The July 22 Corner Office column in The New York Times featured an interview with Ronald M. Shaich, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Panera Bread. When asked how he conducts job interviews, Shaich explained how he engages in a “shared exploration.”
Here is Shaich on what he tells an applicant: “Listen, let me start with an assumption: you know you better than I am ever going to know you, and I'm not going to sit here and figure you out in an hour and a half. . . . So, why don't we use this time, and set as our shared objective, to figure out whether this is a place that can make a difference in your life, and whether you can make a difference in our corporate life.”
He then sets their respective responsibilities: His is to talk straight, "no baloney,” and the applicant's is to be “as present” as he or she can and tell him about what is important in their lives.
A friend made an interesting observation when we were having coffee: All the résumés he sees from applicants under age 30 talk about what his company can do for the applicant. None talk about what the applicant can do for his company. It takes two to tango and two for a “shared exploration.”