The legendary founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was always known for his unconventional way of working and building his brand. In recent reports that have surfaced, Jobs was known to conduct something referred to as the "Beer Test" during his interviews. Naturally, we were extremely interested in learning more about how he leveraged the greatest beverage in the world to build some of the biggest technological advances in modern day.
The stressful interview environment
Typically an interview room can be a stuffy, corporate environment where hiring managers ask scripted questions and get prepared answers from their candidates. If you have been on a lot of job interviews over the years, you know how stressful and robotic these social scenarios play out. You don't want to say anything that might make you seem like a negative or lazy person so often times people tend to inflate their experiences.
Steve Jobs didn't want scripted interview answers
Jobs wanted to break down the walls of the conventional interview by simply asking himself, "Would I go out and get a beer with this person?" It was a way to trust his gut about a person and leverage his high emotional intelligence to make a decision on a future hire. Sometimes he would actually take people out for a meal just to have a natural conversation with them in a more social setting. He would use other tactics like get the person up and take a walk with them around their facility or outside around the Apple campus. He understood that a one-hour interview asking about their strengths and weaknesses simply wouldn't allow him to get to know them on a personal level. That's why he asked a broad range of questions from their last accomplishment to what they did last weekend. He probably would have played a round of Beer Can Fishing with them if it was invented back then.
Be careful building your culture and skillsets
Culture is extremely important to an organization's success and allowed Apple to have many of the world's most innovative products come through their doors over the years. However, the reports warn this gut-instinct approach to hiring can have its downsides in the long run if you solely rely on the fact that you could see yourself being friends with the candidate. It can be referred to as unconscious bias and can lead to hiring too many like-minded people within the same organization. Today, Apple publicly reports their workforce diversity in order to stay on top of this and to establish a more inclusive workforce.
You probably don't need interview advice from a drinking game, but the next time you are looking for a job you might want to take a more personalized approach and ensure the interview team wants to cheers with you at the end of a hard day.