Hire Someone You Hate

Hate may be too strong a word…

…but the premise is sound: The idea of hiring someone you don’t like all that much.

At the executive level of almost every radio station, the level that affects who gets hired and who gets fired, it feels like this rarely happens.

Especially as consolidation has decreased the number of jobs, it feels as if personality — likeability — often trumps ability.

As this article explains, it’s human nature to choose our friends because they think as we do. Politics is the easy example of this.

And, admittedly from the outside looking in, I believe this is adding to the “averageness” of our daily content product.

If your people think exactly as you do, why do you need their opinion?

If your people are afraid to express an opposing point of view, to go against the grain, to swim upstream when everyone else is floating down, you’re more likely to miss weaknesses and opportunities.

I’m not suggesting you hire disagreeable people who don’t get along with anyone.

I am suggesting you don’t base your hiring decisions on whether you can be friends with the person you hire, on whether they march in lock-step with you on every issue.

There is no evidence that Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning are friends.

Historian and author, Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her brilliant book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, explained that Lincoln’s greatest strength was his willingness to surround himself with a cabinet that not only disliked him but that, at times, actively hoped to defeat him.


You don’t need more friends.

You need more people who think different (used intentionally), who are confident enough to disagree, to challenge your company’s orthodoxies, to offer you a view of the world you don’t already have.

You need to find a round peg that won’t fit easily into the square hole.

So, the next time you have the opportunity, push yourself out of your comfort zone. Try hiring someone you don’t like.