Everyone wants to hire for integrity, but most assume it at great cost.
First, a Warren Buffet quote from Inc:
We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.
In 1997, when I first started to hire people in China, this logic seemed so clear to me, and I had never heard of this quote. No recruiters were doing this, so I started to develop a deep system and thinking to get those people.
Result is that I started my own company in 2009. We are now in our third decade.
Let’s break down what Warren said.
Intelligent- We would say you need talented people and often say smart is important. So we agree that you need intelligence.
Initiative or energy – This is interesting for me coming from Warren as he is in the US. I noticed when I got to China that China distinctly lacked initiative. So I have always focused on finding it as so useful and so hard to find.
Integrity – He is sharp as does not assume it. Integrity is pre-eminent. He notes what I have always felt. Smart people who lack integrity are too good at ripping you off. Logically if you do not know how to get integrity, then you should be hiring dumb people as you can catch them when they try to cheat you. See also Getting the Right People.
Hire For Integrity For a Better Tomorrow
You can only afford to hire smart people if you have the insight and energy to do all the work to make sure that they have integrity.
Unfortunately, the illogical most often occurs. Companies work very hard to get excellent talent who are very smart but then have no heart, insight or knowledge to get to integrity and so just hope for integrity. It is exactly what you should not due. Warren is a great investor and many theories exist, but a focus on integrity has certainly been a big part of his success. Our company focuses on finding Trustworthy Talent®. You must explicitly have integrity to match the talent that you also need, and we do that for every placement.