From personality tests to panel interviews – it’s only a matter of time before someone decides completing an obstacle course is the best way to assess applicants.
However, one US CEO has said he keeps interviews short, and relies heavily on his gut reaction.“The goal of my interview is, first, to assess the person’s passion — the biggest asset an employee can bring,” Tom Szaky from TerraCycle said. “Then, I look for someone who is comfortable taking risks and who is eager to face the challenge of doing something that seems impossible. Finally, I push candidates on why they want to join us — even, sometimes, encouraging them to look for a job that might pay more or be closer to home.”
Szaky said he doesn’t focus on resumes or reference letters, beyond looking for telltale signs such as frequently changing jobs. He’s more likely to notice the formatting of a resume: did the candidate put time and effort into presenting something that presents a good case and is nice to look at?
“Once we begin the interview process, I tend to keep it short and put a lot of value into my gut reaction. As a result, my interviews usually last only five to 10 minutes,” he said. “I ask candidates to describe the biggest, most glorious mistake they have had in their business careers — including all of the gory details. I am still surprised that the majority of candidates think about it and then say they haven’t made any major mistakes in their careers. To me this says that the candidates are either lying or don’t take risks. Both are deal breakers.”
His point of view goes against most conventional advice, but Szaky said he stands by it.“We all make mistakes,” he says. “I think I make a good hire three out of four times.”
What do you think? Would Szaky’s approach work here? What about at a bigger company or when there is more than one person involved in the process, and what role could subconscious prejudices play?