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The Speed to Hire Show - Proactive Hiring Tips to Grow Your Team

The Speed to Hire Show – Proactive Hiring Tips to Grow Your Team


Episode 4 – Janae Daniels, DIY Hiring

DIY Hiring got its start when Janae Daniels found herself coaching small business owners in the real estate industry after developing the hiring foundation that launched her husband’s real estate business to success. For over two decades, Janae has worked to close the gap in resources for small businesses, especially those industries with high turnover, to hire more effectively and efficiently.

Turnover is an inevitable part of the employee lifecycle. Having a robust talent pipeline and a reliable early screening process is key to avoiding business disruptions and financial losses when employees move on.

This episode of The Speed to Hire Show features Janae Daniels, CEO and Founder of DIY Hiring and Director of Experience at Finch and Gable Real Estate Co.

Key Takeaways

[9:39] Fill the roles you need to improve your hiring process first – if your hiring decision-makers do not have the bandwidth to make effective and efficient hires, your process will be slow and inadequate. Hire the help you need to improve the hiring process first.
[15:08] Respond to candidates quickly – candidates expect quick and clear communication. The faster your team responds to and identifies top-qualified candidates, the more likely you are to land them in your talent pipeline.
[23:15] Learn how to objectively hire – remove the emotions from hiring and accurately identify what roles you need to hire and the objective qualifications candidates need to succeed with your company.
[29:53] Define your culture and core values – outline a clear and accurate set of details your hiring team can look toward to make fast and effective hiring decisions. Determine what it means to fit your culture and align with your values, salary, responsibilities, and what roles you need to fill first. Then build on what’s next.
[32:30] Map your hiring process with your end goal in mind – look beyond what’s now or even the next day’s to-dos and start with the end in mind so you can clearly map your path to reach it.
[34:51] Lean into a repeatable and reliable process – build a hiring process that works no matter the role you are hiring for or how many roles you need to fill.

Video Transcript

JOSH TOLAN: So to start, tell me a little bit about yourself and your businesses 

JANAE DANIELS: OK. So we’ll go back. When I graduated from college, I graduated with a degree in costume design and decided that I didn’t want to go to Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles. And so I went back to my hometown of Austin, Texas, and needed a job. And so I applied for– got on the internet for the second time in my life because it had just come out, and applied on a job board and was hired by the number-one staffing and recruiting company in the United States. 

And hired by them. I had only done a couple of interviews in my life and gotten all the jobs I applied for, except for one at the grocery store. And I knew nothing about hiring. And so I learned very quickly about their process. I also learned about the recruiting and staffing world. It’s definitely geared toward large corporations. I did hire for Fortune 500 companies. 

And then I started working in the small-business sector. And they needed the most help because they felt the most pain. Like, if somebody messed up in their company, it could destroy the whole thing– versus a big corporation that has 6,000 or 80,000 employees. One person is not going to affect anything. 

So fast forward, I leave that, became a teacher, meet my husband, move to Colorado, and get married and start having kids. And my husband is in the real estate industry. He’s an individual– he was an individual real estate agent. And it got to the point that he was selling around 60 homes by himself. 

And he didn’t have any assistance. And he was staying up all night. I’d find him at the computer at 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning, asleep at the dining table. And I said enough is enough. Why don’t we hire somebody? And he said, well, I tried that before, and it was a disaster, and I’m never doing that again. And I’m like, yeah, but I didn’t hire the person. So– 


JANAE DANIELS: –I said, well, I think we should hire somebody. He was like, no, no, no, no. We can’t afford it. We can’t afford it. I’m like, we’re going to afford it. So that conversation ended. We didn’t discuss it again until a month later. I came to him, like, hey, I posted a job ad on Craigslist. 

And this was years ago, mind you. I wouldn’t now. But I wouldn’t use Craigslist, but back then… I was like, I posted a job ad on Craigslist. I interviewed all these candidates. And you get to choose out of the two candidates that I picked for you. And he’s like, what? Oh my gosh. I’m like, don’t worry. It’s only part-time. 

So within three months, she had to go full-time. And within a year, we had to bring on more team members because she took all this stuff off his plate, and then he started doing more and more work, and more leads came in. And so before we knew it, we were organically building this real estate team. And this is as the market has crashed. It’s 2008, 2009. 

And so a couple of things happened during this time. Number one, other people were watching me hire in his office and started asking for help. And people at church knew that I was hiring. So they’re like, oh, I’m running a small business. Could you help me? What do I ask in an interview? What do I do? And so, organically, I started teaching people, this is the hiring process. In some cases, they’d hire me just to hire for them. 

At the same time, I’m building his real-estate team, which is now — we’re an independent real estate company. We have a whole leadership team. I don’t do any of the hiring anymore. I still go in and train on hiring. I did yesterday, as a matter of fact, with some of our team members on what to ask, what to listen for, what the process looks like, and to make sure everyone understands the process, everything is streamlined. 

