Do you want to know what type of person you’re hiring? Then take the candidate to breakfast.
That is the advice given by Walt Bettinger, CEO at the investment and online trading firm Charles Schwab.
While other companies may be interested in technical skills, Bettinger recently told the New York Times that he is more interested in a jobseeker’s soft skills.
“I’m most concerned with the kind of person they are, their character,” Bettinger said. “I’ll ask questions like, ‘Tell me about the greatest successes in your life'. What I’m looking for is whether their view of the world really revolves around others or whether it revolves around them.”
However, asking questions may not always be enough to gauge a candidate’s personality, and so the CEO has another trick up his sleeve to see whether or not a jobseeker is a good fit for his company: take candidates for breakfast and ask the restaurant ruin their order.
Bettinger explained: “I’ll get there early, pull the manager of the restaurant aside, and say, 'I want you to mess up the order of the person who’s going to be joining me. It’ll be ok, and I’ll give a good tip, but mess up their order'.
“I do that because I want to see how the person responds. That will help me understand how they deal with adversity. Are they upset, are they frustrated or are they understanding? Life is like that, and business is like that. It’s just another way to get a look inside their heart rather than their head.”
Other business leaders have adopted similar tricks to gauge a candidate’s suitability. Rick Goings, CEO of direct-sales pioneer Tupperware, recently revealed to Quartz how his interview begins long before the candidate has stepped into the Boardroom. He explained: "I talk to the driver who brought them in from the airport, my assistant, and the receptionist who welcomed them. There you learn how this person acts."