A great post from Kris Dunn at hrcapatalist.com discusses the merits of hiring an artist for a regular job at your company. This got me thinking about the way many of our clients have selected candidates over the years. Most of our clients, whether consciously or unconsciously, hire people just like themselves.
While it is important to hire people who are going to fit in with your corporate culture, you also need to take charge of your corporate culture and mold it into the culture you want it to be, not just let it develop on its own. I think the problem is rooted in the fact that most people fail to see their own weaknesses, especially if they are successful. Take a look at the following example.
John is the entrepreneurial type, he is very bright and charismatic, but not great with details or paperwork. John’s business is moderately successful and now he needs to hire someone to help with the day to day responsibilities. John wants to hire someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, great ideas, charisma much like himself. After all he is successful already, just think how much more successful the two of him will be.
This makes sense on the surface but it is totally wrong! In truth what he will get is two people coming up with great ideas and still nobody handling the day to day stuff, and that is the best case scenario. At worst he will have an employee who hates their job as the “day-to-day guy” and probably isn’t great at it to boot. The reason John started a business in the first place was he hated being stuck in that day-to-day grind where nothing he did really made any difference anyway. Now he has hired someone just like himself, and expected them to enjoy doing the stuff he doesn’t like to do.
John should have hired someone who has complementary strengths. Someone who is not terribly interested in starting or running a company, but is great with details and paperwork. Not only would an employee like this be good at taking care of the areas where John needs help, the employee would also challenge John to do a better job with his end of the business.
Next time you are hiring take into account the responsibilities of the job you are hiring for, decide whether this is something you would want to do. If so, great, hire someone who with your strengths. Otherwise go outside your comfort zone and hire someone nothing like you.