So, you’ve been working for the same organization for, well, let’s play nice and say “a number of years.” You know the company inside and out, you understand its history, you know who’s who and what’s what, and you’re generally considered a safe pair of hands.
But now your team is growing and you need to take on some new people—and you’re not too keen on the type of people that HR keep sending your way.
It’s only lunchtime and you’ve already interviewed (and mentally given the big thumbs down to) a hipster with a beard shaved into the shape of a squirrel, a whiz kid Millennial type who kept checking his iPhone as you were talking, and someone with three—yes, three—degrees. Since when was one not enough?
It’s OK, I get it. I really do. But also I think you need to take a minute and think about why you’re feeling so threatened.
Contrary to popular belief, I think you absolutely should hire people with more experience than you—no matter how that makes you feel. And not only more experience; you also need people on your team who are younger, hungrier, and (sorry to say) smarter. And here’s why.
1. There’s Room for More Than One Sherriff in Town
You are the first, the original leader. You’re established, you’re trusted, and you have built excellent relationships throughout the company over the years. Your key assets are experience, close working relationships, and a wide-angled view of the company as a whole.
So, why not let some smart new kids find their own trail to blaze? While you were busy working your way up from the mail room, they were in school soaking up the latest thinking, and always first in line when new phones, tablets, and trends appear. They’re technologically light years ahead of you, and they can probably use that to shave time off of your more established processes. Let them!
2. The Newbie Will Reflect Well on You
It’s a cynical world, as Tom Cruise might say. A cynical, cynical world. And you need to make sure that the smartest people with the most experience are on your side, so that their brilliance reflects on you, leaving you basking in the beautiful glory of your (OK, their) successes. You’ll always be known as the recruiter with an eye for a future CEO, and the rising star will never forget who gave him his big break at your company. Win win!
3. You’re Never Too Old to Learn
You’re surely not arrogant enough to think there’s nothing left for you to learn—are you? The rise of Millennials is causing a bit of a stir in the business world lately. Defined as the generation born roughly between 1980 and 1995, they (apparently) stand poised to sweep into board rooms across the nation like Stormtroopers who can’t go a full minute without taking a selfie.
And they’re not going to be as experienced in your industry as you are, but they are experienced in 21st-century working trends, such as making technology work for them, creating their own work-life balance, getting on board with socially responsible organizations, and expecting more of a “partnering” relationship with their manager as opposed to the traditional manger-employee dynamic.
I’m pretty sure that some of that could be useful to you. After all, if you’ve worked for the same organization for a while, it’s likely that your routine has stagnated. You probably work from 9 to 5 with a 30-minute lunch break. You probably have a ham and pickle sandwich from the place across the street while worrying about the state of your inbox, and you probably never dreamed of working—well, anywhere besides your office! Millennials are here to teach us all to ask for, expect, even demand more flexibility. And I think we could all use someone to show us the way in that regard.
4. No Offense, But Get Over Yourself
This is the bottom line: You may not be destined to be Boss of Your Department forever more. Organizations evolve, roles become more demanding as teams strive to meet new challenges, and for that, you need the smartest people you can find. If you don’t bring in the best people you can when you have the chance, well, you’ve already committed to being the manager of a Not Very Good team. And who wants to be that loser?
And anyway, now that you’ve proved yourself, isn’t there another job you’ve always sort of had your eye on? Something a little left of center, that doesn’t require 50 hours a week stuck behind a desk? Now that you’ve lined up an experienced successor who is just dying to rise to the challenge, it’s time to start dreaming about what could be next for you.