A while back, I had a great talk with a mentor who founded her own startup and recently was acquired by Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas.
During our chat, I asked her how she's gone about recruiting the right people to join her small company. After all, the smaller the company, the stronger the applicant needs to be because everyone will have to wear multiple hats. In addition to being incredibly skilled, these candidates will also need to have the right personality to fit in to the culture my mentor is trying to create at her startup. She ended up telling me that she occasionally uses one test to quickly filter out bad matches:
Before the candidate enters the interviewing room, she places a magazine on the ground.
Once the candidate comes in, she studies their reaction. Do they:
1) Ignore the magazine and say nothing
2) Comment on the magazine but do nothing
3) Pick up the magazine
If someone picks up the magazine, it signals a couple good things: they're observant, and they'll get stuff done without being told. If they ignore it or comment but choose not to pick up the magazine, it lets her know that the candidate may not possess the can-do attitude she needs in all of her team members. Ultimately, this is only a small part of the interview, and someone will still need to possess all of the right skills to make him or her qualified for the job. However, this quick test and someone's immediate reaction to this seemingly irrelevant challenge does provide a level of insight that one might not get from a series of questions and prepared answers during an interview.
The important takeaway is that it's the things that we do that best demonstrates whether we are the right people for a job, and in this world, there are many thinkers and talkers but not nearly as many doers. So, next time you see something out of place in an interview, some trash on the ground, or someone struggling to open the door, don't think or talk about doing something. Go DO IT. **Help make someone's life a bit easier, and who knows, maybe it'll lead to a job at an awesome startup.**