Hiring: Friends or Strangers?
When you’re starting out in business, you’ll need a team of high level decision makers around that you can trust. Finding these people is one of the first challenges you’ll need to overcome: putting together the right team that will drive your company forward towards success rather than falling at the first hurdle.
One tempting way to find your first set of executives is to hire from your own network, or taking personal recommendations from your trusted peers. Another option is to out the work out to one of the many executive search companies London has to offer, and find a broad pool of candidates that you have no personal connection to.
Today we’re looking at the pros and cons of both approaches and hoping to settle this question once and for all!
Hiring through your network is reassuring. And in the early days you need to be reassured: you need to trust the people taking your high level decisions to share your vision for the company, as well as being competent and insightful executives. If you hire people who think the business should be moving in a radically different direction, courting different clients, and offering a different kind of service you’re going to waste a lot of time in resolving conflicts rather than pushing forward.
If you hire people you know, you can trust them more. If you’ve worked together in the past, you know you can collaborate successfully, avoid arguments and get on the same page. You won’t waste time on disputes as you already have an understanding of each other’s thought processes.
The real problem with hiring people you know directly is that they tend to be…a lot like you. It’s reassuring to know you’re not going to work in a regular meeting and have your most fundamental ideas about the business challenged, but if those ideas need challenging and no one sees it, you’re going to find yourself in trouble. Broadening your hiring beyond your immediate peers gives you access to more expertise, more points of and more knowledge. The number of unforeseen problems that could sink your business shrinks with a more diverse company make up, as a broad knowledge can, quite simply, foresee more.
You also need to consider the optics of the situation. With increased transparency and reporting about accessibility and company make ups, you could well find yourself embarrassed in the press as ‘part of the problem’ if you’re only hiring from your old boys network. Do you want to run the risk of ending up on the wrong side of history.
Reach out, build a more diverse business and enjoy more success. It’s as simply as that.