Ask the question “How do you hire?” and you most often get an answer that concludes with “and that’s how I find the best person for the job.”

That’s not how I hire. I don’t look to put the best person in the job. Instead I look to put the best team together … and that can be a very different exercise.

To understand that difference, I’ve used a UNC basketball team analogy in the past. Assume you have a random group of terrific UNC alumni players. Among this particular group, the best five players could well be Phil Ford, Jimmy Black, Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson and Kendall Marshall. Had that group played together, would they have won a national championship? The answer, of course, is no….because they were all point guards.

Greater diversity of thought, perspective and background has been shown to lead to greater innovation and superior financial results. So, when I hire for a management team, I try to avoid hiring all point guards.

This means that I look for people who make me somewhat uncomfortable. I look for people who are different from me, who hold different views than I do, who have different areas of expertise than I do. I look for people from whom I learn in the interview. I look for people with qualities and backgrounds that are additive to – rather than the same as – the rest of the team. Hiring in this way may make the workplace less “comfortable” for the team, but that is exactly the point.


~ by: Sallie Krawcheck