LS&Co. Execs: I Always Ask This Question During Interviews

Levi Strauss & Co.
June 25, 2018

Have an interview coming up? We recently asked our Worldwide Leadership Team to tell us what their favorite interview questions are for job candidates. Their responses provided some very helpful insights:

Elizabeth Wood, Chief Human Resources Officer: I always ask people “What would make this a good time for you to make a move?” It helps me understand how they’re thinking about their career, why they’re thinking about what they’re not getting out of their current job, and where they think the growth is going to come from in their career.

Seth Ellison, Executive Vice President and President, Europe: I love asking somebody “What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?” I love the fact that every once in a while, somebody tells me they really had never made a big mistake.

Seth Jaffe, Executive  Vice President and General Counsel: Well, it turns out that having the same name means you have a lot in common! Like Seth, I also ask them to tell me about a time when something they did went terribly wrong, what they learned from that experience, and what they would do differently.

Chip Bergh, President and Chief Executive Officer: I like to ask the failure question too. I also ask them to tell me a goal that they have set for themselves and how it has changed them.

Liz O’Neill, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer: I always like to ask why the person is looking to leave their current job. I think the “Why come to Levi’s®?” is almost a given; it’s an easy one at this point, but [why leave your job] kind of gives you a little bit of a read into their state of mind and what they’re interested in.

James “JC” Curleigh, Executive Vice President and President, Global Brands: I like to ask about what contribution they have made in their company that, if they joined us, would actually stay there and be seen as a lasting contribution.

Harmit Singh, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer: I like to talk to and understand how people relate to our values. My question is based on any of our company’s four values [empathy, integrity, originality and courage]. I normally start with courage: “Give me an instance where you displayed your courage of conviction to do something that you really felt was important for the business that you represent.”

Carrie Ask, Executive Vice President and President, Global Retail: I always ask “If you had one do-over, any do-over, what would it be and why?” You learn a lot about whether they are self-reflective and if they look in the mirror and ask themselves what they could have done different to get a different outcome.

David Love, Executive Vice President and President of Levi Strauss Asia, Middle East, Africa: I usually try to get some insight about how people that they’ve hired or people that have worked on their teams have evolved and progressed, either within that company or elsewhere.

Kelly McGinnis, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer: I like to ask about the mentors that made a difference in their careers and their lives up until now. Everybody has somebody who made a difference for them, and hearing those stories helps you understand that person.

Marc Rosen, Executive Vice President and President of Global Ecommerce: I like to understand how people lead and how introspective they are about their leadership style. So, I always ask what somebody’s team would say about what they like working for that person and what they don’t like about working for that person.

Roy Bagattini, Executive Vice President and President, Levi Strauss Americas: I’m fairly competitive, so the one area I do like to try and explore when I’m interviewing someone is just how competitive they are. I try to truly find out one of their biggest losses and how they felt about that and how that has affected or shaped them.