The Important Lesson Of Thomas Edison Offering Soup During Job Interviews

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Inventor Thomas Edison used soup as an interview tactic when interviewing job candidates as a hiring strategy.

Thomas Edison is known for being an iconic inventor – racking up a record 1,093 patents. However, Edison also had an interesting interviewing tactic that involved soup.

Edison – who was born in 1847 – purportedly had an intriguing job interview tactic involving soup to determine which job applicants should be hired. Edison attempted to weed out job candidates by presenting them with a bowl of soup and seeing how they reacted to it.

Edison provided potential job applicants with a large bowl of soup during an interview. The inventor would also provide a salt and pepper shaker.

According to the speculation, Edison tested job applicants by seeing who added seasoning to the soup before actually tasting the meal.

“Edison liked to be personally involved in choosing staff,” Inc reported. “When new positions opened for research jobs at his labs he was there to give the candidates a thorough vetting. He came to find a favorite method for finding the right people was by offering them a bowl of soup and then watching them eat it.”

Novelist Andrew Martin posted an article on Medium titled: “Why Thomas Edison Required Job Applicants To Eat Soup In Front Of Him.”

“The reason for this soup test was that the famous inventor wanted to see if the applicants added salt and pepper before tasting what was in their bowl, or if they waited until they tasted it before proceeding with the seasoning,” Martin wrote. “Edison immediately rejected the premature seasoners, as he reasoned he didn’t want employees who relied on assumptions. In his opinion, those who were content to abide by preconceived notions had no place in his business, because the absence of curiosity and willingness to ask questions were antithetical to innovation.”

While this procedure sounds rather ridiculous, the interview method provides insight into whether a job applicant has biases. The interview test determines whether an individual has biases that they institute before knowing all of the facts.

“For Edison, the best employees were those whose second nature it was to be consistent with how they approached life,” the Medium post states. “If they showed impatience or a rush to judgment in eating, imagine the damage they could potentially cause with the many projects they would be entrusted to develop and bring to fruition.”

To find well-rounded job candidates, Edison reportedly also asked other random questions such as, “Where do prunes come from?”

The report suggests that even the smallest actions you do during job interviews are integral.

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