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Should I Hire People I Do Not Like?

Of course not.  No. Never.   Roy Reiman, publisher and philanthropist, writes and speaks about the virtues of hiring people you like and the positive impact that has on building or sustaining an accepting culture. Hiring people you do not like almost certainly leads to problems down the road, and those can be expensive in terms of energy, time and money.

But what if the people you do not like have a history of proven performance with other employers?  Well, the operative word in that question is “history”, and you would be wise to check it out.  They may have been amazingly productive, brought in a lot of revenue, optimized profitability, or even leapt tall buildings in a single bound.   Still, there is a reason you do not like them; and it may be the same reason they now have a “history” with one or more organizations. 

You might, on occasion, hire someone you do not like simply because a job or position in your organization has been open longer than you anticipated.  People are putting pressure on you to get the job filled.  You are so anxious to fill it that you believe “somebody is better than nobody” so you hire somebody.   WRONG!  I’ve been down that road once or twice myself, and I realized after the fact that an expedient hire gave a whole new definition to “Oops!” 

So, back to Roy Reiman and his advice about only hiring people you like.  Take note that he did not say “only hire people like you.”  When you hire people like you, clones show up all over the place.  There is no diversity, no one to challenge the way it’s always been. 

When you hire people that are like you, all that happens is that you get more of the same.  There is seldom any long term, strategic advantage in hiring more of what you’ve already got.  It will add little to your competitive position; and, in fact, probably weaken it. 

The goal in hiring is to get some of what you do not have, not more of what you already have.  That’s the point in hiring smart.  As Gary Rogers, Chairman and CEO at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, says, “You can’t spend too much time or effort on hiring smart.  The alternative is to manage tough, which is much more time consuming.”

To recognize your “hiring smart” skills, ask yourself three short questions:

  1. Who was my worst hire?

  2. How long did the situation take to resolve?

  3. How much did the mistake cost?

The very best thing you can do for your competitors is to hire poorly.  And hiring people you do not like is just one of the many ways you can hire poorly.


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