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Never Hire an Executive With These 7 Traits

Examples of negative traits to look out for and rule-out when hiring for executives.

If you are going to be hiring an executive, you want someone on your team who is going to add value to it. You want them to bring something positive to the table, for them to be a good leader, and be someone who can work well in a team. These are all positive attributes that you are looking for, but there are also traits that you need to avoid, such as the seven in this article.

Closed mind to diversity

Always avoid someone who is close-minded to diversity because that is not where new ideas grow and thrive. But, especially with diversity, you need to be careful. You don’t want someone in your business who says things like “I’m not racist but…,” as that is followed up with a racist remark 100% of the time. We’re sure that you are building an inclusive business, meaning that you don’t want this kind of behavior in your company.


You have their past work history, and you can speak to some of their references to find the information that you need. It might turn out that they are unreliable. They turn up late or not at all; they don’t complete the tasks that they are asked to do, etc. Unreliability is certainly a trait that you need to avoid because it will slow your entire company down. While an executive might only be one cog in a machine, one cog has the power to stop a machine from moving altogether. 


One of the worst things is dealing with someone who thinks that they know everything. These people are wrong more often than not, or at the very least need to recheck their facts. Having said that, you still need someone who has a lot of knowledge in the area that you are hiring them for. If not, the entire process becomes a little pointless. As Malcolm Forbes said;

Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do.”


Ignorance is a trait that isn’t going to get anyone very far in the workplace or life. Ignorant people tend to lack knowledge and understanding of the world around them, which can cause many issues in the workplace. A bad sign is the candidate you are interviewing only talking about themselves, rather than about some of the teamwork that they have engaged in, or some of the projects they worked on with others.


When someone is interviewing for a position, they are supposed to talk about themselves. They need to talk to you about their career goals, where their career has been, why they think it is where it is, what their best attributes are, and what they can bring to the table. However, all of this can be done without coming across as self-centered. While the goal is to talk about their own goals, that doesn’t mean that the interviewer should be disregarded. 

Asking the interviewer simple questions such as “how is your day going?” shows that they care more than just themselves.

Short temper

A candidate who appears to have a short temper is not the one that you should hire. A short-tempered person could cause a lot of conflict in your business office, which is the last thing that you need. Ideally, it would help if you had someone who can keep their calm and composure, even when things go wrong, as this is when it really counts.


Dealing with someone who constantly thinks that they are better than everyone else is exhausting. There is a whole gap between working with someone who has confidence and is self-assured and working with someone who feels entitled. A lot of the quotes from well-known executives focus on hiring someone with a good personality and then developing their skill on the job. It’s important advice to take, and might just help you hire the right person.

Hire character. Train skill.” – Peter Schutz 

We hope you have found this article helpful and now see seven of the traits you should avoid when hiring an executive. Good luck.

Disclaimer: Richtopia is not an intermediary, broker/dealer, advisor, or exchange and does not provide services as such. The opinions about employment in this post are those of the author and for informational purposes. Please conduct independent research when making decisions, and do not rely on the views published on this page.

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