Mark Zuckerberg Has a Rather Creepy Way of Setting Up a Job Offer

PALO ALTO, CA - APRIL 20: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg looks on during a town hall style meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at Facebook headquarters on April 20, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. The president used the opportunity to outline his views on the budget deficit ahead of a looming battle with congressional Republicans over fiscal matters. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Photo: Justin Sullivan/2011 Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg very famously only eats things he kills himself. Keep that in mind when you consider how you might react, in the first flickering instant, to his sudden, unexpected invitation to take a walk in the woods.

“I opened my e-mail one morning and there was a message from Mark Zuckerberg. I almost choked on my coffee,” said the person. “He asked me to come down to the Facebook campus in Palo Alto to discuss possibly working for the company.”

When the visitor arrived, he met Mr. Zuckerberg in his office, and was then immediately whisked away to the wooded trail. More than one potential employee who experienced the same encounter said the entire experience was “pretty disorienting.”

“Zuckerberg said money wasn’t an object and that if I wanted the job — and why wouldn’t I, he questioned — the paperwork was already ready to go back at the office,” said the person who ran a small start-up Mr. Zuckerberg was trying acquire. “The entire experience was totally surreal. I really felt like I was on a date.”

It's not an isolated incident; it's how Zuckerberg courts "select potential Facebook employees." According to the Times, most people are "a little startled by the invite," but "often" agree. Zuckerberg clearly has thought about the best way to test employees' willingness to follow him down dark, unknowable paths.

A Walk in the Woods With Mark Zuckerberg [Bits/NYT]