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In Good Company

Traits to look for when hiring
By Colin Gordon & Ben Owens

As a business owner or manager, hiring the right team is an essential factor in the success of your operation and its ability to run without micromanagement. Technical skills are important, but it’s equally important that new team members are in sync with company values and the existing team. Ideally, there will be harmony between the nature of the candidate, company work flow and company culture. 

You can get a sense of who a person is and how well they’ll work with others by paying attention to their communications and mannerisms—even before a formal interview. Whether you’re interacting in a phone call, email or in-person meeting, take note of how candidates respond to questions, what they talk about and how they discuss their experiences. 


This trends towards issues with following instruction, accepting responsibility and feeling gratitude. 

Excuse addicts. 
Accountability is vital for growth. Look for candidates that are comfortable owning their mistakes. 

Preoccupation with others is divisive and cancerous. Team players are gold. 

Negative energy. 
Everybody has bad days—but constant negative or extremely low energy can have a contagious effect. 


Personal integrity. 
People who take pride in who they are—when nobody is watching—tend to excel at self-management. 

The ability to accept responsibility allows for rapid development and team synergy.

The right candidate is usually well-versed in the duties within the scope of the job. 

Look for positive candidates who can sustain through necessary functions and operations.

A personal sense of motivation cannot be taught.

Candidates with the ability to handle and overcome adversity quickly will outlast those without.

Decency and respect
These must be intrinsic in the workplace. Without respect, a team cannot function. 

Existential flexibility.  
The ability to pivot based on new information is vital to success in a rapidly-changing work landscape.

Belief in the company.
Candidates whose values are not in line with those of the company will eventually distance themselves. 

This trait trends towards critical thinking skills and the ability to present information in new ways.

Micromanagement is resource-intensive and can’t be scaled. 

Healthy communication
Gaps in communication are often where tensions and conflicts arise.

Empathy, both in understanding and execution, is essential to a cohesive team.

Especially when it’s based on previous successful experiences. 

In certain positions, ambitious candidates are well-suited. 

As Warren Buffett puts it, “Intelligence, energy, and integrity, if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.”

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