Should You Hire the Smart Person or the Team Player?

Paul W. Springman , a consultant for ReSource Pro, assists his clients in growing their businesses and increasing their profitability. He has a long term track record of success, and is particularly astute at coaching people to achieve peak results.

Should You Hire the Smart Person or the Team Player?

My first several years as a hiring manager, I focused on hiring smart people in the insurance industry, preferably people smarter than me, or at least those who possessed strengths in disciplines different from my own. This practice served me fairly well for a number of years — until I noticed that the smartest people in insurance weren’t always the easiest to work with. They didn’t possess the necessary skills needed to work well in groups.

“The smartest people weren’t always the easiest to work with.”

So, I decided to alter my hiring methods. I began focusing instead on recruiting nice people. This resulted in a pleasant work environment, but we began to miss our targets.

It wasn’t until several years later that I understood that you need to hire people who are both talented and nice. Talented people understand the tasks at hand, while nice people treat one another with respect, building a terrific sense of camaraderie. The added bonus in all this is that when you’ve built a talented team of people who enjoy working together, customers are treated in the same way — and sales increase. Employees who possess both of these important strengths improve the work environment and, as a result, customers win and profits grow.

The insurance industry is full of experienced people who know their craft, are well-tuned to others and enjoy what they do. Now go out and find them!

Lesson learned: Not only is hiring smart and nice people good for the company, it’s great for customers.

Learn more about ReSource Pro’s Talent Development services that develop and empower your people to do more for your insurance organization and themselves.