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EP28 - Hiring Well with Jackie Koch

Uncategorized Jul 07, 2022

Jackie Koch has over 15 years of experience prospecting talent and building teams for Fortune 500 companies, startups, and online businesses. She has an MBA from Concordia University but argues she learned more about scaling a modern business over the last 5 years building people operations and recruiting teams in the LA tech start-up scene. Being an entrepreneur at heart, she launched People Principles where she helps founders scale and leads their teams with consulting and boutique recruiting services.

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Jackie Koch: I feel like if you found someone who cares and who tries, you can go so far with them. Right. And that's hard to do that.

Zach Arend: All right. Well, I'm here with Jackie Koch. She has over 15 years of experience, prospecting talent building teams for fortune 500 companies, startups and online businesses. She really knows what it means to scale a modern business. She's spent five years, Silicon valley building people, operations, recruiting teams for the startup scene.

And she's learned that being an entrepreneur at the heart is all about learning how to scale your business through building teams. And that's what she helps people do. So I'm here with Jackie, Jackie. Thanks for coming on the show.

Jackie Koch: Thank you for having me.

Zach Arend: Yeah, let's go a little deeper on, how did you end up on this path of building out people operations?

For Silicon valley startups and now doing what you're doing today, give us a little more of the background.

Jackie Koch: Sure. Absolutely. So I'm from the Midwest, which I think is a very important thing to share. I, I just, my Midwestern, like pride runs deep and I moved to Los Angeles about eight years ago and I was doing my own entrepreneurship journey at that point in wellness. I was a trainer and I started working part-time at Lule, which was the first time that I had like really.

Saw how you could blend all of the personal development and like growth stuff into work. And it just got me super excited about human resources and recruiting again, cuz I had done that for about 10 years, had a layoff people and was just kind of burnt out of it for a while. And so I was working, you know, for a few years managing retail stores and wanted to get out of retail.

And I was like, where can I go? Where I don't feel like my soul will die. Like I cannot go back to a corporate environment. I just can't. And so that's when I started exploring the tech scene that was in LA. So it was the SI they call it Silicon beach. Right. And. I started working for startups and really was one of the, I guess I shouldn't say one of the first people hired, you know, a lot of the companies I joined a little bit later on in their growth stage where they were, you know, 200 employees and they grew so quick and didn't put any, I shouldn't say didn't put any thought into how they were building, but they didn't really hire people.

Who knew what they were doing. and I know that sounds terrible, but there, I walked into a lot of messes, so lawsuits and just bad work environments. And then the last company I was at in house, I was hired early as employee number 30, and I was able to partner with the CEO to really create just a great work environment and put in enough structure to support the business and scaling without it being super corporate and like, you know, lots of red tape.

And we did that together for about two and a half years until they really didn't need somebody at my level anymore. They, they really, we implemented a lot of the stuff and they needed some more entry level folks keeping the ship afloat. And so it was a great opportunity. It was a great experience for me to see how much I was able to help.

And then. On a personal side. Like a lot of my personal friends and family are entrepreneurs, whether it's digital, online entrepreneurs, like a lot of them have different businesses and they often were reaching out to me asking me questions about how to build a team, how to lead a team. And they just didn't have any understanding of how the, the HR, what you know is traditionally called HR side works because a lot of, a lot of them hadn't even worked in a traditional business before.

And so I decided to take the leap about two years ago now, which is wild to say and do some consulting work. And so I kind of support two, two sides of two different clients. Client types. One is like VC funded startups that have funding that are growing and then others are, you know, bootstrapped. You know, I call 'em not so solo entrepreneurs, like they've grown and they need to add a few people to the team and how do they do that?

And the needs are slightly different, but the same. And so that is how I ended up, you know, founding my company, people principles and, and doing everything I'm doing now. It,

Zach Arend: cool. I would love to experience some of what you experienced out in LA and the tech scene, the Silicon beach. Is that the same as Silicon valley or is it different?

Jackie Koch: I mean, it's all the same. It's pretty much all the same, right? Like they all, a lot of the companies go through the same VC, you know, capital firms. They go through the same accelerators. A lot of people go back and forth between, you know, San Francisco and LA and, and now honestly, like the tech scene is expanding into so many cities that it's not.

You know, Silicon valley anymore, it's everywhere. So it was a really, yeah. I learned a ton and I, I loved, I loved and hated every second of it.

Zach Arend: Well, is it, is it as fast paced as some of the stories I've heard? What was your experience?

Jackie Koch: yeah. I mean, you, 100% super fast paced, like be, you have to be very agile. You have to be adaptable, flexible, and also willing to learn new tools and systems very quickly. Right. Cuz every, every company is adopting a new technology. And so I think that, you know, having got been in large corporate environments to, to moving into those types of businesses, I learned so much and I was stretched to do things I had never done before.

Right. Because you are such a small team. I think that I learned. So much about being a business owner through working in those companies, that it was great. I, I loved every second of it for sure. And I, I saw ups and downs, right? Like you, you see the dream of like, oh, I'm gonna join this startup and I'm gonna have equity in the company.

And I learned so much about equity and what that means. And so that was life changing. And you get excited about this dream of this, of companies, like going public or getting acquired. And then you see quickly how the majority don't make it right. And then some do. And, and it was just cool to be a part of, for sure.

I think it, it definitely opened up a lot of opportunities for me and I meant some really amazing people along the way. For sure.

Zach Arend: me curious around what were some of the, you know, in the early days you were seeing all these mistakes, like what, what are some of the biggest mistakes you see these entrepreneurial businesses making when they begin hiring.

Jackie Koch: A lot of it is compliance. They don't know what the big compliance triggers are to investigate them. So like the, especially in California, there are so many employment laws and a lot of it was that. And I think it was just people who didn't realize some of those things. You had to look into example, you know, what is, what is an exempt role versus a non-exempt role?

How can I pay someone a salary when can't I, oh, I can't have two people in the same role. One like doing the same job with the same title. One is paid salary. One is paid hourly. Like you can't do that. Why? You know, a lot of those things came to play wage and hour issues in California, specifically around meals and rest breaks, clocking in, clocking out having to take rest breaks, forcing employees to take rest breaks.

