When we look for talent we are fixated on finding the best talent who will fit into the culture of our business and possess a list of skills and experience that we think is crucial for the role – but what skills and experience are you really looking for? Some companies will try and hire using the same skills and experience specification for everyone they hire, resulting in a team, or a company with the same way of thinking and with the same strengths.
What if we all changed the skills and experience specification, every time we hire someone new? – looking for a different set of skills and experience in everyone. Doing this would mean a completely diverse workforce with different strengths, experience and skills.
What are you not good at?
As a leader you will have some weaknesses – nobody can be good at everything. The chances are, you need someone in your business to do something you can’t do and that’s why you should base your hiring on your weaknesses. You need people in your organisation who are going to fill the gaps and offer experience and skills in corners of the business you and others have limited knowledge and seize opportunities that others can’t. Their skills and experience can offer you a safety net and accelerate your growth by having diversity of skills in your business.
You may think that hiring based on your weaknesses makes you look like less of a leader, but the truth is it doesn’t. Hiring based on your weaknesses allows you to spend 100% of your time on your strengths – which is the most important thing as a leader. Having people around you who work on other skills can strengthen your business and free up your time.
There are many successful leaders who hire based upon their weaknesses, Richard Branson is just one who is a success story.
Branson says: “I surround myself with people who have knowledge and talents in areas where I might not be so well versed. Somebody who thinks a little differently can help to see problems as opportunities and inspire creative energy within a group. Some of the best people we’ve ever hired didn’t seem to fit in at first but proved to be indispensable over time.”
“When I hire for a management team, I try to avoid hiring all point guards. This means that I look for people who make me somewhat uncomfortable. I look for people who are different from me, who hold different views than I do, who have different areas of expertise than I do. I look for people from whom I learn in the interview. I look for people with qualities and backgrounds that are additions to – rather than the same as – the rest of the team. Hiring in this way may make the workplace less ‘comfortable’ for the team, but that is exactly the point.” – Sallie Krawcheck, former head of Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney.