Have you failed the secret ‘coffee cup test’ at a job interview? Boss reveals the sneaky tactic he uses to decide who he’s going to hire
- Boss reveals one thing he looks for in a potential employee during a job interview
- Xero Australia managing director Trent Innes said he refuses to hire anyone who doesn’t offer to take their empty coffee cup back to the kitchen sink
- He said the test gives him a snapshot into the person’s ‘attitude’ and ‘ownership’
A boss has revealed the one thing he looks for in a potential employee – and it has nothing to do with your CV, skills or knowledge of the company.
Xero Australia’s managing director Trent Innes said 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.
The head of the ASX-listed accounting software firm said his 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.
Xero Australia’s managing director Trent Innes (pictured) said he refuses to hire anyone who doesn’t offer to take their coffee cup back to the kitchen at the end of an interview with him
‘I’m probably giving away all my dark secrets here now,’ Mr Innes said in the Venture Podcast with Lambros Photios.
‘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”.’
The boss revealed the one thing he looks for in a potential employee – and it has nothing to do with your CV or knowledge of the company (stock image)
By implementing his approach, Mr Innes said his secret technique was to ensure he’d find the perfect employee who will fit into the culture of his company.
‘So what I was trying to find was what was the lowest level task I could find that regardless of what you did inside the organisation was still super important that would actually really drive a culture of ownership,’ he said.
‘If you come into the office one day inside Xero, you’ll see the kitchens are almost always clean and sparkling and it’s very much off that concept of wash your coffee cup, but that sort of led into the interview space.
‘You really want to make sure that you’ve got people who have got a real sense of ownership, and that’s really what I was looking for.
‘Attitude and ownership scale, especially in a really fast growing environment like we’ve been going through and still at this stage as well. We want to make sure we’ve got people who have a real, strong ownership and a growth mindset.
‘It’s really just making sure that they’re actually going to fit into the culture inside Xero, and really take on everything that they should be doing.’
By implementing his approach, Mr Innes said his secret technique was to ensure he’d find the perfect employee who will fit into the culture of his company
During the interview process, Mr Innes said attitude was the most important trait he believed in when he’s hiring people.
‘Especially in a fast growth company or a start-up environment or scale up environment – you need people with a really strong growth mindset and that comes back to their attitude,’ he said.
Surprisingly, Mr Innes said only five to 10 per cent of interviewees don’t offer to return their empty coffee cup back to the kitchen.
‘The really pleasing thing is a vast majority of people do [offer],’ he said.
‘I don’t always make them take it back, it’s just an offer and usually I’d take it back for them of course – it’s just the sense of offering.’
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