In my more than 20 years writing about careers I have heard some pretty outlandish interview stories, everything from being asked why a manhole cover is round to having to provide a handwriting sample.
But today I heard about one from a major company that makes me feel uncomfortable and had me wondering if it crosses an ethical line.
Turns out, the CEO of Charles Schwab, Walt Bettinger, sometimes takes job applications to breakfast and on the sly asks the restaurant manager to mess up the person’s order to see how they respond.
It sounds like an episode of Candid Camera, but in the end you don’t end up looking stupid or savvy on TV. In this gotcha moment, you end up looking stupid or savvy to a CEO; at least what the big boss deems your response to be.
Why is Bettinger using this ploy?
This from recent New York Times article:
“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.”
While Bettinger is trying to get a window into the applicant’s heart, I wonder what this tactic says about Bettinger’s heart and integrity. (more…)