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Hiring Better Than Yourself

Many hiring experts advocate hiring people with greater capability than yourself, as a way of growing your department, company, even yourself. Yet, in 25 years of headhunting, I’ve seen many high level executives be intimidated by the real go-getters. The one word feedback I sometimes get after submitting an “A+” player is “arrogant.” Yet, I have often perceived the candidate as “very confident” a trait you’d expect in a top performer, but not arrogant. Google turns up over 7 million hits to the string “hiring AND ‘better than yourself’”, and one of those is a three-year old piece by Guy Kawasaki. I agree with just about everything Guy says in this piece on recruiting from January, 2006.

To hire below yourself, and/or not hire complementary skill sets to your own – filling in around your shortcomings – immediately positions you to NOT be an “A” player yourself. Leaders know that having the best around them will almost always pay off, and they are willing to take a leap to get the “A+” person. I think this is a critical ingredient to being a good leader.