Have You Failed Secret Job Interview ‘Coffee Cup Test’?

Xero Australia’s managing director Trent Innes revealed in a podcast this week that bosses in his region use the ‘secret coffee cup test’ to see if a person a suitable for the team.

Eseentially, he refuses to hire anyone who doesn’t offer to take their empty coffee cup back to the kitchen at the end of a job interview with him. In doing this, the sneaky tactic helps gives him a snapshot into the person’s ‘attitude’ and ‘ownership’.

Before commencing his interview, Mr Innes said he usually takes the prospective candidate for a walk to the kitchen where they would be given either a glass of water, coffee, tea or soft drink.

‘I’m probably giving away all my dark secrets here now. But if you do come in and have an interview, as soon as you come in and you do meet me, 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.’

‘Then we take that back, have our interview, and one of the things I’m always looking for at the end of the interview is, does the person doing the interview want to take that empty cup back to the kitchen?

‘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 own coffee cup”.’


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