Startup Hiring: How To Not Fill Your Job Opening

If you are new to hiring I hope this helps you.

If you struggled to hire in the past. I hope you can improve by 1% and save yourself time and money.

1. Vague Hiring Requirements

Vague hiring requirements (job descriptions) are great if you don’t know who you need to hire. The challenge with being vague is your search (and recruiter) will return low quality search results. You will see a wide variety of candidates and skills. Most of which you can’t hire, because they aren’t qualified to do the work you need done.

Vague is great when you and your recruiter have a bunch of time to waste interviewing candidates that cannot do the work.

Being vague is also great when you are describing or writing “required skills” for your role. Especially if you are trying to fill a role that is actually 2 or more roles combined.

For example, you are trying to hire one person, expecting them to have the skills of 2 or 3 people.

Stop using stupid phrases like “unicorn” and “purple squirrel”. You’re just being vague and unrealistic.

2. Find A Copy And Paste Your Last Employee

Copy and paste never works in hiring. Each person learns a unique set of skills and experience based on the roles they work.

It’s because of their experiences on the job that cause them to continue to develop or stagnate.

The reality when searching for someone to fill your role. You are going to find someone who has more or less experience than your role requires.

Time spent searching for the copy and paste. Is time wasted.

3. Don’t Provide Feedback

Feedback is crucial in any hiring process. Candidates, interviewers, and your recruiter are all seeking feedback. Not providing feedback keeps people in the dark.

When people are in the dark. You can continue to work your hiring process. But the results will not change or improve.

P.S. The candidates you and your recruiter never responded to about your role. ….are writing about their experience on a forum somewhere.

4. “Why Should We Hire You?”

There are many ways a technical interview can breakdown.

From candidates who are unprepared (or lie about their skills) to an old fashioned game of “who’s smarter” or “my college is better than yours”.

My favorite is when a passive candidate said “they asked me why should we hire you” his reply “I have a job”.

The result is usually the same. The interview ends. Your role is still open. And the candidate is no longer interested in your role or company.

(and now they are going to tell everyone about how interviews are conducted at your company).

5. Stupid Interview Questions

Are a great way to keep from filling your role. This seems to surprise some hiring managers. While others intentionally conduct interviews in this style.

The purpose of interviewing a candidate is to have an in depth discussion about the role and further assess the candidate’s abilities to perform the duties.

Assessing skills that are not required to do the role is a waste of time.

That’s like interviewing a lawyer for law firm and requiring them to write code as part of the interview.

Esoteric questions that don’t relate to the role or “necessary skills” must go.

6. Continue Searching After Finding “The Perfect Candidate”

You searched, screened, and interviewed. Finally finding a person or two who can do the work your role requires.

Great. Now what?

“I’d like to see a few more candidates”

This action is a challenge associated with #1 Vague Hiring Requirements. If you continue to view other candidates something is missing. Something that was not articulated in the skills you defined as “required” to perform your role.

Continuing to “go fish”. Causes you to lose your “perfect candidate” 9 times out of 9.

7. Market Value

Try this out tomorrow.

Walk into a luxury car dealership of your choice. Select a car. Better yet select a car on the showroom floor. One that is customized, a special edition, that has a very limited production number.

Ask to speak with a sales associate.

Here’s your next move. Offer to pay the sticker price of an economy car for this high end, very limited edition luxury car.

Rejection is uncomfortable. Embarrassment is worse.

You won’t try this out in real life. Yet these actions happen when hiring for technical roles.

Remember #1 Vague Hiring Requirements?

When your hiring requirements are vague or very extensive. You are not seeking “value or budget” hires.

Be prepared to compensate at or above market value. Or risk losing the candidate to a competitor.

Your hiring budget is a great case for eliminating some of the “required skills”.

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My favorite hiring teams and managers. Didn’t approach hiring as if they new everything. They had an open mindset when it came to recruiting. Realized hiring was work and rolled up their sleeves.

They were also good at quitting.

Quitting the things that kept them from making hires.

More from the author…

The author also wrote about how to improve cold emails and what makes a great recruiter. Clinton Buelter is a tech recruiter turned entrepreneur. He openly discusses recruiting on his personal blog at

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