While most interviews involve formal sit-downs in a boardroom, Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs had a unique take on hiring staff: the “beer test”.
According to as.com, Jobs would ask himself, “Would I have a beer with this person?” and as a result would conduct interviews with an informal walk, which would then lead to eating and drinking a beer with the potential employee.
The aim of having a beer was to see if the colleague was someone who Jobs could ‘get on’ with and form a relationship, which is notoriously tricky in the highly formalised environment of a traditional recruitment process.
Having a beer was also an attempt for Jobs to ‘mix things up’ as well, according to the reports, and get past interviewees potential pre-prepared or planned answers to questions that could be fielded at them.
It is also reported that Jobs would then ask questions such as “What did you do last summer?” and equally casual questions, rather than the more formal, “When was the last time you accomplished something?” in order to get under the skin of an applicant.
The “beer test” wasn’t aimed at getting right or wrong answers, but instead aimed for Jobs to get to know the applicant better and decide if he liked their character and whether they would be good to work with.
It isn’t known if Jobs preferred a lager or an ale, on draught or in a bottle.
Despite the apparent informality of the beer drinking, Jobs always said he was looking for the ‘best talent’ or ‘a-players’ as called them, who would be the highest class of applicant.
So perhaps the next time you are recruiting for the right candidate, the best technique is to go for a bottle of beer – or a glass of wine…