The Secret to HubSpot's Hiring Process is a Cup of Water

hubspot interview tactics HubSpot has an unusual technique when it comes to finding the right job candidates. During the hiring process, each department uses its own little trick to see if the candidate is right for the job. For David Cancel, the chief product officer, that trick comes in the form of a cup of water.

When interviewing candidates for engineering jobs at HubSpot, Cancel brings a cup of water. At the end, he leaves the cup on the table to see if the candidate will throw the cup in the garbage. If s/he does, that means that person is a good fit for the team.

"I've tested it over 100 times at this point, and it has always turned out to be pretty accurate for me," Cancel, who began working with HubSpot in 2011 when they acquired his startup Performable, told Fast Company. "The people who didn't go and reach to take the cup were always the people who weren't a great cultural fit."

The point of the tests, which each hiring manager at HubSpot uses in the interview process, is to test the character of candidates, rather than to measure their skills.

Cancel's interview process also includes finding out what the candidates, who are often introverts, are passionate about. He starts each interview by telling the interviewee to talk about anything. Usually, he'll get them talking about something they are passionate about and takes note of their facial expressions. Cancel will then turn the conversation toward work topics while trying to gauge what excites them.

"Beyond trying to figure out their passions, I'm also looking a lot at their interactions--the way that they communicate, little tells," he said.

Others at Performable and HubSpot use similar tactics when looking for the right job candidates. Tom Cattaneo, a HubSpot manager, leaves the door open just a crack to see if candidates will show initiative by walking in, or if they will wait for someone to show them in. He says he prefers to hire people who are assertive. Meghan Keaney Anderson, a director on the product marketing team, likes to ask job candidates what they like to read. Her technique is used to gauge if interviewees enjoy learning and how much of their free time they spend doing so.

After Cancel introduced his interview tactics, the company's employee engagement score (measured by Employee Net Promoter) increased from low/average to high. HubSpot also has an impressive retention rate of 85 percent.

Learn more of HubSpot's interview techniques by heading over to Fast Company.