Stop Hiring People Like You!

Mirror imageWEBYou’ve found a candidate who is confident, capable, and willing to do whatever it takes to get a job done. Quality hire!! Or, so you think. These traits are more descriptive of an entrepreneur, not an employee. People who like to work for other people are wired differently than an entrepreneur. Employees typically need – and want – more structure and direction, some more than others. As a business owner, processes just slow you down. Of course, every company wants to make quality hires.

A quality hire for one company may not constitute a quality hire for another. How do you, as a leader go about ensuring your hires are quality hires? For one, stop hiring people like yourself. In addition, don’t begin the hiring criteria with the job description. Instead, begin with

  • A clear mission
  • A clear vision
  • A clear purpose
  • Core values
  • Defined position requirements

Once these are in place, benchmarking is next. Once that’s complete, now it’s time for the job description. Above all, ensure that new hires fit into your organization’s culture. It's differeent in the beginning.


When a start-up business makes its first few hires, having them fit into the culture is more important than hiring for skill. In fact, according to interviews with CEOs conducted by SHRM, many CEOs feel that, “When it comes to hiring top talent to lead organizations through both predictable and unforeseeable challenges in today’s rapidly evolving business world, choosing someone who is a cultural fit and aligned with organizational values is key.” As the organization grows, employees must still fit the culture and skills become important as well. Be clear about your organization’s culture. To help ensure a good cultural fit:

  • Administer assessments
  • Conduct background checks and
  • Build in multiple interviews

While having a solid foundation of clear core values is essential for a well-defined, healthy culture, a good interviewing system helps seal a cultural fit. One organization holds two sets of interviews. The hiring manager will hold an interview to determine sills and technical ability. The HR department interviews for cultural fit. Another organization sends their new hires through 14 interviews! While this is time consuming, the payoff is huge. For example, when General Motors (GM) hired Ross Perot, it was discovered too late, that he did not fit the culture. It cost GM $800M for Mr. Perot to make his exit.

Having values, mission and vision in place and an interviewing system helps ensure a good cultural fit. While a CEO should be interested in and take part in hiring, he or she must avoid hiring clones. Keep in mind that the hiring process must have a short shelf life as many of the good ones will get away. Therefore, your hiring system must run like a tight ship with all hands on deck and none of them looking like the captain.

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