And so, organically, the real estate company started to grow. I was working with clients from all different fields. And then finally, in 2018, I created DIY Hiring just to help small businesses grow. And it was kind of funny. I was at a large real estate convention with the top 175 in the franchise that we were with at the time. And they had a roundtable of questions and answers that everyone could think about and answer together. And they’d pass around the microphone. 

And question after question came up about, like, oh, I’m struggling with my team, and this is what happened, and I don’t know what I did with my hiring wrong. And I would lean over to my husband, because I don’t sell real estate, and I was like, oh, they should have done this. And he’s like, say something. I’m like, no. 


JANAE DANIELS: I am not in real estate. And he’s like, no, you need to say something. So after about the fifth question — and it was a hiring question, and all of them had been hiring questions — I finally take the microphone. I’m like, OK, so I’m not in real estate. I mean, I am. I’m married to it. But I don’t sell it. But here’s your problem. 

You just hired a person who has a personality style of an admin candidate, and you put them in a sales role, and you expect them to do well? They’re going to bomb. You took a salesperson and put them in an admin role. They’re going to bomb. And I just started answering the questions. You should have done your due diligence and done some background checking on this person. 

So I said my piece, turned over the microphone, and then went to the bathroom. Excused myself from the group, and went to the bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom, there was a line of people that were waiting to talk to me. I’m like, what the heck did I just get myself into? 

And so my husband said, I think you need to make this an official company because at that point, I started getting people calling me in the real estate industry and not just other industries. So I’m like, what the heck? So that’s how DIY Hiring was born. And then we continued to grow our real estate company, bringing on more agents, bringing on a sales manager, bringing on a recruiter. And so, naturally, things progressed and started to grow. 

My focus, though — for as much as Fortune 500 companies are awesome, my heart is with the small business owner because they’re the ones who have the most pain. Like, if they screw up, everyone feels it. And I tell people — I’m like, if you bring on the wrong person, there are people in this world who will sink the ship if they can’t be the captain. And so my focus became, how do I help small-business owners weed out really toxic people before they ever set foot in the door? 

And unfortunately, the resources for small-business owners are next to zero. And all the data and the research that’s done is always done for large corporations. Skills testing is always geared toward large corporations. And small-business owners just don’t have the pocketbook that a multi-billion-dollar company has. They don’t –

JOSH TOLAN: Sure, sure. And on top of that, they don’t always have an HR function or somebody in recruiting. So it’s the owner doing it, and they have no background or experience in it. 

JANAE DANIELS: Right, no background and no time. They’re like, — 

JOSH TOLAN: Sure. Exa — yeah, yeah. 

JANAE DANIELS: I don’t have any time. I’m doing everything. I’m payroll. I’m HR. I’m also sales. And so just really helping those small-business owners really find good people and create the time so that they can find good people because that’s another big problem, is, they’re like– 

When I start working with my clients, they’re like, I don’t have any time already. I’m like, I get that. So we’re going to streamline a process so that you can do it in bite-sized steps, and it doesn’t take you all day. It takes you 15 minutes a day instead of 6 hours or 10 hours and whatnot. Yeah, so– 

JOSH TOLAN: Interesting. Yeah, I can really relate to that. That’s pretty much the reason I started or got the idea for my company, in the first place, was, I was working for a really small business, as well, that started to grow. And they didn’t have an internal HR function. They didn’t have recruiting. They were posting jobs on Craigslist and getting 300 people applying for a customer-service position and had no method for screening and narrowing down that shortlist. 

And so it was like, at the end of every day, I would talk to the business owners. And they’d be burnt out, like, I don’t know what to do, right? We’re spending all of our days doing phone screens and doing in-person interviews. And five minutes into our in-person interview, we know we’re not going to hire this person, but we still talk to them for another 60 or 90 minutes because they’re here. And they’re like, when are we going to focus on our business? 

JANAE DANIELS: And you feel bad going– 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, yeah. Exactly, right? And it’s like, when am I going to focus on my business and all the things I need to do to grow the company? And all their time was being spent, essentially, on screening and interviewing candidates. So we’ve got a similar path, a little bit– 


JOSH TOLAN: –from real-world experience helping give us ideas to start companies. So I really appreciate you coming on here. I would love to talk a little bit about the real estate firm but also DIY. I think you’ve got a unique perspective because you’ve set up the secret sauce for the real-estate companies hiring process, and then you’re replicating that playbook, or variations of it, to multiple clients through your consulting firm. 

So if we start on the real-estate side, I know you said you’re not involved in the day-to-day hiring anymore. You brought on a recruiter. But you seem to have been the person that built the process and the structure. So can you tell me a little bit about that? 