A lot of that stuff I think was just. You don't realize it. Right. And then even simple things like creating benefit plan and benefit programs and doing like, when do you start offering certain benefits? How do to remain competitive? I mean, those weren't necessarily issues per se, but definitely stuff that you would run into.

So yeah, I would say compliance is the biggest thing. And then also like training, figuring out the, the right time to, to up level your team. Like the, the people, especially in leadership roles who get you to, you know, a certain revenue are not gonna be the ones probably that get you to the next level. And how do you handle that in a way that supports the business and, and the people working in your business.

Right? Those were some other things that we, we definitely dealt with.

Zach Arend: of I, my first job outta college. I had a nice corporate job at ups, but then I graduate and then I leave to go first startup. My, my parents were like, what are you doing? You know? And I remember starting and I showed up for my first day and they're like, did you bring your computer? And I'm like, what do you mean?

Bring my computer? And like, I had to go to best buy and buy my own laptop. Like they, I bought my own laptop. I had to figure out like, buy my own printer. but I'm wondering, I bet that was kind of what it was like with some of these startups. It's just like,

Jackie Koch: Oh

Zach Arend: yeah.

Jackie Koch: My last company I was at, I was the, you know, the head of HR, but also somehow was the office manager, the it person, like I was our G suite admin. I was the one wiping, figuring out how to wipe computers and issue them to new employees. And if anybody, I mean, I guess now I'm glad cuz I know how to do it, but it's just, you, you learn a lot of different things for sure.

And yeah, I mean, I'm still struggled with that with some companies like you, you should really give them a computer, you know, but now the issue is like, okay, if everyone's remote, who keeps the computers? Like where are they kept? You know, do I just have a closet in my house because I'm the HR person. I don't know.

It's interesting.

Zach Arend: And, and fast forward, I've worked with some large organizations and it's still, I was gonna say shit, show it's. It still can be that it still can be pretty chaotic and oh my God, they're starting tomorrow. Well, and then we're rushing to it to get the laptops out. Anyway, there's so much that goes into that.

And I want to dig in a little bit, cuz a lot of the listeners. Their entrepreneurial. I love the not so solo entrepreneur. That, that is probably, they're probably beyond that point. Maybe they've started to build their team, but they've put together a team of part-time people, contractors, and maybe they have a few full-time people, but the business continues to grow.

And let's go here because you said, I love this, that kind of, this idea of the people that you start with. Won't always be the people that you know, are, are with you five years down the road. And let's that, that's a tough topic because we love our people. We, you know, especially in the early days, I mean, you're like working in a closet together basically.

And you know, and you have all those stories, but then what's your experience been like? What's that evolution look like for a business as, as they continue to grow and how the team needs to evolve with the business.

Jackie Koch: mean, it can happen in a million ways. I've seen it happen a million ways. I think, you know, I don't wanna say that everybody on your team isn't gonna be with you forever because I don't think that's true, but I do think that there's this level of, you need to hire people with a growth mindset to your team, right.

And people who are very aware of, they just have self-awareness self-regulation abilities. Like they there's this awareness around what they're great at what they're not great at, so that you can have these conversations as your business is growing, but also you wanna support them in growing, right? So it's like, what things can you do to help your team members grow?

And how can you promote from within, because you wanna do that as much as possible. And a lot of times people will grow and grow, but then they'll reach this moment, right? Where, you know, maybe they're not the leader that can lead 25 people, but they were great with five people and. If you've developed this true radical candor in your organization where you're having these conversations, they probably know that too.

So then as that's happening, you can have those real conversations of like, okay, this is where the business is going. This is what we need. Like, I don't know if you're ready for that, you know? And, and then there's a lot of things you can do. You can hire a more experienced person for them to report to so that they can learn and develop and grow and eventually get to that level.

Sometimes that works. Sometimes people's egos are too hurt that they can't do that. And then you just have to have those real conversations. I guess that advice is for people who have full-time employees, right. Where sometimes I think, you know, even me, I have contractors supporting my business right now.

When I, I think having a honest, just keeping open and honest dialogue with people of like, Hey, my bus, like I'm growing. And I, I really need this role to be this, to be a full-time job. Are you interested? And if they're not then say, okay, well I'm gonna work on filling this role full time and we can figure out a transition plan because I've been, I'm so grateful for how much you've helped me or, or whatever.

So I think like, there's this, this fear around having these conversations with your team members, that you think that people are gonna freak out, or you are scared to have it, but they want to have these conversations. And the majority of people will, will respond in a great way when you're having these conversations with them along the way.

But I do feel like as a leader, oftentimes they feel like they need to hold everything so close to their chest, whether it's to protect the team or because they're scared to have the conversation and make it real. There's lots of different or because you have one bad experience, right? You, you, you try to do this with one team member and they blow up and they go on slack and they say all of these things, or.

And so then you're like, oh, I'm never doing that again. And it's like, don't let one bad apple ruin something like that may happen. But the majority of the people are not gonna do that in, in my experience.

Zach Arend: I love that because this radical candor that you're speaking of, like when you keep it an ongoing dialogue and just sharing where you're at being vulnerable as the leader, the, the business owner, I always think the answer is vulnerability. Not, not being a victim or being, you know, a so, you know, but really being real with, Hey, this is where we're at.

And as we continue to grow, the needs are gonna change. And I don't know what that means. I don't know what that means, but let's go on this journey together, you know, and, but then continue to have the conversations from a place of caring, love, and compassion, but then also. What, what does the business need?

I, one of the questions that I've noticed really helps my clients is it's very personal to them. It's their business, right? It's very personal. And for me to go have that tough conversation with somebody, they might be some meaning around that makes me a greedy person, because I wanna keep growing instead of, or whatever, there's these story it's very personal.

But if we can start to change the language to what does the business need, not, what do I need for sure. There's an element of, what do I need? You gotta, I believe you have to serve yourself as a leader, a business owner, but what is the business need? And, and really working towards everybody's focused on the greater good of the business.

