Should I Hire Someone Like Me?
You’re great! You’re smart, driven, creative, resourceful. So hiring someone just like you as part of your growing team makes sense, right?
As noted in “Finding and Keeping your ‘A’ Team,” you should absolutely, positively, no-doubt-about-it resist the urge to try to clone yourself–no matter how great you are at your job.
Opposites attract (success)
First, it would be redundant. Your team already has you. If you’re an energetic idea generator but not good with details, doesn’t it make more sense to hire someone who’s dedicated to details?
If you don’t, who is going to make sure the paperwork is properly completed and the bills are paid while you’re dreaming big?
Conversely, if you’re the type who tends to get bogged down in the details, you might benefit by adding a decisive big-picture thinker who can keep the project or company driving forward.
Diversity of style works
Great teams have people with different skills, ideas, perspectives, and personalities. Looking at a problem from a variety of points of view all but ensures a better solution. Sure, those differences create tension from time to time, but tension can be productive, leading to new ways of doing things, improvements to the things you already do and protection against complacency.
One manufacturing and distribution company we work with has as its CEO a high-energy idea person who is driven to make decisions swiftly and decisively. The President takes a more cautious and analytical approach, gathering and processing information before acting. The quieter yet articulate CFO sees the big picture and evaluates risks and rewards of optional solutions or strategies. They don’t all readily agree on what to do or how to do it and tensions can rise when debating a course of action.
The company led by this team has experienced double-digit growth for seven consecutive years–so far.
“A peculiar attribute of homogeneous groups is that they can be
unusually blind to what they don’t know.”
Some say the smartest leaders surround themselves with adversaries.
Perhaps “adversaries” is a bit too strong, but they certainly try to surround themselves with contrarians. Too much agreement and too many high fives are likely to cause your company to get too comfortable—and innovation typically happens outside of the comfort zone.
How do you avoid hiring someone ‘just like me’?
Be willing to have your ideas challenged without feeling threatened. Involve multiple people in the interviewing and selection process. Be conscious that we’re naturally attracted to people like ourselves, and then pursue someone who complements your strengths rather than duplicating your own.
There are a lot of tools out there to help identify candidates whose styles and strengths are different from yours — Myers Briggs, StrengthFinder, and the DISC Assessment are a few of many. But these are just tools that provide more information.
To truly combat the urge to hire someone who will enhance the performance of your team, you may need the assistance of professionals who can identify biases and understand the long-term consequences of cloning yourself.
We’re here to help you find someone who is great! Like you — but different.