Coffee cup test in job interviews: if you forget this, you won't get the job, says the boss

Written by Henrik Rothen

Sep.04 - 2023 3:00 PM CET

If you forget this, you won't get the job, says the boss.

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It's hard to believe that a single cup of coffee could determine whether you land your dream job or not. However, that's precisely the case at the IT company Xero, where an applicant's reaction to a coffee cup can make or break their chances.

Trent Innes, the CEO of Xero, revealed in the popular business podcast 'The Ventures' that he conducts a small test with all job interview candidates.

"I always take the candidates down to one of our kitchens, where they somehow end up getting something to drink," explains Innes. The key moment comes when they return to continue the conversation: "The last thing I notice is what the person does with the empty cup. Do they take it back to the kitchen?" asks Trent Innes.

While it may seem strange that a conversation that can easily last an hour or more could hinge on such a small detail, Innes believes it makes perfect sense.

"You can develop skills, acquire knowledge and experience, but it all ultimately comes down to your attitude. And the attitude we focus on is 'Wash your coffee cup,'" explains Trent Innes.

Fitting into the company culture

Innes points out that the test is actually about finding someone who fits into Xero's culture.

"It's really about ensuring that the person will truly fit into Xero's culture and do the things that are expected," he adds.

What do you think about this coffe cup test?

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