Career advice from New York Times editor Adam Bryant

in Career Related, News, School
October 12th, 2012

Speaking to an audience packed with students aspiring to business leadership, Adam Bryant shared a few things that a smart CEO does not do. The smart CEO does not, for example, ask an interviewee the question that leads to the canned answer, “My greatest weakness is that I work too hard and care too much.”

Instead, the CEO of online shoe company Zappos, for instance, asks job candidates to tell him how weird they are on a scale of one to 10, with examples to back up their score. Everyone falls prey to a little bit of weirdness, and the question gets across to the candidate the importance Zappos places on workplace culture.

“For the CEO, that question is really about seeing how the candidate reacts to the question and it forces them to get out of their element,” said Bryant, the New York Times senior editor for features, who is probably best known for his popular column “The Corner Office” in the Sunday business section, and his 2011 book of the same name. “Good CEOs want to know what the real person is like and don’t want that canned stuff.”

On Thursday, October 4, Bryant spoke at the School of Management about the patterns, themes, and lessons shared with him by CEOs of companies like Foursquare, Hill Holiday, Panera Bread, and Pfizer. The event, part of the School of Management’s Dean’s Speaker Series and cosponsored by the Leadership & Organizational Transformation Concentration, the Graduate Student Council, and the Undergraduate Student Council, drew a crowd of 200. Kenneth Freeman, SMG’s Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, moderated the hour and a half discussion, and invited students to pose questions.

Bryant has been a business reporter, deputy business editor, and deputy national editor at the Times and worked as senior writer and business editor at Newsweek. He was the lead editor of a 2010 series on the dangers of distracted driving that won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. He started “The Corner Office” in 2009. (Article excerpt from BU Today)

Listen to audio excerpts from the event below.