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‘Better than intelligence, energy’: Why integrity the most important quality of all


In finding a new team member, we often look for intelligent and energetic people–and there’s nothing wrong with that, as these people could really be assets to the company.

However, we must not forget that these people must also have this one important quality: integrity.

“When we hire people, we look for three qualities. We look for integrity, we look for intelligence, and we look for energy,” Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett said in a speech.

But if they don’t have the first one, integrity, the other two will turn into negative qualities, he stressed.

“‘Cause if you’re hiring someone without integrity, you really want them to be dumb and lazy, don’t you?” the billionaire pointed out. “Smart and energetic only goes with integrity.”

Moreover, Buffett–one of the richest and most influential businessman in the United States–explained, “You make your own decision on that. You can’t change your IQ or how far you control or how high you can jump or the color of your hair very easily. But you can elect to have integrity that matches anybody else’s, and if you watch that with the integrity that you have, you will get an extraordinary result.”

"When we hire people, we look for three qualities. We look for INTEGRITY… INTELLIGENCE… AND ENERGY. But if they don't have the first one (INTEGRITY), the other two will kill you….When you make your own decision, you can't change your IQ… Very easily… But you can choose to have integrity… and match that with the intelligence and energy that you have and have extra ordinary result "-Warren Buffett (one of the richest and most influential businessman in US)

Posted by LBS Recruitment Solutions Corporation on Thursday, April 20, 2017

Here are the 12 questions to ask when interviewing and hiring for integrity, according to Inc:

  1. Tell me about a time when you experienced a loss for doing what is right. How did you
    react?
  2. Tell about a time when your trustworthiness was challenged. How did you react/respond?
  3. Tell about a specific time when you had to handle a tough problem which challenged fairness or ethical issues.
  4. When was the last time you “broke the rules”? What was the situation and what did you do?
  5. What would you do if you suspected that an employee was stealing?
  6. Describe a situation where you saw an employee or co‐worker do something you thought was inappropriate. What did you do?
  7. Think of a situation where you distrusted a co-worker/supervisor, resulting in tension between you. What steps did you take to improve the relationship.
  8. When working with people, in general, describe your preferred relationship with them. (this question is used to assess honesty and the capacity for open communication.)
  9. What values do you appreciate the most in a team environment? [you’re looking for things like honesty, fairness, openness, transparency, and inclusiveness in your answers.)
  10. If we ever got into a bind with a client, would you be willing to tell a little white lie to help us out?
  11. What would your current/past manager say makes you most valuable to them? (Besides intelligence, energy or technical and hard skills, listen for clues that point to integrity.)
  12. What are the characteristics exhibited by the best boss you have ever had, or wished that you have had? (A person of integrity will mirror those they follow or look up to, so listen for clues.)

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