Throughout today’s business world, a growing trend is developing where managers routinely reject applications from potential employees who they worry may be smarter than them. As a matter of fact, a growing number of managers and business owners are refusing to hire new employees who are overachievers or well-qualified in general on the basis that they could be bringing in their own replacement.

Nothing could be a more foolish course of action. It’s imperative that today’s businesses keep hiring the smartest people they can find, even and especially if they outshined existing team members. Here’s why you should hire people smarter than you if you want to succeed in the 21st century.

It’s all about the team

In this day and age, there are precious few business operations that bank on the success of one individual. Rather, most companies succeed based on whether they have the right team for the job. This means that it’s imperative to always be scouting for new employees with the potential to upend your current way of doing business, even if that’s not necessarily good news for managers or existing employees.

It all boils down to putting the company’s best interest first, and there’s no better way to secure your business goals than by relying on the smartest team members.

Still, finding out which employees are truthfully very intelligent and which are merely savvy at acing the interview process is challenging. That’s why managers and business owners in charge of this kind of decision making should read up on some tips they can rely upon when it comes to scouting out the smartest individuals in the talent pool. If the people you put in charge of the hiring process don’t know what to look for, then your company will never be able to strike gold by finding the perfect employee for the job.

One of the simplest reasons that you should be hiring people smarter than you is that intelligent folks can help you innovate, and will constantly be on the lookout for errors in your operations that you yourself may miss. Nobody is perfect, and even the hardest working employee may need the advice of another intelligent employee if they’re to avoid messing up now and again. Thus, it should never be seen as a net detriment to the team to introduce a new, more intelligent member to your operations.

Once you’ve brought on talented new team members, your job isn’t over. You still need to learn how to manage them effectively going forward, for instance. You’ll have to have contracts in place, with the help of a small business attorney, that clearly defines their roles. This is easier said than done, as managing those with greater certificate qualifications or raw intelligence than you can be hard – but it’s certainly not impossible. Not everyone who’s intelligent has strong managerial or people skills, for instance, and may need your help in those areas in order to truly attain success in the workplace.

Managing a team of savants

To tackle the challenge of managing people who are more intelligent than you in certain areas, it’s worth relying on the advice of the experts. You should take a deep dive into the Harvard Business Review’s guide on how to manage those who are smarter than you, as going this route on your own is an easy way to fail. At the end of the day, it’s imperative to remember that you can’t coach everyone in everything, but instead should be focused on what you’re particularly good at and using your own skills to help prop up the shortcomings of your intelligent underlings.

In the digital age, more and more workers will need tech skills if they’re to successfully navigate a turbulent business environment. That fact alone will make it important for companies everywhere to keep hiring intelligent, tech-savvy employees for the next few decades.

The importance of recruiting people who aren’t merely intelligent when it comes to tech, but also have good people skills and the ability to be creative, cannot be understated. All of the data in the world is pointing towards the fact that workers will need more tech skills in the future, so don’t be afraid to go all-in when it comes to investing in intelligent employees.

Managers who are worried they’re bringing on their own replacements when they hire those more intelligent than them are worried about the wrong thing. As long as you’re serving the interest of your company and proving yourself to be a valuable team member, your job will never be in jeopardy. As a matter of fact, you’re only handicapping your long-term career prospects if you’re unable or unwilling to bring on new, successful workers who can push your company to the next level.

Keep focused on hiring people smarter than you, and your business will be attaining its goals and redefining the market in no time.

Matthew Davies
Matthew Davies is a creative and passionate HR Director with 15 plus years proven experience up to board level in international and world-class corporations. He has had the privilege of working on a wide range of projects that have enabled him to apply his leadership and technical skills and he have proven expertise in managing change, business integration and outsourcing.