JANAE DANIELS: Well, sure. And we did a lot of it by trial and error the first few years. The first hire for any real estate team or company needs to be an administrative assistant, a transaction coordinator. And I see a lot of teams now make the mistake where they’re like, oh, I’ll take one of our salespeople and have them do transaction coordination, which is terrible because that’s two very different skill sets, very different personality styles. 

And it is a rare thing to see a person who’s both good at sales and good at transaction coordination, which requires a high level of detail orientation. My observation — most salespeople have no detail orientation skills at all. That is if they’re really good. Just, they’re terrible with details. They forget things all the time. 

So transaction coordination is the first thing that most real-estate teams need to hire first. Some can outsource. But ultimately, what happens is, as the TC takes on more and more of the paperwork, that leaves open the time and the space for the agents to sell more. And then, naturally, growth happens. 

But it’s interesting. I’ve worked with several real estate coaches. My husband coaches, currently, with Jon Cheplak, who is phenomenal. And his mantra is, always be recruiting. Always be recruiting agents, specifically. And so after you’ve hired the admin piece, then the next step is to start to recruit agents. 

And whether it’s the team-lead recruiting agents or the team leader hiring a recruiter to recruit agents, you’re always going to be recruiting agents because salespeople are insatiable. They’re always looking for the next best opportunity. They’re like herding cats. 

And so the turnover rate for salespeople, in any organization, is going to be like a revolving door, whether you’re insurance or real estate or car sales, because of that nature of the personality to be insatiable and want more and want more and want more, and always going, the grass is greener on the other side. The grass is greener. And so Jon Cheplak’s mantra is, always be recruiting. 

And I fought that. I fought that for years and said, no, no. If you can have a stellar team, they’ll never leave. But the reality is, with salespeople, you’ve got two years. And if you’re in growth mode, you’re looking at a 30% to 50% retention rate if you’re in growth mode with real estate sales and building your real estate team or brokerage or whatever you’re looking to grow there. But I’ll tell you, real estate is a mean industry. It’s a hard industry. But it’s very lucrative. So a lot of people get into it, and out of it, actually. So– 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, and to your point about always needing to recruit, it’s an industry, too, where you need people to sell, right? So the cost of not having somebody in a, quote-unquote, seat is high, especially if you’re trying to grow because you need to keep adding more agents on top of backfilling for the ones that maybe you don’t retain year over year. 

JANAE DANIELS: Right. Well, and one of the mentalities a lot of — especially new team leaders have is, they go, oh, I’ll just encourage my current team to sell more. And what happens is, they start to get burned out and frustrated. And it’s backward. What really needs to happen is, you need to expect the minimum and bring more people to do the minimum. 

It sounds counterintuitive, but the teams that grow and grow to be very large and very successful in their marketplace are those that bring on the people that can sell but don’t expect them to — push them to sell more than they’re capable of selling. And so that shift had to happen for me a few years ago, where I went, oh, we don’t want to push our agents to sell more. And many of them are comfortable with where they’re selling right now. We need to bring on more people to sell where they’re comfortable selling. 

And that’s where the growth comes and the increasing your transactions, as well as your quality of transaction — because otherwise, if you’re pushing your agents to sell more than they’re capable of doing, then the quality towards the customer declines. And you don’t want that to happen, either. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, yeah. So there’s an optimal point. You don’t want to push to, like, a red line, from a capacity standpoint because, to your point, you’re going to burn people out. Quality of work is going to suffer. And then when those people leave, and you haven’t been recruiting, you don’t have anybody to backfill, and then you’re behind the game. 

JANAE DANIELS: Right. And then, inevitably, the team leader has to jump into production if they are not already in production. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, and that just sets the company back as well. And you just won’t hit your growth goals if that’s the case. So tell me about — a high-turnover industry. You clearly have to hire people with specific skills, and specific personalities for roles that you know a lot about. So tell me a little bit about the hiring process at the real-estate firm and how you guys have it structured today. 

JANAE DANIELS: So it depends on, as far as the admin candidates go — this is our process. We, of course, put ads out on job boards. And then we respond very quickly. I see real-estate companies all the time where they’ll put a job ad out there, and then they won’t respond to candidates for a few weeks. Our rule is, you have 24 hours to respond to a candidate, except for the weekend. I don’t have our admin staff work on the weekends. They need time to regroup and be with their families. 


JANAE DANIELS: So they’ve got 24 hours to respond. And usually, every morning, they get up — and it’s our admin staff who actually does it. They get on. They look at the job boards. They respond to those people. We have them take a personality survey, see if they’d be a good fit, personality-wise. Usually — and it has it, in the job ad, please do this personality survey. 

