Startups · HR

Time wasters - how to avoid them?

Arunas Rolicius Blockchain/Crypto veteran

October 21st, 2016

I'm a doer. I do my best to obtain new skills so that i can accomplish the tasks as best as it's possible. I have to struggle with time vs resources vs requirements so that i can balance them out and produce great results.

Most of the time i have to find collaborators. I understand that it's not possible to find perfect employees or business partners. But what strikes me the most that people for whatever reason are extremely proficient in wasting time.

They proclaim that they have some sort of a skill which they are good at and are capable to carry out. It doesn't matter whether this said person is a freelancer, employee or a potential business partner. And on the surface everything seems to look great - their past experiences, they stand their ground, they seem clever and better then others at what they do. And it takes at least some time - a week, a month etc. to find out that they are just resource wasters. They eat up your time and money and produce nothing of value. This results in delays, even more time loss and so on. And i can't find any correlation - it doesn't seem that this sort of approach is tied to profession, pricing, nationality etc

What i have noticed that it's such a rare occurrence to find motivated professionals - people who will AT LEAST do what they are suppose to. And i very rarely encounter people that love to work, create and are driven to become better. What a pleasure it is to work with this kind of people

My only strategy up until now is to become relatively good in the specific field so that i don't feel like i'm in the dark, specify tasks and deadlines in the contract (which by default is another time waster but that's another topic).

So could you share your thoughts and experiences on how to deal with that? How do you find the right people and partners? What is your approach?

Lee Mangold Helping Secure Businesses w/ Practical Cybersecurity Solutions | CEO - GoldSky Security | Cybersecurity Professional

October 21st, 2016

I would use your own network for direct referrals. If you don't have anyone in your network who can provide such a referral, I would advise you to expand your network first. 

Also, it's important to note that no one will ever care as much about your baby as you do. You'll need to set very specific goals for a candidate to be successful by your standards. 

We would all like to believe that a new hire wants to make us successful, but in reality, they are looking to make themselves successful (investors aside). The challenge for you is to tell them how they can do both at the same time.


Denise Corcoran CEO, Leadership & Organizational Game-Changer | CEO Advisor | Consultant | Coach | Growing Leaders that Grow Companies

October 21st, 2016


First, if you are new to hiring, every leader/manager goes through a learning curve how to get better at hiring.  The only way you get better, however, is if you stand back after each disappointing hire you've made and ask yourself:

*  what cues or signals did you miss about the new hire?  what flags went off that you did not pay attention to that in hindsight you should have?

It may not have anything to do with what they said.  Like you said, people can talk a good talk.  Perhaps, it is certain behaviors.  Maybe certain body language.  Maybe you felt uneasy with this person for no known reason.

*  are you clear on your expectations and responsibilities for the given role?  If you think you are, how do you know you are clear?  how will you know the potential employee is clear?  

*   when they don't live up live up to your expectations, how do you deal with that situation?

*  There's a well known saying ... hire for attitude; teach the skills.

Too many leaders hire for skills or just interview for skills.  Those can be developed.  Attitudes are much harder to change.  

 --  what attitudes do you need in your new hire?
 --  what different interview questions do you need to ask to get a new person with the right attitudes, qualities, mindset, etc.?

*  if you have a pattern of hiring wrong people, what thinking, perceptions, beliefs, etc. do you need to change within yourself to have a different outcome?

Finally, you say in your original description ...

"What i have noticed that it's such a rare occurrence to find motivated professionals - people who will AT LEAST do what they are suppose to. And i very rarely encounter people that love to work, create and are driven to become better.""

The kinds of people you say you are looking for are out there.  You may be looking in the wrong places, not assessing your learning lessons with each wrong hire or have exceptional high standards that no one can meet.  

If you don't believe they are out there, then you will never find them.  Our beliefs drive our outcomes.

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

October 21st, 2016

Don't have a general response to your question, but my experience tells me that the best thing to do is to give a consultant a small job and evaluate how well and how quickly it gets done. Sent from my iPhone

Sedef Onder Managing Partner + Strategist, Clear Inc.

October 21st, 2016

"A" team likes to play with "A" players, as they say. We often identify our best talent via our best talent.

