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Why You Should Hire Outside Your Comfort Zone

Category: Pro-Opinion, Equality in the workplace, career, Hire

Why You Should Hire Outside Your Comfort Zone

Why You Should Hire Outside Your Comfort Zone
By Brian Formato

The workplace is a microcosm of society, but there are some major differences. Unfortunately, managers who tend to hire people much like themselves have staffed the typical workplace. We tend to connect better with people that have similar interests and backgrounds. Therefore most offices are far less diverse than the society around us. Hiring people who are similar to us can be very detrimental to the growth and success of a business. Innovation and creativity tends to occur when conflict and tension exists. If everyone acts the same and works in total harmony, the opportunity for new ideas and breakthroughs is often limited.

Having worked in a few smaller organizations that had cult like cultures, I saw first hand the impact of myopic thinking. My job was to coach our leaders and managers. I specifically recall a conversation with a hiring manager (Jane) after she interviewed a highly qualified job applicant (Claus).

I asked Jane: “So how did the interview go?” Janes reaction, “The interview went fine: Claus has an excellent background, but I don’t think they would fit in here.”

Not totally surprised by her response, I probed deeper. I wanted to know why Claus would not fit in. Jane went on to explain. “He has a very disciplined and rigid style. He has only worked in larger organizations that value process and rules. Our organization is much more free flowing.”

A valid point on the surface, but I probed further. I went on to ask: “What do you need in this role and for your department to grow?” Jane’s response: “I need a can do person with a strong background in operations. Someone who can help us create consistency in our approach.”

The conversation continued and Jane finally realized that Claus was actually exactly what she needed on the team. Jane was so caught up in finding harmony and someone like her that she almost dismissed the candidate who actually embodied exactly what she and her team needed to grow.

The point is that organizations too often allow personal bias and desire for harmony to influence decision-making. Hiring the right person for the job, not the person most like the rest of those in an organization is a winning approach.

The decision to hire someone with a different work style and approach is the easy part. The harder part is flexing your style as a manager to allow someone with a different work style than yours to be themselves and excel. Too often we try to change people to fit in to an organizations culture. The best companies leverage diversity as a strength. They try to hire people with diverse work styles, and backgrounds and most importantly they create space within the organization for people to play to their personal strengths.

About The Author:
Brian Formato is an organizational development practitioner and the Principal at Groove Management, a consulting practice focused on helping individuals and organizations to maximize performance by focusing on strengths. Brian has delivered global programs to organizations of all sizes. He is passionate about diversity work and helping organizations to create winning cultures. Click here to find out more.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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