Episode 224: Master the Art of Hiring with Jamie Van Cuyk

Game On Girlfriend Ep224

If you start a small business, you're the one doing everything and it takes a lot of courage and a lot of trust to start to turn things over to someone else. Today’s guest will share three steps to help you delegate and hire the right people.


Jamie Van Cuyk is the owner and lead strategist of Growing Your Team, helps women who own small businesses become confident leaders who hire right every single time.


Drawing from over 15 years of leadership experience, Jamie teaches her clients how to master the art of hiring. By learning the dynamics of each company and their specific needs, she helps them find their perfect-fit, long-lasting team members and avoid the hiring and firing cycle.

Becoming a hiring consultant

Jamie knew she wanted to run her own business, but her journey to entrepreneurship wasn’t a straight line. When she was thinking about leaving her corporate job, her father, who owned his own business, told her that he could have stayed working for someone else and would have made a lot more money. But he said he wouldn't have had the life he wanted outside of work.


That was more important than the money. And that really stood out for Jamie. She decided to take advantage of learning everything she could about running a business while still working her corporate job. She went into management to learn how to manage people and took on special projects to gain insight into other departments.

One project she worked on happened to be with HR in hiring. But when Jamie quit her job, she chose to try to start a software development company on the side while she cared for her young daughter. She did not know how to program, but her husband did.


Jamie researched, planned, and discussed with her family before handing in her notice – and she lasted six months learning to program before she realized it wasn’t for her.


It was back to the drawing board to decide what her next move would be.


“I realized I loved consulting,” says Jamie. “The main projects that I ended up working on were all around leadership development. One was a big training program for some of their leaders, and another one was helping a first-time manager really come fully into their role.”


Watch: Do You Know Who Your Team Is?

Networking with small business owners

Balancing the roles and responsibilities was something Jamie enjoyed. She had a Chamber of Commerce membership and she started networking with a lot of the small business owners attending those events.


“I kept hearing over and over again that hiring was their number one problem,” says Jamie. Her plan was to help corporate clients, but she heard again and again the need for hiring solutions at a small business level.


“I realized that small businesses are different than corporate companies, but … I could break it down to something, to the core basics that work anywhere,” says Jamie. “And then let's figure out these core basics inside their unique company versus how you do it in corporate.”

Her business now focuses on hiring, education and really focusing on narrowing down to that ideal candidate and making sure the business owner has what they need to find that candidate.

Even with this service offering, Jamie had to change her mindset and realize that she, too, could delegate tasks and enhance her offerings. They were already helping clients with writing job postings, interview guides, and consulting, but they weren’t recruiting.


“Just because I say yes today and add it to my service offerings does not mean that I physically have to do it forever within my business,” says Jamie. “I can eventually hire someone else and delegate those roles and responsibilities, so my business offers it.”

Learning to delegate

When Jamie works with small businesses on hiring, typically, the position is created from tasks that used to be the CEO’s responsibility. When it's your business, you understand how your revenue is impacted by your tasks. You understand how your personal income is impacted by your revenue, so it can be difficult to trust in delegation.


You start thinking about all the worst-case scenarios because you're so tied to your business and you built it from the ground up. It's scary.


“With hiring, we say start small,” says Jamie. “This isn't a person that's going to come in and be a second you right away.”


Remember that no one is going to do things just like you. Give up on the idea that your way isn’t the only way.

Building trust with new hires

Jamie outlines three steps to build trust when hiring a candidate to delegate your tasks to.


  1. Be clear on who you’re going to hire. How are they going to fit into your organization? What is the expected communication style? Who are you as a manager? What is your personality versus their personality? What are your expectations? What does it mean for someone to be successful in this role? Focus first and foremost on who it is that you need, what tasks they are going to do, and how they are going to fit into your organization. Remember to consider how you are going to manage them and all those things?
  2. Set up a hiring process that brings you directly to your ideal candidate. You need to be specific. It's okay with your job posting to turn people off. Then, create interview questions that help you uncover exactly what you need to know about that ideal candidate to determine if this person is the right person for you versus just someone who can do the tasks.
  3. Onboarding takes time. The onboarding path and timeframe will look different for every position, but you have to train on all your expectations. Keep that in mind is even if someone is an expert at what they do and they're bringing their expertise to your business, you have to teach them how to do it inside your organization so they meet your expectations.

Jamie approaches it in a stair-step approach where you train on something, then they can go do work. You come back later and you train on the next thing, and then you train on the next thing. So in between each of the training, they're doing work of value until they're fully trained.


It's that constant feedback loop and being able to let them do small things incrementally until they figure out how to do it the way you want it done.

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