The Top Thing Business Titan Ken Langone Looks for When Hiring

A little humility goes a long way.

Ken Langone: Being Nice to Your Waiter May Get You a Job

The way you treat the waitstaff at a restaurant says a lot about the type of manager you’ll be. At least, that’s what Home Depot co-founder and Invemed Associates Chairman Ken Langone thinks. Langone says he likes to take job candidates out to a meal to see how they interact with waiters and waitresses.

“It’s an important lesson,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg GO. “Humility will get you a hell of a lot more than hubris.”

From his experience at Home Depot, Langone learned that a “store is only successful because of the kids who put on the orange apron. They need to … feel that they are as important as I am.”

Humble bosses who show they appreciate employees’ contributions create a “comfortable” work environment, Langone added. And research backs him up: A study from researchers at the Wharton School and George Mason University suggests that a compassionate corporate culture correlates with better client service. Another study, from the University of Warwick in England, suggests happy employees are 12 percent more productive.

So the next time you go out to eat, make sure you’re extra nice to your server. It could result in a better dining experience, and it might even prepare you for your next job.

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