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The Ideal Employee

My list of characteristics of an ideal employee that I look for when I hire someone.

Tam Pham
Tam Pham
2 min read

Have you ever heard of the phrases, “He just gets it”? Or “She is wise beyond his years.”

You might have heard an employer say that about her employee. Or a coach say that about her star players.

What does “getting it” actually mean? How do we break down who is wise beyond their years and who is not?

There are a few names that better describes someone who just “gets it” like Top Performer, Instant Contributor, or Consultant.

I tried to break it down… This is someone who:

  • Understands the big picture, the vision, knowing where they fit in and why their role is valuable
  • Is self aware of how their experiences and skills can add value immediately. They’ve done it before and can bring their superpower to the business.
  • Constantly questions the norms “What about this?” (adding nuance, sharing improvements, asking questions)
  • Doesn’t back down their ideas, but also has flexibility to understand the other perspectives and is open to changing their mind. (strong opinions, weakly held)
  • Is highly coachable — don’t have to be the most skilled but must have zest to learn and grow as a human and in their craft
  • Thrives doing deep work which is “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.”
  • Has emotional intelligence which is “a trait not measured by IQ tests — as a set of skills, including control of one’s impulses, self-motivation, empathy and social competence in interpersonal relationships.”
  • Ownership on their work and actions. They are not afraid to say they messed up on a project and be honest. They also take full responsibility whether a product launch, for example, performs poorly if they are managing that launch.

Anyone can be hard working, have a positive attitude, and do their job. But the above (I believe) is what differentiates the good from the great.

As I start to hire for the first time with Bot Academy, what’s more important to me than just skill level is working with a motivated and hungry individual who is excited to do the work.


Tam Pham Twitter

I'm a writer and bachata dancer currently bouncing around Latin America. Trying to make the most out of my one wild and precious life.

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