The ‘Coffee Trick’ That Xero Use To Hire The Right Person

Trent Innes is the Managing Director of Xero in Australia, and he has shared a big coffee trick that he uses to make sure he doesn’t hire the wrong person!

As business owners we are not really taught about ‘how to do interviews’. It often boils down to comparing CV’s and gut feelings on the day of the interview.

However, the trick that Trent uses has nothing to do with a candidates CV or interview skills. In fact it’s a test he uses after the interview has finished.

The Coffee Cup Trick

Appearing on the Venture Podcast, Trent Innes said:

‘If you do come in and have an interview, as soon as you come in and you 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?’

‘It really comes down to attitude, and the attitude that we talk a lot about is the concept of “wash your own coffee cup”.’

Skill Is One Thing But Attitude Speaks Volumes

Often business owners make the decision on who they should hire based on: who is the best?

CV’s, interview answers, and work experience are often the determining factors in answering that question.

However, it doesn’t capture the attitude of the candidate, which is of critical importance.

One of the biggest decisions for a business owner should be whether the person you are hiring is a good fit for your business.

On paper and in an interview they might be extremely qualified. However, they might walk through the doors on their first day and not connect with what your business is all about: the values, attitudes, beliefs and direction.

Identifying Someone’s Attitude

Trent Innes of Xero says that he tried to find the most low level task, to reveal whether the candidate was organised and would take ownership in all that they do.

‘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.’

It’s worth considering ways that you, as a business owner, can identify someone’s attitude in an interview process.

Perhaps think of some other tricks to include in your interview (or just steal Trent’s coffee idea). This sort of thinking will help you to hire the right type of person for your business.

Hiring a qualified person for your business will fill a role. More than that though, if they have the right attitude, and are a natural fit, they could become a real key asset to your team.

If you want your business to have a positive attitude and an image that draws people in, it will be down to the people within your business to exude that attitude to your customers.


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