Unique Examples from Top CEOs

There are plenty of ways that companies can go about their interview process. And many of them choose to incorporate a brain-teaser-type question, this helps them to interview outside the box. For example, “Why are tennis balls fuzzy?”. “You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be and why?” Or, “What would the name of your debut album be?” But do these questions really tell you how good someone will be at a job? Or do they just confuse them? One thing is for sure, it gets people talking about the company’s interview process and corporate culture. Which enhances their employer and overall brand.

While coming up with a clever answer to a tricky question may demonstrate the ability to think quickly under pressure. Some CEOs feel that a person’s actions are much more reflective of their ability to fit into a team culture, thus leading to their future success with the company. Let’s look at a few leaders who have developed their own interview techniques, and why they feel they’re effective:

The Early-Morning Text

Erika Nardini is the CEO of sports and men’s lifestyle blog Barstool Sports. For those that apply for jobs at Barstool, Nardini will test them by sending a text them at 11 am on a Sunday morning, or at 9 pm in the evening, to see how quickly they respond. Individuals that respond within three hours pass the ‘test’. While she says she does not intend to continuously contact employees at odd hours once they’re hired, she expects them to be responsive and constantly thinking about work.

The Restaurant Choice

If you’re looking to work for well-known company BMI, prepare to choose a good restaurant for your second interview. Mike O’Neill, the CEO of BMI says that after the first official interview, he will invite job applicants to a second interview over a meal, but he makes the candidate choose the restaurant. Firstly, O’Neill will ask the candidate why they chose that particular restaurant but there is more to his method. O’Neill says he learns a lot about a candidate from what they order, whether they choose a location closer to them or him, and how hard they try to impress him during the meal. He will then also ask questions about the candidate’s coworkers, mentors, and peers, as he says he can learn more by asking about the people they surround themselves with.

The Order Blunder

Similarly to BMIs technique, the CEO of Charles Schwab, Walt Bettinger, also invites interviewees to a restaurant for an interview. However, he will arrive early and give strict instructions to the manager/waitress to deliver the wrong order to the candidate. Bettinger says that the way that a candidate responds to this mistake helps him understand how they deal with adversity. Do they get upset and frustrated, or are they understanding? If a candidate chooses to not say anything at all, it may show that they are timid, not pay attention to detail or be afraid to get it wrong. In conclusion, Bettinger is essentially looking for someone that knows how to recover from a mistake and are polite and respectful to others through the process.


Ask any hiring manager how to plan and execute an effective job interview and they’ll be able to provide a number of examples of techniques that are and aren’t successful. Every company and even every person has a different approach to recruitment. It is not uncommon for an individual with the ingenuity to start their own company to also develop outside-the-box interview techniques that they feel provide essential information about candidates’ future success with the company beyond simply asking, “Tell me about yourself.”

If you are seeking a new role or your company needs help with recruitment, Greenfield IT are here to help! Our hiring managers go the extra mile every day. Contact us for more info.