Most executives have a favourite interview question they ask that provides a telling glimpse into the person they’re interviewing.
Penny Pritzker, secretary of U.S. commerce, is no exception.She tells Adam Bryant at The New York Times that she always asks candidates what they did the last time their trust was betrayed.
“I tend to be a person who starts with the presumption that I should trust you until you abuse the privilege, and then our relationship is forever changed,” she says. “That’s a very big line and chances are it’s not going to work if it’s crossed. I warn people that this is how I’m going to deal with it.”
When she decides that the candidate is someone she’s interested in hiring, Pritzker will also talk to them about actions that will get them fired at the company. For example, “if you want to get fired, here’s what you need to do: first, lie, cheat, or steal … but the other thing that will get you fired is if you have a problem and you keep it to yourself.”
“What I’ve learned is that the most troublesome people don’t tell you 100% of the story, and keep some facts to themselves. They just don’t give you the full picture, and that’s very worrisome to me,” she says. “Oftentimes it’s because they don’t want to tell you the things you don’t want to hear.”
Pritzker tells Bryant it’s also crucial that she can picture herself happily travelling with the person after a long day and delayed flight.
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