GB Ep 34: Why You Can’t Afford to Hire Assholes


Hello everyone, today we’ll talk about when Mr. or Ms. Big Company can ruin your company. Specifically when you need to hire for a more senior role, and you find someone coming from a big corporation to move into your startup that may not have any more than 15 employees and you want to take it to the next step.

  • Make sure you have your core values in place and the roles and responsibilities down so you can make sure the person will be a good fit. [01:35]
  • I share a story about when hiring a Mr. or Ms. Big Company ended up being very toxic for my company. [01:48]
  • Ensure all your hiring processes are in place. I let this person slip through some cracks because I thought it was a minor blip, but in reality the person was quite rude. [02:53]
  • You can’t go easy on a candidate just because you think they’ll bring value to the company. [03:46]
  • According to the No Asshole Rule, working with assholes is an overall negative. [03:56]
  • After hiring the person full-time, the person was good at office politics, but talked behind the backs of others. It actually led to another employee quitting. [04:16]
  • When you bring on a more senior employee, they will bring their experience with them, but you can’t bring on their ego. [05:43]
  • The key takeaway is to ensure that Mr. or Ms. Executive can work well with your team when you put them through a homework assignment. [07:03]
[spoiler title=’Transcript’ collapse_link=’true’]

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Growth Bites. Today, we are going to be talking about when mister or miss big company can ruin your company. And what I mean by that is, when you’re looking to hire someone more senior, like more executive roles, someone that has worked for a big company for a long time and your company is a startup, has less than fifteen employees, and you’re really looking to taking it to the next step, you need to make sure that, first of all, we talk about core values. You need to make sure that you have your core value set. Is this person a right fit? You need to make sure you have your roles and responsibilities down. And you need to make sure that you have this person vetted.

I’m going to give you a story here where, in this case – hiring a mister or miss big company was something that ended up being very toxic for my company and almost drove the whole thing to the ground.

The story behind it is that we’re looking for someone very senior to help us take one of our services to the next level and this person was very senior and has worked for few big companies, has worked for few big agencies, has done the “big work”. Hefty price tag behind it but I thought it was a worthy investment. This person was highly recommended, I took a look at the work. We put all of our recruits under a trial period where we give them homework and we went through all that and everything was okay, everything checked out and we started. But I just want to preference this by saying that you need to make sure that you have all your hiring processes in place and down. I actually let this person slip through the cracks because I thought that just was minor _ but in reality, we did the homework assignment and this person was working with a few people on my team and actually butted heads with a few people and actually was really rude to me and talked back to me in a really rude way. But I just thought maybe it’s worth it, it’s okay, that’s just the way this person is, and it’s okay. If this person brings in good work, will bring good returns for our clients, will bring good profits for the company, it will all be okay. I guess I went easy on our core values and let this person slip through. So that’s one thing you can’t go easy just to try to make a buck. You can’t compensate for that, I don’t think you can ever. And if you Google the no asshole rule, you’ll find out that working with assholes is overall, it’s negative. And it’s something that I let slip past so that’s something you don’t want to happen. So that happens, that person got past and we hired him full time and what happened from there was, a few months went by, one or two months went by and this person was really good, this person was really good in playing politics, very cute face to everyone, let’s say this person is talking to you, they’re going to put up a very beautiful face and say all this great things, do everything that please you. But then, when they go to someone else, they’re going to be talking behind your back and then they come back to you and talk about that person behind their back. So a lot of politics, a lot of shit talking going on. This person was telling other people that they didn’t know what they’re doing, blah blah blah – just talking trash about the company without providing a solution and was overall telling the people how she can’t believe she’s working here, she wouldn’t be putting this on her resume, whatever. Just start making people feel like shit even though that was a service that we clearly needed to improve and we need her guidance on it. And overall, there’s no leadership. Just a lot of tactics stuff going on which led to one of our writers to actually quitting, resigning and saying this person we hired has been talking trash about everyone.

Long story short, this person had to go. When you bring in someone more senior, more executive, there are going to be new experience with them but you can’t bring on the people that have the ego. Like a massive ego that comes out with it. Just because they work at a bigger company, I’ve worked at bigger companies too; you’re not entitled to anything. It doesn’t mean you’re better than anyone. There’s new ways of doing things. You have to be open-minded and just because you worked at a bigger company don’t mean you know more than other people or you’re better than other people. You are all part of the same team, you are all supposed to be working together, but when you have a person like this coming in and talking shit and flaunting their stuff, that’s when you have a massive problem. We even do these things called weekly learnings and this person’s weekly learnings was just her talking about her accolades and her accomplishments. And this is a massive, massive mishire on my part. I’m glad that the whole saga is over but after I got feedback from my entire team about this person, like my God, I should have made the move a lot faster to let this person go. That’s the story of it. You don’t want to go through a saga like this.

So the key takeaway here is that you need to make sure that mister or miss executive or senior person is not an asshole – that they can work well with your team. Put them through the homework assignment and if they’re an asshole through that process, you don’t want to let them through. I’m just giving you this story so hopefully, you can get some ideas around it make sure you don’t make the same mistake that I made.


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