Having a team of employees with a diverse set of skills and personality types is actually a key component to success, but it can be easy to get caught up in your connection with a candidate during the hiring process. And hiring employees who are too much like yourself can be problematic in the long run.
"If a manager surrounds themselves with direct reports who think, behave and work like they do, they build a team with lopsided skill sets and gaps in capability," said Erin Wortham, people engagement manager at the global people development company Insights Learning and Development.
"Ultimately, these teams will lack the diversity of thought and perspective needed to achieve the group's goals in the most effective and efficient way," Wortham said.
And this hiring problem is all too common. According to a survey from Corporate Executive Board, a best-practice insight and technology company, 74 percent of leaders said the person they most recently hired was "in their own image." [Are You a Good Boss or a Bad Boss? Here's How to Tell ]
So how do you ensure that you're making the right hiring decisions to create a team with balance and variety? It's all about taking time to self-reflect and asking the right interview questions.
First, Wortham said, you need to understand your strengths and what you bring to a team, as well as your weaknesses. Then, you need to make an honest assessment of the gaps you need to fill and think about what you need rather than what you want.
During the recruitment process, you need to fight the urge to dismiss skills that you don't think are important or that fall outside what you know and what you're good at, Wortham said.
And when it comes time for the interview, make sure you ask the right questions.
"Strike a balance between interview questions that are behavioral — dealing with past scenarios — and situational — dealing with hypothetical scenarios," Wortham said. "In doing so, you'll create space to recognize capabilities, validate experience, and see, or not see, the candidate's diversity of thought and experience in action."
Hiring employees who are too much like you is an easy mistake to make. Wortham noted that it's commonly considered a good thing if an interviewer makes a strong connection with a job candidate. But good managers know that this isn't the only thing that matters.
"Smart managers have to recognize the potential for this to happen and not let it interfere with their ability to assess the candidate constructively," Wortham said.
So how can you tell if you're making smart hiring decisions? Wortham put together this quiz to help you determine whether you're hiring employees who are too much like you. Answer "True" or "False" to the following questions, then find your results in the scoring section below.
1.__________ You have direct reports who are better at something work-related than you are.
2.__________ You encourage discussion and debate in team meetings.
3.__________ You don’t like consensus on group decisions.
4.__________ You assess gaps in your team's skills and recruit to fill those gaps.
5.__________ You don't hire because you need another set of hands, you hire because you need a particular role filled.
6.__________ You will hire someone who you wouldn't choose to socialize with outside of work if they have the right skills for the job.
7.__________ You have cross-functional colleagues interview potential new hires and provide feedback before extending an offer.
8.__________ You build role descriptions with specific purposes in mind that map back to strong reasons that the role is needed within the team.
9.__________ While you may accept recommendations on interview candidates, you never let their connection interfere with your assessment of their skills and ability.
10.__________ You won’t hire someone unless you believe their experience, approach and skills matches the role you are looking for.
If you answered mostly True: You don't need to be worried about your tendency to hire in your likeness. You appreciate different skill sets and welcome those in your work and team. Continue to actively seek out differences in adding new roles to your team.
If you answered True and False in equal amount: You could be at risk for hiring in your own image. While you may know diverse skill sets are important, you could lose sight of this if you find a new candidate that you like as a person. Remind yourself in the interview process to find a candidate that fits the needs of the role, and not just someone who you "click" with.
If you answered mostly False: You are at risk of surrounding yourself with a team that is just like you, if you haven't done so already. You could benefit from a hard look at your team to get a sense of what lopsidedness could be occurring in preference and capability. To keep yourself in check for new hires, institute a group- hiring process so that you have to get input on whom you should hire based on what the role requires.