Social Experiment that Could Cost You a Job – Don’t Fail “The Coffee Cup Test”

In the competitive world of job interviews, sometimes it’s the subtle actions, not just skills or experience, that can make or break a candidate’s chances. Trent Innes, a former boss at an accounting software firm, had a unique method to gauge a candidate’s attitude: the ‘coffee cup test.’ Let’s take a look at this method.

The Coffee Cup Test

Hiring processes can be nerve-wracking. With urban legends floating about, suggesting decisions get made within the first 15 seconds of a candidate walking through the door, first impressions are critical.

They can make or break the chances of landing that coveted position. Yet, for Trent Innes, former head of an accounting software giant, it wasn’t the resume or the handshake that sealed the deal. It was all about a coffee cup.

Trent Innes, a name many in the tech world might recognize from his tenure at Xero Australia up until September 2021, brought a unique spin to the interview table.

Speaking on “The Venture” podcast alongside entrepreneur Lambros Photios in 2019, Trent divulged the secret weapon he employed during the hiring process: The Coffee Cup Test.

Hiring Philosophy

Innes explained, “I will always take you for a walk down to one of our kitchens, and somehow you always end up walking away with a drink.”

The process might seem random, but it was meticulous. At the end of the interview, Innes would look out for one thing: would the interviewee go to take their empty coffee cup back to the kitchen?

To many, this gesture might appear minute, almost inconsequential. But for Innes, it was a testament to the candidate’s character.

He argued, “You can develop skills, you can gain knowledge and experience, but it really does come down to attitude, and the attitude that we talk a lot about is the concept of ‘wash your coffee cup.”

Indicative of Deeper Culture

For Innes, this wasn’t merely about hygiene or maintaining a clean kitchenette. It was indicative of a deeper cultural fit.

Did the potential hire have the consideration and awareness of shared spaces?

Did they understand the unsaid ethos of Xero, where everyone took responsibility for their roles and the shared environment they operated in?

And for skeptics wondering if this ‘test’ bore any real results, Trent had a simple rebuttal.

“Walk into a Xero office on any given day. Our kitchens are pristine,” he beamed with pride, hinting at the effectiveness of his unique hiring strategy.

Dismissive Attitudes Not Welcome 

However, it’s not just Innes who places such weight on the subtler cues candidates give during interviews.

Another hiring manager, in a riveting tale shared on Reddit, unveiled how an applicant’s dismissive attitude towards what he thought was just a receptionist cost him his job opportunity.

The twist? The supposed ‘receptionist’ was the hiring manager herself.

When the candidate’s demeanor transformed the moment he believed he was addressing the decision-maker, it only confirmed the manager’s suspicions. His treatment of the ‘receptionist’ demonstrated a lack of genuine respect for all team members. Consequently, the interview was cut short.

Attitude Over Aptitude

The thread underscored an often-overlooked aspect of job interviews – that every interaction matters.

The shift in the applicant’s behavior from dismissive to friendly once he believed he was in the presence of a decision-maker wasn’t lost on the manager. 

This incident underscores the unspoken realities of job interviews.

While skills, experiences, and qualifications are undeniably crucial, the human element – respect, courtesy, and humility – determines how far you can truly go. For some firms, this can even supersede technical prowess or past achievements.

Character Matters

In a rapidly evolving corporate world, where company culture and mutual respect are gaining momentum, these ‘tests’ highlight a shift. A shift from mere qualifications to character, from what’s written on paper to what’s demonstrated in action.

Though seemingly simple, Innes’ Coffee Cup Test is a call to action for all potential candidates. In the race to prove technical competence, let’s not forget basic courtesies and the age-old principle of treating shared spaces with respect.

Whether it’s taking the effort to return a used coffee cup or offering a simple greeting, sometimes, it’s the smallest gestures that can either make or break a golden opportunity.

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The post Social Experiment that Could Cost You a Job – Don’t Fail “The Coffee Cup Test” first appeared on The Net Worth Of.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi

Source: Manchester Evening News