Hiring right is one of the hardest jobs in management.

Get it wrong and it can cause huge issues in your business which will then take considerable time to fix.

But lets be honest, we’ve all made hiring mistakes. Whether we’re in a rush to get a position filled, or simply didn’t screen well, some bad hires have slipped through the cracks. Whilst everyone has their view, my view is listen to people who can demonstrate success.

So this being the case, Warren Buffett, arguably the most successful businessman of all time with an estimated wealth of more than $60b, may be worth listening to. He is known for his his no nonsense, down to earth business style, so it’s no surprise that the three main qualities Buffett looks for are simple and common sense. “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire , you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy . And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without integrity, you really want them to be dumb and lazy.” – Warren Buffett.

1. Intelligence.

Sounds simple, but intelligence can be one of the hardest to spot as there are so many times of intelligence. The first step is to understand what type of intelligence is important for the role your trying to fill. If your hiring a waiter for a restaurant, your may want social and organisational intelligence. If its a programmer you want, social intelligence may not matter but organisational and planning intelligence may be key. Once you have defined the type of intelligence you seek, next step is to measure it. Puzzles, games, tests and interviews are all great ways to gain insight into each individual candidate’s areas of strength and intelligence. As the screening process goes on, challenge their problem solving skills, strategic abilities and ingenuity in the areas important to you.

2. Energy.

For most roles, energy is vital be it physical or mental. You need someone who can be put under pressure and consistently find the energy to deliver, day after day with consistency. Again, its great to think about the type of energy important for success before hiring begins. Then, if your aware during the interview process, energy is fairly easy to spot. Body language, dialogue and facial expressions are all great indicators of energy levels.

3. Integrity.

Of the three main qualities that Buffett looks for in the hiring process, integrity is the most important, by far. Most skills and many attitudes can be taught or coached but a lack of integrity will inevitably lead to a lack of trust. When someone is untrustworthy, that impacts every aspect of his or her life, and work is a major one.Asking a candidate about reasons for leaving their previous jobs as well as tricky ‘grey area’ scenario questions will go a long way to under covering the ‘core’ of the person.

So there you have it, Warren’s top 3 things to look for with hiring new staff. Can’t argue with his proven track record over many decades so chances are this will be the best bit of advice you will ever receive regarding hiring new staff.

If you find the candidate to have high levels or intelligence and energy but have a ‘gut feel’ about their level of integrity….run for the hills.

Don’t rush recruitment and be patient to find the right person that ticks all three boxes.


Simon Ingleson

CEO/Founder @ RosterElf

Magically Simple Rostering Software