, and then you zip your lips and wait for them to respond. 

Because I am aware that I was guilty of This is when I first started interviewing people. I asked the question and then I might rephrase it or I might give them a little bit more information. because I’m trying to.  I made them feel comfortable and I realized, well, there’s a lot of times I told them exactly what I wanted to learn, they’re going to go right there where we ask a question, we stop. And then, depending on where they naturally take it, they might cover everything in our follow-up questions that we had. Or they might not. And then we can say OK, well now tell me about this, or you know, dig deeper into it to get that information. As you said, there are some people out there preparing for interviews, sometimes they have examples and they’re not the best examples. Once you dig farther into them, you learn that. Oh well, maybe. They were a part of that project. But their actual role in that project is nothing you would want it to be or anything it was when they first started answering the question. Yeah, what are some really good interview questions? 

Oh goodness. OK, I always find this a really hard question to answer because, as I said, in every one of the interviews. Guys, we create ours. difference because we focus on those hiring details. 

I imagine there are ones that are based on character, regardless of what the job description is. 

Yeah, and in a little bit, it all depends on what we’re trying to uncover, which is more of a behavioral interview question where you’re looking for examples.  they can’t necessarily BS you and go out and say, “Well, I studied, I’m going to tell you this answer.” It’s OK, and sometimes we ask questions. I’m trying to remember which one of them was recently asked a question that tested their knowledge of Do you know what we’re talking about? Oh, OK, now that you said that you do. You have got to give us an example and ask for a really specific example because people could go out and study all day long. It’s asking those questions that dig into Have they done it and how did it work? You know, through the situation and stuff, when it comes to some of the more general questions. These are some of the questions that go on too. Every one of our interview guides is starting. Can you kick us off by taking a few minutes to walk me through your work history? 

I feel that this question is really important because it’s an icebreaker question for the candidate. They know their work history. They can have a copy of their resume right there in front of them. They should be able to answer it too. While you already have a copy of their resume, you’ll learn things that weren’t on the resume. You’ll also start to find out what was important to the candidate. They put them in that role versus what they put here, you could start to learn who they are a little bit and what they focus on. Are they also a candidate that they’re going to have a 30-minute interview scheduled or are they going to take 20 minutes to walk you through their work history? 

Or are they going to be someone who can be concise? And I’ll tell you, here’s a brief overview, knowing that you’re going to ask questions throughout the interview. That’s going to allow them to share more about their experience. Once we ask that, the next question that we always ask is unless they shared it, why are you looking for a new opportunity? And then that allows us to figure out Why is their current position not right for that? They could seem like the best candidate ever, but if they’re leaving a company for a reason and that same thing is going to be going on in your company, well, they’re not going to stay around. 

 if they’re leaving because let’s say, there was no opportunity or room for growth, they want to go someplace where there’s growth, and you know that you have a pretty flat organization, it’s going to be a long time until there’s any possibility for upward movement, that’s going to make them stay. With you. Especially if it’s a lateral move from that company to your company and they’re not getting that kind of promotion type thing with raises and pay and everything to come work for you. The other question that we ask all the time in our first initial interview is that even though we post the salary on the job posting all the time, we always say, “What is your salary requirement?”  that way we can figure out if they fall into the budget. In many states, you cannot ask a candidate what they currently make or what they have made at any of their jobs before, I always say don’t ask about their current pay, but you’re asking about what their salary requirements are to figure out. If they say that they need $75,000 and you’re looking to pay $50. OK, that’s a problem, why get it to the end and go and make a job offer to find out that you can’t afford a team member when you could have got to that upfront and said, OK, our budget is this. Would that meet your needs? And if it doesn’t say, OK, we’re just going to stop the conversation here.  

Yeah, I’m looking for $300,000 a month. The company car company plane, three-month-long vacations every year, and I need my colony on Mars- can we make that happen? 

Yep, no-no. No, but this is what we can offer. Would that be tier-one needs, and some candidates don’t? Want to talk? My suggestion for that is to allow the candidate not to talk about pay, but you need to then make it very clear that this is our budget for the opposite. Would that match your needs? We can talk about specifics later because once again, you don’t want to get far in the process and then find out that you can’t even come close to affording that team member. After all, not only does it waste your time, it wastes their time as well. 

Yeah, and it leaves it bad. Then you create someone that’s going to go and badmouth your company all over town. I can’t believe I had to do this, and I got my third interview deep and we finally talked about money, and they were nowhere close to meeting my knees and blah blah blah you can avoid that whole. whole conversation by being upfront and posting some kind of range within the job posting.  

Yep, exactly. And let’s say we always post it in the job posting. We still. Have people who. Don’t look at it that’s why I think it should always be. A part of a conversation as well confirms that they know.

Expectations for success

Absolutely, and that’s HIR. What’s the E? 

