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Former Google CEO and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt can put a pretty high price on arrogance: about $500,000,000.

In an interesting interview with Steven Levy, Schmidt talks about what Google looks for when it’s hiring.


The test, he explains, is to ask whether you believe a candidate can work with other people to effect change. If someone comes across as overly arrogant, it could mean that they won’t work well on a team. Instead of thinking about what’s best for the cooperation, they’ll think about what’s best for themselves and their own career path. Arrogant people don’t collaborate well, and Google relies on collaboration.

“In my first year, I would get phone calls from people that I knew, and they’d say ‘I’m the VP at company X and in my career path I need to be a chief operating officer,’” Schmidt explains to Levy. “That was always a signal that I should hang up. And by the way, because of the packages we were giving out then, before we went public, those people who did that cost themselves a half a billion dollars in personal wealth. So you want to put a price on arrogance? Okay!”

Levy’s interview with Schmidt was the second part of his “master class in Google.” You can read the first installment here.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider. Copyright 2014

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