16 traits to identify happy people in your recruitment process

No debate about the benefits of being happy at all levels, including in the workplace and the results of any single company as well. Today nobody doubts the power of having engaged happy high performers, driving real competitive advantage for the future. Therefore, the war should not just be for Talent but also for Happy Talent.

And it’s also true that one of the most important objectives a company should have, is to keep Talent happy. This is not about needing to motivate. This is about avoiding demotivation.

But today I want to pause on a previous step: when you have to start a recruitment process; how do you detect happy talent?. After a long journey reviewing innumerable studies, I was able to condense down to16 core traits which the majority of happy people share the majority of time. And when I talk about happy people, I talk about structurally happy people: resiliently happy people who seem immune to prolonged pessimism or negativity.

Here you can find the 16 core traits:
  • Generosity
  • Positive Recall of the past
  • Givers and receivers of Constructive Criticism
  • Enjoyment of the  “little things in life”
  • High level of Self-Esteem and Reality Bound self-perception
  • Assertiveness
  • Investment in experiences over material objects
  • Forgiving
  • Focused but Flexible
  • Sense of humor
  • Optimism
  • Self-direction, leading their own lives
  • Sense of Purpose
  • Resilience
  • Expressing gratitude easily

And the 16th is that happy people have a psychological need to share happiness with others. (Unhappy people have the same psychological need too, so take care!).

And the most interesting thing here: you can use it effortlessly in every recruitment process…starting tomorrow…for free.


Érase que se era un psicópata que disfrutaba sometiendo a un equipo a quien había inoculado previamente el síndrome de Estocolmo. Al psicópata lo acabaron despidiendo por aclamación popular y acusación particular de mobbing. En su lugar, promocionaron a su amigo íntimo que, a diferencia de él, era un tonto motivado sin conocimiento específico del área que, a modo de guinda mortal, se creía que sabía. Un perfecto incompetente inconsciente que, obviamente, acabó hablando por boca de su amigo psicópata, haciéndose un José Luís Moreno y un Macario, al grito de “toma morenooooo”. Esto es lo que llamamos un teleñeco: un estúpido de RAE que habla por mente ajena, que es la que maneja los hilos a modo de venganza post mortem.

Esta es, obviamente, una historia inventada que no cabe en el mundo de los negocios. ¿Os imagináis?. Ya sólo faltaría que el teleñeco recomendara en LinkedIn al psicópata, en señal de agradecimiento y pago por los servicios prestados, mientras espera a comenzar la reunión con su nuevo equipo, o lo que queda emocionalmente de él. El equipo que precisamente “hereda” del psicópata. ¿Os imagináis que vuestro nuevo jefe ha recomendado al que acaban de despedir por mobbing crónico hacia vosotros?. Efectivamente, que te acaban de cambiar al psicópata por el fan del psicópata, sólo que este en versión low cost intelectual.

Las empresas gestionadas por psicópatas son crematorios emocionales de buena gente, si bien muchas de ellas consiguen grandes resultados. Las empresas gestionadas por teleñecos motivados no te aseguran ni eso. Porque de un teleñeco no te queda ni el consuelo del aprendizaje. Así que si algún día te ponen un teleñeco como jef@, hazte un favor: huye.

Y sí, lo confieso, nunca me gustaron los teleñecos.

Thriving or surviving organizations

Are people Thriving or Surviving in their workplace?. Have you ever asked this question of yourself?

But what are the core traits embedded in each reality?. Let’s try to summarize them all and give some examples.

Surviving companies are those with surviving employees. They do not have a clear purpose or just a limited one (surviving until the end of the month, end of the year or as much as we can…). The company is doing just enough to pay off the loans. And the employee is running as fast as they can inside the hamster wheel where, in the end, nobody is going anywhere.

Surviving company cultures avoid what they perceive as negative feedback up to and including manipulating key performance data. These types of organizations see human error as the source of all terror. Where predators are everywhere.  Where we look to inefficient people, experts in self-defense, for our salvation and where the Ego is the official dress code.

On the contrary, we can appreciate the sheer human joy of playing in a Thriving organization, whose key feature is an overwhelming and common passion. Employees in these organizations wake up with an enthusiasm and burning desire to face their daily work challenges, as they feel they have the maximum freedom and license to express themselves.

Thriving companies give their employees the permission to fail and learn from that failure. Progress is not linear. That’s why the smile is the shape of a thriving environment.

Imagination has no limits and every “No” is substituted by a “why not?”. In this kind of environment, employees think “I want” and not “I should”. They thrive with a healthy competition based on absolute sincerity and warmed bloodied confidence in one another, not reptilian self-destructive self-interest. They want the best for each other, so they show the best of themselves.  

Thriving companies have clear defining quest. They bring inspiring challenges and have a great story to tell.