And sometimes that means certain people have to do what's right. For the best interest of the, the greater good. And, and when you can create a culture like that, it's pretty cool. It doesn't make it any easier, but the conversations are key.

Jackie Koch: Yeah. Well, I think part of that's like creating ownership,

Zach Arend: Oh yeah.

Jackie Koch: the more your team members are bought into where you're going, not just the tasks they're completing, the more they're gonna be with you for the ride, you know? And, and especially as a small business owner, if you are hiring part-time people, they probably have other part, like they're probably an entrepreneur themselves too, right.

For the most part. And so they'll get it. They understand like they, they get it and they understand that. And you want people who are adaptable. Like if you, if you have the conversation with someone you're like, I don't know where it's heading, but I know this is where we're going for the next six months.

If somebody can't handle that, they're probably not right for. Business like there, like when you say that to somebody, there may be someone who's like, well, I need more stability. I need stability. And there are people who like cannot handle ambiguity. So they're gonna go work for a more, a larger company where they have this false sense of security.

Right. We've seen that happen and that's okay. But because you, as a small business owner, you, you likely need people who can handle a bit of unknown right. And handle it. Well.

Zach Arend: So one of the other things, so I'm thinking of a, a conversation I had, it was, it was a while ago, but the, a business owner just feeling overwhelmed, there's so much on, on their plate and it's becoming a grind. They're not looking forward to coming into work. Most days that just the to-do list is growing and they come to me and say, I need help.

I need help. And. Naturally they're thinking about hiring an assistant or just somebody to help them and the direction I've steered them in. And I just want you to shoot me straight to what do you think and what do you see? But it's not a question of you needing help. It's it's starting to go to work, building a structure for your business, because I have found that when you just hire people to help you, now, you just add in more to your plate, cuz now they're waiting on you to direct them on what to do next and that's exhausting.

And now it's like you get, you're working on a project over here and like, oh my God, I gotta go tell Jill what to do today. And then it actually makes, makes things worse. And so if that was not what I don't wanna say, should I hate shoulding on myself or other people, but if that's the incorrect way of doing it, what would be your recommendations to really get, get some of the relief as the, the business owner, as that business grows?

Jackie Koch: Well, I guess the, the advice would be so would be different depending on the business and, and the roles they have in place or whatever. But. I don't. I think there's a time in which you need an assistant, right? It's not usually the first hire that you need. And I hear a lot of people giving that advice that, oh, just go hire an assistant, but I think you're right.

I think what you just described is exactly what happens and less, that assistant is able to help put processes in place. Like if they're an operation, if they're a little bit of a higher level operations person who can help you create the systems and the processes, but if they're just your task doer, it's just gonna create more work.

Right. And so you definitely need the systems now taking, I mean, as a business owner myself, I, it's hard for me to find time to create the systems. I get it, but it's necessary. And so. I do think it's a system like a systemic issue most often than a assistant issue. And I think the first few hires are usually part-time subject matter experts, almost like outsourced help.

So like somebody you're probably gonna pay a little bit more for it than you would a part-time assistant. But the leverage you get from that I think is so much better because you can outsource a part of your business to an expert. So I made this mistake when I first hired somebody, I, I hired an assistant who I thought could do my social media and could help me with some launches, could help with podcasts and it ended up being.

I ended up feeling like it wasn't the right hire because she needed support in order to make those things happen. So she was capable of doing it all, but then she just felt overwhelmed and she was like, well, I need somebody to do this. And I'm like, well maybe, maybe then I need to hire a social media team.

So now I just have a social media team. It's a agency that I pay every month and they do all of my social media. They create my content, they post it, they do everything. I have somebody doing my, my podcast cuz I have a podcast as well. So I completely outsource it. And it's so much better for me because I don't really have to think about it.

I don't have to give direction. Right. And so I see that being a better use of my time and, and resources than an assistant would've been. And then if you already have those things and you actually need help with what assistants need typically do like scheduling, booking, travel, like actual. Like executive administrative assistant job duties, then hire an assistant because you do get to a point where like, you can't keep up with your inbox.

You can't keep up with your scheduling. You need someone to prep you for meetings. You know, that is what an assistant is there for. Or, you know, I guess, you know, in, in some ways an assistant could also package things and ship things out and, you know, there's, there's different things that an assistant does, but if you're just looking for someone to, to kind of execute a lot of things, it's probably better to hire experts first.

Zach Arend: So let's, let's look at this a little bit. So keep continuing on business keeps growing. So started out hiring some contractors, specialization, and maybe started hiring a few people to help, you know, with the shipping and packaging and fulfilling orders. And then the business grows and grows and keeps growing.

And that just doesn't seem to be enough anymore.

Jackie Koch: Right.

Zach Arend: Now what? And now it's like, gosh, I got all the people helping, but now it's just so much, there's so many moving pieces. This is overwhelming again. What, what now?

Jackie Koch: Well, I think at that time, if you're in a position where you already have five people on your team doing a, a function like quotes, you kind of have some processes down, right? Like you, you've kind of done a lot of that work. And so I think there's this evolution of a business where you start specialized with part-time freelancers, and then you get to a point where there's so much work.

You need to hire a full, a few full-time employees. So then you can look to what of those functions could be combined into one full-time job. And can I hire a generalist to do that? And the difference between hiring a generalist to do that versus an assistant. Is, they are gonna be a much more experienced person.

Who's capable of doing stuff on their own and not be told what to do. Right. And so at that point, you can look at the aspects of your business, like, okay, what could I, what could I put together? What two roles or two contractors could actually be like a full-time job. And then there there's people out there who can do that.

Right. That's why you have marketing managers. A marketing manager does a ton of stuff. They can do social media, they can do like, they can do so many things. So maybe it's a marketing manager role. You need, maybe it's an operations manager. Right. And that's a office manager, it manager fulfillment, supply chain person.

Like somebody can do all of that. And then. So you do that for a few years until you hit the next level of scaling. And then again, you specialize out those things because then at some point your marketing needs to be divided into a social media manager, a retention manager, a digital marketing person.

