Be Bold. Hire Differently.
When hiring, we know that different roles and companies have different requirements.
Sometimes that means you need someone with deep skills in one sector, to resolve some entrenched issues. Other times it may mean that you need to hire someone with room to grow into the role – for instance if it’s a flat structure with no clear career path.
But beyond this, one trend that happens again and again is the tendency to ‘under-hire’ rather than ‘over-hire’, in an attempt to find someone with the ‘exact’ level and type of experience you are looking for.
And it’s not just down to budget.
Under-Hiring vs Over-Hiring
Beyond budget, and room to grow, there is no clear reason for why hiring someone ‘better’ than the required criteria of the role should be an issue, especially if there is room to add value. It just doesn’t make sense. You want the ‘best’ that you can afford, on your team at all times. When this happens, it usually indicates a more deep-seated issue – either a cultural dynamic that you feel bringing someone more experienced in won’t work, or a feeling of fear on the part of the hiring manager that they may be hiring someone with more skills or experience than them.
Great Leaders Are Only a Result of the Teams They Hire
There is no doubt, some truth in saying that ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. You can’t have a team of finance directors reporting into a finance manager. However, in all jobs, there are always ways to create value. A great leader recognises that hiring people who have ‘more’, rather than ‘less’ to bring to the table can actually contribute significantly to pushing a team’s vision and agenda forward. And the better the team performs, the better the leader looks, too!
Championing Diversity Over the Mini-Me Mentality
It’s natural to want to hire people who have a similar background to you. It makes sense – same value set, same work product. We also know “fit” can be critically important, especially in small team environments, as can education and skills gained in similar work environments. So very often, looking for similar career paths just works.
Equally, however, one of the biggest strengths of any team is in its diversity. If you hire a high percentage of people that share similar strengths and weaknesses to you, or to the rest of the team, these strengths and weaknesses become the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Without this diversity of skills, and differences of opinion, you can’t have balance, which in itself is a risk to performance. Moreover, hiring people that think alike will inhibit positive challenge, discussion and debate in a team, which will slow down the necessary course of innovation and evolution.
So, be bold. Hire for smarts and hire for difference.