What was Steve Jobs’ ‘beer test’ for Apple employees?
The founder of Apple did job interviews on the street: went for a walk with the candidate, took him or her to lunch and had a drink.
The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, considered it extremely important to hire new employees who had the profile he was looking for. Finding a worker who adapts to the company quickly, who works well within a team, who is decisive or creative can be difficult, but Jobs had a method with which he caught the best talent: it was the beer test .
Job interviews are often characterized by their formality and impersonality. On many occasions, the candidate who goes to a job interview has almost memorized the answers that he is going to give, he puts on a ‘mask’ and the conversation with the interviewer turns out to be serious and almost dramatized, scripted. Steve Jobs wanted to break this.
Therefore, every time the founder of Apple considered hiring someone or not, he always asked himself the same thing: “Would I have a beer with this person? Would I talk to him or her in a relaxed way while taking a walk?” And not only did he think it, but he did it. Jobs would meet the candidates to walk around and have a drink together, drop the formalities and chat in that relaxed style with them.
What would Steve Jobs ask at Apple interviews?
Jobs knew that in those kinds of moments people loosen up more and talk about life more honestly. After the walk, the founder of Apple asked them questions like, “What did you do last summer?” or “When was the last time you accomplished something?” to get to know the candidate better. There were no right or wrong answers, but that was where Jobs’ decision to hire them or not came from.
Jobs’ goal was none other than to find the best talent, the most qualified people, the ‘A-Players’, as he called those of the highest class.
“I found that when you get enough A-players together, when you go through the incredible job of finding these A-players, they really like working with each other. Because they’ve never had the chance to do it before,” Jobs explained.
For anyone who’s seen the balance sheet of the late entrepreneur’s company can testify, he had a very good knack of making sensible decisions.