It’s not hard to quiz potential employees for skills, such as coding or editing abilities. However, it’s more challenging to decide whether a potential employee will fit well into a business.
When David Cancel performs interviews for prospective engineering job candidates at HubSpot, he provides them with a disposable cup of water during the interview. When the meeting is concluded, Cancel doesn’t throw away the disposable cup. He instead waits in anticipation of observing if the prospective employee discards the disposable cup. If the person does discard it, this candidate is likely an appropriate candidate for employment.
If the person being interviewed leaves the cup and does not discard it, it’s a negative sign indicating that this candidate is likely to not work very well on a team. Cancel insists this method is effective and doesn’t believe it’s a trick because it helps you observe a person’s behavior in real-time. He’s done this more than 100 times, and it’s been a good gauge that hasn’t failed him yet. The individuals that didn’t discard the cup invariably turned out not to be an ideal cultural fit.
Cancel previously relied on classic methods of interviewing prospective employees. He would inquire about a candidate’s background and would ask them to complete games. He claims this wasn’t an effective interviewing strategy. He found that after years of developing teams, this method didn’t create the best teams. He further states that, though he hired great people, the teams failed to interact well with one another. He then embarked upon experimental interview methods, finding that these more qualitative methods were more effective.
His goal is to hire employees with what he refers to as “HEART”. This acronym represents humble, effective, adaptable, remarkable, and transparent. He believes these qualities are the features that cannot truly be quantified from a questionnaire or using a classic quantitative method. Cancel begins by attempting to engage the candidates in discussing any subject, which he believes is a task since he tends to hire typical engineers, which can be pretty introverted. Once a topic has caught the candidate’s fancy, he observes the expression on their face and how their eyes look.
He then segues to subjects related to work and observes when and if the candidate becomes passionate about any topics during this discussion. He is trying to gauge what the candidate is passionate about, but he watches how they interact with others and how they get ideas across. If the candidate shows a keen interest in a subject related to HubSpot, the subject will most likely be a quality fit for the company.
Tom Cattaneo, a manager at Hubspot, leaves his door open a crack to observe whether interview candidates walk into his office or wait to be called to enter. He employs this method because he prefers assertive employees who take the initiative to walk into his office. It exhibits assertive qualities in a candidate.
Michael Redbord, the company’s director of customer support, leaves most of his prospective employee interviews open to questions for so the potential employee. He seeks to hire those who must solve customer issues. Therefore, candidates who only make queries regarding their salary or opportunity for advancement won’t land employment with their company.
Since Mr. Cancel shared his strategies with others at his company, their Employee Net Promoter Score, a quantitative measure of employee engagement, rose from an average or low score to a high score. This is excellent, seeing that it competes with companies such as Facebook and Google.