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This CEO takes job candidates out to eat and has them pick the restaurant—here's why

BMI President & CEO Mike O'Neill
Erika Goldring | Getty Images
BMI President & CEO Mike O'Neill

Mike O'Neill, CEO of music rights management company BMI, really wants to get to know job candidates before hiring them.

That's one of the reasons he does at least two interviews: One in the office and another over a meal.

Here's the catch: "I make the person pick the restaurant," O'Neill tells Adam Bryant in an interview with The New York Times.

"I want to see if they're trying to impress me, or if they make me go to them or they come to me," he says. "What do they order? What are they thinking? Are they trying to please the CEO?"

O'Neill, who has been with BMI for 22 years and was appointed CEO in 2013, always immediately asks why they chose the specific place. "Some people will say, 'I was nervous when you asked me to pick it,'" he tells Bryant. "I love that answer because they're being very candid with me at that point."

Next, he's probably going to ask more questions about your coworkers, mentors and peers than about you. "When I interview people, I want to know if they have those same qualities that my parents expected from us: trust, respect, accountability and watching others' backs," says O'Neill to the newspaper. "And I learn more by asking them about the people they surround themselves with than I do by asking them direct questions."

He tells Bryant: "So I'll ask about their last job. Who was the person you really wanted to work for? Who was the person you wanted to run from? Why? What were the traits of those people?"

O'Neill isn't the only CEO with an unconventional hiring method: Brian Scudamore, the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, uses a "beer and BBQ test" to make sure he's hiring people he and his team will enjoy working with.

The CEO asks anyone conducting interviews to ask themselves two questions during and after the interview, he tells CNBC: "Could you see yourself sitting down and enjoying a beer or coffee with this person?" And, "If we had a company barbecue, how would they fit in?"

"What we're looking for is, 'Does our community make sense?'" says Scudamore. "'Are we all guided by that same principal of us building something much bigger together?' And the beer and barbecue filter seems to work like magic."

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