By Liz Elting
We want employees who have integrity, drive, and brains. If they happen to be smarter than us, all the better. Here’s my take on why you should seek out candidates who are brighter than you.
1. Smart people know how to communicate their strengths. The best cover letter I’ve seen recently was from an Ivy League graduate who focused on her waitressing background. She started working young, fought for her first job despite a lack of experience, and sustained that perseverance as she completed her education. In her description of her blue-collar job, the applicant illustrated the qualities I want to see in my employees.
2. Smart people are efficient and proactive. We have a project manager who strives for a work-life balance and who, with our support, discovered tools and collaboration strategies to achieve that balance. By actively finding ways to work more efficiently, she achieves as much, if not more, than someone whose definition of working hard is working long (often unproductive) hours.
3. Smart people don’t limit themselves to their job descriptions. The most successful people in our company not only handle the tasks outlined in their job descriptions, they perform as if they’re in the job above them. People who anticipate their managers’ needs and execute according to those needs are the ones who get promoted. Smart people don’t say “no” when asked to go above and beyond. Smart people realize their most important job is to help the company expand.
4. Smart people challenge their bosses. When an employee questions the way something is done (or not done) and then offers ideas, the company benefits. Smart people ask challenging questions, have answers ready, and push everyone around them to do better.