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Pants Optional: How to Zoom Your Way to Your Best Hire

Remote hiring made easy! Our interview checklist is a complete guide to the various stages of the hiring process, how each interview should be conducted, and what should be evaluated at that point in the process. This approach is what we use to confidently navigate thousands of interviews and successfully hire over 100 incredible team members.

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About This Episode

As leaders, few decisions carry a price as hefty as hiring the wrong person. It costs us time, money, productivity, morale, and, in extreme cases, relationships with clients and team members.

In this week’s episode, we’re going to discuss this issue with Krisha Buehler, BELAY’s VP of Human Resources. She’ll share a few tips on how you can more effectively identify the right people, avoid the wrong people, and safeguard your company culture so you get the help you need without comprising the help you have.

1.  Hire slow.

When you’re in growth mode, it’s easy to get caught up in a sense of urgency. You need more people, or someone just left that you need to replace, and you need all of them now! But rushing on the front end of hiring will cost you a lot more on the back end. Take your time. Be intentional. And trust your process. 

2. Put somebody you trust in front of you in the hiring process.

This person is your “gatekeeper.” With them taking on the first interview or two, you know that only the best of the best are going to come across your desk. This will save you time and energy, decrease your frustration, and make the hiring process a whole lot smoother and easier.

3. Make sure you’re looking for connections with culture.

Does the person your interviewing have questions for you? Do they have questions about the company? Are they passionate about your mission? If not, then you should see a big red flag in those situations. Few things are more stressful with hiring than bringing someone on, then realizing they are not a fit culturally. You should be getting a better sense of this with each interview. If not, you’re probably not interviewing the right person. 

What does your interview process look like? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
What should you change about your process?
Talk about your best and worst interviewing experience – as both the interviewer and interviewee.
What is your go to interview question? Why do you think it is so effective for you?

Interviewing is an art, not a science.

Krisha Buehler

Rushing on the front end will cost you on the back end.

Krisha Buehler

One of the greatest gifts is having somebody that you really trust at the front end of hiring the process.

Krisha Buehler

Take your time and hire slow.

Krisha Buehler

Krisha Buehler on LinkedIn

Tricia Sciortino on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lisa Zeeveld on Instagram and LinkedIn

BELAY’s staffing solutions

(02:32) Krisha has hired hundreds of employees and contractors for BELAY. She talks about some of the times it’s gone wrong. 

(04:58) “Rushing on the front end is going to cost you a lot more on the back end.”

(05:26) What does BELAY’s interview process look like as a fully remote team?

(07:38) Tricia’s favorite interview question!

(07:58) The importance of active listening and not always using just a list of questions. 

(09:51) You are interviewing us as much as we are interviewing you. 

(11:13) What was the biggest challenge of coming into a fully remote company as an HR director?

(13:47) You need to have someone you can trust at the front end of the interviewing process. 

(14:45) Logistics matter. You have to set yourself up to do interviewing fully remote if that’s the route you want to go. 

(18:35) This week’s one next step: Go download our interview checklist. It’s the approach we’ve used and refined to successfully navigate thousands of interviews to hire over 100 amazing team members.

Lisa Zeeveld:

One of my favorite interview questions is to say, tell me a little bit about yourself, personal or professional? And then you just sit back, right?

Krisha Buehler:

And enjoy.

Lisa Zeeveld:

I love that. And enjoy the story. It is amazing what people tell you.

Speaker 3:

Welcome to One Next Step, the most practical business podcast in the world. Helping you get more done, grow your business, and lead your team with confidence, with tips and tools you didn’t get in business school. Here are your hosts, Tricia Sciortino and Lisa Zeeveld.

Tricia Sciortino:

Welcome to One Next Step, the practical business podcast that helps you run your business and make it stop running you, so you can enjoy your work and your life. I’m Tricia Sciortino, the CEO of BELAY.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And I’m Lisa Zeeveld, the COO of BELAY. Together we are T and LZ. We’ve known each other since 2005 and have worked together for a decade, growing a 100% remote business from startup to being recognized on the Inc5000 fastest growing companies list for six years running.

Tricia Sciortino:

LZ and I have learned a lot along the way, and we have made some great friends. For One Next Step, we’re inviting them on the podcast to bring you episodes filled with excellent content delivered by some talented people.

Lisa Zeeveld:

As leaders, few decisions carry a price as hefty as hiring the wrong person. It costs us time, money, productivity, morale, and in extreme cases, relationships with clients and team members. Today, we’re going to discuss the issue and share a few tips or ideas on how you can more effectively identify the right people, avoid the wrong people, and safeguard your company culture. So that you can get the help you need without compromising the help you have.

Tricia Sciortino:

In this episode, we’ll be talking about how to hire and interview candidates. Even the ones you may never meet in person. And we’ll be joined by Krisha Buehler, BELAY’s vice president of human resources, to help us get the right people on the bus and keep the wrong people from joining our organizations.

