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5 Reasons Why You Probably Suck at Hiring (Oops!)

Congratulations, you’ve survived 2020, and 2021 has come with a whole bag of new hiring challenges.

Remote hiring at first seems pretty straightforward.

Make a job description, interview a few candidates, find the diamond in the rough – and viola! It’s done.


  • The job description was probably wordy and taped together from other posts you’ve seen online.
  • You’ve received applications that weren’t relevant to your role. 
  • You’ve not been able to properly assess personality/culture fit. 
  • You’ve scheduled interviews instead of working on your business. 
  • And maybe the diamond turned out to be a knock-off because you didn’t have time to verify.

    Needless to say – you probably suck at hiring. Here’s why…

Your Job Description doesn’t SELL the role you are hiring for.

What most business owners like yourself (and sometimes even HR managers) don’t realize, is that you absolutely need to sell the position you are hiring for.

Do you remember that time you posted a job description (JD) on your site, job board, and/or FB group and a TON of people without the relevant experience, background, skills, and/or personality applied? 

Did you end up spending dozens of hours going through and disqualifying applicants? 

Believe it or not, a big part of the result you ended up with was due to the quality of your job description. 

Let’s say your hiring for an Operations Manager with ecommerce industry experience as well as skills including recruitment and finances.

Put yourself in the shoes of the perfect candidate for a minute. 

A candidate who has 5+ years of Operations experience, worked in big name brand companies, built teams of 50+ people for ecommerce businesses, and has a Master’s in Finance so can help with your P&L, yearly budgeting, and financial allocations. 

Hell of a candidate right? 

Now consider for a moment that this candidate has become available for one or another reason, and is looking through different job descriptions for potentially the perfect opportunity.

They come across your JD and see a ton of expectations, responsibilities, and requirements – aka what YOU need. 

But no depth around what your company is doing, what you represent, your mission/values, any growth opportunities, or benefits worth mentioning.

They are thinking…

While I can most definitely fit this role, I don’t see an alignment. I want to take a big step and continue growing my career. Dedicate the next 2-5 years of my life to a company that will invest in me…and this doesn’t look like the right fit. 

So you end up getting applications of candidates not only that aren’t the right background/skill/experience fit, but also those without the right motivation to stick around for the long term. 

Interesting right? Looking at your JD from this angle definitely explains the results you have been receiving!

The role you decided to hire for doesn’t reflect the role you ACTUALLY need to fill.

Read that again…

A lot of the time, business owners jump into hiring, without taking time to properly consider WHO exactly they need and what role this person will ACTUALLY be filling.

Often I hear – Well I just need another me.

While that is VERY relatable, employees and freelancers function in the workplace very differently to a business owner who has very different motivators. 

Business owners will wear many hats, learn many aspects of the business, and fill gaps where needed – they are hungry to grow their business.

While employees and freelancers after working a good amount of time within a company can cultivate this desire to explore the various aspects of a business and show their dedication by wearing many hats, this shouldn’t be what you look for in a candidate.

A candidate who can do “everything” is a candidate who can do “nothing”. 

(Or everything sub-par) 

Quite the breakthrough right?

I often have to discourage clients from trying to bring on someone who can…(insert 10 qualifications from completely different aspects of a business).

Now I am NOT saying a candidate can’t be great at 2-3 different aspects of their profession and lead the rest. 

For example, a Marketing Manager who is an expert at FB/Google Ads, Social Media, and Marketing strategy for a business. 

This candidate can also have general knowledge of SEO and content marketing to lead a team of specialists, but they won’t be implementing ALL that themselves. And they shouldn’t claim to be an expert in EVERY aspect of marketing (aka Red Flag).

I’m not saying these expert candidates DON’T exist, but they don’t exist for the small business owner looking to bring on a mid-tier Marketing Manager to help grow their business with an average salary.

Phew…rant over.

When hiring for your online small/medium business, make it clear for yourself and/or your HR manager, what is important to you when bringing on your next hire. 

What gaps will this candidate be filling (aka what are you looking to delegate to this new hire)? 

What experience/background do they need to be successful at this position?

Define the vision of the role, and conduct a bit of research before jumping to launching the ad. 

You’ve relied on FB ads, Linkedin and other groups for your sourcing needs.

Just that point alone probably left you many questions…

Before I get to answer them, let me say this. 

Linkedin, FB ads, and groups are definitely one way of hiring. And in the days of headhunting, spending dozens and potentially hundreds of hours messaging qualified candidates on Linkedin hoping they would respond and even CONSIDER your offer was definitely the way.

But I believe in the Pareto principle, aka the 80/20 rule. 

In the past, companies of all shapes and sizes, as well as Recruiters, HeadHunters, and Recruitment Agencies spent 80% of their time, attracting 20% of their leads. 

And to my surprise, many recruiting agencies to this day continue doing the same.

My team and I believe in spending 20% of our time sourcing 80% of our leads. 


Yup, our innovative approach to sourcing will definitely surprise you.

