Advice on hiring from The Onion’s CEO

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 05:  A copy of the Onion i...
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Do you know what The Onion is? If not, it’s a satirical newspaper and website that is hysterical…you should read it.

I’ve been a big fan of The Onion for years…but I didn’t know it was a 160-employee company…that’s huge for what I thought was just a funny website/newspaper.

I ran across a NY Times interview with the CEO of The Onion…I had to read it because, well…its an interview with the CEO of The Onion for goodness sake.   Gotta be some funny stuff there right?

Well…I was surprised.  Nothing funny about it….there’s some excellent leadership tips here.

The CEO, Steve Hannah, has a hell of a head on his shoulders.

The interview, published in Business Day’s Corner Office series under the title “If Plan B Fails, Go Through the Alphabet“, is wonderful.

My favorite part of the interview was the 2nd & 3rd question/answers:

Q. How do you interview job candidates?

A. I have two basic questions in mind: “Can you do the job, and would I enjoy spending time with you?” I want to know where you came from. I want to know how many children are in your family. I want to know where you fit in and what your role was. I want to know what your mother and your dad did, what influence they had on you. I find that, without overstepping my boundaries, most people like to talk about themselves.

Q. What is it you want to know?

A. I want to know whether you were a kid who was entitled, whether you worked hard, whether you excelled at school, whether you held summer jobs, how hard you had to work, whether you got the jobs yourself, whether you got promoted. I want to know if you’ll work hard. I’m hopelessly old-fashioned. I want people who really want to work hard. And I absolutely loathe a sense of entitlement.

Excellent stuff.   Nowhere does he say that he wants to know what school they went to or how much margin they made their last company.  He wants to know who they are and what they can do.  Period.  My kind of hiring approach.

Jump over and read it for some extremely good leadership insights.