Tricia Sciortino:

Now enjoy our interview with Krisha Buehler. Hi, Krisha welcome.

Krisha Buehler:

Hi guys. I’m glad to be here. Gosh, that was a very nice intro. I feel like you set the bar really high for me.

Tricia Sciortino:

We have high hopes for this episode.

Lisa Zeeveld:

You always exceed expectations.

Krisha Buehler:

Oh.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Let’s be real. Let’s be real.

Krisha Buehler:

Thank you, ladies. I’m very glad to be here with you today.

Tricia Sciortino:

So today, we want to talk about hiring, interviewing specifically. So as leaders, it’s certainly a topic that is hard and unique. And hiring does not come natural to people. And I know you and your department have led hiring for BELAY through contractors and employees, hundreds of people you have hired in your career here. So would love first and foremost, to hear you kind of tee up, like when has it gone wrong?

Krisha Buehler:

Yeah. So, oh gosh, I’ve made a lot of mistakes hiring, right? And let’s be real hiring somebody to your organization is one of the most important things you’re going to do. And I think there’s such a cost to hiring the wrong person. And so we’ve done it. We have lived and learned. But one of the things that I think, a mistake that we make, and I don’t know, maybe some of you make it too, is when we need to hire someone, it’s because we either are in growth mode. Right. And we are feeling the pain and we need an extra body as soon as possible. Or we’ve lost somebody and now we need to fill that gap.

Krisha Buehler:

And so there’s always that sense of urgency. But I would say a mistake that we have made here at BELAY, for sure and probably others make too, is you rush it. You rush that very, very, very important and key decision. And it can really cost you. Cost you a lot of dollars. It cost you potentially time, and culture, and impact. And so I just want to say, don’t rush it. We take a lot of time here hiring people.

Tricia Sciortino:

And it kills me lets be honest.

Krisha Buehler:

It kills you. It kills you.

Tricia Sciortino:

I am a fast moving, hurry everything up driving personality. And so when I have Krisha telling me, we have to hire slow, I just have to kind of bite my nails and just trust the process, knowing that naturally speaking, a lot of us leaders that sounds painful, but to your point, we’ve been burned rushing. And so I think one of the best pieces of advice. I love that you say that, is taking your time. Because a lot of us don’t want to.

Krisha Buehler:

No, we don’t. We’re at a critical point if we’re going to hire somebody. But just think about rushing on the front end is going to cost you way more on the backend. And so I know the other thing that drives you crazy, Tricia is rework, right?

Tricia Sciortino:

True story. True story.

Krisha Buehler:

If we have to do something twice when we should’ve only done it once. And so we are avoiding the rework here.

Tricia Sciortino:

Amen. Very good point Krisha it’s nothing worse than having to do something over again.

Krisha Buehler:

Right.

Tricia Sciortino:

You want to get it right the first time.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah. So speaking of interviewing and doing it really slow, tell us a little bit about BELAY’s process. How many interviews? We’re a remote team. So what does that look like for people who don’t live near the hiring manager? Is it just a phone call? Is it video? Why don’t you give away some of our secrets?

Krisha Buehler:

Okay. So video all the way, right? If you’re going to interview someone, it is not just words you hear, you have got to see, you’ve got to see the body language. You’ve got to see the environment they’re sitting in. All the things. So for us, we do kind of an initial screen interview and that is with our HR coordinator. So she is interviewing that person. She’s vetting their skillset. She is vetting a culture fit at a pretty high level. And if she feels like that person checks all the right boxes, she’s going to pass them along to me. I am going to interview them, but I’m really digging in to the culture fit. The power skills, the situational interviews. I am putting them,

Tricia Sciortino:

Through the ringer.

Krisha Buehler:

Really like we’re in a conversation. Not really. Not really. Surprisingly, my main goal when I go into an interview, is to peel back the layers of the onion. Right. I can read the paper. I can see what you’re going to tell me because you know all the right things to say, and you’re telling me what I want to hear. But you find those little moments to probe in and peel back the onion. And my goal is always to get you at your authentic self, right? You guys know this, when you all of a sudden the tension leaves their body. They become a little more comfortable with you. And that’s when they show you who you are. And that’s what you want to see. Because that’s the person that’s showing up to work every day. And going to be talking with your team, and doing a job, and working with your clients. And so once I get to that point, then it’s really asking those situational type questions to see how are they going to respond in their true, authentic state?

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah. One of my favorite interview questions is to say, tell me a little bit about yourself, personal or professional? And then you just sit back, right?

Krisha Buehler:

And enjoy.

Lisa Zeeveld:

I love that. And enjoy the story. It is amazing what people tell you without even you having to ask.

