Never hire a lemon again 🍋 – Our ‘almost’ foolproof process

lemon hiring

Where Are Your Biggest
Lead Gen Leaks in 2023?

(Generate Your Report In Just 60 Seconds)

Where Are Your Biggest
Lead Gen Leaks in 2023?

(Generate Your Report In Just 60 Seconds)

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It’s an aspect of business no one really talks about…

I expect it because it’s frustrating, a little embarrassing, and it can cost you more money, time, and resources than you’d ever want to admit.

What is it?


Well, actually…

Hiring someone who turns out to be a complete lemon 🍋

And it’s no surprise it’s rarely talked about because, according to the job platform Zippia:

  • The average cost of a bad hire is 30% of that hire’s annual salary
  • A single bad hire costs companies an average of $14,900
  • For some companies, the cost of a bad management hire can be as high as $240,000
  • The average cost to hire an employee is $4,425
  • It generally takes at least six months for companies to break even on new hires

Now, these stats should be taken with a pinch of salt because every business is different.

But it gives you a good idea of what happens when you back the wrong horse.

And shows that having a strong recruitment process in place is something every business should take seriously.

And at LeadsHook, we’re no different.

Because with 50 plus global employees, and the number expected to grow…

Out of necessity, we’ve had to develop a solid hiring template to minimize needless cost leakage.

And even though our template isn’t foolproof, it works very well for us.

Which is why I’m sharing it today.

Hopefully, you’ll get some value out of this, and you can cherry-pick 🍒 any of our 5 Steps if they fit your own business.

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

Step #1 – The Business Forecast Plan

(This lays the foundation for the whole process…And most business owners don’t give it a second thought until it’s too late.)

Before any job ad is written.

First, a business needs to consider where they see themselves in 3, 6, and 12 months from now…

Then ask themselves 3 questions:

Q1: Do they want to hire for today or for tomorrow?

For example:

If they’re looking to scale and double their revenue in the next 12 months, someone they hire for a role today might be unable to handle the pressure in the future.

Do they expect their new staff member to adapt and grow with the company, learn new skills, make strategic decisions, or even start managing a team?

Or stay put in the role they were originally hired for.

Which brings me to:

Q2: What is the main reason for hiring someone?

Are they needed for grunt work, to add more skills to the team, or take the pressure off management?

The answers will dictate what qualities and skills they can do without and what’s non-negotiable.

And lastly.

Q3: Does the hire fit within the budget?

Just because a business has a good few months and its bank balance looks healthy doesn’t mean it’ll last forever.

Can the new hire’s salary be sustained if revenue takes a hit or goals aren’t reached?

If the answer is no, maybe hiring isn’t the best option until there is more financial stability.

That being said, that’s not so much a worry for many online businesses that choose to hire staff from places like India, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

However, even though the average salaries are lower, that doesn’t mean they can expect to pay peanuts…

If the budget doesn’t stretch to pay a fair and competitive salary for quality talent, chances are they’ll be disappointed anyway.

Step #2 – Job Description and Ad

After going through Step #1: The Business Forecast Plan, you know exactly the type of candidate you’re looking for.

As well as a solid foundation for writing your job description and Ad.

To start… Explain who your company is and what you do.

Sounds obvious right?

(You’d be surprised how many jobs read like a cryptic clue in a crossword)

You don’t have to go into too much detail, but it will give a candidate more context on what they are applying for.

The theory is, if your industry and niche aren’t a fit for them on paper, they won’t waste your time applying.

(Or, so you’d hope…)

Now, when explaining the role itself…

Be honest and know what’s expected from the get-go.

  • Things like the time zones and the hours they’ll be working, the platforms they’ll be using, and the general tasks they’ll need to perform…
  • Also, mention whether certain skills are critical or whether you’re happy to train them up.

The reason for this is simple.

We’d all love a unicorn 🦄 who’ll be a Swiss army knife of your business…but 9 times out of 10, they don’t exist, so you may have to compromise on certain things.

I’m not saying settle for sub-standard staff; just be realistic with your expectations.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen job posts so granular and anal they’re more likely to repel people than get them to reach out.

One last thing…

Make it easy for them to apply. Asking for a CV/Resume may give you an idea of competency, but it still doesn’t prove they can perform the role to your standards.

(You’ll be able to find that out in Step #3)


At the end of the job post, ask a couple of questions and ask them to apply in a particular way.

I.e. “Send email to X” – “Do not send private message” – “Apply using this link”

If they send back a copy-and-paste reply, don’t answer your questions, or get the instructions wrong…

If they send back a copy-and-paste reply, don’t answer your questions, or get the instructions wrong…

❌They’re OUT ❌

Sound ruthless, but if they can’t put the effort to read the job post properly, the chances are they won’t put 100% effort into the job role.

Step #3 – Work Out Your ‘Audition’ Plan, And Make Them Dance

There’s an old saying that goes…

“Many Talk A Good Game…Few Deliver”

And that couldn’t be truer when hiring.

