13 Things That Describe the “Douche Employer Syndrome” 🙊

Have you ever hired and found that candidates were dropping out left and right? Maybe it’s not your hiring process, but something we’ve coined as the “Douche Employer Syndrome”.

Below, we’re listing 13 things that can quickly turn you from an ideal employer into, if we can say so, a bit of a douche – things that can turn away great candidates and leave your hiring pipeline looking downright empty. 

Keep reading to see if you’re in danger of catching “Douche Employer Syndrome” or if you’re in the clear and squeaky-clean throughout your hiring process. 

Below, our CEO and remote hiring expert, Anna, has rounded up 13 ways you’re almost guaranteed to scare off awesome remote hires. Read on to discover what pitfalls to avoid during your remote hiring process – and to find out if you might already be guilty of any of these.  

  1. You Expect the Candidate to Wear as Many Hats As You (While also wanting to pay them a tiny salary)
  • While you might be able to pull off the “jack-of-all-trades” role when it comes to your business, anyone else will have a hard time matching your abilities. 
  • Unless you offer a great salary and/or benefits package to entice candidates to sign up for such a demanding job, you’ll likely get few responses.
  • Being a founder or CEO is a very demanding role, and you doubtless expect to be paid well for it. Your candidates expect the same. 
  • Let’s face it – being able to take over from you and be your “double” in your business is a unique skill – your candidates expect to be paid well for that unique talent.
  1. You Expect a Full Pipeline of Candidates Even if Your Job Posting Isn’t Competitive 
  • A job posting is just like a product ad – you’re competing against others in your same industry who are also after the same goal. 
  • There’s not an unlimited supply of qualified candidates – if you’re not competitive in the job market, someone else will snag them.
  • To get great candidates, you have to have a great opportunity for them to be excited about. 
  • Offering growth opportunities, benefits, or a salary that’s not competitive with what others in your market/industry are offering means a trickle of candidates instead of the steady stream you want.
  1. You Expect Your Right Hand to Be An Expert Marketer or even Technical Specialist – That’s What the Technical Specialists Are For (aka dev, writer, marketer, designer, QA, etc.)
  • Let your Operations people handle operations, and the technical specialists handle their technical wizardry. 
  • Don’t force people into tasks they aren’t well-suited for or that aren’t in their areas of expertise – it’s frustrating for them, and you won’t get the optimal results you’re looking for. 
  1. You Expect Candidates to Respect the Opportunity You’re Giving Them Without Being Respectful of the Candidate’s Time, Application, Effort and Experiences
  • Mutual respect is a key element of any business relationship, and hiring a new team member is no exception. 
  • If you want the candidate to respect the opportunity you’re offering, respect them in return. 
  • Don’t reschedule candidates at the last minute, make them wait for news, or flippantly drag them through grueling pre-hire testing that could take them away from other, less strenuous opportunities. 
  • The Golden Rule applies in remote hiring too – do unto candidates as you would have candidates do unto you. 
  1. You Expect the Worst From Candidates and Act Accordingly (e.g., don’t expect them to climb mountains to get your approval)
  • Let’s be honest: if you need someone around you who’s willing to wear themselves out to get your approval, you don’t need a better hiring strategy – you need a serious mindset shift and approach to your team.
  • There’s a reasonable amount of test tasks for candidates, and then there’s sadism – don’t be the employer that asks for the candidate to give you the sun, moon, and stars.
  1. You Expect to Pay a Very Low Salary for a LOT of Work Without Giving the Candidates Back a Big Opportunity in Return (e.g., career advancement, paid-for certifications or education, stock options, etc.)
  • The employer-employee relationship is a give-and-take, just like any other relationship. 
  • If you expect top-notch performance during marathon workdays and don’t want to pay a salary to match, find other ways to compensate your incoming talent.
  • Consider giving stock options, unlimited PTO, paid-for certifications and education, or other growth opportunities that can compensate for a low salary.
  1. You Expect to Hire a Junior or Mid-Tier Candidate Who Can or Will Jump Right Into Work Without Any Training or Proper Onboarding. 
  • While great candidates are also self-starters, every job is different, and every employer has different requirements, which means even the best new hires will require some training. 
