The CEO of Whole Foods says he never hires people who display this personality trait

Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb: How I Work

Job interviewing is all about persuading the company that you're the absolute perfect person for the job.

Yet at the same time, it's important not to seem overconfident or delusional as to your own abilities.

That's according to Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Robb said the one trait that won't get someone hired is "a lack of humility and an over sense of self-promotion."

View the 10 worst body language mistakes in interviews:

10 worst body language mistakes during interviews
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The CEO of Whole Foods says he never hires people who display this personality trait

Body language expert Tonya Reiman, author of "The Power of Body Language," previously told Business Insider that job candidates should make sure they offer the "appropriate amount of eye contact." 

"If you don't, the interviewer will assume you are either insecure, don't have an appropriate answer for the question being asked, or are being deceptive. Does that mean it's true? No, but perception is everything in a job interview."

Reiman said smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. 

"It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof," she explained.

This may give the interviewer the impression that you're bored or uninterested in the conversation. Instead, keep your hands on the desk or table, and don't fidget.

In their book "Crazy Good Interviewing," John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus suggest showing your palms during an interview — since the gesture indicates sincerity — or pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. which displays confidence, reports Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz.

Reiman previously told Business Insider you should always be aware of your posture.

"People don't realize that the job interview begins in the waiting room, but it does. So don't slouch in the chair in the reception area," she advised. "In order to be perceived as confident, you must sit or stand tall, with your neck elongated, ears and shoulders aligned, and chest slightly protruding."

This position changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel stronger and more confident, and it gives the outward appearance of credibility, strength, and vitality, she explained.

Playing with your hair, touching your face, or any other kind of fidgeting can be a major distraction for your interviewer. It also demonstrates a lack of power, said Reiman.

This gesture will tell the interviewer you're not comfortable or you're closed off. 

"You should always keep your hands in view when you are talking," Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of "SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma," previously told Business Insider. "When a listener can't see your hands, they wonder what you are hiding." To look honest and credible, keep your arms uncrossed and show your hands.

"When we touch our faces or hair, it is because we need self soothing,"Reiman explained.

Is that the message you want to send to your interviewer

A weak handshake may tell the interviewer that you're nervous, shy, and that you lack confidence, explains Colin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, a customer experience consultancy, in a LinkedIn post

Ideally, your handshake should be firm, but not overbearing. "The secret to a great handshake is palm-to-palm contact," Wood told Business Insider. You want to slide your hand down into the web of theirs, and make palm-to-palm contact. Lock thumbs, and apply an equal amount of pressure.

"It's okay to use your hands to illustrate a few important points," writes Lebowitz. "In fact, research suggests that staying too still can give the impression of coldness. 

"But relying too much on hand gestures can be distracting, according to Molidor and Parus."

She says you should remember you're in a job interview, not a theater audition. 

People tend to show their dominating personality by gripping the interviewer's hand and palming it down, but this tells the interviewer that you need to feel powerful, Reiman explained. "Instead, the handshake should be more natural: thumbs in the upward position and two to three pumps up and down."

As the applicant, you should always wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first, she added. 


Whole Foods isn't the only company that's wary of arrogance. As Thomas L. Friedman writes in The New York Times, Google places a similar value on humility. According to Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of People Operations, Google looks for people who are able to accept when someone else has a better idea.

Bock told Friedman that the most successful Googlers are " zealots about their point of view. But then you say, 'here's a new fact,' and they'll go, 'Oh, well, that changes things; you're right.' You need a big ego and small ego in the same person at the same time."

READ MORE: Whole Foods CEO predicts explosive change in eating trends

So how exactly do you strike that balance between confidence and humility during a job interview?

Writing in The Harvard Business Review, John Baldoni says it's important to talk about coworkers' contributions to solving problems, instead of just your own.

And over at Forbes, Margie Warrell suggests that instead of promoting yourself, you promote your value, meaning that you show how you can contribute to the success of others and the organization overall.

Of course, there are some execs who actively look for confidence and self-promotion. Oracle cofounder and former CEO Larry Ellison, for example, used to train recruiters to ask candidates if they were the smartest person they knew. If they said yes, they were hired.

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The CEO of Whole Foods says he never hires people who display this personality trait
24. Levi's

23. Calvin Klein

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22. Ralph Lauren

21. Michael Kors

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20. Walmart

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19. Macy's
18. Vans

17. Old Navy

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16. Converse

15. Adidas

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14. Gap

13. Under Armour

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12. Bath & Body Works

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11. Nordstrom

10. Target

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9. Urban Outfitters 
8. J.Crew
7. H&M

6. Sephora

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5. Lululemon

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4. Zara

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3. Forever 21

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2. Victoria's Secret

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1. Nike

Ultimately, success in a job interview may come down to knowing your audience. Chances are good that the company is looking for some degree of humility, but they may also want to hear you toot your own horn when it comes to certain desirable traits and skills.

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