What I see most of the time is, if people don’t do the survey — and 90% of the people don’t do the survey — then we request, please do the survey before we can move on. Only 10% of people are going to respond. And I know that statistic. Indeed and I have discussed this many times, about the response rate of candidates. And the response rate for candidates — if you were to respond to all of your candidates immediately, only 10% are going to respond back to you. And that’s just how it is. 

So once we get that survey back, we send them a Spark Hire interview — those that we’re interested in. And we say, hey, we’d like to do an interview with you. We do look at their resumes. Specifically, we look at, are they job hoppers? If they’re job hoppers, we eliminate them almost immediately. Do they have any kind of transferable skills at all to the job that we’re hiring for? 

And so it doesn’t matter if we’re hiring admin or new agents or scholarship candidates — because we do offer a scholarship. Everyone has to do the personality survey. And then we send the Spark Hire interviews to those candidates who respond back appropriately. 

Our recruiter specifically actually doesn’t do the hiring piece. He specifically calls current agents at other brokerages who already have experience in real estate. And so, occasionally, we get those people who apply on the job boards. Most of the time, we get people who want to get into real estate, who are interested in our scholarship program, or who respond to some of the other jobs that we have available that are W-2 employees as opposed to contract employees — contractors. 

So the recruiter goes in and cold-calls people, sends them the personality survey, and then meets with them and does the interview process from there. The other positions — again, new agents, W-2 employees — they receive a Spark Hire interview. We review that once we get that back. We review that. If we like them, we bring them in for a face-to-face interview. They do two face-to-face interviews, and then we offer them a position on the team or a slot to get a scholarship to get their real estate license. 

So that’s our process. It’s streamlined. We used to make them shadow for two days and then do, like, 10 interviews. But we found, we didn’t learn anything else about the candidate in that many interviews that we did in just doing the Spark Hire interview and then two face-to-face interviews. That was sufficient. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, you were just getting marg — there was nothing coming out of the additional steps. It was just dragging out the hiring process, essentially? 

JANAE DANIELS: Right, right. And back then, my mantra was, like, no, take a long time with the person. You want to take forever because it’s like you’re going to marry the person. But now, since COVID, people aren’t willing to wait that long. They’re like, I have to find a job right now. And I’m not going to wait two months to see if you’re going to hire me. They might do that with — like, if Google is hiring or if they’re wanting to work for Facebook. But when you’re a small business owner, they’re like, you’re not that important. 

So the faster that you can go through those steps with them, the better because the talent pool is out there, but they’re impatient now. And it’s smaller. And so for a small-business owner, we have to be more competitive. And part of that is speeding up the process for people. And it’s just nicer. People don’t have forever to wait. They don’t. 

JOSH TOLAN: Exactly, exactly. And you’re 100% right. They’re going to drop out of the process if it takes too long. And to your point, there are big companies — the Googles of the world — where their employer brand is so good, a candidate will be more patient and more bought into that process, just because of the brand of that organization and the desirability of the job. As a small business may be without a recognizable brand, you have to lean into your other competitive advantages when you’re competing for talent. And speed is a big part of that. 

And not only does it help you be more efficient, as the employer, but from a candidate standpoint, it’s an attractive thing. Like, OK, this company can make decisions quickly. They don’t dilly-dally in the process. There’s a lot of structure here. They’re in touch with me all along the way. There are a lot of attractive things about that because I think it says a lot about the business, when they run a hiring process like that, to somebody who maybe hasn’t heard of their company before. 

JANAE DANIELS: Well, and I do hear that a lot, where people will say, oh, I applied for four different real estate companies, and none of them responded to me but you guys. And you guys were so quick to respond. And they’re phenomenal. We go through the scholarship program. We bring them on. And they’re amazing. And these other companies missed out because they were dragging their feet and just not — they weren’t being respectful of the people’s time or the fact that they applied. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, and I think– 

JANAE DANIELS: So I feel like it is important. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, and there’s a balance, right? We all want things to move faster. There’s always this balance you have to apply between speed and quality. Like, of course, you want to end up hiring the right person and take all the steps you need to take in order to make that decision. But that’s where you have to constantly evaluate your hiring process and decide, is this additional step adding value? If not, cut it or figure out a way to consolidate it with another step because the more steps you have, the more likely somebody is going to drop out. 

And to your point, we hear it all the time as well, being a smaller business. When we have candidates that get to the end, and we’re giving them an offer, they’ll tell us, straight up, like, yeah, I had these other companies, bigger companies, maybe somebody offering them more money or a more compelling offer. 

But they’re like, I’m on, like, interview 5 of 6. I still won’t know for another month. Forget it. I’m going to go with Spark Hire. You guys have been great, and transparent through the whole hiring process. You moved quickly. You’ve been in touch the whole time. I haven’t heard for two weeks from this other company that supposedly I’m in the final stages with, but there are still more interviews. 

JANAE DANIELS: Final stages. 

