Should You Hire People That are Smarter Than You?


“Hire people who are smarter than you! In doing so, you prevent limiting the organization to the level of your own ability—and you grow the capabilities of your company.”

Pharmaceutical entrepreneur Ewing Marion Kauffman

According to research from the Harvard Business Journal, bad hiring decisions may account for up to 80% of employee turnover and usually could have been mitigated by choosing the smartest and most qualified candidate. Further research shows that turnover costs between 50-500% of the employee’s annual wages, proving that denying a job to a brilliant candidate might be a very expensive mistake!

Drop Your Insecurities and Hire the Best Talent

Insecurity often discourages leaders from hiring employees that are smarter than them.

You may feel self-conscious that your subordinates and colleagues might turn to the new employee for guidance, instead of you. You may also fear that the more talented employee will steal your job or launch a competing company. And while these are valid concerns, they shouldn’t keep you from choosing the best candidate – even if that means that you’ll no longer be the smartest person on the team.

Some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world earned their success by insisting on hiring smarter, more effective employees.

Consider these two quotes: “Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room.”

Michael Dell

“Greatness starts with the humility to hire people who are much smarter than you.”

Guy Kawasaki

Although many people are under the illusion that Dell and Kawasaki are the smartest figures in their respective organizations, they clearly disagree with that perspective and attribute their legendary success to their ability to hire exceptional employees.

Heed their advice. Your company will be much more successful if you swallow your pride and bring on employees that are more intelligent than you.

Key Takeaway: The opportunity costs of hiring the wrong candidate are extremely high. Don’t jeopardize the future of your business just because you’re intimidated by someone that may be smarter than you.

Ready to hire better?