 Our expectations for success once you pick your person, they’re getting ready to start. As we talked about, training is an important part of the process, and it comes down to you having to tell them what you expect of them. Out of this position Because if you don’t tell them your expectations, they’re going to make some up, and chances are it’s not going to match yours. You need to be very clear on your expectations and then I need to train them. To get to where they need to be for that job, even if they’ve done the same job in another organization, they’ve never done it for you. They don’t know your work method. They don’t know your processes. They don’t know your systems; they don’t know your clients. Yet, there’s much that they don’t know that you have to teach. Teach them to train someone who’s done the position before, just in another organization. The training’s going to look different than if it’s someone who’s never done this and you’re training them about job specifics as well. Here’s how you do XYZ, the train is going to look different depending on if you are hiring an expert or hiring someone new at entry-level. But there’s still much you need to train on this person can do the job the way you want it done.  

Yeah, absolutely. We talked a little bit about Leadership 101 when I was a guest on your show. Do they have the training? Do they have the capacity that might be in their free time? It might be just those abilities. Not every job posting that you have is going to fit the person exactly. There might be duties that change hands. Just based on my abilities, have I? Have I given them the confidence they need to be successful? Have I set my expectations? I tell them, hey, I want you to be asking your manager every day about how to do a B&C. Or is it a wait-and-see kind of job? Is it that we’re going to task you? And then when we ask you, you run and do the stuff, and then have you given them the opportunity to actually? Do the job. Did you say do this thing and then come back in 5 minutes? What is it? Are they done yet? You are at that level of detail or control that you need to be all up in their business 3 seconds after you ask them to do the thing. Have you given them the ability at the time you set your expectations? How were they trained? Are they capable? They have the capacity. If the answers are no, question marks have to be solved to allow them to even do that. 

Right, and I think the capacity and the ability, or sometimes things for It’s very hard. For people to grasp what that means is important because a lot of people think, “Well, I’m not going to train them, I’m just going to throw them on assignments and they’re going to do an amazing job.” And then there and then they’re disappointed. And they said they couldn’t do it. They can’t learn it, and I’m just doing you even try to teach them? But it’s not that they don’t know how to do it; it’s that they don’t know how to do it the way you want it done yet, or they’re But I was working with someone. Once, they said it took him three hours to do. This is a task that I could do in 45 minutes and I’m Yeah, but what they were doing they had to navigate and find everything. In the system, they probably went to a lot of wrong places to find it because they’re still learning how to navigate where you would be able to do 2 clicks on there. Then they had because this was a marketing thing. They then had to learn and figure it out. OK, how to do it? I learned about your brand. You know your brand voice because you’ve been doing this. They don’t know it yet. They’re looking at examples. They’re doing all this stuff. They’re then trying to be there much that they’re learning as they’re trying to do that first task? That, of course, is going to take them longer. Should it always take three hours? No, but those first few times it’s going to take them more time because they’re still learning how to do it? For you, it’s not second nature to them yet. 

Oh absolutely. Some jobs can be done and should be done from start to finish by one person. Some jobs should be done in segments and handed off to different people. I read an example of an organization where they had 10 people doing this job from start to finish, and it took everyone a different length of time to complete, and they went down to break down each segment of the task. They found out that some people were good. strong in the beginning section. Some were strong in the middle section, and some were not. It turns out there was only one guy strong at the end, and they ended up Sectioning out these tasks and the people that crushed the beginning They did all the 10 people’s work for that beginning section. The ones that they handed it off to, there were two or three people that did the middle section, but there was only one guy that. I did the finishing stuff. They were really clean, really efficient, and loved doing that section, and when they went to that model, they found out they saved. The proficiency went up for hours upon hours upon hours. The efficiency went up and the number of errors went down to functional 0. People were doing the right parts of the job. Just because someone has always done the whole job, or the last guy did the entire job does not mean it’s the right way. to do it moving forward. 

And I think a great example of that in nonprofits is with development. Development and fundraising can mean many different things. It could be events; it could be going out and getting the big asks. It could be said that there are many different ways of, you know, bringing in the dollars to a nonprofit, and at the very beginning, you probably have one person doing all that, which al tends to take a lot of time to be the executive director. and eventually gets to a point where the executive director can’t do that because there’s too much else on the plate. They hire a single person. Well, as organizations continue to grow, it’s often that one person can’t be doing everything anymore. They can’t be event planning and going out and getting these large and small asks. And in kind, donations, grants, research, grants, and overseeing the execution of grants.  you could hire another person in development with the same title and share the same responsibilities. Or you could start to hire someone a little bit more. If your organization is big with grant funding, it probably needs to have a person who’s specific with grants and the other person who focuses on everything else. If you’re an organization where you’re doing a lot of events for fundraising, maybe having someone who does the event management is what you need, because that’s one of your big funding sources and it needs to be specialized. person and take that off as someone else they can focus on the other funding sources.  

