Boss Uses ‘Salt And Pepper Test’ During Interviews To Judge A Person’s Character

One boss has got the internet talking by testing applicants with his all-important 'salt and pepper test'.
Credit: Alamy

One employer has changed the game and got the internet talking by testing applicants with his all-important ‘salt and pepper test’.

When it comes to seeking a new job, many candidates invest a huge amount of time honing in on their CVs and rehearsing potential interview questions.

However, for one employer, what holds greater significance than your credentials and background is how you handle his distinctive ‘salt and pepper’ test.

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Describing their boss’s interview approach on Reddit, an employee said: “At a former workplace, we had full-day interviews with various candidates and one of them was consistently a lunch interview.

“There was a story about a colleague who would make his final judgment based on a single criterion – whether the interviewee tasted their meal before reaching for condiments like salt, pepper, or hot sauce.

“If you didn’t sample your food first, he wouldn’t give you the green light.”

Although they’re not entirely certain about the exact reason their boss placed such emphasis on this test, they assume it must reveal something about an individual’s genuine character—whether they’re open to trying something before passing judgment.

The employee commented: “Glad I didn’t interview with him because I pretty much always add pepper to stuff.”

However, this boss isn’t the sole advocate of evaluating a person based on their demeanour during an interview.

Coffee cup
Some bosses use the ‘coffee cup test’ in job interviews too. Credit: Alamy

Trent Innes, the former boss of Xero Australia, has revealed that he would reject candidates who didn’t pass his ‘coffee cup test’, as he believes it offers deeper insights into a person’s attitude more than any interview question ever could.

In fact, he was committed to this test and anyone who failed it was automatically disqualified from working at his company.

Innes, who departed from Xero Australia in September 2021, previously revealed his clever tactic during an appearance on the business podcast The Venture with entrepreneur Lambros Photios.

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During the podcast episode, he elaborated, saying: “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.

“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’.”

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