What Warren Buffet Looks for When Hiring an Employee

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On February 9, 2018

When Warren Buffet talks, people tend to listen. The “Oracle of Omaha” has a pretty good track record when it comes to business. Few can emulate his success. A lot of people want to know his secrets. Usually, they want to know how he’s been so successful with his investments. But Mr. Buffet has an idea or two about growing and running a business—particularly when it comes to hiring the right people. Here’s what Warren Buffet looks for when hiring an employee.

A while back, an Inc.com article quoted Warren Buffet regarding three things to look for when reviewing candidates for key positions. He said,


“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person:

intelligence, energy, and integrity.”


Let’s explore that just a bit.



You want people with the smarts to think through complex situations and come up with solutions. Creativity is part of intelligence. Every business is different. Not every answer can be found in books or seminars. You want people around you with the intelligence to evaluate situations and use the information they have to find a solution that works in that situation.



Let’s face it: Succeeding in business is hard work. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you don’t have the diligence, discipline, and energy to apply what you know—and to keep working on problems until you get them right. There are lots of ways to be lazy: You can be physically lazy, mentally lazy, emotionally lazy, etc. It’s virtually impossible to be successfully lazy.



Successful businesses rely on trust. You need to be able to trust the people around you to do what they say they will do and to act consistently in the best interests of the company.


Here’s the kicker. The quote from Warren Buffet you see above is only the first part of his answer about how to hire the right people. Here’s the rest of his answer:

“And if they don’t have the last one,

don’t even bother with the first two.”


No wonder people listen when Warren Buffet talks!

By the way, if you’re looking for additional insights regarding hiring, here’s a post that talks about hiring the right people—and the myth of motivation.