Is Hiring Seriously Difficult Than Sales?

(What I learned In the Process of Screening 450+ Candidates)

Noman Shaikh
3 min readFeb 21, 2024
Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

I had seen startup founders casually joke around the idea of “You think sales is difficult? Wait till you start hiring.”

I didn’t understand it back then. I used to think, how hard can it be? You’ve people all over these job boards and platforms looking out for new opportunities.

One job post and you might end up attracting hundreds of candidates.

But that’s where the problem begins…

You see this wasn’t the first time I was hiring. I’ve interviews probably a hundred folks before this. But this time I was under terrible pressure to find the right candidate.

This is because I’m working with a startup that’s tight on funds. I know they are. The founder is a close friend. And I want to make sure he doesn’t waste his money with a wrong candidate.

So, here’s the challenge we had… We wanted to hire someone who’d join us as a Digital Marketing Manager. They’d come in and take complete control of the accounts — SEO, Social Media, Paid, and Organic. Other skills like Email marketing would work like icing on the cake.

The Founder, my friend, decided to share the job post on LinkedIn and Indeed.

LinkedIn got us folks who were just too good. There were folks who were already making 3–4 times our total budget. It was hilarious feeling for me to call these folks and ask their salary expectation and just feel good that they’re making good money at start of their career.

We didn’t have much scrutinizing questions here, at this point. And this was our mistake. We later edited the job post with a question that would ask their expected salary upfront.

Other job board Indeed ended up attracting people who weren’t even qualified for the role. They weren’t so good with the either skills required for the job. I remember very few names of good candidates from the platform.

As I reflect about the indeed posting, I think this was because we had clearly mentioned the salary range we were offering. Please just applied for the job just because they thought they’d be a good fit.

After a while, we had a discussion and the founder decided to increase the budget. We increased it by approx. 60%. It was a big decisions, but important to find the right candidate.

Now we screened applications based on resume, and salary expectations.

Now, here’s where we realized our strength in hiring for this role. We realized that even senior folks with 15+ years of experience and people who’ve worked with some giants like Amazon etc., were applying — because it was 100% remote job.

And it got to next level, when they were willing to work at lower salaries because this was a remote job.

Our founder, started to personally approach and talk to each candidate that was a good fit — to manage their expectations — before we scheduled first interview.

Once the expectations were set — only then we interviewed.

So finally, we have almost finalized the candidate. We’re going to let them know about it today.

One of the most important lesson I learned here was to ask and negotiate. Because a lot of very talented folks were ready to come on in with us because this was a remote job and it offered startup culture.



Noman Shaikh

Copywriter & Marketing Consultant | Crazy about psychology and human behaviour | Web: