PayPal Cofounder Peter Thiel Loves This Job Interview Question

Peter Thiel
PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. Getty / Chip Somodevilla

PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel is known for his contrarian streak and controversial opinions on topics like college education (it’s a waste) and the 1960s (when hippies caused America’s decline).

As managing partner of the Founders Fund venture capital firm and president of the hedge fund Clarium Capital, he looks for other people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds.

To do this, he always gives job candidates and the founders of companies seeking an investment this interview prompt: “Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.”

In a 2012 interview with Forbes, Thiel explains what he loves so much about the conversation that comes from it.

“It sort of tests for originality of thinking, and to some extent, it tests for your courage in speaking up in a difficult interview context,” he says. “It’s always socially awkward to tell the interviewer something that the interviewer might not agree with.

What Thiel is looking for is someone to tell him that most people think one thing, but the truth is actually the opposite.

“Most people think originality is easy, but I think it’s actually really hard, and when you find it, it’s really valuable,” he concludes.

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