Beginning her career as an intern with Nasdaq 20 years ago, Adena Friedman knows what it means to work her way to the top.
Now the first female chief executive of a major stock exchange, the Nasdaq CEO also has a good idea of what she's looking for in a new hire.
Whatever the department or whatever the role, Friedman seeks a curious candidate, she told CNBC in an episode of Life Hacks Live.
"You want to make sure that every employee, whether it's a sales person who's engaging with the client, you want them to be curious about what the client is looking for next," she said.
"You're not just there to sell a product, you're there to engage with the customer, learn what their challenges are and what their opportunities are and bring that back so that we can then make sure that we're meeting the needs of those clients not just today but tomorrow."
Friedman added that "curiosity is everywhere" in Nasdaq, even on the legal team.
"A lot of our lawyers, our regulatory lawyers, they're there to change the rules, not just make sure we're complying with them. So that curiosity about how can we bring the markets forward, change the way they work to make them more efficient, that's a key part of our legal organization."