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How To: Hire People Smarter Than You


As entrepreneurs and business people we are always told to surround ourselves with people smarter than ourselves. This same principal holds true when it comes to hiring people within your organisation.

But how do you hire people who are smarter and more experienced for a role if you’re not even completely sure how to do it yourself? How do you ensure that you hire the right person and not just someone you think is smarter because of their comprehensive resume and slick tongue when it comes time to interview?

Rule 1. Get expert advice
Speak to subject matter experts in your field of work about what they believe makes them successful. Too often we use the interviews themselves to try and learn more about what the role should entail but no matter how good you are, learning from a candidate about what you require for the role while trying to determine if they are the right fit is difficult at best. Be comfortable expressing exactly what you need from the role and what experience and characteristics will bring success to that role

Rule 2. Be weary of people from big companies.
This is important for two reasons :

A: They may be coming for the wrong reasons – you want people who aren’t entering your business purely for equity. If people are coming in purely because they believe they want equity in the company, they may not be the right fit for your organisation or have the vision of the company front of mind at all times.  Sure, they might receive options or equity as part of the role, but the primary reason for entering your business should be because they want to get back into the creative and execution side of business, which leads to the second reason;

B: Quite often the as employees mover higher within big businesses, the amount of new projects they are working on decreases and there is less pressure for the to be proactive and execute. As an executive of a smaller business, every executive is driving, fighting in the trenches, continually pushing their team to be the best and constantly adapting the product offering to meet customer demands. Those who have been very senior within very large organisations usually haven’t been in this sort of role for a long time or not at all.

Rule 3: Hire from companies that inspire you
Hire people from companies that have done what you are about to achieve. Be careful to and find out if the person you are interviewing was the one actually responsible for the key decisions during the growth of the company, or if they were just taken along for the ride. You are hiring people as you want them to alleviate the pressure on you as the founder/owner/ CEO and not create additional pressure by hiring someone who is potentially expensive and to be coached in areas they were hired to experts in. 

There are many nuances to hiring people, let alone people smarter than you. Be confident in yourself and don’t be intimidated! There is a reason why you, not they, are the business owner and they are coming to you for employment. 

About Stuart Cook

Stuart is the Global CEO of Zambrero, a quick service Mexican chain of restaurants, and a director and shareholder of The Entourage. Now based out of Asia, Stuart is heading the company’s international expansion and working with Jack Delosa to set the strategy and build the team at The Entourage.

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