What Charles Schwab’s CEO Can Learn About Job Candidates Over Breakfast

What Charles Schwab’s CEO Can Learn About You Over Breakfast

Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, wants to know the type of person you are before he offers you a job. But his approach to figuring that out can start over scrambled eggs.

In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times, Bettinger says when hiring, he’s most concerned with the kind of person the job candidate is and their character.

“Tell me about the greatest successes in your life,” he says. “What I’m looking for is whether their view of the world really revolves around others or whether it revolves around them. And I’ll ask them about their greatest failures in their life and see whether they own them or whether they were somebody else’s fault.”

Bettinger went on to explain how he sometimes invites job candidate to breakfast but arrives at the restaurant early, pulls the manager of the restaurant aside and says, “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 you a good tip, but mess up their order.”

“I do that because I want to see how the person responds,” Bettinger tells Bryant. “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.”

How would you respond? Would you politely and respectfully say something? Or not respond at all? Your response or lack there of is sending a message to your potential employer about the type of character you bring to the workplace.

“We’re all going to make mistakes,” Bettinger concludes. “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?”

Bettinger also discusses his idea of leadership vs. management and how his parents helped shaped his leadership style. You can read the full interview here.