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Xero boss reveals secret ‘coffee cup’ test and that he won’t hire anyone who fails

Xero Australia managing director Trent Innes says it is a simple tactic to ensure the potential employee fits the Kiwi company's culture.

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Xero Australia managing director Trent Innes. Photo / Supplied
Xero Australia managing director Trent Innes. Photo / Supplied

 

Speaking to The Venture Podcast with Lambros Photios, the local head of the A$8.5 billion ($9b) ASX-listed accounting software firm said he refuses to hire anyone who doesn’t offer to take their coffee cup back to the kitchen after a job interview with him.

Innes said it was a simple tactic to ensure the potential employee fits the Kiwi company’s culture of ownership and showed the most valuable asset of all — a good attitude.

“I’m probably giving away all my dark secrets here now,” Innes said.

“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 — whether it be a glass of water, a coffee, or a cup of tea, or even a soft drink.

“And 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?”

Innes explained how he devised the test.

“What I was trying to find 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 once one day inside Xero, you’ll definitely see the kitchens are almost always clean and sparkling — it’s very much of that concept of wash your coffee cup, and that sort of led into the interview space.

“You really want to make sure that you’ve got people who’ve got a real sense of ownership, and that’s really what I was looking for.

Source: NZ Herald

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