Get All Access for $5/mo

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Clone of Yourself A healthy sense of your own strengths and weaknesses cautions against hiring your own Mini-Me.

By George Deeb Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Tom Merton | Getty Images

Come on, we have all thought it as entrepreneurs, at one point or another in our careers: "I just wished I could clone myself in finding new employees for my business. Nobody works harder than I do. Nobody is as smart as I am. I don't trust anybody to make decisions or manage teams better that I do."

Sound familiar? But is "cloning" yourself really the right solution for your hiring goals? There are clear advantages and disadvantages to a strategy like this, so you will need to figure out if cloning yourself will help or hurt your business, based on your business's specific needs. Read on.

Related: The One Question Burger King's CEO Asks Job Candidates Is Much Harder Than You Would Think

What exactly is cloning yourself?

Any of you fans of the Alien movie series? Remember in the fourth installment, Alien: Resurrection, when they manufacture a clone of Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley character 200 years after her death (from DNA samples of her blood saved in storage), to go kick some alien butt again? It is pretty much that, only for yourself, while you are still alive, building an army of lookalike "Yous" to go kick some competitors' butts.

Related: Why the Traditional 4-Year Degree Isn't Cutting It Anymore

How does cloning manifest itself in your business?

Your clones are typically identified by you, personally or through your direction of your HR teams, during your recruiting process. First, through the job descriptions, with every bullet point sounding like you were actually describing yourself. Second, through the interview process, with you assessing every candidate as "is this person exactly like me"? And, third, through the onboarding process, with you training your new "Mini Me" (think Austin Powers), to do the job exactly the way you would do the job.

Related: 9 Questions to Ask Candidates' References

The advantages of cloning yourself.

There are many good reasons to try and clone yourself during your hiring process. Looking for another similar personality that will fit with yourself and the team culture you are trying to create. Looking for someone with exactly your same skillsets, that you trust to do the job required and potentially replace you down the road as your succession plan. Looking for someone who is an optimist on the prospects for your business and can cheerlead that vision to your team with the same fervor and passion that you would. As a few examples.

Related: 7 Interview Questions That Determine Emotional Intelligence

The disadvantages of cloning yourself.

For as many reasons you think cloning yourself is a good idea, I can envision an equal number of reasons cloning yourself could actually be a bad idea. Maybe you don't need a "glass half full" optimist like yourself, that is going to tell you everything you want to hear. Maybe you need a "glass half empty" realist, who will bring a sense of caution to your investment decisions. Or, you may need a similar "A-Type Personality" to lead your sales team efforts, to help jazz up potential clients. But, maybe a "B-Type Personality" may be a better fit to manage your more introverted team of technology developers. Or, why hire someone with your exact same experiences or vantage point, because maybe someone else can help you better identify a better process or avoid known potential pitfalls based on their different past experiences. As a few examples.

Related: The 10 Unique Soft Skills Employers Desire in New Hires

What is the right path for your business?

To me, the decision whether or not to clone yourself comes down to a couple key things. First of all, what the business needs to be successful should outweigh everything else.

Let's say you are hiring a head of finance, and one candidate has a dream resume and a track record of proven success for the position, but perhaps the personality is not as outgoing as yourself. But, another candidate has an okay resume, but a great personality fit. At the end of the day, who do you trust more to "have their hands on the steering wheel of your business"? The person that has solid experience and references, or the person that could do the job, but you would rather have a beer with? In a perfect world, you want everything you are looking for in one candidate. But, more times than not, you will only get 80 percent of what you are looking for in one candidate, and you have to be careful to prioritize what of the 20 percent they are missing is going to do the least damage.

Secondly, it comes down to what do you need personally. If you did a critical assessment of yourself, are you sure you really need a bunch of "Yous" running around the office. What do people say about you in your employee reviews from your peers? Are you creating more chaos than calm? Are you pulling the company in different directions all the time, without a clear focus?

Maybe what you really need is the opposite of yourself. You need your Anti-Me to help keep yourself organized, on plan and in check. It really comes down to what you see as your personal strengths and weaknesses, and filling in any voids in your skillsets. And, better yet, maybe it is less what you think about yourself, and more what your team thinks about you. So, man up, ask the tough questions, and get honest feedback from your peers, when needed.

I have tried to present both the plusses and minuses of cloning yourself in your business, and gave examples of when to do it, when not to do it. But, if you forced me to side one way or the other on this topic, with all other things being equal, if you can find people that share your same passion, vision, energy, work ethic and skillset, good things should surely follow. But, if you can't find more "Yous" that is perfectly fine too. Greatness comes in many different shapes and sizes. Having new ideas and fresh perspectives can be equally invigorating for your business.

George Deeb

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Managing Partner at Red Rocket Ventures

George Deeb is the managing partner at Red Rocket Ventures, a consulting firm helping early-stage businesses with their growth strategies, marketing and financing needs. He is the author of three books including 101 Startup Lessons -- An Entrepreneur's Handbook.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.

Business News

You Can Now Apply to Renew Your U.S. Passport Online — But There's a Catch

The U.S. State Department officially launched the beta program this week.