Business is good—so good that you’re ready to add staff. If you’re like most people, you tend to look for someone who is like you. After all, you need to be able to work together. But it might be better to promote and hire with a focus on complementary candidates, not compatible candidates. Consider these ideas to help you look for staff who can fill in for your weaknesses, not duplicate your strengths.
Finding staff that complements your weakness means you first have to know your own strengths. There are a number of tools that can help you identify them. Here are two of them:
- StrengthsFinder – This online assessment tool is based on the popular book by Dr. Donald Clifton, Now, Discover Your Strengths. It’s rooted in research from over 2 million interviews conducted by the Gallup Organization. This low-cost self-assessment will identify your top five strengths.
- Emergenetics – This is another online tool that identifies how you approach work (and life). It provides a profile that shows how you think and behave. That’s useful in determining how you approach a problem.
Seek Complementary Staff
Knowing what your strengths are means you also unearth your weaknesses. The idea then is to find staff members who can provide balance in areas where you fall short.
For example, entrepreneurs tend to be passionate idea generators. They have the ability to envision the possibilities and can set a direction. It’s that spirit of innovation that creates successful small businesses. But they might need help getting there. So the perfect complement is to have a staff member who is good at implementing the vision.
Think about these ideas when adding complementary staff:
- Take Inventory – The assessment tools listed above aren’t just to find your strengths. They can also be used with your entire team. They not only help you identify gaps in your business’ current skill set, they also help team members understand each other better. For example, knowing a staff member is an analytic can help to explain why he/she constantly asks questions. It’s not that they don’t believe you; they just need more information before they can understand. And they might find another solution you haven’t considered.
- Ask Situational Questions – Don’t just rely on a resume to determine a candidate’s strengths. Give them a situation and ask them to respond. For example, “Tell me about a time when you had competing deadlines. How did you decide which was more important?” Their answer will tell you how they solve a problem. Do they approach it differently than you? If so, you might have someone who can provide alternatives your business didn’t have before.
Your small business might be better served by broadening its combined skill set rather than expanding what it can do already. Whether you promote from within or hire someone new, consider adding staff whose skills complement your weakness.