5 Reasons Hiring Someone Smarter Than You Shouldn't Be Intimidating

Business.com / Hiring / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Winners surround themselves with winners. Growing your company requires a smart team that can tackle the challenges your business will face.

The biggest lie that HR “professionals” tell applicants these days: “you’re over qualified.”

The justification for the lie: smarter people are less engaged and do not stay with the company long-term.

The trend in hiring data no longer supports this theory. In today’s professional environment, the average person only works for a company (in the United States) for four years. So why the lie? Answer: intimidation.

In short, people are intimidated by other people that are perceived as smart.

It’s time to change that, if you want a business to be successful and grow, you need smart people behind you.

Related Article: Keep Your Crew: Creative Ways to Attract and Retain Top Talent

1. Successful People Surround Themselves With a Brain Trust

Virtually all of the greats in the tech business (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg to name just a few) hired smart people to help build their businesses. What they understood was that if you want a competitive edge, you have to be smarter than your competitors. If the largest names of the largest tech firms get it, shouldn’t you get it?

2. Smart Employees Push You to Continue Learning

One of the constants we should keep in our personal and business life is, never stop learning. Life and success are a constant lesson.Smart employees can help with that lesson. They can teach you things that you may not have ever had a chance to learn; their unique experiences bring a new perspective to your firm. These lessons can be invaluable to the success of your business.

To quote a person that built an empire from nothing- “try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people… or find a different room.” - Michael Dell.

Mr. Dell put his money where his mouth was in 1986 by recruiting Lee Walker. Walker was a venture capitalist and was hired onto Dell Computer as President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Walker knew things about scaling a business; the kinds of lessons Dell would rely on to grow his company.

3. The Wrong People Cost Money

Bluntly put, your ego or a hiring manager’s ego will cost a company money. Even worse they can cause morale issues, causing good employees to leave. But don’t just take my word for it; in 2010, Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, said in an interview that “bad hires” have cost the company “well over $100 million”.

Related Article:Recruiting the Best Talent: Tips and Tricks for Finding "The One"

That’s a lot of money, all because someone hired the wrong person. Of course, there are many reasons for a bad hiring decision to be made. But, many unforced hiring errors result from the egos of the people involved in the hiring process. Put egos aside. Bring in the smartest people possible and both you, and your company will drift in a more intelligent direction.

4. Smart People Are Curious, Inspiring Growth

Businesses do not grow by standing still. In the global marketplace, successful companies have an insatiable appetite for the next project, the next contract, the next big idea that will make the company more money. Smart people like to learn, and for the most part, they like to be challenged.

When companies need to do things differently, they have better odds when teams of smart people are involved. Every experienced member of your team has something to add to the process, but your more curious team members will be able to guide the team in new and exciting directions. Out of the box thinking, combined with a proven team, can be unstoppable.

5. Treat Candidates Like You’re Hiring an Outside Consultant

When companies outsource work to third parties, they usually look for the smartest, most cost-effective firm they can find. Hiring managers should adopt the same strategies that companies use when they bring on outside firms to assist with projects.To get an idea of how the best and the brightest hire outside firms, take a look at the “Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Software Development Company”.

Yes, this is geared towards software firms, but the lessons it covers can apply to virtually any hiring process. A flexible hiring process, which considers both in-house hires and outside contractors, will yield the best results for your business. And, treating all applicants as if they’ll be an outside consultant can help your hiring managers set aside their egos.

Related Article:Recruiting Rockstars: How To Build The Ultimate Sales Team

Hire the Smartest Person in the Room

When hiring managers need to fill a position, many fall into the trap of filling the need they have now. That’s an old way of thinking.To survive in the 21st century, companies need to be thinking about tomorrow. If a candidate only barely fits the needs for today’s work, how can they be expected to grow and fit the unknown needs of tomorrow’s workforce? 

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