Careers

Why this CEO hires people who want to steal her job

CEO & Global Chairman Universal Music Publishing Group Jody Gerson
Ilya S. Savenok | Getty Images
CEO & Global Chairman Universal Music Publishing Group Jody Gerson

When Universal Music Group CEO Jody Gerson meets with potential employees, she cuts right to the chase.

"I want to know what you would bring to the table at our company, what your passions are and what your life is like," she said during an interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times.

Gerson has two go-to questions that help her determine if candidates are a good fit. The first is, "What do you want?" Gerson says that is a "big question for me."

This isn't entirely open-ended: Gerson looks for a specific type of answer. She wants to know what candidates plan to accomplish for the company, not hear about their personal career trajectories. If they only focus on themselves, "it's probably not the right fit."

"I'll also ask, 'Do you want my job?'" she says. "I often find that the wrong answer is, 'No.' I want people who want my job."

That's because she's looking for people who are motivated and ambitious. Above all else, she seeks drive and passion.

"Are they going to be available when I have a question to ask on a Saturday and give me a quick reply?" she says. "I don't expect anyone to be staring at their phone, because it's important to have balance, but I want somebody who wants to give it their all."

This echoes the hiring strategy of Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini.

"If you're in the process of interviewing with us, I'll text you about something at 9 p.m. or 11 a.m. on a Sunday just to see how fast you'll respond," Nardini told Bryant during her own interview with The Times.

"It's not that I'm going to bug you all weekend if you work for me, but I want you to be responsive," she says. "I think about work all the time. Other people don't have to be working all the time, but I want people who are also always thinking."

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