But for a while, that can all be housed under one person, because there are a lot of generalists out there. And there's a lot of like blogs and podcasts and books about how generalists really are some of the best hires. But you do get to a point where a generalist can't do it all. And then you do start to kind of specialize again, but they can be full time hires at that point because the, the scaling or the scope of the, the role just demands that.

And I don't think it, I think people look to, as I think when people say assistance, they mean generalists and they just don't wanna pay them a. That's what it comes down to. They think they can. So they, they, they, they hire an assistant, the compensation isn't super high. And then they're pissed off that they don't know how to do all of these technical things.

And it's like, well, you hired an assistant, you didn't hire a marketing manager, you know, like, so that would be my advice.

Zach Arend: you say a generalist. Mind's kinda like a right hand person, just somebody who's doing more of the leg work the day to day helping you run stuff down or, or give us a better definition than

Jackie Koch: A generalist to me is somebody who can go wide on a lot of things, but not deep on something.

Zach Arend: that. Probably. Yeah.

Jackie Koch: And so a lot of times you'll find, like for example, in human resources, You'll find the, I mean, this role is an actual title. It's a human resource generalist and it's somebody who can do knows enough about benefits to keep a small business plan going knows enough about recruiting to help out a little bit can do basic payroll, right?

Can do a little bit of training and development. They, they know enough to do that, but they don't know all of the laws as it relates to benefits and reporting and E E O C reporting. And so as your business gets to like 200 people, you might need just somebody who knows everything you need to know about benefits.

So then at that point you hire a benefits manager and that person then takes on enrolling the team in benefits, handling the benefits, negotiations, handling all the reporting. But the generalist that was doing it before didn't know all of those things because they didn't need to right.

Zach Arend: is, would you see a generalist for multiple functions, like a marketing generalist, an HR generalist? Or have you seen like just a business generalist? Like a

Jackie Koch: I think there are people who, who definitely do that. A lot of times it's like a chief of staff, a bus, like an operations manager oftentimes can do it, but usually they can do a lot of the backend stuff of like sales and marketing, but they're usually not gonna be the person like doing a lot of the sales and things like

Zach Arend: Yeah. And one of the examples is maybe tell me if I'm off Facebook. I'm just trying to make this real in my mind too. Is. Maybe you have a fulfillment generalist or an order of fulfillment shipping, generalists, so they can fulfill orders, pack them, ship them, create shipping labels and do all the things and make sure they go out on time, but they don't necessarily have the deep dive knowledge of how to negotiate a FedEx contract.

Jackie Koch: How to find a new three, PL they won't know how to do that.

Zach Arend: And that's what the owner's still doing. Right. And that actually what you're bringing to mind, I actually had a client that was the situation and an opportunity. Well, it didn't feel like an opportunity at the time she lost her shipping generalist. We'll just say in the middle of busy season and it's just like, whoa, now I've gotta do all that.

I need some, I need to get somebody in here immediately to take that work back over. And I just remember her pausing and you know, I, in our, she was a client of mine and, and I asked her the question, like, what do you really need. Do you wanna keep negotiating the FedEx contracts yourself and, and anyway, long story short, she ended up hiring.

She upleveled the role. She, instead of just filling the hole, she went and found somebody that had inventory management experience at a, probably a company at least three times as large as hers. And he now sits on their leadership team and, and the whole business has gotten better for it. Cuz now she has outside perspective when I was in a leadership role years ago.

I, it feels amazing when you have somebody in a seat that's giving you something to react to. Like I had this conversation with FedEx. I think that we could get better rates if we did X, Y, Z. What do you think? I think we should do a, you know, and yes, do that. Like you're just like, oh, this is amazing. And that's what she started experiencing is like the business got better and the business is grown because it took courage, paying somebody probably more than she's paid before.

That's the other question is like, if you were to pay. $60,000, 70, whatever, what would you need to see from them? What would qualify for that type of pay and right away, she's like, well, then I would not be talking to FedEx anymore. I would not be even looking at the, when the website goes down any ain't my problem.

Or, you know, it all of a sudden you're like, well, how would that work for you? And they're like, well, that'd be amazing. You know? Oh my God, I then could work on all this visionary stuff and launch new products. And then by there, they're like, I need to do this. Like the business can't afford not to do this.


Jackie Koch: Right. I do think you're bringing up. What's an interesting topic is like having a growth mindset around hiring. Like I think people are just so afraid to pay people to do jobs and, and I get it, like it's scary to, to pay, you know, what, just to pay more than you ever have, or to invest in, in a person because you don't see the return on investment that first week.

Right. You, you see, but you do end up seeing it very quickly and you, you just, a lot of times you get what you pay for, for a lot of jobs. And I do think there's once you, once you see the success of it, once it's easier, right. To be like, okay, we are ready. We're gonna do this, but I do think it's, it can be hard to overcome for sure.

Zach Arend: And every time you do make the decision or you're faced with that decision, you know, you feel that just like, oh my God, can I do this? Can I pay this? Can the business. And I think it really comes down to this is this is for a small business owner, entrepreneurial business, not, you know, I think it, the game changes when you're larger and, but when it's your business and you're starting to build out your team and you, you start to think about hiring a bigger role, which costs a lot more.

What you're really doing is betting on yourself because there's this, I don't know. I think there's some comfort. Not that it's what we want as business owners, but there's some comfort in the being busy. Like we just kind of get comfortable with running around their hair, on fire and like doing all the things and the thought of letting go is scary.

But I also, the more I've worked with clients, what I'm learning is they know that if they let go, then they no longer have any excuse to. Doing what they know that they're being called towards whether that's being more present on social media or I don't know, be what, whatever it is. Like they probably have a very unique position that they get can play in the business that can really move the business forward more than likely it's a position that's gonna scare 'em a little bit, or they don't wanna do, or whether that's sales or marketing.

Right. But I, I don't know. I'm curious what your experience has been, but I think growth mindset you're talking about. I love that, you know, it's, it's just as the business owner, are you putting yourself at the bottom of another mountain and continuing to up level yourself because you're gonna be the limiting factor of your business?

