Why You Should Hire People Who Are Smarter Than You

Business Insider

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Spencer Rascoff Zillow

Courtesy of Zillow

Spencer Rascoff, the CEO of online real estate site Zillow, says the biggest mistake he sees managers make is in hiring.

All too often, inexperienced managers will avoid hiring people who are smarter than they are, Rascoff tells the New York Times. He thinks that's because people tend to fear being outdone by someone lower on the food chain.

"It might be subconscious — people don't want to be shown up by one of their direct reports — or maybe they don't know how to identify talent," Rascoff explains.

For his part, Rascoff says he likes to ask candidates what accomplishments they're most proud of. He also always asks what they would change at their current company, if they were put in charge.

"What I'm looking for with that question is whether people 'level up,'" he says. "Successful interviewees have broader and more strategic answers."

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