It May be Time to Hire Someone You Don’t Like

by Dianna Brodine, Plastics Business

Every year, I attend a conference for members of the Binding Industries Association. These folks are in an often unappreciated part of the print industry. While the printers or print finishers get the glory for making marketing materials, packaging and book covers shine, binders use their expertise to be sure the projects don’t fall apart when used! In a way, binders are like plastics processors. Processors mold the essential part, and then someone else comes along to add aesthetic appeal.

Anyway, among the speakers at the conference was a consultant who helps employers measure the suitability of potential employees. He was a funny guy, so I wasn’t sure he was completely serious when he said something like this: “Eventually, you’ll realize that the person you need to hire isn’t someone you’re going to like.”

I paid a little more attention, and sure enough, he repeated it: “The person with the skills you need may not be someone you like.”

Maybe this is old news to some of you, but for me this advice was the complete opposite of what I’d always thought. In this instance, the consultant was speaking to a room full of operations-minded business owners and discussing the difficulties in hiring salespeople, but it applies to every position in your company that doesn’t require a personality exactly like yours.

As the speaker explained, the essential elements of our personalities are not suited to every profession. There’s a reason I’m an editor – I could never make it in sales or anything where I’m required to do a significant amount of math. As I’ve often told my boss, I prefer a job where performance can’t be easily tied to ROI. (That’s a joke… sort of…)

When hiring for an open position, think carefully about the personality traits required to perform the job. There will be applicants with stellar resumes who do not have the ability to execute, and yet you will be tempted to hire them simply because their personality is appealing.

Before closing his presentation, the speaker acknowledged that personality plays a role in many other factors within the workplace, including the ability to interact well with others, but his underlying premise still rings true. When hiring for open positions, are you looking for someone you’d want to spend time with in the office, or are you hiring the people who have the skills needed to succeed in the job?