Don’t Hire Jerks…

I just read a New York Times article based on an interview with Michael Lebowitz, founder and C.E.O. of Big Spaceship about hiring talent. I especially liked this section of the interview…

“Don’t hire jerks, no matter how talented.” I became very attuned to this early on, when we were still a small start-up, and you’re doing everything you can to maintain a positive framework. So I’m looking for people I like, because I’ve seen how, no matter how talented they are, the negative is always going to pull down any positive. The second- or third- or fourth-best candidate who isn’t a jerk is going to ultimately provide way more value. Because we learned that early on, we’ve always guarded against that sort of rock-star culture.”

I couldn’t agree more. How much time do leaders in organizations spend on dealing with bad behavior? Or, as Peter Drucker referred to as bad manners. The basic people skills and politeness are so much more important than raw untamed talent. And the latter can cause so much needless destruction. It’s easy to get blinded by a superstar. We should always ask questions about “good fit” and “compatibility” in addition to a prospective hire’s qualifications.


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