Managers make a number of mistakes when they hire new employees. One of the most common mistakes they make is always hiring someone who is similar to them. However, recent studies have shown that you will be better off hiring somebody who is different.
Many managers want to hire an employee that they would enjoy spending time with. I can understand the logic behind their decision. You are probably going to be spending more time with your new employee than with your spouse. It is imperative that you hire somebody that you are going to be able to get along with. However, you also need to keep in mind that your relationship with your employees needs to be very different from that of a friend or significant other.
Why You Need to Hire Somebody Different
Strive to hire people of different ages, educations, backgrounds, genders, races and other demographics. There are a couple of key reasons a more heterogeneous team can work to your advantage.
Every organization should try to have a heterogeneous culture. Too many organizations have problems with all their employees thinking exactly the same (this heuristic is known as groupthink). This can seem like a good thing because everyone gets along well together. However, they all will repeat the same mistakes as well.
You are going to need to have people with varying points of view who are going to be comfortable challenging your proposals. Make sure that you hire people who have different personality traits, experiences and work backgrounds.
Keep Yourselves on Task
You want to make sure that you and your employees aren’t going to get along too well. You need to keep yourself focused on your work. People who are very similar and get along great are more tempted to spend time socializing instead of working. You can stay more productive when your team members aren’t interested in forming close friendships with each other.
Ability to Handle Conflict
You are going to feel more comfortable when everyone in your team is getting along great. However, a perfectly cohesive team isn’t necessarily a better team. Your primary focus should always be on improving performance.
An even more interesting point is that teams where everyone is similar are going to have more difficulty handling conflict as well. According to research conducted by Margaret A. Neale over the past half century, teams with members who are different learn to adapt to those differences. They expect conflict to be a problem, so they force themselves to better understand the needs of their members and find a way to resolve their differences. More homogenous teams are more likely to expect everyone to be similar, which creates a number of challenges when conflicts do arise.
Don’t Try to Hire a Friend
You need to always keep your eye on the ball when you are hiring a new employee. You don’t want to hire somebody who is going to be your best friend. You need to step outside of your comfort zone and hire somebody who is likely to get on your nerves once and a while and challenge your points of view. Remember that you are looking to hire somebody who will help your business and team increase productivity and improve results.
About the Author
Kalen is an entrepreneur with an MBA from Clark University. He writes about getting a masters degree in organizational leadership and other advanced degrees.