This is the one quality Nasdaq's CEO looks for in a new hire

Adena Friedman, president and chief executive officer of Nasdaq Inc
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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."

Adena Friedman, president and chief executive officer of Nasdaq Inc
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Friedman's also a self-described "huge fan of loyalty," something that's highlighted in her long career at Nasdaq.

Having spent much of her career at the stock exchange, Friedman became Nasdaq CEO on January 1, 2017.

"If a company does the right thing for you and continues to give you opportunities and advancement,then hopefully you'll feel that sense of loyalty and you'll realize that they're investing in you," she said.

But Friedman warned that the ladder to the top isn't always easy and young employees shouldn't rush the process.

She said: "I think a lot of young people come into a job and they quickly assume that they should be kind of stepping up, which is fine and I have to say when I was younger, say every two years I was given actually a new opportunity to grow and expand my role and that was important early in your career.

"But there is a big learning curve. So giving yourself the time to learn and really grow and go deep into something actually in the long run will give you a huge advantage as you continue up the chain."

Life Hacks Live is a series produced by CNBC International for Facebook, where tomorrow's leaders get to ask some of the world's biggest influencers for advice. You can watch the full episode here.