Hire Your Complement, Not Your Clone

When questioning a job candidate in an interview, how do you determine what is a good or a bad answer? By what standard are your measuring the candidate’s responses? If the standard is you (how you would answer the question, how you would solve that problem, how you would take on that opportunity), then you are jeopardizing your organization’s success.

It is a natural human bias to think that my way is the right way. Dangerously, most people carry over this natural bias into their hiring decisions…and they hire their clone.

The problem with hiring your clone, especially within a small organization, is that it brings redundant effort into your business. Why duplicate your contribution, when you have an opportunity to bring in differing talents? Seize the moment to bring in outside thought and perspective. Otherwise, you will create a toxic culture of groupthink.

Groupthink occurs when team members, in an effort to drive for consensus, either purposely or unknowingly reject alternative perspectives. The result is a “cohesive” group that makes very faulty, self-serving decisions. It is critical to avoid hiring your clone in order to ward off this cancerous condition in your business.

If it is bad to hire your clone, whom should you hire?

The answer is quite simple: hire your complement. (Important note: your complement is not your opposite. Hiring your opposite leads to conflict.) Hiring your complement means bringing new talent into the organization and, if done right, should make you and the other team members slightly uncomfortable. Remember that a devil’s advocate is healthy. The key strategy behind hiring your complement is to create a balance of strengths. Synergy comes from a diversity of talents, not duplicated ones.

As you conduct the next interview, be sure to keep in mind that if the candidate answers the questions exactly as you would – he or she is most likely not right for your team.

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