How To Immediately Spot A Great Employee, According To Warren Buffett

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is known for his investing prowess, but he also possesses a tremendous business acumen. The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway revealed the most important trait that Buffett seeks out.

Buffett delivered some invaluable advice for hiring managers and human resource managers on how to instantly spot a great employee.

What Trait Buffett Looks For In A Great Employee

Buffett talked with MBA students at the University of Florida in 1998. He stressed that integrity was the most important asset when searching for a great employee.

“We look for three things when we hire people,” Buffett explained. “We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity.”

Buffett then emphasized, “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.”

“You decide to be dishonest, stingy, uncharitable, egotistical, all the things people don’t like in other people,” Warren said.

“They are all choices. Some people think there’s a limited little pot of admiration to go around, and anything the other guy takes out of the pot, there’s less left for you. But it’s just the opposite,” he said.

Buffett Stresses Integrity

In Buffett’s 2003 letter to shareholders, the Oracle of Omaha stressed that Berkshire Hathaway had “exceptional managers” who possess “critical variables” of “managerial brains, discipline, and integrity.”

“Our managers have all of these attributes – in spades,” he wrote.

CNBC’s “Make It” noted the importance of trust, “When you have low trust on a team, everything is harder.”

But the financial outlet also noted, “When there is trust, however, things become easier to manage and maintain. People can talk about problems when they come up — openly and honestly. Members share valuable information, rather than hoard it. Nobody minds asking questions when they don’t understand something. The speed and quality of decisions go up. Political infighting goes down.”

You can watch Warren Buffett’s lecture from 1998 with MBA students at the University of Florida below.