The Hallman File Featured

8:00pm EDT July 26, 2009

Born: Phoenix

Education: B.A. in economics from Claremont McKenna College

First job: Auditor at Price Waterhouse. I learned a lot of valuable information about how businesses operate, but primarily I learned that I wasn’t cut out to be an accountant.

Whom do you admire most and why?

My parents, wife and kids. My parents, because they were the first and only of their families to attend college. They lived and instilled in me a strong ethical code, and they raised me to believe I could do anything.  

What’s your definition of success?

Having my kids grow up to live a life full of integrity, joy and success in whatever they choose to do.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

Do the right thing.

If you weren’t in your current position, what might you be doing instead?

If I were good enough at any of them, I’d love to be a professional surfer, skier or triathlete. But I think I’ll stick to my day job.

On interviewing potential hires: Microsoft is famous for asking questions like, ‘Why are manhole covers round?’ I don’t have any brilliant interview questions. I try to ask questions to get to things like what’s this person’s attitude, are they energetic, are they positive?

The second thing I look for is intellect. How quick are they in terms of analyzing things? Are they curious? I’ll ask them, ‘Give me an example of a really challenging problem that you had to solve and how you solved it.’ Sometimes people will go, ‘Boy, I really can’t think of any,’ and that’s not a good sign.

Part of it is just spending time with them, listening, having lots of people [involved in the interview] and seeing how people respond to each other. You make a lot fewer mistakes when you bring other people into the decision process.