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CEO uses an unique 'coffee test' to evaluate potential candidates for a job, sparks debate

Trent Innes, the former managing director of Xero Australia, shared his unconventional method for assessing job candidates.

CEO uses an unique 'coffee test' to evaluate potential candidates for a job, sparks debate
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Edmond Dantès

Getting ready for an interview is no joke. Right from simple things like picking out an outfit and going over your introduction to making the perfect resume and acing all the interview questions available, it is quite a hustle. However, you’re bound to have mixed reactions when an employer chooses to hire you over a cup of coffee instead of your credentials. In a podcast back in 2019, Trent Innes revealed that he has a tricky yet simple way of choosing candidates during interviews that involves coffee, per Your Tango.

Representative Image Source: Pexels/Alex Green
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Alex Green

Ex-managing director of Xero Australia shared that he has a process of identifying the candidate’s capacity and attitude over a cup of coffee. This process begins when Innes walks with the candidate to the company kitchen and grabs a cup of coffee or any preferred drink. “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.” The duo then head back to the interview room and go on with the regular interview.


However, Innes revealed in the podcast that he was more interested in what the candidates do with the coffee cup. After the interview and drink is over, Innes observes the candidate’s behavior with the empty cup. “Does this person doing the interview want to take that empty cup back to the kitchen?” said Innes, revealing the action he looks out for. It is not a whimsical urge or a random test but has a well-built reason behind it. Innes shared that the action the candidate has will reveal the attitude they possess towards the company in terms of ownership.


“You can develop skills, you can gain knowledge and experience, but it really comes down to attitude, and the attitude that we talk about is the concept of ‘wash your own coffee cup.’ 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,” said Innes. While this may seem like a genius way to acquire the best candidates for your company, many thought otherwise. In a report shared by u/momochika on Reddit, several people in the comment section were unhappy about the methodology. They expressed that the theory was ‘manipulative’ and had nothing to do with the job.

Image Source: Reddit/u/justlurkingnjudging
Image Source: Reddit | u/justlurkingnjudging


Image Source: Reddit/u/icoangel
Image Source: Reddit | u/icoangel

A user said, “The boss actually said he actively manipulates potential hires into taking a drink, all so he can play his deeply disturbing psycho-social game.” Another user said, “That is ridiculous. At that point, the person you are interviewing is your guest. Does he ask his guests to wash the dishes when he invites people over?” 

Though Innes was the talk of the town for a while due to his unique test, several commenters deemed this idea as irrational when it comes to hiring a candidate. However, every cup of coffee at work is now sure to be more than just coffee for every employee and employer for ages to come.

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