I, I believe, and because the second you decide to up level yourself and say, you know what, I am gonna take that on this bigger thing on, I can see how it's gonna impact the business now. For me to do that, I have to build a team and I have to start letting go. And, and so that's another way of coming at it.

What, what's your experience been as you've worked with some of the, the smaller business owners, trying to make that transition to playing more full out in their business, letting go of the more trivial, busy work, it's hard to let go of. One

Jackie Koch: I, you know, to be completely candid, I don't have a lot of experience in that. You know, I, I do with like my personal friends and, and things like that, for sure. But from like a, a. Aunt perspective. Most of the time when people work with me, they, they know they need to hire a role or they've kind of gone through that work themselves.

They've probably worked with someone like you, and then they're like, okay, I need to hire this person. But it just comes with time. You start passing a few things off and you see, it gets done better than how you would've done it. And you're like, okay, all right. And then it just kind of builds the muscle of like, okay, I can delegate this and I can give this to someone else or something bad happens.

And it's not as bad as they think it's gonna be. And they're like, okay, well, it is what it is.

Zach Arend: of the best things, a business I've I love this. It's like, it's so cool. A business owner goes on vacation for like two, three weeks, or, you know, if, if they're working with me and there's a lot of, there's a ramp up to it, like I'm gonna be gone. I gotta make sure everybody's gonna be okay.

Jackie Koch: Oh my gosh. That gives me anxiety, myself thinking about not working for that long.

Zach Arend: But then they get back and they tell me it went great.

They went great. My team did great. And it's kind of like, all right, well, let's not go back the way things were. like, cause you were gone for three weeks, you know, two weeks, one week. I don't remember the, but there's something about that. Yeah.

Jackie Koch: It's just like when you quit a job, you think that the company is gonna crumble because you left and like, there's no way they're gonna handle it without you. And then you leave and everyone's fine. Like the business is fine. It's not a big deal. And then you're like, why did I care so much about this?

Right. Is

Zach Arend: You're making me think of something. I was in college. This was a part-time job for God's sakes. It was a part-time job at ups. I ran a area of the building, where they were loading all the packages and the trailers to be shipped all over the, the us. Right. And, and I had about 12 people reporting to me.

All loading boxes. By the end of the night, we probably loaded like 20,000 boxes. There's a lot of boxes being loaded. Well, ups gives two weeks paid vacation, you know, as a college student, like that's awesome. Well, I remember that first week I took, I'd already been working with this team for about six months.

I took a week off, you know what I did the, the night, my first night, day off, I called my supervisor. I said, how'd it go? How'd it go? Like, I'm this like 20? I don't even think I was 21 yet. I, so, so there, yeah. And that was a part-time job. So I can't imagine what business anyway.

Jackie Koch: I know it usually always works out, but the, the nice thing is, is when you put so much time into prepping for a vacation, then you have a lot of the stuff set up to, like you said, like, well, what, what part of this vacation coverage plan can just continue forever? Right. So that's definitely helpful,

Zach Arend: So let's let's shift because I wanted to ask you about this, cause I'm sure this, you are bump up against this too. A lot of people are saying it's so hard to find good people right now. There's just nobody out there. And as a coach, I pay attention to the inner game. Like, I'm just gonna say, well, that story you're telling yourself, isn't helpful.

So I don't wanna, like, I don't wanna debate if there's people or not. It's just, it's just all about how do we attract people.

Jackie Koch: right?

Zach Arend: It's funny, you know, I went into an inside, out burger the other day. Like there's like 12 people just flipping burgers. It's just like, well, they don't seem to have a hiring problem.

I go next

Jackie Koch: Wait is in and out actually called inside out.

Zach Arend: Did I say inside

Jackie Koch: Yeah.

Zach Arend: No it's called in and out.

Jackie Koch: Okay. That's what I thought. But I, then I was like, well maybe my, my, maybe my Minnesota self doesn't know anyways.

Zach Arend: Well, I'm from the Midwest too. So it's been a while cuz we don't have those here in the Midwest, but when I was living in Dallas and, but then the next restaurant next door doesn't have any staff. You're sitting there waiting and it's not all the same. And so I would like to explore a little bit of how to make a great hire, you know, how to track them for sure.

But also what goes into that, we were talking a little bit before the, the episode hit record, we were just talking about preparation and how to even get ready to, to hire well, which therefore I think you're with that clarity, you're gonna be more likely to track the right people. And so let's just talk about that a little bit.

Cause I think that's a, an important topic to cover.

Jackie Koch: Yeah. I mean, there's, that's such a, there's so much I could go into in both of these topics, but I think that people are just looking for a different type of work. Like there's still people who want to work and yes, it's hard. It harder, I guess air quotes is it's harder to find people, but maybe it's a great time for you to shift, to make sure your place is a place that people want to work.

So I don't know. I feel, I also feel like the tables are turning a little bit in terms of it becoming less of a employee market. And leveling out a little bit. Right? So it has, you know, the last, the last year has been one of the hardest recruiting years of my life, because it's hard to find people, but also the companies that I've been recruiting for are really cool companies and we've filled all of their jobs.

So it's not like it's impossible. Right. And I do think it's turning a little bit. And I think part of it is that you need to figure out where people are looking for jobs is changing as well as. People no longer want two, three jobs because they, they, they were in, in the middle of the pandemic. Didn't have to work as much.

They're like, you know what, the time with my friends and family is more important than working three jobs now with the recession coming that could change. So who knows? So I guess the answer to their first question is, is like, I think it's a mindset thing. I don't think it's impossible to hire talent right now in terms of what I preach on my podcast on the course I'm building, when I'm working with clients, it's like.

Preparing and getting clear on the role you actually need is so important. And I think that oftentimes, you know, people will run to post a job or start talking to candidates, but they don't even know the job they're really looking to fill. And so they'll be like, okay, well I just wanna talk to people.

And then as they talk to people who they meet determines the job that they fill, right? Cause they'll be like, oh, well this person, she seemed really good at X, Y, Z. Maybe she could take that on too. Maybe we don't actually need this job. Maybe we need that job. And I just think that leads you to make, to hire the wrong roles in general.