JOSH TOLAN: And yeah, it’s a real drag. So I think this is a big reason we’re doing this show, is because we see the value of speed to hire. And everybody wants things to move faster. So it’s all about moving faster but doing it without sacrificing quality. So it’s maintaining that balance. 

So that’s great. So tell me a little bit about DIY, your consulting firm. You’re working with not only real estate firms, but other types of businesses as well. Tell me a little bit about the clients you’re working with and what they typically come to you with. What’s the big problem they’re usually facing? 

JANAE DANIELS: So the problem there — and I do. I cover — I’m trying to think of an industry that I haven’t worked in. And it’s pretty limited because I’ve even worked in industrial as well. But generally, my clients are very-small-business owners, 10 or fewer employees — 0 to 10 employees, because I’ve been approached by some that are just– they’re like, it’s me, but I want to grow my practice. Or I’m leaving the military. I’m starting a private practice. But I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m afraid I’m going to mess up. 

I’ve worked with attorneys. I’ve worked with private practice in the medical field, various specialized doctors. I’ve worked with therapists and psychologists. I’ve worked, of course, in the real estate industry, in insurance, in mortgage. I’ve worked with inspectors as well. And that’s just a few. I’ve worked with photographers. 


JANAE DANIELS: I’m trying to think — because anybody who has 0 to 10 employees, that’s– 87% of the employers in the United States fall under that category, as micro companies. But most of them come to me saying, like, I need help, or my— 

It’s funny because I get a lot of wives who will call and say, hey, I found you. My husband needs help. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I don’t know what I would do, but I know that they need help, and I am scared. And what can we do? Or I’m helping my spouse run the business. And so it’s often the spouse that will call. And then I, of course, meet with the main business owner. 

And so the problem that I most often see is, number one, I don’t have time to hire, but I know I need to hire. And I’m losing clients because I can’t take on any more than I’ve already got going on. And I don’t know where to start. So that’s usually — the first thing is, I don’t have time. And the second thing is, I don’t know where to start, and I don’t want to screw this up, and I don’t have an HR background, which is why I created DIY Hiring and the process. 

And my poor husband — we’ve used our real estate team as the guinea pigs for everything. I’m like, I’ve got this idea. Let’s try it out with the real estate team. And so he’s become — they’re used to being the guinea pigs if I have a new idea that I’m like, OK, I just got this bit of information that I found out with one of those psychologists that I met with. This is what we’re going to do — which is funny, also because I have worked with therapists and psychologists, helping them build their practices. 

So usually, it’s like, they either have one employee or two employees, or it’s just them. And it’s learning to find those first few people and learning what the process looks like, learning how to objectively hire, unemotionally, what to listen for. A lot of people will say, oh, I just go with my gut. And I’m like, oh, OK. That’s the worst possible way you can hire because your gut will lie to you if you like the person. 

It won’t lie to you if you feel like this is wrong. It’ll lie to you if you’re like, oh, they’re awesome. You’re like, no, you’re desperate. They may not be awesome, and you’re missing all the red flags. So learning, what do you ask, and how do you be objective in the process? And what are the needs? What positions do you need to hire for? Which position is next? 

One of the therapists that I worked with — when she came to me, she had a part-time administrative assistant. And she’s like, I don’t have time to do the process. And I’m like, not a problem. We’re going to teach your assistant how to do the whole thing. And then you’re going to do the final interviews once she’s weeded everybody out. And she’s going to weed most people out in the online interview. They’re going to be– [CLICKS TONGUE] they’re going to be gone. And she’ll end up with two or three people. 

So now that same therapist has two admin staff and five therapists that work for her. And so she has a full practice, and she’s doing quite well. And she loves Spark Hire. When I showed it to her, she was like, oh my gosh! This is amazing! She won’t do the personality testing. I’m like, do a personality assessment. She’s like, I can’t. That’s one area — I can’t do that because I’m a therapist. I’m going to laugh at me. And I’m like, just saying, they were created by psychologists. Just saying. 

So that’s who I work with, is just like, OK, now let me teach you. I’ve also taught. I had a mortgage lender come to me. And he had one admin, but he needed to bring on an LO, a loan officer. He needed to bring on another processor. And so his wife was like, can I help? She’s like, my kids all are now in school. I don’t have an HR degree. I have an elementary education degree. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom this whole time. I’m pretty detailed. And I’m like, yes, you can help. 

And so, again, I showed her, this is the process. This is what you’re going to listen for. This is how you’re going to do it. And now she does all of the hiring for him. And so she’s built up the team. They have five people on their team. And she’s the one who does it. And here, she has no experience, but she didn’t really need it. She just needed to know what to do, what to listen for. And she was capable of doing it. 

