Expand Your Horizon by Hiring with Fresh Eyes

AT GRANGER, I BUILT THE MAJORITY OF OUR TEAM BY HIRING FROM WITHIN. And I believe strongly in internal hires. But for a moment, let me challenge you to do the exact opposite. 

The reality is, sometimes you should not hire from within; you may need a fresh perspective and new ideas. Frankly, you might need someone who doesn’t think like your team.  

Paul Alexander said it this way: “When you need to shift the culture, philosophy, strategy or you don’t have the new skills needed for the role within, then hire from outside. The outside hire will bring an infusion of new ideas and fresh eyes that you’ll benefit greatly from.”

Scott Williams called it the “Inbred Syndrome.” He says it is one of the major reasons that big companies fail; they are unwilling to bring outside people into the organization to infuse new ideas.

 A couple of years before I left Granger, we engaged the services of an outside search firm for the first time in our history to help us with a key hire. Initially, I was very skeptical. I remember my first conversation with William Vanderbloemen about hiring his team. I said, “I’m pretty sure I have no interest in what you do—but what is it you do?”

I started as a skeptic, became a client, and then ultimately a raving fan of Vanderbloemen Search Group (so much that I ultimately moved to Houston to help the company meet the staffing needs of churches).

Even though I eventually became a huge fan of Vanderbloemen Search Group, I entered that arrangement with trepidation. I was already anxious that we were considering hiring for this position from outside when so many of our greatest staff members had come from inside. But the fear really set in when I began considering handing off the search process to people (i.e., “experts”) whom I didn’t know very well. 

But we did this because we needed their help. We were moving toward a brand-new vision for the church that required us to think differently. We knew that if we kept doing what had worked in the past, we’d keep getting the same results, heading in the same direction. We believed finding a few key people from outside could be exactly what we needed to give us the momentum required to accomplish the gargantuan vision that God had given us.

When you are hiring from the outside, there are some things you should know about your new hire:

  • She will initially require much more of your time than an inside hire.
  • There will be times you might wonder, Does he really get it? as he is grappling with your culture.
  • She will question systems, ideas, and values that no one else questions. Some of her questions will require answers or training. Other questions will require you to consider changing something that isn’t working or doesn’t make sense.
  • You will need a process to infuse your values and company DNA into him over a period of months, not days. This isn’t a go-to-a-workshop-and-you-are-done deal. This will take intentionality over a long period of time.
  • It takes two to three years for an outside hire to be settled and comfortable.
  • You will have to work extra hard so his spouse doesn’t feel isolated. If you want him to stay long term, it is crucial to help his entire family acclimate to their new location. You may see your new staff member come to work every day and make all kinds of new friends, not realizing his wife is at home with the kids, making very few friends, feeling miserable because of everything she gave up.

I think we could have (should have) hired from outside much sooner than we did at Granger. Anytime a church is plateaued or declining, then it is more important than ever to get some fresh eyes to help breathe life into a ministry area or the entire church.

This post is an excerpt from Chapter 18 of my book "Fairness Is Overrated & 51 Other Leadership Principles To Revolutionize Your Workplace."

Tim StevensComment