How to Avoid Hiring Mistakes

Jun 7, 2024 | Listen

How to Avoid Hiring Mistakes

When your business makes hiring mistakes, it will struggle to find lasting success, even if it seems like you have everything else in place. 

When you don’t hire the right people, especially for higher level, strategic positions, you’ll end up with team members who are unsatisfied with their position or just are not the right fit. This leads to decreased performance, missed opportunities, and even falling behind competitors.

But making the right hiring choices can work wonders. It can enhance productivity, foster stronger teamwork, and give you a competitive edge.

So, how can you avoid making hiring mistakes?

What are your needs and expectations for those in higher-level positions?

How do you pick the right people and what are the red flags to watch out for?

Jamie Van Cuyk: Avoiding Hiring Mistakes in Your Business

In this episode, Jamie Van Cuyk and I tackle the topic of Hiring Mistakes head-on. From fuzzy job descriptions to making hasty decisions due to lack of planning and desperation, we dissect common errors and offer practical solutions for a smoother hiring process.

Timestamps for this week’s episode

02:01 Common hiring mistakes by small businesses

04:52 Defining your hiring needs

07:41  Creating strategic hiring plans 

10:34  The differences between hiring for tactical vs leadership positions

32:42 Actionable steps to take to get your hiring right

Common hiring mistakes by small businesses

1. Failure to clearly define the role they’re hiring for, leading to mismatched hires who don’t fit the business’s needs or culture. 

2. Skipping essential steps in the hiring process due to their rush to fill a position which results in hasty vs thoughtful decisions. 

Defining your hiring needs

Start by asking: How will this position impact my business?

Whatever the role, think about the culture of your business as well as what are the desired outcomes for that position. You’ll then have a clearer picture of what skills and personality skills you need for that position. This way, you set the stage for finding the perfect candidate who is aligned with your vision and drives results. 

The most common hiring mistake that I see small business owners make is when they are not actually being very clear on the position that they're hiring for.

Creating strategic hiring plans 

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses so you know where you need support.
  • Make sure your hiring plans match your long-term business goals and objectives.
  • Identify the specific skills, talents, and abilities that each role in your team will need.
  • Look beyond individual tasks and think about how each hire will contribute to the overall success of your organization.
  • Evaluate your coaching and leadership skills so you know the level of support you can provide to new hires.
  • Strike a balance between your strengths, business goals, and the talents of your new hires to create an effective team.

“Figure out who it is that you need, what those tasks and responsibilities that this person really needs to take over are going to do the best for your business, and what are going to help you see that really good positive ROI.” – Jamie Van Cuyk

The differences between hiring for tactical vs leadership positions

The main difference when hiring tactical vs leadership positions are in the interview questions posed.

Tactical roles:

  • How effective are they to execute tasks? 
  • Can they handle details?
  • Can they troubleshoot during challenges? 
  • Can they manage their workload effectively?  
  • Are they able to prioritize tasks? 
  • Are they easily adaptable? 

Leadership roles:

  • Do they have a strategic mindset?  
  • Can they think holistically? 
  • See the big picture with complex projects?
  • Can they make strategic decisions?  
  • Can they manage people well?
  • Do they have collaboration skills? 
Take your time to write a job description or post that speaks directly to your ideal candidate. You can't hire a great person if a great person never applies.

Actionable steps to take to get your hiring right

Creating a targeted job post is key to successful hiring. Speak directly to your ideal candidate, highlighting why the role is a perfect fit. Be transparent about responsibilities and requirements to attract candidates who align with your needs and company culture


  • Avoid these hiring mistakes such as undefined roles that lead to mismatched hires, and rushing through the hiring process which results in hasty hiring decisions.
  • Assess the role’s impact, consider your business culture and positive outcomes for the position to find aligned candidates.
  • Your hiring process should make you understand what your business needs, match your hiring plans with your company goals, define the skills each position needs, and assess your personal leadership abilities.
  • Tailor interview questions for tactical roles  – focusing on task and job execution – while leadership roles on strategy and management.
  • The next step to take to avoid hiring errors is to create targeted job posts that will attract candidates that have the same values as well as the company culture and requirements.


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About guest – Jamie Van Cuyk

CEO and Lead Strategist

Growing Your Team

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 ten years of leadership experience, Jamie teaches her clients how to hire their first team members, including employees and long-term contractors. 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. 

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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About host – Kathy Svetina

Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing small businesses with $10M+ in annual revenue.

Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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Kristie Holmes and Kathy Svetina share why businesses are short-staffed and why it’s hard to find the right people on the Help, My Business is Growing podcast.

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