Krisha Buehler:

Absolutely. And then you can just be active listening, but cataloging some of the points that you know you’re going to go back in probe a little deeper. Hey you mentioned X, Y, Z. Let’s talk about that a little bit more. I think one of the mistakes people make is you have your list of questions,

Lisa Zeeveld:

And they’re dry.

Krisha Buehler:

And it’s very transactional. And it’s very, let me ask, let me hear your response. Let me ask the next question. Interviewing is an art, not a science, right? And so you really are looking to get somebody into your organization. That’s a big, big step. And so we call the power skill, right, the soft skills. And any way we can get to those, that’s what we’re trying to do. So, back to the process. So that’s what I’m looking for. Then really, if I like what I see in here, I’m handing that person over to the hiring manager. The hiring manager has an opportunity via Zoom again, all of these are video calls. They’re going to really dig into the experience, the job itself. Do you really have the competency that you need and the experience to do this job? Are you going to fit in well with that specific team? Are you as a leader going to mesh? Are you having a chemistry? I mean, that’s important, right guys? Like you’ve spent a lot of time with that person.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah. You need to like them.

Krisha Buehler:

Yep. And then if that goes well, then yes, there are more steps. We have assessments that we put people through and then we do an in-person. So even though we are a virtual company, when we have the opportunity, we will do a face-to-face. We’ll take somebody to coffee or to lunch. They get an opportunity to meet with a peer in that department. And we encourage our candidates. We want you to ask a lot of questions too. You’re interviewing us and BELAY just as much as we’re interviewing you. So it is a two way street.

Lisa Zeeveld:

BELAY provides staffing to help you grow your organization whether you need a Virtual Assistant, Bookkeeper, website specialist, or a Social Media Strategist, they have the right team member – for the hours you need – ready to help you excel without the added stress of having to do everything on your own. Stop juggling and start getting back to what only you can do: Growing your organization. Getting started is the easiest thing you’ll do today. To find out more, just go to https://belaysolutions.com/get-started

Tricia Sciortino:

You’ve touched on a lot of things right now. So I think most people will be surprised how many interviews we expect people to go through. So you’ve gone through an initial screening, your interview, hiring manager interview, and a team member. So at least four interviews for any person that would join our team.

Krisha Buehler:

Correct.

Tricia Sciortino:

Hitting on all the different areas, soft skills, hard skills, role specific traits, and everything in between. You’ve covered all the bases. And that goes into the hiring slow part. Because it takes time to make all that happen.

Krisha Buehler:

Absolutely.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And how do you feel, because I know that you worked for a very large retailer in their human resources department, we won’t drop names, but where do you feel coming into this remote environment? Where did you see was the biggest challenge or maybe just difference? Because I feel like a lot of people get scared about hiring remotely.

Krisha Buehler:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think when… The skill set was very different too, right. The roles that we’re hiring for there versus here. And so the buy-in’s a little bit different, which is fine. But I think the biggest thing is how can I really know somebody, if I’ve never met them? There’s so much that happens when you’re face to face and in person. And so you really just have to learn how to mirror that virtually. And I think once you have the confidence to do that and you know the right question to ask, and you know the cues to look for and to listen for, you can really get that same experience. Like we said, we do like to do that in person. There is that final, you just want to make sure. We laugh and joke, right. That we say, we just want to make sure that there’s no crazy out there,

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right. Right.

Krisha Buehler:

But it’s fine. I think it’s just a change in mindset. It really is.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And do you find that you interview more people or less people remotely? Is the number of candidates any different that you shortlist?

Krisha Buehler:

No. I would say it’s less. I would say it’s less because we’ve been able to put more things in place upfront in the vetting and the screening process than before. So in an in-person thing there’s a lot of, maybe do a phone screen and then everything just come in, come in, come in. Whereas, remote we’ve had an opportunity to build in pre video screening calls. We’ve done some assessment, we’ve done some knockout questions. And so the volume coming in may be more, but what makes it across our desk, the quality is higher and the volume is less.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yeah.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Sure.

Tricia Sciortino:

So your pre-vetting is way tighter. So it really takes someone getting through some pre-vetting,

Krisha Buehler:

Yep.

Tricia Sciortino:

One way interview questions, some knockout questions to even get to your HR coordinator to get an interview. So you’re not expending so much energy talking to as many people. So I love that conceptually, really being picky at the top.

Krisha Buehler:

And I will tell you, one of the greatest gifts is having somebody that you really trust at the front end of the process. Right. So our HR coordinator, she is literally like the guardian to the culture of BELAY. And so much so that I’m like, if they’re going to make it past Lori, then they’re definitely worth talking to because she is really tough and very selective. And so that would be another takeaway, right? Put somebody that you know and trust and know values, the process ahead of you. So that you’re only getting that pre-vetted best of the best that come across your desk.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah.

