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Hiring better than you

I want someone to mock me, to kick my ass, to make me feel stupid.

So said Jasper Westaway of Onedrum.com at TechCrunch Edinburgh on Wednesday last week.

He was talking about the value that good product marketing people bring to tech businesses, and how difficult they are to find.

But the principle applies to any business.

It’s much better to have someone inside your organisation who can make you feel stupid with a few intelligently naive questions than to wait and leave that job to someone outside the organisation in, say, a vital pitch presentation.

I’m in the process of hiring a new planner for Blonde at the moment, and I have a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for.

Not just a series of ticks in boxes in terms of skills and experience.

I want someone who scares me.

Either because they can do things that I can’t.

Or because they are, or will be, better at the things that I can.

This is the only way to recruit.

A long long time ago a friend of mine had a video (VHS) of Deep Purple in concert.

At one point there was a break in the proceedings as various members of the band talk to the sound engineers on the mixing desk because they’re not entirely happy with some of the levels.

In the end the lead singer, Ian Gillan, speaks into the microphone and says “We want everything louder than everything else.”

Wouldn’t it be great if, through a range of skills, personalities and experiences, everyone in the agency was better than everyone else?

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