Discover Someone’s True Character with Two Tests

I’m continuing my break from blogging and social media, so I thought I’d share some great content from…

Tom Harper pic for blog

I’m continuing my break from blogging and social media, so I thought I’d share some great content from my friend, Tom Harper each day this week. Today’s blog post is terrific. I’m on a journey from a life full of pride to walking humbly in the Spirit. You can read about my confession HERE. Today’s blog is about one’s character and also good tips on what to look for when hiring a potential staff member.

Tom Harper is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blog He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H).

Last week I was honored to speak at the TurnAround20/20 Conference in Nashville, TN, where I got to meet Tom in person. He graciously offered to provide blog posts for me so I could finish my rest from technology. So enjoy! Here’s Tom’s next blog for this week:


What does good character mean to you? When you want to hire someone with character, what qualities do you look for?

An employee’s character dictates how he or she will act, regardless of circumstances or who’s watching. German poet von Goethe described it this way: You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

The Character Training Institute lists 49 character qualities, including attentiveness, availability, boldness, cautiousness, contentment, creativity, decisiveness, deference, diligence, faith, forgiveness, obedience, punctuality and self-control.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could give a character test to current or prospective employees, without them knowing it? I’ve discovered two basic tests in the book of Luke.

1.  The little things test – Luke plainly states that in all things, it’s the little things that reveal who you can trust: Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much (Luke 16:10).

Let me give you an example. Sean talked way too much in his initial interview. I even counseled him to listen better at the end of our time together. Guess what happened after I hired him? He never shut his mouth! We replaced him with someone who knew more and talked less.

2.  The humiliation test, How people deal with humiliation is a great way to determine what their character is made of.

When I interviewed Nicholas, he humbly described how failures in the past had cost him his job.

He had been jobless for almost a year. As he poured out his heart about how he had changed through the hard lessons of shame and serious introspection, part of me wanted to say, Yeah, right, but another part believed his experience and hard knocks perfectly suited him for our company. Something in me, perhaps my tendency to forgive, drove me to try him out.

Nicholas was so grateful for this job that he fought to prove himself. His unfailing loyalty became a major reason for our company’s success. Like Luke’s story of the Prodigal Son returning home after squandering his early inheritance, I will look for more Nicholases who have been humiliated by failure.