We don’t always want to hire stars

A long time ago I wrote about the recruiting jigsaw puzzle—that is, the need to hire people who fit in with others in the team. We want people’s skills and personalities to complement each other.

We also need people who are going to fit our particular organisation. I made a mistake when I forgot that, and it was very painful for everyone involved.

Today I thought I’d add to that narrative, using someone else’s experience.

I knew an organisation that had an awful lot of very talented people. Some presented at conferences, some wrote respected blog posts, and a few wrote or contributed to popular open software. I was speaking one day to one of them and remarked how great it must be to work with so many rock stars. “Well,” she said, “Yes and no. It’s great that everyone is so smart, but sometimes it’s difficult. So many people are jostling for their place in the spotlight.”

Some time later I came across Kim Scott’s book “Radical Candor”. She talks about a similar idea, saying that it’s important to have people who are going to be reliable and dedicated and aren’t always looking to leave the team to further their ambitions—as well as wanting the soaring stars.

We do need to allow—and help—our team members to achieve their goals, but if everyone’s constantly trying to get public recognition then it can easily hurt the team’s goals and team relationships.

Photo by Wan Fuad