Here is how we at Remotivate get hundreds of candidates to apply WITHOUT using Fb Ads, Linkedin, and/or groups of any kind.

  1. We’ve tested dozens of remote job boards, and have found which are best for attracting which candidates.

    Aka, if you go where candidates are actively looking and available, there is a higher chance of getting more qualified candidates quicker.

    As a busy business owner, you probably won’t go through all the remote job boards out there. But the 80/20 rule of this is, select the few that are designed for specific roles and/or remote applicants.

    Here are just a few of the ones we’ve utilized successfully: Indeed, AngelList, Upwork.
  2. We actively invite candidates to apply to our roles.

    At Remotivate, we spend a few days inviting upto 300 candidates to apply for any given position, and this ends of SAVING us time. That’s because after doing this, we end up receiving most of our applications from candidates that we’ve already pre-screened to a large extent.

    This saves us time down the road from filtering through hundreds of unqualified candidates.

    For the business owner, I always recommend identifying your initial pre-screening needs (what can be found early on in resumes and job board applications), and have a team member/VA on your team start inviting candidates.

You don’t have a multi-step process for filtering candidates.

This isn’t about every business owner. But those that are strapped for time AND overall resources, definitely try for shortcuts when hiring. 

Here are some of the most popular shortcuts:

  1. Posting your JD on a few job boards, without inviting any candidates.
  2. Using resumes (aka candidates’ past work experience) as your vetting process.
  3. Not preparing for interviews.
  4. Selecting candidates with the attitude “I’ll try them out for 1-2 months, and if it works – we’ll keep ‘em”.

Mistakes you’ve probably made:

  1. Not deciding what “Success” looks like for your role (which affects effective vetting).
  2. Conducting more than 10 final interviews.
  3. Not having a skill test in place for filtering candidates.
  4. Not having a process beyond the resume to help with the vetting process.
  5. Selecting candidates by their resume or by your gut alone.

Any of these sound familiar?

When vetting candidates, developing a multi-step process will guide you towards having a BIGGER picture of the candidate, and thus being better capable of making correct hiring decisions.

What does a multi-step process entail you might be asking?

Here’s what we at Remotivate personally use and LOVE:

  1. Questionnaire – One that vets for a majority of your requirements.
  2. Skill Test – Testing for the technical and soft skills and abilities required for a role.
  3. Short Video – To see a candidate in action, their motivations, why they are applying and how much they CARE.
  4. First Interview – This is the moment where you dig deep into what a candidate has provided. And really question their abilities, skills and alignment with the position they are applying for.
  5. Final Interview – This is the moment to share your company vision, values and where you are looking to take the business. And where the position you are hiring for fits in. Really connecting (or NOT) with a candidate and figuring out where there is true alignment and culture fit.
  6. Reference Checks – Figuring out the weaknesses and struggles of the candidate you want to bring on from their past experiences (even if they try to provide the BEST references).

You hire candidates WITHOUT doing proper reference checks.

When chatting with business owners in the online space, I think this is the one that surprises people the most.

“If I’m a small business owner, why should I be doing reference checks?”

“Isn’t this a waste of time?”

“Won’t candidates just give me their best references, what’s the point?”

“Aren’t reference checks for big companies, I’m not there yet.”

While all great questions, most business owners miss the bigger picture of reference checks. 

If you are thinking of short-term fixes and quick hires, you’ll never build a team to last.

You’ve probably heard the quote by the successful entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker Jim Rohn –

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Why should building and leading a team to be any different? Won’t you be spending a majority of your day with your team building your business? Won’t the type of people on your team greatly affect YOU and YOUR business growth/results? 

Long story short, build a team to last. And no, this doesn’t require putting out hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay incredible specialists (that’s for later in your business).

But at the start, or at the beginning stages of growth, you need reliable, accountable, independent, self-learning, self-motivated, inspiring, and excited individuals to share your dream and grow with you. 

And you can’t do that without really knowing them, getting their “bigger picture”, and calling up those references and digging deep by finding out what made them stand apart and shine, be average or leave without having made a difference.

Though I don’t agree with the majority of Geoff Smart and Randy Street’s Who: The A Method for Hiring, they do an AMAZING job explaining how to conduct amazing reference checks.

The main takeaway for doing awesome reference checks is:

It’s really about HOW you present those questions you’ll be asking.

Most past employers & clients don’t want to ruin a candidate’s chances for success. So asking directly negative questions will provide hesitant or non-existent responses.

So positioning a question by mentioning that you would love to develop a candidate’s skills, or make sure to delegate the BEST tasks for their success, will create a more comfortable space for sharing where a candidate didn’t shine. 

Then it’s up to you to decide, will these traits stop the candidate from succeeding with you, or will you be able to support them in those areas and help them shine?


If these are things you struggle with and would like to save your and your team’s time while getting an entire team to help with your recruitment needs, book a chat with me here. to learn more about how we can help.

Remotivate helps digital companies hire remote superstar talent in leadership and management roles, using a proprietary vetting and filtering process, so you can focus on growing your business.