The Four Big Recruiting Mistakes That Will Kill Your Startup

brett fox
6 min readAug 8

I’d have a lot of money if I could have a nickel for every mistake I’ve ever made. But. if I could have a nickel for every recruiting mistake I’ve ever made, well, I’d have a fortune!

Picture: Depositphotos

Recruiting, of all the activities you have as CEO, is the most important. And recruiting is also the most time-consuming activity you have as a CEO.

You have to meet with a lot of people to find the right candidate. It’s painful. And you’re under so much pressure to hire!

The pressure to hire leads to mistakes. And the hiring mistakes can be killers.

I’ve made a list of the four biggest mistakes that CEOs make recruiting their team. And you know what? I’ve made all of these mistakes except for one of them.

I’ll let you figure out which one I didn’t make.* So here goes.

Mistake Number One: Hiring “B” players instead of “A” players because you are under so much pressure to hire someone, anyone, to fill the position.

The thought process goes like this:

“I’ve been looking for this role for months, and I can’t find the right person yet. So, instead of holding out, I’m going to hire Bill.

“Now, Bill’s not the best person out there. He’s not exactly what we need. He’s not exactly at the level we want.

“And, I’m going to have to support Bill a lot! I know that.

“But we need someone, so I’m going to hire Bill and hope for the best.”

It all goes back to the intense pressure you are under to hire. And sometimes (myself included) you succumb to the pressure.

And you just can’t succumb to the pressure. Because you always pay the price hiring people that you know aren’t right for the job.

Every single time I’ve done this (hiring someone that I know isn’t right for the job), it’s blown up in my face. So you’re better off waiting to find the right person than hiring someone that isn’t right for the job.

Hiring the wrong person can really bite

brett fox

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at