And so that’s often who I’ll work with, is, I will work with the business owner. But usually, they turn it over to an admin staff. In some cases, they’re like, it’s me. So I’m like, OK, we’re going to work through it. You’re going to hire the first person. And then they’re going to do the rest of the hiring for you. And they’re like, yeah. So those are my people, the small-business owners– 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, so it sounds like what you really help with is help them build a structured playbook that can then be repeated by somebody other than the business owner, right? 


JOSH TOLAN: Otherwise, they’ll be right back to where they started. 


JOSH TOLAN: So where — typically, when you start engagement, what do you typically — are there default things that you try and get every client to do? Where would you help somebody start? 

JANAE DANIELS: So starting-wise, the first thing that I ever do with any client is determine what their — I hate the word culture. It’s a buzzword. But we want to define their culture. We want to figure out, what do they believe? Why do they believe it? What’s their mission? What’s their vision? Why did they get into business? And then really what the core values are. 

And I know that those are all buzzwords, and they’re — like synergy was in the ’90s. But realistically, when they know where they want to go — and then Stephen Covey says, when they begin with the end in mind, then it enables them to go, OK, this is where I want to go, and this is who I am. And so that’s the very first thing that we do, is we figure that all out. 

And then I say, OK, now let’s talk about what you need help with. What’s the next thing — what are the things that you’ve got to get off your plate, that you hate doing, that are not dollar productive, that, really, somebody else would probably do a better job than you if they were doing it? And so figuring those pieces out– that informs which position needs to be hired for first. 

And usually, it’s an administrative assistant. That’s usually what it boils down to, is, the business owners are visionaries, but they are not detail-oriented. So they’re like, I have this big vision. And so we’re like, OK, now we have to have somebody who can help you execute that vision and be details and take care of the pieces, like emailing people back, that are not sales calls. So that’s the second thing, is really figuring out, what do you need next? 

And then after that, we go through, OK, now we know what you need. Let’s figure out what you’re going to pay the person, what the hours are going to be, and what you’re going to offer them. And then we start to build out the job description. And then we’re able to post the job. And that’s when it — then it all comes down from that. And then they learn how to read a resume and respond quickly to people and all of that. 

But that first step of, like, who are you? Why did you get into business? What do you believe? And by the way, you’re going to hire and fire by what you believe, these core values. And so that becomes the foundation for your whole company, is that right there. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, and I love the concept of beginning with the end in mind, right? Because a coach told me this a while ago, as well, is, if you could take yourself x years into the future to where you want to be, as a business or as a leader or as an individual, and talk to yourself in the present, what would you tell yourself? 


JOSH TOLAN: And I think maintaining that perspective is really helpful to pull somebody out of the weeds and figure out, like, OK, if I need to go here, what do I really need to do? And I think, often, what you find with your clients is, they’re small-business owners. They’ve got so much going on in the day-to-day. It’s like, they can’t find the mental space to even think about what they really, really need to do to get to their ultimate goal, as a business owner. 

So I love that you take that approach with your clients — is like, let’s just figure out, what do you believe in? Ideal world, what is your organization like? What are the people like? What’s the culture? What are your core values? Where do you want to take the business? And then you map to, like, OK, we need to take a step forward here. What’s the first step we need to take? And then you go from there. And then you build repeatability into their process. And then hopefully they’re off and running from there. 

JANAE DANIELS: Well, and that’s the easy part. And most of my clients will say, that was the most important thing that I hadn’t done yet. And a lot of them will say, I didn’t think about doing that. Like, I decided I wanted to work for myself and sell my thing or sell my service. But beyond that, they hadn’t really thought about, well, what if I get — where do I want to go? What’s the end goal? Most of them don’t think about that. They just are trying to stay afloat. They’re trying to– 

JOSH TOLAN: Like, what’s on my list tomorrow, basically? 

JANAE DANIELS: Right. And it was, I got into business because I didn’t want to work for anybody else. That was it. So that’s the most helpful piece for most people, because once they know that, they’re like, OK, then these are the steps that I need to do to get to that end goal, which is cool. And it’s fun to hear what people’s dreams and visions are. That’s a fun part, for me, is hearing them go, oh my gosh. Really, what I dream is this. And I’m like, that’s a great dream. Let’s make it a reality. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, yeah. And so as they start to make hires, they’ve got a few hires under their belt, and now you’re helping them build out their team a little bit more. Is there a shift or something you see change within the business that — like, OK, we’ve got our playbook at DIY for your first five people? But once you hit this threshold, we thrust you into a new playbook to scale the business– 

JANAE DANIELS: It’s the same. It’s the same process because the principles that we use are the same principles. And so once they’ve got a hang of the hiring, they’re good to spread their wings and fly. I’ll still get calls from them. Sometimes they’re like, OK, I just need some other set of eyes because now we’re bringing on a much bigger position. These are the interviews. Sometimes they’ll want another set of eyes. 

