“Imagine the original job interview. The first one ever, back on the prehistoric savannahs of eastern Africa. It wouldn’t have been exactly like a modern job interview, because early humans had no resumes or Linked-In or letters of recommendation to guide them. There was very little in the way of personal or professional reputation to go on, so in that sense the exchange was much trickier. But the fundamental idea was the same: Somehow the interviewer had to judge, in a brief spot of time, if the applicant — a complete stranger — was worthy of trust. Is this a person to do business with, to entrust with your money and your financial future? What subtle, unintended signs might one detect in that initial, face-to-face interaction, to boost the odds of choosing a solid relationship and rejecting a dicey one?
“What did our ancient ancestors look for in making these crucial judgments? Indeed, how do we make these judgments nowadays? It’s advantageous to enter into cooperative business deals, but the risk of deceit is high. Every time you walk into a used car lot, or shop around for a home contractor or financial advisor, you are using your wits to pick someone trustworthy — and to avoid scoundrels.”