Monday, December 7, 2009

The CEO Personality Assessment

Hello and thank you for your interest in the Legacy Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Icon Industries. We are pleased that you have decided to apply with us. The final step in your employment journey will be to complete this brief personality assessment. Time is a consideration, so don’t linger too long on any one question.

With the finely-honed mind of a CEO, we find that first responses are usually best. Don’t second-guess yourself. That’s what shareholders and the media are for! To expedite the path to the riches you deserve, we have included three acceptable answers in the group of four that follow every question. Remember—you’re too big to fail!

1.) Wall Street is unhappy with your company’s stock performance. The best solution is:

A. Immediately slash payroll, thereby increasing profit. Wall Street must be kept happy at all costs.

B. Immediately cut five-thousand jobs, reducing overhead. Wall Street must be kept happy at all costs.

C. Allocate resources to research and development, paving the way for better products and greater market share.

D. Immediately announce that unfavorable market conditions necessitate massive layoffs. Wall Street must be kept happy at all costs.

2.) Impending government regulation will markedly reduce your firm’s stock value. You:

A. Call a press conference and announce you are confident your company will “weather the storm” as you call your broker and request they dump your shares ASAP.

B. Announce you will “stay the course” and that there is no need to panic while privately selling-off your shares.

C. Encourage continued employee stock purchases with the phrase “we’re all in this together” as you instruct your broker to divest yourself of all company shares immediately.

D. Set-up a committee to explore alternate business models using existing company technology and infrastructure.

3.) When confronted with the information that the average U.S. executive earns more than three-hundred times what the average employee does, you:

A. Complain about the skyrocketing cost of tuition at premium private schools in the U.S.

B. Express concern over the inequity and immediately act to reverse it within your company.

C. Announce your intention to hire lobbyists and lower the minimum wage.

D. Complain about the skyrocketing cost of premium housing in the U.S.

4.) Your blue ribbon panel on profit enhancement has submitted its report. Which of their recommendations do you follow?

A. Explore new markets abroad.

B. Eliminate pensions and medical benefits for retirees.

C. Bribe consumer testing labs to lie about competitor’s products.

D. Have employees lease their computer and office space as a condition of employment.

5.) Which answer best describes your reaction when third-quarter sales show continued decline?

A. Did I expense account Bambi’s rent this month?

B. Go ahead—fire me. It’ll cost you forty-five mil. More if I cash in my stock option.

C. I need to get with sales and find out what the problem is.

D. What are those overpaid, profit-sucking parasites screwing up now?

6.) Performance-based executive pay is:

A. A socialist plot devised by the Obama administration.

B. A fair way to ensure shareholder value.

C. The triumph of mass-based mediocrity over the prickly genius of rugged individualism.

D. Another attempt by liberals to penalize success.

7.) Your rationale for requiring salary histories from applicants is:

A. We need to contain operating costs.

B. We collect salary data for the U.S. Department of Labor, but don’t actually use it in negotiations.

C. The limbo is the official office party game.

D. You’re already overpaid, asshole.

8.) What percentage of CEOs are ethical?

A. 100%

B. 98%

C. 99%

D. The same as in any other demographic of the population.

9.) Sixty-percent of U.S. corporations pay no income taxes. To express your appreciation for America’s largesse, you:

A. Outsource hundreds of thousands of jobs to Asia, India and Mexico, further eroding America’s tax base.

B. Establish offshore corporate headquarters to further evade profit-draining penalties and taxes.

C. Make numerous donations to non-profit organizations—provided they’re tax deductible.

D. Announce you’re moving your corporate headquarters, and play one municipality against another until relocating becomes a profit center in itself.

10.) Machievellli is:

A. A useful philosopher, depending on the application.

B. Your business model.

C. All the justification you need.

D. Your all-time favorite centerfold from ‘Business Weekly’.

11.) Production and distribution costs are rising. The best course of action is:

A. Mount an advertising campaign repositioning your product as a ‘premium’ or ‘gourmet’ one. Raise prices accordingly.

B. Shrink package size while maintaining price point. Customers won't know the difference.

C. Absorb cost increases in the hope they are temporary and/or seasonal.

D. Label product as 'New and Improved', thereby justifying any and all price hikes.

12.) Millions in government subsidies are available for growers of tomatoes. Your company mines coal. You:

A. Hire lobbyists to convince Congress that as a producer of energy, you are in a related field and thus qualify for the subsidies.

B. Admit tomato-growers have had a rough time recently and wish them well.

C. Invent an agriculture-based subsidiary and apply for the subsidies.

D. Hire lobbyists to convince Congress that in addition to coal, your company does, in fact, mine tomatoes and thus qualifies for the subsidies.

13.) Which of the following statements best describes your feelings about government regulation?

A. A lunar crater on the highway to America’s continued dominance as an economic power.

B. A necessary evil, as not all companies act with integrity and concern for their employees and customers.

C. A socialist plot devised by the Obama administration.

D. The reason jobs have been outsourced, and will continue to be until America’s business owners are allowed to operate their businesses as they see fit.

14.) What percentage of employees are essentially untrustworthy?

A. All of them.

B. 100%

C. The whole stinking lot.

D. The same as in any other demographic of the population.

15.) What word or phrase best describes your management style?

A. I take management cues from my political party of choice, making liberal use of threats, coercion, fear, the withholding of praise and the sadistic manipulation of psychological sensitivities revealed in applicant’s personality profiles to achieve stated business goals.

B. Open door.

C. Results-oriented and vision-forward.

D. Egalitarian.

16.) Downturns in business are:

A. Unavoidable.

B. Often the result of poor management and decision-making.

C. Inevitable.

D. Unfortunate, but your compensation isn't performance-based anyway.

17.) In addition to being CEO of an investment bank, you have recently been nominated to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. You:

A. Accept the nomination and enjoy the windfall.

B. Accept the nomination and adopt a laissez faire policy regarding Wall Street investment.

C. Realize this presents a potential conflict of interest and make plans to either decline the nomination or resign your position as CEO.

D. Accept the nomination and make a commitment to rigorously maintain the status quo as long as it favors your bank.

18.) Would you say your integrity is greater or less than that of your fellow CEOs?

A. Greater.

B. Greater.

C. Greater.

D. Less than.

19.) What word or phrase best describes your approach to the job?

A. When will the private jet and satellite office in Bora Bora be ready?

B. I don’t have an ‘off’ switch.

C. Whatever it takes.

D. Driven. Like a truck.

20.) What quality is most-important in an employee?

A. Unblinking obedience.

B. Sight-challenged obedience.

C. Experience.

D. Blind obedience.