Nashville Company Incorporates Ping-Pong into Job Interviews

ping pongYes, you read that right! The Nashville-based company, TechnologyAdvice, incorporates a friendly game of ping-pong into their hiring process.

And per a piece on Inc., it sounds like it’s not such a bad idea after all. Per their CEO, Rob Bellenfant, this hiring technique has been incorporated to the final step of the job interview.

After all of the interviews have been finished, a company executive asks each candidate if they are willing to play a game of table tennis because the company is participating in a study. Prior to playing, the candidate completes a questionnaire addressing questions like rating their aggressiveness.

Next, the candidate plays three 11-point games against the company’s data strategy director. As each game proceeds, the director ups his own game and makes it more and more challenging for the job candidate.

Are they looking to assess how well they play? Not exactly.

Bellenfant explains in the piece,

“We’re not looking at people’s ability to play but at their approach. Are they open to trying something new if they haven’t played before, or not in a long time? If they win, how do they celebrate? If they lose, do they take it in a difficult way? How seriously do they take it? Do they take it as a joke, or do they put in a lot of effort? As the games get more difficult, do they adapt? Those are the types of things we’re looking at.”

Interestingly enough, games are recorded on video and then the CEO evaluates each one, along with a statistician and psychologist from Vanderbilt, along with the president of the Nashville Table Tennis Club in an effort to make it “as objective as possible.”

After the three games have been finished, candidates complete yet another questionnaire asking them to rate the experience. Bellenfant says this set of questions could reveal self-introspection. If a candidate rates him or herself a seven prior to playing and then after gives a self-rating of three, perhaps they learned from something. And maybe they originally rated him or herself as a three and then a seven — that shows harsh self-judgment.

He adds, “For a position in sales, we’re looking for someone a little more aggressive. For a job in data or research, we want someone who can think things through.”