And then you don't even know if you hired the right fit for the job because you didn't tailor the interview process to interview for what you know you need.

Zach Arend: Yeah, enough has been said on that topic. We'll just say that like, it's, it's kind of like, I'm, I'm, I'm just like,

Jackie Koch: I'm over it. Well,

Zach Arend: I'm over it. Like, it is what it is now because I'm like, let's move forward, whatever it is. I'm still going to build my team and I'm gonna sit here and wh like I'm gonna get active and get creative.

So, so let's just put that on the table and set that aside, because I think once you get past that, now it's all about, alright, I'm doing this. I am gonna take the, because I think that excuse just keeps people from even trying. They just like, well, now's not a good time to hire, so I'm just gonna complains.

I'm being a little, um, frisky here.

Jackie Koch: if you realize that you can't find the job you actually need to hire for, then you go internally and you're like, okay, well, how could we maybe fill this differently than we envisioned? Right. Do we hire a recent grad and teach them? Do we like, there's just a lot of inward stuff you can do once you've actually proved out that you can't fill the job, which I think usually does not prove itself out.

Zach Arend: let's spend some more time talking about how do you get clear on what you need, because what you just hit on was so good because it's so normal, you meet somebody you're like, oh, I really like them. I would like them to work with me. What could they do here? You know? And, and, and then, and we build the whole team like that and the business, owner's still sitting at the hub, directing traffic cuz.

And so, you know, I teach my clients. Really get clear on what does the structure of this business need to look like? What are the, the major seats, if you will, before you even start thinking names, like what does the business really need kind of for where you're going and what you're wanting to build. So you gotta have, there's so many components to this, right?

You gotta have a vision. Where are you? What are you building towards? What, what are you, what have you set out to create and then reverse engineering that to, okay, well then if I were to be spending my time here, building this, creating this, growing that I'm gonna need a team, what would those, what would those seats on that team be doing no names, no people getting clear on that.

So pick it up from there. So let's say we're starting to get clear. Maybe we're clear from a general sense. I need a marketing person, somebody to help me with social media and da, da, da. And I also know I need an accounting bookkeeper. I just I'm done with that, but still kind of general. Right. And, and are we ready to just go higher at this point?

Or is there some more things we need to be thinking.

Jackie Koch: Well, I think there's a, a few things to think through which I get a lot of eye rolls of. Like, I don't have time to do that. Well, then you are gonna have time to manage. Bad hire, like, you know, like that's just what it is. I wish there was a cheat sheet. Trust me, I would be a millionaire if there was a cheat sheet, but I do think there's a lot of prep that goes into once, you know, you need to fill a job defining what that is.

Right. And there's, there's a lot of ways you can do that, but I I've, I've kind, I take some of the stuff from there's this book, if you, I don't know if any of the listeners here would find it as interesting as me, but it's called who, and it's like a whole book about how to determine who to hire and how to hire.

And I think, you know, it's written a long time ago, so I think there's aspects of it that are really great. And I think there are other aspects of it that are a little outdated. And so I pull in some of that stuff into my process. And so, you know, I think the first thing you do is create almost you, you can call it a scorecard or rubric, but it's more than just a job description, right.

Because here's what happens. I need to hire a marketing person. So, what does the business owner do? What does a marketing person do, or marketing manager, job description, and they copy and paste it, and that's what they use. And it's like, but does this actually make sense for your business? Right. So it's fine.

If, if you're learning, if you, if you don't know what marketing is, great, Google that learn what marketing is and, and get an idea of that, but then take time to create an actual like plan for the role for your business. So honestly, think about like in the next year, think about just six months to a year, what are five things this job needs to accomplish, right?

Like five things that need to get done. So maybe it's like implement a CRM system. Maybe it's create an email automation, implement an email automation tool. Like there's things that need to happen and get clear on what that looks like. And by when, so that, you know, what success looks like, and also, you know, What to ask when you're interviewing people, like, have you ever rolled out a CRM?

How would you, what did it like, how did you decide which ones to use? Like you can do that because you have the actual tasks kind of outline, and you wanna get clear on that. And I actually divide the role rubric into like three parts. So there there's the tasks and accomplishments section, like thinking about how your business would change with this role and what you want done in the next year.

And I say a year, because as a business, I don't know about you, but I can only think about what my business will look like in a year. Like, I can't think about it in five years from now. So I think a year is good. And then once you have those kind of outlined, what are some of the core expertise the person needs to have to do those well, right?

The core qualities, the core characteristics, you know, that they need to have. And then the third part is. What are some comp like take time to think about what are team values? What are team core values or, or values that you, I loved how at my last company, my founders talked about it this way. Like we had five values that we were unwilling to teach people, like people who joined our team needed to have a baseline mastery of some of these values.

Cuz we weren't gonna teach them that. Are you gonna ebb and flow in and out of them? Yes. But like you needed to have a baseline understanding like a baseline mastery of them. And so those are like, think about in a, who do you wanna work with? What do you want those team members to all have in common? For me, I love the book.

The four agreements, those agreements are kind of like my core values. Always try your best, honor your word. You know, don't take things personally. Like those are the core values of my business and who I hire. And if you don't believe in those four agreements, then you're probably not gonna. Enjoy working with me.

So figure out what those are. Then you write a job posting job posting is just sales copy, right? Like a job posting is not a job description that you copy and pasted. You wanna turn that into a sales copy and that's what you post out there, but you're interviewing against the roll score card, the role scorecard.

Once you have that created, then you create a hiring plan to make sure you're assessing for all of those things you just wrote out. And it doesn't have to be super long and lengthy, but you at least wanna have a plan so that you're putting everyone through the same process. You're accurately like waiting people against one another.

You know what good looks like when you see it in all of those things?

Zach Arend: And part of the hiring plan, would you, would that pertain to even the questions you're asking during the interview and so that you can have a consistent vetting process?

Jackie Koch: Yeah. So you would create interview questions to assess all of the things you wrote on the scorecard and like maybe, and then you determine when you ask them. So. Your initial meeting with them, you know, you're gonna ask them these five, six questions, and then the final interview with them. You're gonna ask them these five questions that are you didn't ask in the first one.