  • This training and onboarding requirement is especially true of junior or mid-tier candidates. A middle manager won’t have the same capacity to “jump right in” as a Senior Manager. 
  • Bridge the gap between experience and job requirements with a solid onboarding plan and adequate training to get them started off right. 
  1. You Expect Candidates to Run Multiple Businesses Across Different Industries 
  • The unique combination of skills that lets you run different businesses simultaneously across multiple industries is just that – unique to you. 
  • Trying to find a candidate that can, for example, run a marketing agency, a photography studio, and a candy shop simultaneously is like looking for that one file you thought you labeled but didn’t – nearly impossible. 
  • Furthermore, finding someone with a rare combination of skills like that could mean the person isn’t specialized in any one of those businesses, which could lead to poor-quality results. 
  • Instead, find candidates who can specialize and drill down into each of your businesses and let them focus on what they do best. 
  1. You Expect to Hire a Candidate Without Having Clarity On What the Role Entails. (After all, if you don’t have clarity on what the candidate’s day-to-day responsibilities and tasks will be, how can they expect to be successful in the role? Why should they apply?) 
  • Even if you intend to figure out some aspects of the candidate’s role “as you go,” you still need a solid idea of their basic duties during the hiring process. 
  • If you can’t define what the role is for or what the hire will be doing (especially long term), why should a candidate apply? 
  • Without clarity on the role’s responsibilities, you’re just as likely to hire the wrong person as the right one as the role evolves and solidifies. 
  1. You Set Unrealistic Expectations (Such as targeting a “100% perfect candidate” – this is actually an unsuccessful hire in our books, and that “perfect” person will outgrow the role very quickly and be unmotivated to stick around.)
  • Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as a “100% perfect” candidate. 
  • If the candidate you hire is already an A-player in your most-desired skills, they’ll either get bored with the lack of professional growth, or they’ll leave for more exciting opportunities. 
  • Instead, aim for someone who’s about 80-85% of the way to your “ideal candidate.” 
  • Aiming for someone who’s at 80-85% gives you room to train them in YOUR specific processes and procedures and gives them room to grow and learn. 
  • Pick candidates with whom you can work together and progress your company to the next level, not candidates that have no room left to grow into their role. 
  1. You Expect Candidates to ALWAYS Be Perfect and Always at Their Best with 0 Failures
  • As the saying goes, we’re all human, and that goes for candidates during the hiring process, too. 
  • Don’t expect them to do everything right all the time – even the best candidates need room to be human. 
  • Even after hiring, if a candidate makes a mistake and you pounce on it as a sign they’re not a great fit, you could waste a great candidate on a little slip-up.
  • Instead, give both of you some room to breathe and give the new hire some feedback and grace. Give them a chance to prove themselves instead of just looking for failures. 
  1. You’re a Bad Manager Trying to Hire Good People. Hint: It Won’t Work. (E.g., don’t expect a star/A-Player candidate to thrive in a B-level environment) 
  • Often candidates leave when they don’t get treated well, taken care of, or listened to in their work experience. 
  • The more you demand from your new hire, the more they’ll likely demand of you in terms of management skills, support, and opportunities. 
  • Don’t short-change either of you by inflating your opinion of your management ability!
  1. You Expect Senior-Level Delivery from a Junior or Mid-Level Specialist. 
  • While this might seem obvious, it’s not to a lot of business owners – don’t expect exec-level work from a mid-level player. 
  • If you need an exec-level candidate, hire one! Don’t overwhelm your junior/mid level members with C-suite-level tasks. 
  • Give your new hire time to grow and learn so they can grow into the level you have envisioned for them.

As we’ve seen, when passion to find the best person for the job becomes problematic during the remote hiring process, you’re likely to scare away the best candidates into the arms of a less picky employer – and possibly get yourself labeled a douche 🙊 in the process. 

If you recognize yourself or your team in any of these 13 scenarios, or if you’re trying to hire an awesome managerial-level candidate remotely but need some help along the way, we’re happy to lend a hand! 

Just grab a time slot on Anna’s calendar here, and use your free demo call with her to find out how to take your remote hiring process to a whole new (and much better) level!