Boss uses 'coffee cup test' in every interview - and won't hire anyone who fails

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He says it shows more about a person
He says it shows more about a person's attitude than any interview question possibly could (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)

When it comes to interviewing for a job, candidates strive to make a positive, lasting impression to boost their chances of securing the position. But rather than sieve through their resume or judge them on their previous experience, one former boss has revealed he uses a simple 'coffee cup test' to determine whether a candidate is right for the job.

Trent Innes claims he wouldn't hire anyone who failed his 'coffee cup test' as he believes it shows more about a person's attitude than any interview question possibly could. He was so reliant on it that he would automatically blacklist anybody who failed it from working at his company.

Trent, who formerly worked at Xero Australia but left in September 2021, previously shared his little trick while speaking on the business podcast The Venture with entrepreneur Lambros Photios. Speaking on the podcast in 2019, he 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.

"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 coffee cup'."

He claims this trick works like a charm, saying the kitchens in their office are always very clean. He added: "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 of that concept of wash your coffee cup. 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."

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But Trent isn't the only one who judges a person on their attitude during an interview as one man was rejected instantly after he failed a test at reception. His potential boss shared the mistake he made online, which meant he had no chance of getting the job. The potential candidate blew the interview in the first five minutes of entering the building after being dismissive to the receptionist and barely making eye contact with her.

Paige Freshwater

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