Man uses 'wobbly chair test' during job interviews – then ditches those who fail

Nervous young Asian job applicant wait for recruiters question during interview in office
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When it comes to job interviews, candidates often spend hours preparing for the expected questions.

However, even the most well-prepared applicant can be caught off-guard by a question designed to reveal their true character. This is what reportedly happens at the ROTC Nuclear Power School, where interviewers deliberately challenge their candidates.

A man shared: "My brother was in ROTC in college, and he told me this story. An applicant for ROTC Nuclear Power school would sit the chair in front of the desk of the interviewing officer during the interview.

"There was a second/similar chair in the room available for the applicant off to the side. The chair in front of the desk for the applicant had one leg of chair cut shorter so the person sitting in the chair would wobble during the interview.

"The successful test was to see if the applicant would be bold enough to stop the interview for a moment to request to exchange his chair, for second/other chair - so they did not wobble."

Following recent discussions, Trent Innes, a prominent business manager, reveals how he utilises a 'coffee cup test' to assess job applicants. According to Trent, he wouldn't hire anyone who doesn't pass his 'coffee cup test'.

This simple test, he believes, can provide more insights into an individual's character than any interview question could.

Trent previously served at Xero Australia but resigned in September 2021. He first mentioned this unique approach on a business podcast, The Venture, with entrepreneur Lambros Photios in 2019, where he explained: "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."

He continued: "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? You can develop skills, you can gain knowledge and experience but it really does come down to attitude, and the attitude that we talk a lot about is the concept of 'wash your coffee cup'."

He swears by this method, noting their office kitchens are consistently spotless. He elaborated: "If you come into the office one day inside Xero, you'll see the kitchens are almost always clean and sparkling and it's very much of that concept of wash your coffee cup. It's really just making sure that they're actually going to fit into the culture inside Xero, and really take on everything that they should be doing."