8 Personality Traits Top Employees Have in Common

8 Personality Traits Top Employees Have in Common

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The ability to bring one’s full range of skills and strengths to bear in different and new situations, including both on teams and in individual settings.

This is pretty straightforward. Managers need to know that they can re-shuffle and re-allocate people as needed. Sometimes, that means logistical changes and deadlines shifts. Other times, it means entirely new workflow compared to the status quo. The more adaptable the person, the wider a range of settings he or she can be sent into.

How to uncover it:

  • Ask for evidence that they’ve excelled in wildly different work settings, and ask about their process for handling the transitions.


The ability to work your a** off; good old-fashioned hard work.

Similar to confidence, there is nothing like a dose of serious hard work. Can they crank for 8 hours straight when push comes to shove? Can they pull an all-nighter if they have to? Do they complain when mind-numbing tasks are required, or do they just do them, and do them well?

How to uncover it:

  • Ask them to explain what it means to hustle, in their own words. You’ll know right away whether they like that word—their eyes will light up, they’ll smile, and they’ll fondly recount tales of intense times. Everyone has that spark that let’s them rise to the occasion. Give them the chance to let their spark shine a bit.


The ability and willingness to develop a long-term relationship with a team, organization, or cause.

As careers fragment further and further (current college grads will, on average, work for 14 different employers before they retire), the days of long-term work relationships seem to be fading fast. And truthfully, they probably are. But that doesn’t mean people like to work with others who’ll take off at the first sign of trouble or greener pastures.

How to uncover it:

  • Ask for examples of times when they chose loyalty over opportunity.
  • Ask them what they are committed to in their life, and see if there is overlap in their answer and the mission of your company.

Note: Be careful with this one. Just because someone left a job (or jobs) in short time periods doesn’t mean they don’t have loyalty—it just means those places weren’t able to command their loyalty.


A sense of what is right and what is wrong, and choosing to act in accordance with what is right.

This one is another fine line situation. Being principled is relatively rare—but being judgmental is quite common. Principled doesn’t mean casting judgments left and right; it means being willing to speak up when something wrong is about to happen. Human beings have an instinctual urge to follow those who show a strong sense of ethical concern, and every manager can sleep better at night knowing they can trust their team with sensitive information, delicate situations, and brand equity. Hire people who live their values, and you’ll develop a fantastic company culture.

How to uncover it:

  • This one is tough. It’s impossible to ask about this directly in any useful way. Keep your eyes open for someone speaking up about something they don’t agree with. You can ask about times that they’ve witnessed injustice and intervened, but that can be a difficult question to put someone on the spot with.

Find these eight traits in the talent you bring on, and your organization will be thanking you for years to come.

This post originally appeared on Technori.

Nathaniel Koloc is co-founder and Managing Partner of Strategy at ReWork, a Colorado-based start-up that matches exceptional professionals to jobs at for-impact companies. In this role Nathaniel is responsible for team coordination, strategic partnerships, brand evolution, and new service development. Nathaniel is an Unreasonable Fellow (’11) and a StartingBloc Fellow (’10), and holds a Masters of Science in Strategic Leadership toward Sustainability.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.