Is Hiring In Your Own Reflection Bad For Business?

It’s just natural to hire people who have a similar background to you, or that you have a natural synergy with. It makes sense – same value set, same work product. We all know “fit” can be critically important, especially in small team environments, as can education and skills gained in similar work environments. So very often, looking for similar characteristics and qualities in potential candidates is an important part of any hiring process.

And we’ve all made a hire with this in mind. With varying results of course – some fly, some move on, some aren’t quite the same as you after all…but whatever previous results would tell you, I bet when it comes back to hiring, you are instinctively drawn to those you just “get” on with best.

So, what’s the problem then? If you are successful, and hire someone who has all the same ingredients as you, or they fit in well to your team because of a shared value set, why should it be bad for your team?

It can weaken team morale and can create favourites

Think back to your early career, and one of your early mentors. Chances are they looked at you as a reflection of them. If it wasn’t a formal mentorship, they probably selected you because they saw your potential by through their own mirror. You may even see this same relationship with some of your mentees now. Nothing wrong with any of the above, but taken too far, and you can easily create “favourites”, creating a dynamic that will be picked up by other members of your team and could negatively impact morale, performance and your leadership credibility.

It stops diversity in its tracks and can inhibit innovation

One of the biggest strengths of any team is in its diversity. If you hire a high percentage of people that share similar strengths and weaknesses to you, these strengths and weaknesses become the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Without this diversity of skills, and outlooks, you can’t have balance, which in itself is a risk to performance. Moreover, hiring people that think alike will inhibit positive challenge, discussion and debate in a team, which will slow down the necessary course of innovation.

All of the above said, of course it’s OK to hire individuals in your own reflection, it’s just about ensuring it doesn’t become a hiring strategy. Hiring for quality and character can take many forms – and if they bring a different set of strengths, or a different opinion, all the better. Above everything else, remember a balanced team is absolutely key to ensuring you are presenting a complete set of capabilities to the business. Not to mention the positives it brings – challenge, innovation and healthy competition. It’s just better for business!

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