Power Players

Traits JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon looks for when hiring: 'Would you want your kid to work for that person?'

Jamie Dimon
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, manages over 250,000 employees globally – and when looking to hire new people or promote within, he looks for key "leadership" characteristics.  

"Management, in an important way, is facts, analysis, details, follow-up [and] discipline. And it is hard. You have to do it all the time – [managing] sales, balance sheets, numbers, [and] people," Dimon said on the "Coffee with The Greats" podcast on July 15. "But being a real leader is not that."

And finding a "real leader" is no easy task, he says.

So when interviewing or assessing a promotion, Dimon asks himself a few questions about the candidate, including "Would you work for that person? Would you want your kid to work for that person?"

"I've promoted people and the answer would've been 'no.' I've made this mistake," Dimon said, but he has learned since then. "It's a very thoughtful process."

To start, Dimon looks for people who treat others fairly, he said.

"Leadership is more about humility. I don't mean humble. No one would say Jamie Dimon is humble, but I treat everyone the same, and I expect the same thing," he said. "You'd want to work for me if you think I give a s---, if I treat you fairly, if I treat everyone equally."

This is crucial in "earning respect" from employees, he said, which is essential for a leader.

Another characteristic Dimon looks for in candidates is the ability to take responsibility for mistakes.

"Do you take the blame? Because very often, it is your fault," he said, "and you're not trying to shoot people anytime something goes wrong. That destroys a company."

And when a leader has to address mistakes made by others, "Do you embarrass the person?" If so, "who would want to work for you?" he said.

Dimon also looks for those who "show up on time" and are "trustworthy," among other things. "Do you give a s--- about people? How do you act under pressure?"

"Those things, the things you learn about people over time, really matter," he said.

For Dimon, EQ, or emotional intelligence, is just as important as IQ.

"EQ is much more complicated than IQ because there are so many different parts. IQ there are different parts too, like you could be good in math or English or language. But EQ is far more complex," he says.

"Do you recognize body language? Do you understand when someone is hurting? When you're talking to a crowd, do you know what they're not relaying to you? Do you have empathy?"

To find out whether someone fits the bill and isn't all talk, "I can call your friends, your boss, your peers, your subordinates, your wife, your ex-girlfriends," Dimon said. "If I want to know about you, I never have to meet you."

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