Part of my dark past came to my memory, which goes back in time a little bit further than my 20 years related to IT, 8 focused on organisational disruption. It was autumn 1994 and I was working as a sales representative for a food company when I was offered to work for Häagen-Dazs as a reinforcement of their winter campaign.
Winter, really!? Häagen-Dazs was innovative in its market breaking the seasonal barrier that until then existed in the ice cream market, reserved per se to summer time and young customers, but that’s another story …
The fact is, i was called to my first and only interview by the Sales Director in person in one of the establishments the brand had in Barcelona. No intermediary and no grey meeting room. Once introductions were made, and without going into too much detail about previous profesional experience or job description, she asked one of the waiters to bring us one scoop of ice cream of each flavour.
I couldn’t be more annoyed and confused, dressed up for the interview with my best suit and tie in front of a tray full of ice cream tubs. More than 15! I didn’t know what that woman intended, the only clear thing was that the fact of having memorised my (brief) resume wouldn’t help me at all.
– Do you want to try our ice creams?
– Which one do you like the most?
– The one with Macadamia nuts, no doubt.
– Try this – she said bringing me the chocolate scoop – and tell me what do you think.
Sh*t! Precisely the chocolate one? I don’t like chocolate that much but when I tasted it was incredible. I just remember I dropped a “F*ck, that’s good!” and stared at her kind of apologising for my word.
– Why what?
– Yes, I would like you to explain to me why you liked it.
– I don’t know, I guess I didn’t expect that taste.
Our conversation continued for a long time and I tasted each and every one of the flavours, sharing with her my impressions and preferences. When I finished I had a great time but I still didn’t know very well what kind of test that was.
– Thanks for your time, Marc. From my side everything is clear. Do you have any question?
– Well, I suppose I am really surprised of this type of ‘interview’ you gave me so I’d like to know if I fit into the profile you are looking for.
She smiled at me and said:
– It’s easy, we are just looking for people who love ice creams.
I could not help but smile while saying goodbye to her, waiting to be called to confirm that I would work with them, and that’s how it was.
At that moment I thought that had been a nonsense meeting that would serve as a good anecdote when I was partying with my friends. Now, in the distance, I can see clearly how clever that director was, who wanted to build a team formed by passionate people.
And you, what kind of people are you hiring in your teams?
Bonus tip: If you wanna copy a company, copy Zappos not Google or Spotity!