Commenting on the post, other Reddit users stated that they had also experienced similar tests. For example, one stated that they were hired after they helped the caretaker by holding the door open, which the receptionist had witnessed. The user continued: “The receptionist said, ‘that's so nice of you’. I said it was just decency, but apparently, she was in the hiring manager's ear later that day.”
In addition, HR Grapevine’s sister site Executive Grapevine reported last year on another test which was handed out by Trent Innes, who heads up an Australian accounting software firm. He shared that he uses one particular technique in order to judge whether a candidate will be a good hire or not.
It involves a coffee cup, and whether the candidate in question offers to take the empty cup back to the kitchen once the interview has finished. Innes said: “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?”
Are interview tests fair?
Another user raised the query that nerves can sometimes get the better of candidates, which may cause someone to blank an individual. The person wrote: “My only ? About this is I have horrible anxiety and struggle to focus on stuff other than the actual process so I'm sure I've blanked on responding to a receptionist.”
This prompts the question as to whether tests like these are fair in the first place. Managing Director at Ambitions Personnel, a recruitment specialist, Mandy Watson, believes that assessing someone’s manners and politeness in an interview is “not really an effective test”. She also agrees with the comment mentioned above that nerves could get the better of some candidates.
Watson continued: “As rude as this candidate might have seemed, it also needs to be taken into account that nerves can be frayed and personalities may not shine through until a candidate feels they are being assessed. The perceived rudeness may well come from a place of anxiety on the candidate's part and therefore is not necessarily the best measure of someone.”
She advised instead to “take this initial 'test' into consideration and still go ahead with a thorough interview”.
The recruitment expert also added that hiring managers should try and consider the phrase to never judge a book by its cover. “By all means the receptionist should be treated with respect, but a response like this might mean you are letting an otherwise suitable candidate go. Employers need to assess a team fit and this is a powerful initial indicator, but to have it as the first hurdle seems needlessly wasteful,” she concluded.
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