Thursday, January 5, 2012

Looking beyond Affinities: "Hire Someone You Hate"

While we often leverage affinities -- areas of common interest and people with whom we share connections -- in some cases it may be advantageous to go outside of our affinities when it comes to recruiting employees or volunteers. A case for this is made in the blog post "Hire Someone You Hate" by The Evil HR Lady.

The main point is that a competitive advantage can exist for those who work with people who see the world differently than they do, offering differing and diverse perspectives. However, when it comes to recruitment and selection, people often look for like-minded individuals. The author cautions that "different doesn't mean disagreeable." Additionally, it is the responsibility of leaders to listen to all the varying perspectives being presented -- by like-minded and different thinkers -- and then use all the information at hand to make their own decisions.

The author warns of negative consequences that come from closing yourself off from folks who have solid skills in the field, yet you can't imagine spending any time with them outside of the office. The author writes: "You need someone who has some different experiences than yours. Someone who can explain to you that not all clients love what you love and brings qualities and perspectives you lack. You need someone who will point out that even though you love baseball games, not everyone else does and therefore your marketing shouldn't be limited to supporting the local teams. This means that they can attract clients you cannot."

The author continues: "Hiring someone you hate, of course, means that you probably won't be best friends with this person. ... What you will find is a person who can see the other side of the story. As the boss, you can choose whether or not [to] listen to their ideas and implement new strategies, but at least you'll have the option."

Brenda Dow is a specialist in Marketing, Advancement, and Business Development. She holds degrees in communications and human resources management, and blogs about affinities and affinity related activities at

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