Dennis Yu

The three-legged stool: a bad hire horror story

If you have a tripod, which of the legs is most important? Of course, they are all equally important– if you take any one of them away, the item being supported collapses.  The same is true in hiring.  Do you want smart folks, trustworthy folks, or hard-working folks?  How about hiring an absolute genius who is lazy or a hardworking thief, or a trustworthy idiot?  Over the course of the last year, Content Factory has grown to 53 employees and it has been a tough road in finding the right people.  If you have been cursed with success, to have more great projects than you have people– then you understand the urge to hire people who aren’t necessarily awesome, but might be “good enough”.

The weakest link

And thus, you might be tempted to bring in folks who aren’t superstars.  You have a variety of justifications: we really need someone right now, we can train them later, every company needs to have some grunt workers, they’re “good enough”, he’s a nice guy, and maybe we can use them for another project later.  But when you’ve lowered your standards, you create a cascading set of problems.  At first, this person performs poor work– but that’s normal, you say since they’re still getting up to speed.  After a few weeks, they exhibit some of the same problems, but you decide to give them more time– and carry them by not only training them, correcting the work, and eventually just doing it yourself.   At some point, you become exasperated and complain that you should have just done it yourself in the first place– would have been less time and the project would have been done well and on time.

Hot potato

At the point this person realizes that they aren’t cutting it, they’ll probably go into defensive mode.  Rather than accept any kind of responsibility, they’ll claim they’re too busy, that someone else didn’t complete something they needed, or that they actually did the work already– maybe you lost it in your email?  Whatever way that the dog ate their homework, you’ll end up wasting your time trying to get them to straighten up.  Their saran wrap shield is see-through and absurdly weak, but they don’t know that.  Maybe they told a fib along the way, but now that they’ve gone so far with it, they can’t back out now– that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’ve had several folks say the nuttiest things with a straight face to me, in spite of chat logs and being caught red-handed.

But wait, there’s more!

Because you didn’t get rid of them right away– because you are a nice person who wants to extend multiple opportunities– this person feels that they can slide by undetected.  They have made friends with other team members– kind of like a parasite that has set down roots in the host victim.  When they sense fear of being dislodged, they will politic and create turmoil– a smokescreen to perhaps confuse or distract you. After all, they have kids to feed, a mortgage to pay, and a general lifestyle to support that they’ve become accustomed to.  Keeping them around longer is telling them that their performance level is okay and even if it weren’t– that you’re not about to do anything about it anyway.  Perhaps you have a reputation as being such a nice guy that they don’t think you have the guts to call them out on it.  They might even be so bold as to steal from you, and then boast to their friends about how they did it.

Just say “No!”

Has this happened to you?  Joel Spolsky has one of the clearest rules of hiring.  If you’re not absolutely sure it’s a yes on the candidate, then the answer is no.  If you’re thinking “maybe”, then the answer is “no”.  If they have some great qualities in one area, but your instinct says that they’re either not trustworthy (they complain about how the last company treated them), not intelligent (can’t give clear explanations of what they actually did, or not a go-getter (talks too much about work-life balance and priorities), then the answer is no.  And if this person has managed to slip by– perhaps they were a friend of a friend, said the things they thought you wanted to hear, or made a great first impression with their professional clothes, then the kindest thing to do is let them go right away– don’t let them and everyone else suffer.

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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