Would You Hire Someone Better Than You?

Would you be okay with hiring someone better than you?

I'm fairly new at this company, which is doing sufficiently well to warrant a bit of a hiring frenzy in certain areas. It is not a perfect company on the technology side (the business model is darn close to perfect for the space), but it is a fantastic place to work.

So I referred some of my colleagues who are still at my previous shop, which was a hard place and getting harder.

One of them is getting called already by HR. The other, more senior one...not yet. I sent his resume directly to the hiring manager, who is an MD. Not a peep. So I pondered - this guy is an MBA, in his last role (the one where we were colleagues, not the one where he was my manager) he solved a lot of the problems the hiring manager faces right now. He could change that entire team for the better.

It dawned on me - that's probably why he hasn't had a call yet.

Partly, people are naturally pretty change-adverse. And this guy definitely does change things. He's an inspiring charismatic leader who takes no prisoners. And it works. So in a culture that is essentially conservative, that could really shake things up.

But in my team, things are changing all over the place and lucky me, I get to be a part of it. I love improving and shaping and fixing where things don't work.

This other team...not so much.

It occurred to me that my friend would probably outshine his boss in a matter of months, if not weeks. Their processes are cripplingly slow. They are criminally inefficient and for a front-line support organization, that's really wretched for our consumers. That would get fixed, and it would doubtless be very clear who fixed it. Getting outshined by your new hire - in this world - can quickly mean you are replaced by him.

The practical/do-gooder in my soul thought, but it's better for the company. OK, so you don't get to be lazy and complacent anymore you have to actually WORK at your job - and the company wins. Where's the downside?

But that's because I'm a practical do-gooder at heart, not a shark. I think most people are probably practical and good-doing at some level, and would react in a similar way - oh good, another really strong member for our team and less work for us (as we are already frantically over-worked).

Maybe this is my naive position because I don't techincally *have* to work (so if I were replaced by a more talented hire, it wouldn't be the end of the world for my family) - I'm here because I want to be and as a safety blanket in a rough economy.

Maybe it is because I have always been able to be successful and worked very hard to achieve, so I'm not threatened by other people who do that. I usually align, network, befriend and work WITH rock stars because I like to do the rock star thing myself when I can.

So why isn't this manager jumping on the potential kudos of hiring a rock star change agent? Why is he so threatened?

I'm not sure, but it doesn't speak well of him.

It also doesn't mean I'm going to give up on getting my chum on board. We need him - and possibly to replace this manager.


Jennifer Z.

Blogging on juggling rural New York home life with Manhattan worklife here at http://www.blogher.com/member/jenniferz 


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