The CEO of a $1 billion company explains why he 'channels his inner 4-year-old' during job interviews

Joshua reeves, zenpayroll, sv100 2015LinkedIn/joshuareevesJoshua Reeves, the cofounder and CEO of Gusto.

Joshua Reeves, the cofounder and CEO of Gusto, a $1 billion company that provides payroll, benefits, and workers’ comp insurance to small businesses in the US, recently spoke to Adam Bryant of The New York Times about leadership, culture, and career advice.

During their conversation, Bryant asked Reeves: “How do you hire?”

“I look for value alignment and shared motivation,” Reeves says. “And for the interviews, I kind of channel my inner 4-year-old, and I ask a lot of ‘why’ questions.”

He says as the CEO, one of the most important lessons he’s learned is how alignment works — especially in terms of hiring. “It’s never about a company convincing someone to join, or people convincing the company to hire them. It’s a search for alignment and realising they can do amazing things together,” he tells Bryant.

During job interviews, Reeves doesn’t focus on a candidate’s skills or work experiences. Instead, he tries to get at the thought process the person went through at meaningful points in their life, “like the choice to go to a specific school or to leave or join a company.”

“If you keep asking why, you’ll get to the meat of it, which is when someone leaves behind trying to think about the right answer, and you get to questions about purpose, and what motivates you,” Reeves explains.

He says he also likes to get out of the office building for interviews. “I like to go on a walk. I like to go to the park, sit on a bench and talk about life.”

Read the full New York Times interview here.

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