This is why we’ve found auditioning possible hires and asking them to complete tasks is by far the best way to get rid of the pretenders.

It also means you can see their level of skill and ability in real-time instead of basing your decision on what they SAY they can do.

This is how…

Put together a number of tasks that directly align with the job they are applying for.

Including tools and techniques you ideally want them to use in the role.

Some examples:-

If it’s a copywriter…Get them to review or write a short piece or copy ✍️

A developer…Deliver a few lines of code 🖥️

A social media manager…Put together a content plan 🗓️

The point of every task is to eliminate people and get down to the real talent who’ll be the best fit for your company…and not waste time, money and resources on those who aren’t.

We suggest you also give them an allotted time that you expect them to deliver, and if they don’t…You guessed it…

❌They’re OUT ❌

Also, you should cast your net wide and conduct your auditions from a big pool of candidates.

At LeadsHook, we start with around 5 -15 people depending on the role because you’ll find that number dwindles very fast.

Another reason for starting with a larger number of candidates is that your time is valuable, so it makes sense to assess everyone simultaneously instead of one by one, as this extends the hiring process unnecessarily.

And the other reason is it allows you to compare the results of their tasks against each other.

Spotting work of a high standard is more difficult in isolation, but when you compare it against others, it’s easier to see the ones that stand out.

(This will also help form future hiring templates so you can rinse and repeat the whole process and make hiring as painless as possible – I’ll explain that in a moment)

Few more important points…

  • When it comes to auditioning tasks, we choose to pay for their time. Our time is valuable; however, we also respect theirs too.
  • For customer-facing and management roles, you may want to ask for a short video application. This will give you insights quicker into whether they would fit into your company without going through the audition process.
  • The more important and critical the role, the more audition steps we include to reduce the risk of hiring a dud.

After all your auditions are through, you’ll hopefully be left with 2 -3 strong candidates…

Meaning it’s time for:

Step #4 – The Interview

But honestly, it’s a bit of an anti-climax.

Because there’s not much to it.

Fact is, you’ve done all the heavy lifting in the audition phase already.

And if you nailed the tasks for the candidates to complete, and they passed to your high standards…

You should be confident that those who are left have the ‘skills’ to do the job.

But having ‘skills’ is only part of the puzzle 🧩

Just as important…Do they have the right personality and attitude?

This is why you should treat the interview as more of a meet and greet.

Of course, you may want to ask some specific questions and clarify the important parts of the job…

But generally, if there are no red flags 🚩

You can move onto:

Step #5 – Hiring Them All! (For a short time, anyway)

So, before we get into this, be aware this step depends on the role.

For example…

Hiring 3 writers to test out is easy…Hiring 3 CFOs isn’t practical.

(For a CFO, you would have had an extensive audition process, so I imagine you would have a clear winner after the interview anyway.)

What would hiring more than one person look like?

I’m afraid there are no set rules for this, as every role is different.

But as an example, let’s say you wanted to try out 2 candidates for a WordPress designer/developer position.

  1. Give them both the same brief for creating the page you need
  2. Get them both to create a mock-up
  3. Then get them both to create the page (First draft at least)

And see what they deliver…

Then I suggest you make your final decision based on the following:

  • Ability to follow a brief
  • Quality of work
  • Communication with you and other team members
  • Autonomy (Do they need hand-holding beyond what’s reasonable)
  • Speed of execution
  • Or any other factors you believe are critical for the role

And when you’re 100% satisfied, you’ve found the right person, you can offer them the job.

Yes, we admit it may seem a little excessive to hire more than one person, and your budget may take a bit of a pounding. But you’ll have hired the right person for the job in the long term.

However, if hiring multiple people isn’t an option, just add a few more tasks to the audition stage to ensure no lemons slip through the net.

Step #6 – Create Your Own Template

The hard part is over.

You’ve gone through the process once and learned what works, and what doesn’t.

And as well as hiring the best candidate, you have everything you need (with a little tweaking) to hire for the same or similar role again:

  • Job Description & Ad Template
  • Emails Templates for the complete interview process
  • Tasks for the audition stage and all necessary instructions
  • Your personal notes on previous tasks to create a checklist of must-haves for future candidates
  • Interview Questions

So in the future, the whole process should be much smoother, and it also gives you the option to delegate the hiring to someone else if you so choose.

And that about wraps it up.

Hopefully, you found some value in seeing how we build our team here at LeadsHook.

But in truth, when hiring, you can never get it right 100% of the time, and every so often, even with this extensive hiring process, we get it wrong.

However, what we don’t get wrong is Lead Gen and supply the tools so businesses they can generate higher quality leads for much cheaper than their competitors. (Whatever the vertical)

If you want to know how Click Below.

Want Higher Quality Leads?

Article By

Paul Devereux

Marketer by day…Asleep by night. Various interests, none of which I’m very good at. But passionate about showing the industry LeadsHook is the most advanced lead-generation platform on the market. (Without question)

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