I always have the example of a guy that’s a world-class fundraiser. He can go and he can talk to anybody. It brings them joy. It fills them up, gives them energy, and then they come back to the office, where you saddle them with another six hours of paperwork. That he doesn’t do very well or very efficiently. When he’s out on the street talking to people, he’s making book dollars. He is bringing in truckloads. They’re just backing into the nonprofit. They’re unloading all this money on you, but you’re going to stick it in the office doing paperwork and fine-tuning these things because the other guy did it. Meanwhile, all those minutes that he spent doing the paperwork It’s completely draining him. It’s taking longer than it should, and you’re wearing down one of your best people who goes out and champions your nonprofit simply because you’ve decided that everyone needs to do all their paperwork, which might not. True, and if you’re going to lose him when he could be out on the street making bookoo dollars and someone that loves just doing data entry and those being behind the scenes could do the back end for that person, you’re losing out on a couple of different fronts.  

Yes, yes exactly. 

You know, I’ve seen it happen a lot when you try to have someone do every step of the process and it’s not. Their wheelhouse and people are, but I can’t hire this. Another person I’m. but what are you losing by not hiring? This other person, you need to think about it that way, and there should be a benefit because of you. Hire this person. And what can happen now at the same time as paying someone? Let’s even say it’s $50,000 and they’re bringing in $10,000. And you’re being like, “Yeah, that’s amazing.” all you brought in all year. Oh, was that person worth it? But if there’s that positive ROI because you brought in this person, you’re able to pay them X and they’re able to bring in If it means a large amount of money to the organization over what they’re being paid, then it’s worth it.   

Yeah, absolutely. If your $50,000 a year person brings me in 150, you might be happy. But if you’re bringing $120,000 per person, they might bring you in 6 million. It’s worth paying the extra money for the right person. 

Yeah, I’m on the board of a nonprofit around here and that was one of the conversations we’ve recently had. They’re looking to bring in more people for their development team, and one of the things that they talked about was. But right now, we really can’t afford the experts that we need.  what are our options? Do we bring someone in at a lower level and hope and pray that they do the right thing? One of the things that they’re talking about is starting with the consultants at first, it was highly talented at what they needed to do in that area. Help them get boots on the ground in this. because this will be a new area that they’re looking at for funding. Sources get boots on the ground. Help them figure out their systems and their processes and everything there.  then when that’s developed, they’ll be able. to bring in that higher-level team member. Because the systems and everything are already created, they’ve already got traction there and everything. 

Oh yeah, absolutely.  that’s the hiring process. hiring details, initiating the advertising plan, reviewing the candidates, and setting expectations for success. I know that you mentioned in our pre-interview that better onboarding equals more longevity. Because you know what you’re looking for or you make sure that they’re a fit. You don’t just interview them because they have a pretty resume. Although they have a very pretty resume, you should interview me if I have a pre-resume. right? 

I don’t even think I have a resume. 

You have a great media kit. 

Right, I got a one-sheet for you. Know I got that. 

Vision for growing a team

So, what is? What is your vision for growing your team? 

Yeah, our vision for growing your team is to become a resource for small businesses that need hiring help. And with small businesses, we include small nonprofits in there because, even though it’s different, It’s a different tax. Yeah, the thing you look at, there’s a lot of functionality that’s the same, but to be a resource for it, you know, we I started this because when people were asking for help, I couldn’t find anybody who was speaking to small businesses specifically with hiring. And it was all, yeah, we helped small businesses, but their definition of a small business was people. companies with over 50 employees. We can’t get to 50 employees if you screw up on your hiring early on. Let’s face it, there was a huge gap, and I want people to know that resources are out there. That they exist that when you are going to hire your first team member or your 10th team member, you don’t have to do it alone. That yes, we all go to our peer network to say, “How would you?” Do this, but. We know that there are resources out there to help, that’s our thing. It helps to grow your team and become known, people know that there’s support out there when they need it, when they want it, whether it is just listening to the podcast and hearing things that can help them along their journey or becoming a client of ours and letting us help them in one of the ways that we serve our clients to help them. Along their hiring journey, 

Oh, and if you love this conversation, you’ll want to hear more great conversations like this, specifically with employees. Check out the interview I did with Craig Handley. He’s the author of hired and quit, inspired to stay, and the way he handles employees that he has by helping them achieve their dreams. It’s just phenomenal, Jamie. I wanted to thank you for being my guest today. Where can people find you? 

Yes, you can go over to There you’ll be. You can learn more about who we are and what we do on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, all under “growing your team,” and on my podcast, where Travis’s episode will be released soon. Coming out is the Growing Your Team podcast with Jamie Van Cuyk. And it should be available on all major podcasting platforms.

Thank you much for being my guest today. If you love this conversation and you’re Travis, how do I get into podcasting? You can go to and check out the free guide that we have. We have the ultimate incomplete podcast guide, and we are not kidding. We have our course available. College credit at Forbes School of Business Technology and Belhaven University. You can take the same course online through this link: 

Jamie, thanks again. 

Thank you for having me, Travis. 

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