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The 3 questions this CEO uses to weed out jerks

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Like most employers, Chieh Huang isn’t interested in hiring people who are overly rigid or who know it all. So he’s created a handful of questions to help identify them.

When new employees don’t work out, the reason is rarely incompetence. That’s according to Chieh Huang, the cofounder and CEO of Boxed. Instead, he says, it’s usually their personality — in particular, an inability to work well with others.

At most workplaces, hiring managers are focused on evaluating candidates for their abilities and experience, so people who can’t do the job seldom make it through the process. But Huang believes there’s something else that they should be screening for: Being a jerk. (Although instead of “jerk”, Huang uses a two-syllable word that starts with “a” and ends with a word that rhymes with “dole.”)

When he meets would-be hires, Huang — as CEO — is the final interview, or, as he puts it, “the last line of defense.” He says, “Everyone else has vetted them for expertise, and they’ve filtered them for being a cultural fit.” Over the years, Huang has devised a three-question “A—e Test.” He speaks with prospective employees for 15 to 30 minutes, which he says is all the time needed to determine if they’re a jerk.

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