Training your strengths, hiring for your weaknesses.

I’ve had two conversations recently about the concept of training your strengths, hiring for your weaknesses.

The freelancer

I spoke to a friend who’s an animator, and creative director. He often builds teams of other freelancers to complete a given project. He said that he’d rather not take the time to learn super technical process, not that he isn’t capable, but it’s just not his strengths and what he wants to be doing. He’d rather hire to cover that, whenever possible, due to budget.

The big team

Another conversation with someone who is a lead of creative/technical people at a large firm had the same core concepts. I was speaking about the concept of hiring for fit with the team, and my past experiences determining peoples strengths. We agreed, and he added a note about how he uses the teams weaknesses as input to the hiring process. If the team lacks certain skills or mindset, he looks to candidate who exhibit those to round out the team.

Both the small indie and the large company seem aligned here, and both have the same challenges. Evaluating our teams strengths and weaknesses, finding candidates with the (often “soft”) skills that bring the team up.

I’ve done this work when hiring, but it was never formalized. Our hiring teams just talked about this as a part of the process. Is anyone doing this in a structured way?