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Hire people smarter than yourself

posted Apr 29, 2015, 1:49 AM by Jake Vosloo   [ updated Jun 10, 2016, 11:00 PM ]

There’s a saying that one should hire / surround with people smarter than oneself.

I was thinking how this is applied if my IQ is higher than the top 2% of people, does this mean I can only employ 2% of the population? The answer is No, people’s intellect should not only be measured on their IQ (although it is one measure) it should also be on their emotional intelligence (EQ), their street smarts, their social intelligence, their skills and experience and a large number of other ways to measure an inherent thing that one person has and you don’t.

The point is, look for people who has something that you don’t and avoid people who are clones of you.



“Helpers do what you say, while good help does what you need, without you saying anything. People who can help you the most are actually smarter than you, at least in their domain.” [Marty Zwilling, 2011,]


“My thinking began to change when I started worrying about the amount of micromanagement I had to do. I looked at some employees that I never had to micromanage. There were two engineers, my co-founders, who didn't require any supervision. Why? They were obviously better programmers than I was. There was a designer who was so great, I couldn't even understand how he did the things he did. He didn't get much micromanagement, either. So I woke up. And I made a new rule: Everyone who reports to me has to be much better at doing his or her job than I could ever be.” [Phil Libin, 2013,]


“Hiring intelligently is one of the most direct ways to build a company's success. Look for the most capable candidates -- people whose brilliance exceeds your own.” [David Hassell, 2014,]


“Let’s suppose you are very, very intelligent. So smart that you’ve mentioned your Mensa membership in your resume.  Was that, in fact, such a smart thing to do?” [MICHAEL MOFFA, 2102,]


“Don’t mention in your cover letter or resume that you’re a MENSA member. Just … don’t.” [ALISON GREEN, 2009,]

“But like I said, the problem isn't only that my brain is interested in things that most other brains aren't.  It’s also what my brain can’t do. There’s only a certain amount of space in the brain, and if one area is eating up the real estate with more neural power, some other part of the brain is likely losing out. For me, it’s some of the automatic social functioning which tells you, for example, what emotion another person is feeling based on their facial expression, or whether someone’s being sarcastic or not.  (Sarcasm is a minefield for me, and meeting another person in a hallway is a nightmare — I cannot interpret when to look, or not, what to say, or not, etc.) That said, I have an enormously rich life, and I've adjusted to it.  When I stopped trying to fit in, things got better.”

“Some smart people focus exclusively on their narrow area of interest and never realize that everything important in life is accomplished through other people.  They never try to improve their social skills, learn to network, or self promote, and often denigrate people who excel in these areas. If you are already a good engineer you are going to get 10x the return on time spent improving how you relate to other people compared to learning the next cool tool.” [anon, 2013,]

“This research supports other extensive research by Marks showing that cognitive ability (or IQ) is the single biggest influence on student achievement. It trumps socioeconomic status and school factors, including teacher quality. But this does not mean that socioeconomic status is irrelevant.” [JENNIFER BUCKINGHAM, 2014]

"Genetics endows each and every person with a maximum IQ that can be achieved if and only if the environment is perfect for the development of this IQ." [Anon, 2009,]