Berger Leadership Blog

Apr 14, 2023
Categories: Management

Three essential traits in hiring: Attitude, aptitude, and honesty

Throughout my journey as a leader, I’ve received so many pieces of advice on how to hire the right person – the person that will go above and beyond for the organization and work well as part of a team. As a result, my hiring philosophy has evolved into prioritizing attitude and aptitude, knowing that these characteristics matter much more to our collective success than a specific skill set. Skills and knowledge can be acquired; motivation and heart are harder to change.

That approach has led me to hire some of the best people I’ve ever worked with–and some of whom I still work with to this very day. It has also helped me avoid hiring those that would have likely stifled NAFCU’s growth and success.

My father-in-law recently shared with me an article from CNBC that has me adding one more trait to my employee must-haves: Honesty. In the article, Harvard Law School fellow and career expert Heidi Garner tells readers to avoid those “taking credit for other people’s ideas,” as it signals a lack of competence and trustworthiness. 

On top of it being unethical to pass off someone’s work as your own, it shows a lack of respect for others on your team. Ignoring or even hiding someone’s contributions to accelerate your personal gain also shows an unwillingness to collaborate and be a team player.

The article notes billionaire Warren Buffet’s comments on what to look for when hiring. “We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy and we look for integrity,” Buffet said. “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.”

As a leader, it’s important to continue to uplift the success of your team, the people you serve, and your organization. NAFCU prioritizes celebrating credit unions' ability to help Americans better their financial well-being every single day. 

Recognizing deserving folks and credit unions through the  2023 NAFCU Annual Awards Nominations is something I look forward to each year. Nominations are now open, and I encourage you to nominate yourself, a colleague, and/or your credit union. The process is easy and free to all NAFCU members. Submissions are due May 12.

About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry.

Read full bio