And you actually write out the question and it's so important that you map it out ahead of time. Like, especially if you know, we're living in a world where diversity inclusion is so important and like the best way to reduce bias in an interview process is to have an interview plan set up ahead of time and follow it with every single person.

Like no matter what, and that's how you reduce bias and make sure one. That. I mean, you're, we all have bias, right? We're all humans. And so like following the plan reduces it significantly, make sure you, and it also ensures that you're asking about everything that's important and not following victim to like, I fall victim to the, like me bias all the time.

Like I meet someone, I like you you're like me. Oh my God. We would work so well together. You finish my sentences. I finish yours. Well, I don't, uh, my business doesn't need a bunch of MES running around. Right? Like they need different things and a way to make sure that I don't fall victim to that. And I know that is a downfall of mine is to have this hiring plan.

Which in sales

Zach Arend: Something I saw. So I spent five years leading sales people, and we hired lots of sales people. And early on the number one mistake we made collectively, cuz we, we made hiring decisions as an executive team. There was, we would, they would meet with multiple leaders of the company and we kind of make the decision one.

I would defer to what other people thought. And I hired them, even though I didn't have the right feeling so that that's not the number one, the number one issue I, I fell into and we all did was we did we hired. The likable people. Yeah. Well, it was, it was like a, a feeling like, I don't know, I just have this feeling about

Jackie Koch: oh yeah. Like a gut. Right.

Zach Arend: And I remember some of them that we had the best feeling about turned out to be the worst hires. Like they, they just knew how to say all the right things. When it came down rubber, meet the road, the work didn't get done.

And, and I just think your question, what you just said is having a hiring plan. It, it protects you from falling prey to that. Oh, I don't. I get a feeling, you know, and I'm not saying we should like throw our feeling out. Cuz if you get a feeling like. You need to listen to it, but back it up with some data, ask some questions, validate what you're feeling.

And then I love what you said about, we have a tendency to just look for who's like us. Cause I'm aware that I had that filter early on and I would ask all my questions. Like, where'd you grow up? Oh, good. You grew up in the Midwest. Well, I like y'all already, you know?

Jackie Koch: do that. I mean, I still am victim to

Zach Arend: must, you must have work ethic, right?

Jackie Koch: Well, move, move to LA and you

Zach Arend: yeah. Right. Probably true. But, but then this idea of values, those still are non-negotiable like you values are more, I love what you said. I wrote that down, like values are something were unwilling to teach our people. Like they have to have 'em when they walk in the door or they're gonna hate working here cuz they're just not gonna fit.

So I think we gotta separate values. We're interviewing for values. That's probably a different set of questions cuz that's more the attitudinal side. But then we've got to ask questions around the competencies of the, the deliverables of the job. Can they do this job? Do they have some evidence and some experiences and maybe, and I think you've, I've, I've followed you a little bit.

I've I love what you have to say. Like this idea of just find talented people. They can learn the skills when you find talented people, especially in the workplace we're in, like we got, you just gotta find good people that have the values. Cause if they have the values, they usually, and they have some talent, they, they can figure out a lot of things.

Jackie Koch: Most people can for sure. And, but you also have to be willing to invest in, in people too, right? I mean, I, I wish I could say I've perfected. I always say this and I have not perfected this process. So maybe this is biting me in the, in the butt here, but I feel like if you found someone who cares and who tries.

You can go so far with them. Right. And that's hard to do that in an interview for sure. You kind of learn that as, as you go, but circling back a little bit. So like, it feels like a lot of work, but if you think about it, once you create this process, once you kind of have it for all of the rest of your hires, you just gotta change a few things here and there, but like you develop it once and it's kind of what, what it is.

Right? So while it might seem like a lot of extra work the first time and it, it, candidly will be, it will be so worth it and you'll make better hires. Most of the time. I'm not gonna say a hundred percent cuz you're still dealing with humans. And then it's just a, it's a process that every time you hire, you know exactly what to do again.

Right. So, and you can reuse a lot of the same stuff. You can reuse a lot of the same questions. So it's not like you have to start from scratch every single time you hire someone.

Zach Arend: Yeah. I wanna say one thing that you said and highlight it, and then let's kind of wrap up. I have a few quick hit questions for you, but I think what I just heard you say is even those that have the best systems and process for interviewing and, and hiring and recruiting and those that have decades of experience hiring still make bad hires. It's inevitable. If you hire people, you're gonna hire some people and realize, oops, not, not, not what we thought they were and it's this isn't working.

Jackie Koch: And some of it's you and like some of it's them. And just because you make a bad hire once doesn't mean you shouldn't keep building your team. Back

Zach Arend: Right. Because I, I love that. You said that because I've seen. That experience just destroy the confidence of the leader and they start questioning their whole bit. Like, I don't know, maybe I shouldn't hire, maybe I'm not ready to hire. Maybe I don't even know what I want. And it goes so deep down in the well that they, they lose all sense of, of themselves and their confidence.

And, and I just wanted to stress. Hey, it's normal. Hey, it's gonna happen to you. If you're building a team, you're gonna hire the wrong people. Keep caring for 'em show compassion by being open and honest at radical, Canor be up front and things just work out.

Jackie Koch: to your comment earlier about how like their business is so personal, like it's so. To to you. And I think you just have to remember that people who terminate employment all the time, like, it, it, it happens, right? Like you make bad hires, you end the employment relationship, you hire somebody new. Like, I guess for me, I don't have worries about hiring somebody because not that I think that everybody, like I take hiring very seriously.

Right. But I also know that if it doesn't work out, I'm not obligated to make it work out. Right. Like I can make a decision and I've had to lay off and fire hundreds of people throughout my career. And I hope I never have to do that in my business, but I know that I will. And I'm okay with that. And you're not alone.

You're not like the only person who has to make a difficult hire, like, like decision with your team. It's okay. It happens. And it doesn't mean you, you failed or, or anything like that.

