7 Signs Your New Hire Is Full of It

Fake talent can sink your company. Here’s how to sniff it out.

Joe Procopio
5 min readMay 15


Hiring talent that doesn’t live up to the claims made on a resume and in an interview can be a company killer. This has happened to me, several times over. It has happened to friends and colleagues. It could happen to anyone. In fact, it recently happened to a founder who wrote in:

I just let several people go. Most of these terminations were due to the employee not living up to what I thought I was getting when I hired them. How do I spot candidates who aren’t as talented as they appear to be?

None of us is immune to making hiring mistakes, both in the hard skills area and the soft compatibility area. In fact, one of the primary reasons this mistake is made is because we think we’re never going to make it.

We all like to think we’re good judges of character, and unless the role we’re hiring for demands skills that are way out of our own scope (i.e. a non-tech founder hiring a technical resource), we also like to think we know enough to qualify candidates for the role.

I’ll take the risk of patting myself on the back and state that I am an excellent judge of character. It’s one of my strengths. I can usually figure people out in about five minutes, like 95 percent of the time. But when something works well 95 percent of the time and you trust it 100 percent of the time, it creates a false sense of security. And when that happens, you increase your chances of that 5 percent biting you.

Most entrepreneurs and business leaders accept that risk, because the opposite — spending weeks and months going over each hire with a microscope and a fine-toothed comb and triple-checking each assumption — sounds like a slow march to failure.

So they make mistakes, and those mistakes can be costly. If you think you’re getting top-level talent and you’re not, you’re not only overpaying for them, but like a Ponzi scheme, they’ll need to keep their superhero facade up, and that will wind up costing you much more than their salary plus benefits.

The key, then, is to make as few of those mistakes as possible. In other words: Spot the candidate who’s full of it as quickly as possible.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com