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A CEO describes the unusual 'intelligence test' he gives every job candidate

Published by Business Insider on Fri, 15 Jan 2016

A recent Forbes profile of Chris Friedland, founder and CEOof Chico,California-based Build.com, highlights the executive'sunique hiring strategy. Buildwhich sells sinks, locks, and home fixtures online recruits many of itssales reps from the nearby college, Chico State University, ratherthan targeting grads of elite universities. It also hires atBurning Man."I've seen a historical 'hunger' to work hard from Chico State grads, and all of my hires have had phenomenal customer service," Friedland, a graduate of Chico State, tells Business Insider. "I believe it's important to hire locally, not only due to the strong talent pool located in Chico, but also to support the local community as well as job creation."In addition tolooking for ambitious young people that the company can shape, Friedland also uses a funny tacticto vet candidates' smarts. He told Forbes:When we make job offers, we tell people they can take a drug test right away and start work tomorrow, or they can wait two weeks and come back when they're ready. I think of this as an IQ test. Anyone who takes a drug test right awayand flunks itisn't smart enough to work for us.Friedland says that while he likes to joke about the drug-testing policy,he does"take the health and safetyof our employees very seriously, and we ask all of our employees to take a drug test upon hiring."While a bit unusual, itappears to be a successful hiring strategy.Forbes notes that "Build books about $1.2 million in revenue for each of its 500 employees," compared to$653,000per employee atAmazon and$234,000 at /theHome Depot.AndFriedland's certainly not the only exec who goes out of his way to test the intelligence of potential employees. For example, according to the biography "Elon Musk," theTesla and SpaceX CEO likes to ask candidates a riddle: "You are standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk 1mile south, 1mile west, and 1mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you'"If you're curious, there are multiple correct answers, and one is the North Pole.Meanwhile, billionaire Peter Thiel likes to ask a question that gauges original thinking"Tell me something that's true that almost nobody agrees with you on"and SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan uses the questions candidates ask her to determine their intellectual curiosity.Read the full profile of Chris Friedland on Forbes.com. SEE ALSO:Here's what Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and 22 other successful people ask job candidates during interviewsJoin the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: How Elon Musk can tell if job applicants are lying about their experience
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