Earlier this week I was advising some schoolkids on their pitch to a TV company. Last weekend I was directing a group of kids for a show. And in both places, I had the same advice for them:
You are on until it is done
In the case of the show I directed, the group of kids had to act as if they were on stage from the moment the first of their parents arrived. Perfect behaviour, everybody with a job to do, the show has already started. They did it and they were ace.
With the pitching, each group had up to six people all contributing and it’s so hard: once you’ve said your bit and the next person has taken over, you automatically feel relieved that it’s all done. But it isn’t. It is on from the moment you step onto the stage and it is on until the moment you reach the bar. (An age-appropriate bar, obviously.)
I treat interviews the same way. And this week learn the following that makes me glad I do:
When David Cancel interviews potential candidates for engineering jobs at HubSpot, he brings a cup of water into the interview with him. At the end of the meeting, the chief product officer leaves the cup on the table and waits to see what the interviewee does with the garbage. If the person picks up the trash, he is probably a good fit for the job. If he doesn’t, that signals he probably wouldn’t work well on the team.
It might sound like an unfair trick or gimmick, but Cancel insists that it works. “I’ve tested it over 100 times at this point, and it has always turned out to be pretty accurate for me,” Cancel told Fast Company. “The people who didn’t go and reach to take the cup were always the people who weren’t a great cultural fit.” Since starting at HubSpot in 2011 when HubSpot acquired his startup Performable, he has hired more than 100 of the company’s almost 700 employees.
That is the only trick this fella reveals but others in this company-I’ve-never-heard-of-before use and you will quickly glance at the ceiling at some of them. But you’ll also readily understand why they do it and what benefit it gives them. Read the whole piece.