Zach Arend: Or failed them, you know, failed them. And now, like, I remember how painful it was just the story. I would tell myself around, but, but he has a family, she has a family and, and, oh, it's right before Christmas. And I'm not saying maybe there's some things you weigh out there, but I would tell myself a story.

Like it ain't gonna get any better than this. I'm really letting them down. Like, like, there's something about like, I'm, it's like, I almost like by letting them go, I'm literally kicking them off the street and now they can't even feed their family, you know? But there's something, but then I, I don't know if this is weird, but I've kind of tried to stay in touch with some of those people, whether it's just on LinkedIn and they'll pop up, they'll pop up and it's like, oh, she's a realtor now.

Oh my God, I'm looking at pictures. I'm like, whoa, I never saw her smile so much. Like I'm like, thank God I fired. I'm gonna say it fired her so that she could like. Find her thing. I was, I was kinda let go of a high level leadership position. Best thing that happened to me, extremely painful in the moment.

But I'm so thankful for that. So just to reframe, like, if it's not working for you, then it's, it can't work for them. We gotta move on. You owe it to 'em mm-hmm

Jackie Koch: having. Real conversations about their performance. They're also unhappy. Like , people are not dumb, you know, like they know, so yes, all of that.

Zach Arend: well, I wanna ask a few quick questions. I love to read books and listen to podcasts, which is why I started one, but is there a book or a podcast that you're really into right now?

Jackie Koch: I do have a book. I love it is not related at all to hiring or team building the comfort crisis. It is one of my favorites. And then also atomic habits. Both of those are, are books. I've read very recently that I love. So those would be the two for this year.

Zach Arend: Oh, my gosh. I listened to

Jackie Koch: So good. I know. I tell myself that every day when I'm going, when I go run in the Arizona desert and it's a hundred degrees, I'm like, I'm getting out, I'm building resilience. I'm building resilience.

Zach Arend: Yeah. Have you heard of the book, the coddling of the American mind?

Jackie Koch: I've heard of it. I have not read it. I'm a little terrified to read

Zach Arend: Yeah, it. Yes. I understand. So good. It remind it came to mind when you said the comfort crisis, because there's so much, I don't know. There's just so many counterintuitive things that we don't do that we need to do, cuz it's really gonna serve us. It's really gonna make us be healthy and leave to a more rich, fulfilling, meaningful life.

And I don't know, I, I tend to pay attention to those things cuz I want, yeah, I'm only here once I wanna live life to its fullest. So

Jackie Koch: it. a hundred percent.

Zach Arend: last thing let's just talk a little bit about where people could find you answer this question first. What are you building? I like to ask, ask my guests this, like what are you building?

Jackie Koch: Totally. So my business right now has I do a lot of consulting services and recruiting. Like I, I, I will fill jobs for people. They'll pay me a fee. I will do all the heavy lifting to, to fill jobs. And I just have it in my heart to. Build a course that teaches entrepreneurs how to do what I do so that they can build the hiring muscle themselves.

Because I think if you are going to be building a business, you need to learn how to hire people. I just don't think you're gonna scale unless you know how to do it. You can't just outsource it every time you need it done. And so I am working on a course called hiring school. It will be I'm finishing up filming and it will be ready to launch, you know, end of the summer.

And it's truly a step by step process. How to do some of the things that we talked about with templates and, and easy to plug in stuff to make it to, to help you create your hiring process. Because I have been doing this for 15 years. I've learned I've, I've learned through osmosis. I've actually never had an interview training myself.

I've had to learn all of it on my own. And what I've found is a lot of these books like traction or some of these other books, Amazing books for helping you scale your business, but it's really light on the, the hiring side. Like it basically says, make sure you hire good people. Great. Thank you. That's not helpful.

How do I do that? Right. And so that's what this course teaches you and helps solve for. And so that will be launching very, very soon. So super excited about that. And I also launched a podcast about three months ago called hiring school where I, every week I have a little bit of a, an episode, whether it's an interview or me sharing about a topic as it relates to hiring and, and team building as well.

Zach Arend: Very cool. Well, I'll make sure there's links in the show notes. And when I was researching our conversation today, I did download and checked out. You have on your website, four tips to making a great hire.

Jackie Koch: Yeah,

Zach Arend: I just, if you have a business and you're thinking about building a team, if I'm you I'm downloading that because that's not, I read it.

It's not, I went through it and it's not some cheeky, like simple it's, there's a lot of meat and potatoes in Midwest meat and potatoes. And I loved, I really liked the first step you shared around that rubric and the structure. Like, so if, if any of that resonated with you, if you're listening, go download that, cuz that's a very rich content piece that Jackie's put together for you.

So I'll put links in the show for all of that.

Jackie Koch: website for that is join hiring You can get on the wait list for when the course launches and, and to be able to buy it. And then also you can download the, the four tips to a great hire there as well.

Zach Arend: Awesome. Join hiring Very cool. Jackie, thanks for coming on the show. I had a lot of fun and I don't know. I have a feeling that we might be talking.

Jackie Koch: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks so much for having me.

Zach Arend: Hopefully you really enjoyed this podcast episode and my hope is you. Really inspirational. And also most importantly, I hope you took away some practical things that you can start to do and apply in your own life. So finally, I have one small favor to ask of you before you go, wherever you get your podcasts, whether that's apple music or Spotify.

If you enjoyed this episode, leave us a review. Love to hear your thoughts. Come find us on social media, share it on social media. It just really helps us get the word out, helps us grow our audience. So please do that. Thanks to my team, Ashley Bolden, who handles all the admin and Chris Skipper who handles all the music and editing of this podcast for more information.

Great purpose podcast. You can go to, and you can also follow me on Instagram at @zach.arend. Please drop me a comment, reach out, drop me a DM. I'd love to hear from you and love to hear what you're taking away from these conversations. What would you like to hear more of? Do you have any guests that you would love to see?

Come on the show. And I'm always looking for great people to talk to people with great stories that can inspire you. And so if you know of anybody, send them my way, love to hear from. I'm your host, Zach Aaron, and I'll see you in the next episode of the Create Purpose Podcast. Bye for now.