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The Breakfast Method

From asking applicants to submit an essay or sell you something during the interview to insisting they solve logic puzzles or play word-association games, it’s all about the unconventional in the hiring game today.

But the cake topper is the strategy recently revealed in an interview Walt Bettinger, CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation, gave The New York Times.

When considering a new candidate, the brokering and banking exec explains, it’s all about character.

pancakesAnd that’s why, in some instances, Bettinger invites his candidates for breakfast and elects to hold his employment interviews at a restaurant. Then he gets to the place a little bit earlier and brokers an arrangement with the serving staff so that his dining partner’s meal comes out wrong.

“I want you to mess up the order of the person who’s going to be joining me,” he’ll tell the restaurant manager. “It’ll be OK, and I’ll give a good tip—but mess up their order.”

The objective of the ruse? To see how the person he’s considering for a job that necessarily contains a lot of adversity will behave in such conditions.

“Are they upset, are they frustrated or are they understanding?” he pondered with journalist Adam Bryant. “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.

“We’re all going to make mistakes. The question is how are we going to recover when we make them, and are we going to be respectful to others when they make them?”

Indeed. And pass the syrup.

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