Tricia Sciortino:

First of all, I love this conversation. This is such great information. If you were going to net it out and give somebody one next step, one tip that they could take away from this to help them hire remote employees better, what would you say that would be? If they could do one thing.

Krisha Buehler:

So I think you have to definitely set yourself up to be able to do it all remote. Right. So invest in like a video application system. There’s applications out there where you can do the video screening question. So have appropriate technology to allow yourself to get the same experience that you would in person, virtually. And once you’re set up to do that, then the rest will follow. The questions are going to be the same. The process is very similarly. It’s just getting yourself logistically set up to be able to do it remote. Simple as that.

Lisa Zeeveld:

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, I feel like we have more to dive in with you. So can I ask you a favor?

Krisha Buehler:

Always.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Would you be willing to come back and do a part two? And just because I feel like we’ve got a couple more questions to dive in on finding the right person, but maybe what to do once you have found them. I mean, there’s a lot that goes in after that. So if you,

Krisha Buehler:

Absolutely.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Wouldn’t mind, maybe I could twist your arm, come back, spend some additional time with us and our listeners and perhaps we can give them some more takeaways.

Krisha Buehler:

Anything For you LZ.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Oh, well thank you.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Oh, wow. What a fantastic interview that was with Krisha Buehler. She brought so many good ideas on how to hire the right people. I know that we have made the mistake several times on bringing on the wrong people so that I know our leaders out there are just so excited with this information. And no doubt it is going to help them in the future. So Tricia, what is your takeaway from today’s conversation?

Tricia Sciortino:

There were so many great takeaways from Krisha. However, for me, the hiring slow part really stood out. I am naturally a very fast pace driven, charging type leader. I know there’s others out there like me. So the idea of doing something slow kind of goes against my nature, but it is so true. And it’s so relevant. I’ve made the mistake of hiring too fast. It is very costly to redo hiring and rework. So to me, if there was one thing I would take away as a leader, it would be take your time and hire slow.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah. I love that.

Tricia Sciortino:

What about you LZ?

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah, for me, it’s really making sure there’s a connection, especially with your culture. Nothing is more stressful than bringing somebody in on your team and then realizing that they’re just not a good fit culturally. So I think it’s like you said, it’s hiring really slow. It’s making sure they’re a great cultural fit. And then one thing that she didn’t really touch on that I think is a great idea that we do at BELAY, and that is taking a look when you’re interviewing people remotely, is taking a look at their surroundings. How are they showing up to the interview? Are they showing up too casually? Do they have a professional background?

Lisa Zeeveld:

Because remember this person is going to be representing you and your organization. Talking with clients, or prospects, or even just other partners in the industry. So make sure they’re a good cultural fit. And then make sure if they’re going to be working remotely, that they have a professional environment and that they continue to look professional.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes. I love that. To your point, they are representing you out in the market, even if they’re doing it over a web camera.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right.

Tricia Sciortino:

So make sure they know how to show up well and show up right on webcam. I love that. Thanks.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Now it’s time for the one next step. As the most practical business podcast, we want to make sure taking action isn’t overwhelming to you. So in each podcast, we’re going to offer you one next step to propel you and your business forward. And today’s next step is to create or update your hiring process.

Tricia Sciortino:

Absolutely. To help you do it, we also provide what we like to call an activation or delegation guide. And this week’s guide is our interview checklist. It lists all the various stages of hiring throughout the process, how the interview should be conducted, and some evaluation points throughout the process. It’s this approach that we’ve used to refine our successful navigation of hiring thousands of individuals over the last 10 years. And it has helped us hire some great rockstars. To download it, text the phrase, interview checklist to 31996 or visit onenextsteppodcast.com. That’s onenextsteppodcast.com.

Lisa Zeeveld:

When you request today’s guide, you’ll also receive a summary of today’s episode, which includes key quotes and takeaways, links to resources mentioned in the episode, and questions to ask yourself or your team to further explore today’s topic. So again, text the phrase, interview checklist to 31996 or visit onenextsteppodcast.com.

Tricia Sciortino:

And if you’re not convinced already, we’ll even give you an opportunity to submit your business questions. So one of us or a future guests can answer it during an upcoming episode.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So here’s our challenge to you. Download the guide and then give yourself the next 10 to 15 minutes to work on your next step. With that, thank you for listening to this episode of One Next Step. We hope you enjoyed this episode and that you’ll join us next time for more practical tips and actionable tools to advance your business one step at a time.

Tricia Sciortino:

Until next time, own your journey. It’s your life, it’s your business. It’s up to you to create the life and organization you want.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Start by making today count.

Speaker 3:

Thanks for listening to One Next Step. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or follow us on Spotify. Then join us next time for more practical business tips and tools to help you get more done, grow your business, and lead your team with confidence. For more episodes, show notes, and helpful resources, visit, onenextsteppodcast.com.

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