But the process doesn’t change any. It’s the same process. It’s just repeated again and again and again with the different positions and looking for different skill sets and different personality styles, depending on which position they’re bringing on. 

But yeah, no, once they’ve learned to hire, then I let them fly, which people have said, well, what if– how could you stay in their business? But the reality is, my goal– and maybe it’s a bad business model. I don’t know. But my goal was to teach a man to fish, not just fish for him. 

Our team still sometimes will hire for people. But there’s far more power when a person knows how to do it themselves and they can teach their team to do it because then they’re not reliant on a third party to do it anymore. They’ve learned to walk. I have six kids. And once they learn to make their own food, it’s a beautiful thing — that my six-year-old can make her own sandwich, and I don’t have to go in and make her sandwich every time. And she’s empowered. 

And so I still will coach a lot of the people. They’ll come back and say, OK, there’s a couple of faulty things that I need to clarify or I’ve forgotten. Or, one of my clients called, and she’s like, OK. OK. I was about to make a big mistake. And then I kept thinking, no, no. OK. If I were Janae, what would I say in this situation? And I’m like, and did you need to call me? And she’s like, no, because I figured it out. And I’m like, good, because the whole thing is, I want to empower you. 

I still like to hear from people. And again, sometimes they’re like, we’re so busy, and the team is really busy. Can you help us hire salespeople? Salespeople are the hardest to hire because again, it’s like herding cats. And so I’ll still get those calls where — like, hey, can you guys just hire for us? And we’re like, [CLICKS TONGUE] we could do that. 

But again, maybe it’s not the best business model, but I really want people to be empowered to be able to do it themselves and be confident in doing it themselves again and again and again and again. So yeah. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. Is there anything you see, as you get your clients up and running — they’ve got a structured hiring process. They start getting going. What are some of the challenges they face? Is it in the interviewing process? Or what are some of the biggest challenges that come up for them? 

JANAE DANIELS: Some of them, it’s like, how big do we want to get? Do we want to keep growing exponentially? Do we want 50 people in our practice? We had this goal. We’re kind of there. What’s the next goal? Or is this enough? 

JOSH TOLAN: Got it. 

JANAE DANIELS: And I think that’s — a lot of them will struggle with that, going, I’m happy where I’m at. Is that enough? Or do I need to want more? Some of them do. Some of them are like, no, I need to keep growing, but there are higher-level positions that are a little bit more challenging to hire for. Others are like, I think I’m good right where I’m at, and I don’t want to hire anybody else. 

But I think, for a lot of business owners, I see that struggle, going, do I want to get any bigger, or is this enough? Is this good enough? Do I have to be Elon Musk or Bill Gates, or can I just be a small-business owner and call it good? So I see that internal struggle happens a lot with– 

JOSH TOLAN: Interesting. 

JANAE DANIELS: –people. And of course, I do see people — when a person leaves for the first time, that shock and that hurt and that — oh my gosh. There’s something wrong with me — as opposed to going, well, there may not be something wrong with you. There could be. We should probably work that out if there is. But that pain of, this person just left me. 

I had a client call me. She’s back East. And she was so angry. One of her people that she had hired had left, and they ended up stealing a couple of other people from the team. And it was the first time anyone had ever left her in 30 years. And she was like, that’s really painful. 

And helping coach through that. Well, let’s get through the emotions and bring on another person. And you’re going to be OK, and you’re not a bad person. And your business is going to be OK, and you’re OK. And sulk for a couple of days, eat some chocolate, and then move on. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yes, everything is going to be OK. Just keep going. 

JANAE DANIELS: You’re going to be fine– 

JOSH TOLAN: Exactly. Yeah, I– 

JANAE DANIELS: –with or without them. 

JOSH TOLAN: I think that’s definitely — that was something that, when I started — or, I used to struggle with the same thing when I was younger and was just starting the business. And we had a lower number of employees. If somebody would leave, it was like, oh my gosh. What did we do wrong? But the reality is, in most cases, you’re not somebody’s first job, and you’re definitely not going to be, in most cases, their last job. 

So people move on. That’s the reality. But did they do great work while they were there? Did they leave with a positive experience and impression of your company? And did you help them grow? Are they going somewhere as a result of the growth of your business? Then if you check those boxes and probably some others I’m not thinking about, win. Now go find the next person. 

But to your point, that’s why it’s, always be recruiting. Always make sure you’ve got a pipeline because you never know. And you want to make sure that you don’t lose productivity because somebody chooses to move on. You want to have a bench ready to go. 

JANAE DANIELS: Right. Well, and I think it’s true. And I think that’s what it comes down to, is, did I help them be a better person while they were with us? If I did, then it’s OK to move on. If I didn’t, what do I need to do to change so that I can be a better leader? Because honestly, most people leave the leader, not the company. And so if it is a leader issue — going, OK, what do I need to fix? And once that’s fixed, then, OK, now I can be a better leader. 

