Strategic Hiring – How and Who You Hire Matters


Your company is experiencing double digit growth, your team is working hard to keep up with demand, but without additional support from people joining the team, you worry you may be falling further behind. As a hiring manager it may feel tempting to hire the next resume that crosses your path and perhaps more so during this period of unseen labor shortages. While hiring quickly solves an immediate need to bring in additional support and ideally alleviate people who are or may be on the brink of burn out, it’s a gamble. Early on in my career I rushed to hire and then had to spend numerous hours and months trying to unwind not only the incremental work but the morale impact to the existing team it brought with it. It’s not about hiring quickly, but about hiring the optimal candidate that helps advance your company mission in delivering value, acting responsibly and creating connections. 

Within my first few years at Facebook where I built & led Facebook’s Operations team, I interviewed over 500 people and hired hundreds. Each hire was critical in establishing the bar of what we expected out of each other so that we could focus on the needs of our communities. I’ve been fortunate to work with fantastic individuals throughout my 20+ year career and a common thread when finding and hiring them was a clear hiring philosophy, shared here:

  • Know what strengths and skill sets you are hiring for and why

Hire people who will round out the overall team’s capabilities. Some questions I think about are: Where are we heavy on similar skills? Where do we have gaps? Are those gaps critical for the day to day? Having extreme clarity on this may also contribute to increasing cognitive diversity by avoiding hiring people like yourself (as you already bring that skill or strength to the table!)

  • Hire people smarter than you

People have different expertise and strengths and as a leader it’s important to tap into those and empower your team. If you don’t, everything falls on you. This allows everyone to grow.

  • Hire people that are going to elevate the entire team

Great people make others better. It’s like in sports, when you are on a strong team, you push harder and elevate your play. Hiring people smarter than you helps ensure the intellectual bar stays high. Hiring people who are self reflective, humble and kind helps ensure we enjoy spending time with our work family. We collectively raise the bar and grow as individuals and teams.

  • Hire for talents 12-18 months out, not 6 months out

The business changes quickly and the demands increase exponentially. Hiring people who can grow in the role keeps them challenged, provides jungle gym opportunities where they can take on new or different domains, roles, or projects and allows you to stay on pace or even ahead of the external environment.

As hiring managers and those on the interview loop, your greatest contribution is who joins your company. Great teams don’t occur by happenstance. People are your companies’ greatest assets and this occurs through deliberate and intentional hiring. Good luck!