5 Tips to Hire Someone Smarter Than You


November 2, 2012   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Everything seems good on paper.

My potential job candidate seems to have plenty of experience in his given field.

Now I’m heading into an interview.

Oh, and I have no idea what half the words on his résumé mean.

He speaks the language of his expertise. I, on the other hand, basically speak monkey.

I hire smart people because I’m not always smart on my own.

BUT I am smart enough to hire those who know more than I do – I do this all the time.

When you’re looking to hire an expert you want to make sure you’ve done your due diligence by vetting their information and learning as much as you can before and during the interview.Here are five things I’ve learned about hiring the right person for the job and bringing in well-rounded member to my team:

1. Admit that you know nothing. 

In life and in business it’s important to admit when you have no clue what you’re doing, or exactly what you need.

You need to hire people who know more than you do. You’ll also save yourself a lot of money, time, and brain damage by seeking advice from other people in different fields.

For instance, if you’re looking to hire a programmer, then talk to another programmer you know. Ask about that person’s job and what’s expected.  Getting a good feel for what another job entails is key to understanding and setting expectations for your new hire.

2. Find someone that’s more bite and less bark. 

We’ve all been romanced by someone who whispers sweet-nothings but delivers… nothing. You want to find someone who can do what he says.

If you have an open sales management position, and plenty of applicants with tons of experience on paper, then the interview is where it all comes together. If one applicant endlessly gabs on about himself and talks about the great things he has done, you might want to thank him politely and show him the door.

That person may be an excellent product or service salesman, but that doesn’t make him a good sales manager. In this instance, the right applicant for that position is going to talk about the team, not just the wonderful things he has done individually.

3. Hire for passion AND what’s on paper. 

A lot of times you can’t see passion on a résumé, but you do see it in the interview. You want someone who is knowledgeable, teachable, and has an unquenchable thirst to learn more.

You wouldn’t hire someone who can’t tie his own shoes to go run a marathon for you; the right candidate knows what he is doing.

Passion creates aptitude, but you need someone who has both already. This is the best hire: an expert who will constantly become an even greater expert.

4. Trust but verify. 

If your dream candidate walks through the door and everything looks good on paper, you still need to do a bit of homework.

Just because someone has been able to do smaller project quickly and efficiently doesn’t mean that he can handle a bigger project, with an even bigger budget, and a tighter schedule.

By verifying a candidate’s information and checking references, you will know more about him when it comes to job performance. It’s not just okay to ask for help when verifying – it’s essential. Ask other experts you know for help evaluating (see above, “Admit you know nothing”).

5. Remember, there is no “I” in team. 

Assuming your business is one where the employees have to interact with each other, the most important part should be hiring a team player. You want someone who plays well with others, knows his job, and, in general, is a nice person. The ideal candidate is going to have all of these traits and more.

We’ve all worked with someone who wasn’t a team player, and it just leads to misery in the work place. Because work hours take up a lot of our waking hours every week, creating a positive environment with positive people is where it all begins.

As your business grows, and you start hiring experts to fill out your team, remember that the five helpful tips to set you on your way.

By admitting you are not an expert, finding someone who can put their money where their mouth is, hiring passionate people, verifying all of their information, and locating that team player, you will find smart people – this just might make you smarter too!

Written on 11/2/2012 by Jordan Guernsey. Jordan Guernsey is the CEO of Molding Box, an innovative company that provides order distribution, shipping, print services, and CD/DVD duplication. Jordan started Molding Box in his mother’s basement and has grown the company into an Inc. 500 list member. Photo Credit:

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