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The Good Ones

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The Good Ones

Ten Crucial Qualities of High-Character Employees

New World Library,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

You can hire people with great skills, but if they lack character, you’re asking for trouble.

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  • Applicable


The accountant you hire to do your books may be a genius and a top grad from a renowned business school. But these attributes will hold little value if your star hire also swindles, cheats and lies. Your firm’s new salesperson may be able to charm and close prospects on the first call. But your colleagues will quickly tire of their new co-worker if he or she constantly demeans, belittles and berates everyone else in the office. Character counts for more than you realize. You can hire the most impressive, skillful, intelligent people, but if they lack character, you’re inviting trouble, extra expense and turnover. Bruce Weinstein, who uses the tag “The Ethics Guy,” discusses why character is so crucial in business. He lists the 10 key traits that distinguish “high-character employees” and teaches you how to spot character in job applicants. getAbstract recommends Weinstein’s pragmatic advice to CEOs, HR managers, small-business owners, and anyone who hires or fires or is seeking work.


Why Character Counts

When employers recruit job applicants, most focus on what applicants know and the work they must do. Few pay sufficient attention to an applicant’s strength of character. Expertise and ability are critical for success, but character counts every bit as much.

The actions of employees who lack character cost companies billions of dollars annually. In its 2014 global survey, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners determined that companies lose 5% of their revenues to fraud every year. The average annual fraud loss for about 25% of firms was $1 million or more. Oddly, considering the high stakes, most organizations pay minimal attention to character during employee recruitment or promotion.

“Sometimes companies are reluctant to bring up character in an interview because they’re afraid they’re not going to get an honest answer, or that they’ll be inviting platitudes,” explains Mary Gentile, director of the Giving Voice to Values business curriculum. Joel Manby, president and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, adds, “Some companies don’t think it’s important, or they’re not willing to put down a set of behavioral values” and hold...

About the Author

Bruce Weinstein – a guest on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America and CNBC’s Fast Money – is head of The Ethics Guy, LLC, which helps firms hire and promote people of high character. He frequently discusses ethical issues on national talk shows.

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