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Why you should hire people smarter than yourself

Jack Hershman

Co-founder and CTO of Eventbrite Renaud Visage, explains why hiring big will make for a company of giants.

Interviews with 120 employers from a selection of top law firms, elite banks and management consultants uncovered that similarity was the most salient reason for a hire.

The study confirms the obvious, that hiring managers hire someone they like and want to spend time with. However, the problem it poses is that quite often it could mean that the more qualified candidate is missing out.

The king of advertising, David Ogilvy explained the importance of hiring someone better than you and famously said:

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

And it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Corporations far too often take a cautious approach to hiring and ultimately let ego get in the way. Similarity and mediocrity breeds the same. And well, that’s just a little bit stagnant isn’t it?

Hiring someone better than you on the other hand, can be the smartest way of propelling a company to success.

As part of a wider interview, Hot Topics Editor Tom Lytton-Dickie sat down with Renaud Visage, the CTO and co-founder of Eventbrite, to discuss the importance of hiring people with technical experience that outstrips their own.

“I think you hire to fill your gaps, but then again you can always find smarter people- literally in everything that you do. But it doesn’t make you a lesser individual, you just have a different set of skills”.

Approaching hiring on the basis of questions such as what could we learn from this person? And what can they add that’s different? Is certainly the right way.

“You’ll need more people…that can put into place all of the processes that they know works, and use their experience in past jobs on your company”.

Hiring someone better than you is advocated by Google too. In the book Work Rules!, Laszlo Bock reveals the secrets of Google’s interview techniques, and how they follow a few simple rules to ensure they hire the best talent possible.

Bock writes how hiring someone better than you is a pretty good rule of thumb, believing that a hard-line approach needs to be taken when hiring new members of staff, as they will form the key aspect of your business and its growth.

When it comes to hiring, it’s probably time to throw caution to the wind.