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Hire Talented People

By steve - Posted on 09 November 2009

"You cannot surround yourself with the smartest and most talented people and then start looking over your shoulder or behind your back, worried that somebody smarter or better might be on your heels."
--Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG, as quoted by The New York Times

Whether you are a one-person show or a large IT organization, you'll find youself having to hire or contract additional labor.

One of the most important secrets to success is to hire people that are not only talented, but more talented and smarter than you are.

Leaders tend to bring on people that are better than they are. Managers tend to hire people that are weaker than they are. People that don't like to lead or manage, but enjoy the technical aspects of their work tend to become contractors.

In the Macintosh Division, we had a saying, “A players hire A players; B players hire C players”--meaning that great people hire great people. On the other hand, mediocre people hire candidates who are not as good as they are, so they can feel superior to them. (If you start down this slippery slope, you'll soon end up with Z players; this is called The Bozo Explosion. It is followed by The Layoff.) I have come to believe that we were wrong--A players hire A+ players, not merely A players. It takes self-confidence and self-awarness, but it's the only way to build a great team.
--Guy Kawaskaki

So, your job, as an "A player" is to hire "A+ players".

Here's a short list of how to do this:

  1. Have, and be able to share, a vision.
  2. Create a workable workplace.
  3. Treat others as they want to be treated.
  4. Know what you want to hire.
  5. Know where to find talent.
  6. Know your hiring process.
  7. Keep recruiting your employees after you hire them.
  8. Be someone worth working for.
  9. Fix your mistakes.

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