You arrive at a company and are escorted to a room for your interview. The interviewer arrives with a notebook in hand along with a cup of water for you. When you leave the room, what do you do with the cup? Do you put it in the trash? Hmmm... why does it matter? Well, at HubSpot, Chief Product Officer David Cancel uses this simple technique to help assess cultural fit. If a person disposes of the trash, he looks favorably upon them. If he or she leaves the trash behind, he begins to wonder if that individual will fit in an organization that looks for effective and humble team players. For more on Cancel's approach, check out this article at Fast Company by Rebecca Greenfield.
Over the years, Cancel has found that the usual interview questions, as well as a variety of tests or brainteasers, do not always lead to the best hires. Those various interview methodologies simply do not help determine if someone will fit the culture and serve as an effective team player. Instead, small techniques such as the cup/trash test help him develop a better understanding of how people with interact with others in the organization.
Others in the organization have begun to create their own techniques for ascertaining cultural fit. For instance, according to the article, "Meghan Keaney Anderson, a director on the product marketing team, asks people what they like to read and why. She wants to attract people who love to learn and are curious enough to invest their time outside of work in learning."
What's the result of this effort to hire better for cultural fit? Apparently, employee engagement and employee retention have risen since HubSpot began implementing this approach.