Having a good radar for spotting top talent doesn't hurt. I look for intangibles like attitude, curiosity, energy, openness, etc. as much as I do for concrete evidence of achievements and experience. 

And don't forget that the most talented professionals in any field are probably the busiest and have the most prospective employers and partners knocking on their doors.

Justin Njoh IT Director - Mayfairworldwide, Lisol,

October 21st, 2016

Some really wise words from Lee.

If there was a way to get to know prospects first - maybe through a little project or two - before committing, that might help.

David M

October 21st, 2016

Justin's answer is solid.  When I have gone into companies in the past to develop or build, I am very direct and to the point.  In terms of strategy and business development, I have found that I outperform most.  At times, the CEO who is considering hiring has reservations, as you pointed out...can this person do what they say.  And the flip side is I at times have reservations if the CEO can perform as he aspires.  My radar for talkers is always in tune and I dont want to waste my time with an overhyping CEO anymore than the CEO wants to waste his time with an overhyping candidate.  I make it simple for all in that I request a test project to back up what I claim I can do, but I do so on contract and with a percentage that is not cheap.  No performance, no pay.  However, the catch is in the end I deliver and it is at a premium as opposed to a salaried position.  

I don't know what kind of tasks you are looking for your employees to succeed at.  Again, my role has been strategy, business development, and operations related in terms of a COO.  BUT, if the candidate wants the job, they will respond to a "Look..its hard to find great employees.  I want to give you a test project for something I am currently trying to solve at my company.  It will be on a contract basis.  Based on your performance, I would love to consider further."  If the candidate wants it bad enough, they will do it.  And in general, the real go getters will love the opportunity to out perform you, the CEO just to make a point.  For me anyway..those are the real finds and keepers!  I want someone who can solve the problems I struggle with.  My two cents.

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

October 21st, 2016

In ancient times, I worked for an aerospace company. We worked on the manned space program, and the many people involved worked hard and long, and didn't waste time. Maybe the phenomenon is generational, but I prefer to think that working towards a worthwhile goal eliminates time-wasting behavior. Sent from my iPhone

Gabor Nagy Founder / Chief architect at Skyline Robotics

October 23rd, 2016

Hi @Arunas.
Hire people as contractors first, for a specific tasks or two.
This will give you the experience working with them, that should be enough to decide if you want to hire them full time.
There's an old saying in Hungary. You only get to know someone by living with them...
Or, working with them, in this case.
This will also give you a larger pool of expertise, for specific tasks, without spending millions on hiring a bunch of top experts.
But, be fair!
It doesn't mean you should consider people to be disposable!
If someone is good, you should hire them full time.

Arunas Rolicius Blockchain/Crypto veteran

October 21st, 2016

Martin i think that every person should consider his/hers job and effort worthwhile. In other case - what's the point? 

But i understand what you mean - i'm afraid not that many people have the means or wits or confidence to participate in these sort of projects. What i'm saying is even if you are a bus driver you should do your job with vigor or not do it at all. 

And my question is how do you avoid the people that are faking it. People that are talkers and not doers. People that measure their productivity and achievements by the amount of scheduled meetings and the amount of emails. 

Arunas Rolicius Blockchain/Crypto veteran

October 21st, 2016

Lee - I agree that referrals from one's network is an excellent source for quality introductions, but it seems that sometimes it's a slippery slope as you might become boxed in. And thanks for a great observation about the challenge. 

Sadef - i would love to model my radar on some sort of an expert, but it looks like it's more of an art than a science. But that's exactly the purpose of my inquiry - how to improve one's "radar"

I got one good advice about hiring people once: if you have doubts - you don't have any doubts. 

Problem is that with limited resources you have to hit the bulls-eye every single time. And at the end of the day your most trustworthy advisor is  your cognitive capabilities and your gut feeling. Problem is that there's plenty of people and companies that are the real villains/parasites of the business world - they will drain your resources and provide you with nothing in return. Well maybe a lesson on naivety. 

And these sort of encounters are especially prevalent in foreign countries. By the time you realize you're being bamboozled - precious time has been wasted.