How one CEO makes hiring decisions in 7 minutes


Marla Beck

Kate Warren

Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO of the luxury beauty retailer Bluemercury.

Hiring can be a complicated and drawn-out process. But Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO of the luxury beauty retailer Bluemercury, which was acquired by Macy's for $210 million in 2015, has it down to a science.

In a 2015 interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times, Beck said she was the "queen of the seven-minute interview."

She told Bryant: "I interview for only seven to 10 minutes, and I have a framework - it's skill, will, and fit."


She said she could ascertain skill in about two minutes, based only on what the candidate has done.

To figure this out, she asks: "What's the biggest impact you had at your past organization?"

"It's important that someone takes ownership of a project that they did, and you can tell based on how they talk about it whether they did it or whether it was just something that was going on at the organization," she told Bryant. 


Then, to determine a candidate's will (which "is about hunger"), she asks: "What do you want to do in five or 10 years?"

"That tells you a lot about their aspirations and creativity," she said. "If you're hungry to get somewhere, that means you want to learn. And if you want to learn, you can do any job."

Then there's fit.


For this she turns to the résumé.

Beck told Bryant that she was always looking for employees who have some sort of experience with a smaller organization. "At big companies, your job is really one little piece of the pie. I need someone who can make things happen and is comfortable with ambiguity."

Click here to read the full New York Times interview.