Late, Lazy and Lies: How to Hire the Right Employee

Updated June 2021

I wanted to add a way that I’ve found to get help and have it when you need it. Always be in the hiring stage, by having an application on your website. I do this for my clients. Starting about a year ago, I noticed they got a few calls or forms submitted as people were looking at their websites before contacting them about employment. Now we are always hiring, so to speak. And my clients like this system. 

It seems workers are doing some research to see who they want to work for and who not to work for.

I know I am a marketing guy now (Spent 25 years in the field), but as I research the web (Trolling) looking for problems to solve, one thing keeps popping up.

Employee Problems

So, in this blog post, I am going to give you some important lessons, tips and even a checklist on how to end or at least help you in finding and keeping good employees.  Also, how to fire them, without getting your ass in legal trouble.

One story that happened to me.

Back when I had my contracting business (after retirement).  I had a FRIEND that I hired as my lead guy.  He was very experienced, a good craftsman and an ok friend.  My mistake, keeping him to long after I KNEW he was the wrong person for the job.  He fit all three of the business damaging points, LATE, LAZY and LIES.

You see I was blinded by friendship.  I was also in a position (Like most of you) who needed the help as I was marketing and selling jobs faster then hot cakes.  We went from 3 guys to 12 guys in 4 months.  We went from $20K a month to $90K.  It was fast and was on the road to contracting success.

So, I thought.

Problem 1:

He was late, not just once a week but always.  I would be out the door heading to jobs, the supply store, etc. about an hour before the guys were to start.  I had several jobs to be on in any given day.  I swung by his house one morning (after being told of his lateness several times) to see WHY!  He was doing laundry at 830 am.  We started work at 8 am and the job site was half an hour away.

Problem 2:

He was lazy.  I would say he became lazy after years of doing a job, a craft he no longer had any passion in.  I have had this happen and feeling myself.  So, it was easy for me to spot.  It wasn’t burnout of working long hours, but the spark was gone for the craft.  He didn’t cut corners, but he sure did the least amount for the most he could get.

A good sign of this was complaining.  I need more help here, I need more supplies (he had plenty), it’s too hot, it’s too cold.  Shut the fuck up Goldilocks, I thought to myself.

Have you been in this state of mind before?

Problem 3:

The lies!  With the smartphones we have today, they make life easy, but the downside is they make it easy to lie.  Before, I checked up on him, I would text him at the end of the day, his not mine.  I had customers to talk to, jobs to sell, etc.

Then, I started checking up on him. 


ME: Hey do you need anything?

HIM: No, we are good.

ME: How many windows you put in?

HIM: We are starting the second one.  (10:30 am)

ME:  Really!  I’m sitting here and there is nobody here.  (I told him I had to go to the other job about an hour away from this one.)


I waited 30 minutes until they showed up, I should have FIRED the both of them right there.  BUT, I didn’t.  WHY, because I needed them.  Or so I thought.

I hired more guys, weeding them out as best I could, but here is what happened by not firing that one friend.  He infected every new hire with his attitude.

The end of the story, (I do take full responsibility)

What I didn’t do and what he did ended up costing me $125,000 and a business that took two years to fix.  A miserable two years, one that took the wind out of my sails to do, what I loved at the time.



Ok, enough about me and my failure.  I hope this helps you make a better decision then I did.


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Here are the 13 signs of a terrible employee.



Poor employees are always complaining.  Nothing is ever good enough for them.


They never take responsibility for their actions.  Always place blame on something or someone.

Lack of Enthusiasm:

It does not excite them about a good thing for the company or new project.

Doesn’t Help Others:

They say, “It’s not my job.”


Gossip destroys company morale.


An employee who lies, will destroy the company.

Know it All:

They act like they know it all and whatever someone says they ignore.


Although this can be a wonderful trait, it more often is not.  If they always want to work alone.  This is a sign.


They often are late, lie, break promises or miss deadlines.

No Initiative:

They have to be told what to do all the time.

No Questions:

They are not willing to learn.


They are easily distracted or actually look to be distracted.  On the cellphone at work?

No Growth:

Either personal or within the company.


Ok, now we have narrowed down the traits of the company killers, let’s move on to the idea employee.



They want to improve and grow.


They are willing to work on tasks themselves.  Not to be confused with independent (See Above)


They are not arrogant, they stay grounded after doing an awesome job.


They are into what they are doing.


Nobody likes a liar.


They will take risks, because they are confident they can do the task.


Look for the employee who thinks outside the box.


Someone you can always count on.


An employee that is eager, hungry to improve their personal or professional life.


Even when times get tough, they stay positive.


They are a good fit with your company culture.

How do you go about finding and keeping the ideal employee?


  • Start looking before you need them.
  • Embrace remote.
  • Pay well.
  • Offer small bonuses.
  • Offer opportunity, not just a fat check.
  • Hiring process
  • Evaluations
  • Three strikes you are out, FIRE fast.

How to FIRE an employee, without getting your ass in legal trouble.




To your success,

RJ Cooper, Marketing Misfit.