And in the future, if people leave me, it’s OK. Did I leave them a better person? Because at the end of our lives, that’s what’s going to matter, is, how we treat people even when it was hard, even in business, even with all the things. Like, how did I behave towards them? So it’s true. You’ve always got to be recruiting, and you move on. And you can live without them. They can live without you. You’re going to find somebody else because there are a lot of people in this world. 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. So let’s pivot a little bit, and briefly talk about Spark Hire. I know you’ve been a customer for a little while. I’m just curious to hear some of your best practices and insights. Like, for a customer that’s just starting out, do you have any recommendations or things that you would advise them on? 

JANAE DANIELS: Yes. Well, with my clients, I always tell them, OK, we’re going to use Spark Hire because we’re going to use it to weed out candidates who don’t have certain things right off the bat. For example, I talked about the therapist earlier. She’s a prime example. She does a very specific kind of therapy. And so building her practice, she was looking for therapists who wanted — who had to have certain education and had to have certain certifications. 

And so as we were creating her interview list of questions, I said, OK, so you’re going to ask this question. What current certifications do you have? Are you certified in this? Are you certified in this? Are you willing to get certified in X, Y, Z? And then, of course, my typical weeder questions, which are, tell about a time you failed in a work-related project because if they can’t own a failure, they’re not going to own a failure with you, and you’re going to be the problem all the time, and you’re going to have a mess on your hands. 

And then, of course, I say, any weeder questions that would weed people out. If you’re paying a certain salary, you’re going to ask, what are you looking for to live comfortably? And that way, any questions that are absolute line in the sand — if they don’t have these things, and it’s not indicated on their resume — that you’re going to find out in that first 10 minutes watching those online interviews — that will weed them out. 

So that’s really what we — what I encourage people to use it for, is, here are the hard questions that are, they don’t answer these right, they’re absolute no’s. And that’s what they use it for, which enables them to weed out candidates really fast, even in the matter of a couple minutes, where, by question 2, they’re like, yeah, no. This is not [INAUDIBLE]– 

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah, so it’s like price-of-admission type of questions, right? Because again, as a small business owner, you’ve only got so much time in the day to have so many live conversations. So this helps them vet who they’re going to build their shortlist from. 

JANAE DANIELS: Exactly. Exactly. So that’s how I use it. We use it right at the beginning. 

JOSH TOLAN: Got it. So you’re pretty much putting people right into it directly after their application. In some cases, a personality test possibly before as well. 

JANAE DANIELS: Correct. Correct. And even the personality test is in the job ad. Do this. We anticipate most aren’t going to do it. And then they weed themselves out anyway. So again, with us, it’s like, how do we find the quality as quickly as humanly possible, weeding people out fast? So yeah, so then we send them the online interview right away. That’s how we’ve used Spark Hire. 

We’ve also used it for candidates that are in other states. When I’m hiring for candidates in other states, I actually use it before I use Zoom because that way, I can record the interview. I can send somebody else the interview. It’s a lot, as far as the technical — technically, it’s easier for me to send a company Spark Hire links than it is for me to download the Zoom and then try to upload the Zoom. 

And I’m not tech-savvy. So anything that is tech user-friendly, I’m happy to have, because I go, oh my gosh. I love everything. And then, inevitably, my 21-year-old is like, Mom, oh my gosh. You did it. But with Spark Hire, it’s super easy. So I can send the link easily to people and get it done. And so it’s nice that way for us. 

JOSH TOLAN: That’s great. 

JANAE DANIELS: Yeah, so I use it when I have to do — 

JOSH TOLAN: Well, that’s good to hear. I obviously love to hear that, and definitely appreciate all of your support, as a customer. I’m really impressed with all of the things you guys are doing, just growing the real-estate firm, but then also your consulting business. It really sounds like it’s — 

JANAE DANIELS: Thank you. 

JOSH TOLAN: – been doing great and you’re doing a lot of awesome things for a lot of — 

JANAE DANIELS: Thank you. 

JOSH TOLAN: – small businesses out there. To your point, 87% of the companies out there are, what — I think you said under 10 employees? So a big addressable market for you. So wishing you all the best moving forward with both of those ventures. And again — 

JANAE DANIELS: Thank you. 

JOSH TOLAN: – certainly appreciate your support, appreciate you coming on and talking to me a little bit about all this stuff. I love jamming on this with people that are doing some cool things. So I appreciate it 

JANAE DANIELS: Well, thank you. Thanks for taking the time with me. It’s a pleasure. And we sure love Spark Hire, so not going anywhere anytime soon. 

JOSH TOLAN: [LAUGHS] Thank you. Thanks. All right. Well, thanks so much, and we’ll talk soon. 

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.