Don't Bomb This People Skills Test

Have You Bombed This People Skills Test?

Paul Pierotti, a Managing Director at Accenture Digital, recently implemented a quick, smart check on the people skills (aka soft skills) of a group of employment candidates.

He posted a note on LinkedIn that said:

“For the ten graduate applicants I am interviewing this week, the easy code is pineapple. Let’s see how many of you look at my profile before the interview.”

People Left Negative Comments

Many of Paul’s viewers disliked his approach:

  • Low on profile views, huh?
  • I find your post a little out of line.
  • People research companies, not the people who work there.
  • Utterly ludicrous.

People Left Positive Comments

Other viewers supported Paul:

  • I believe they call it due diligence.
  • It’s good practice.
  • It should be an automatic fail if they don’t have it [the easy code].
  • This is a clever due diligence test. This is excellent!
  • How many people have I interviewed that couldn’t be bothered to spend 20 seconds on personal research?

People Left Comments Helpful to Job Seekers

  • I do believe you should research the person you are meeting in a business situation.
  • There’s nothing more powerful in an interview than being prepared.
  • Knowing the easy code would certainly color an interviewer’s opinion of the candidate.
  • A quick way to eliminate those who haven’t shown interest.
  • I will be stealing the idea one day in the near future.

Paul’s Results

Fast forward to the interviews:

Over 70% of the candidates referenced pineapple in their interview with Paul. They had prepared! While Paul hasn’t said who made it to the next round, I wouldn’t want to be one of the people who didn’t look at his profile.

What Does Paul’s People Skills Test Mean for Your Job Search?

  1. Connect on LinkedIn with people who are going to interview you. Send them a simple note like this:


I’m looking forward to meeting with you next week and would like to know more about you. I hope you’ll accept my invitation to connect here on LinkedIn.

Thank you,


  1. Read your interviewer’s profile.

Many commenters suggested going incognito. I disagree. Let your interviewer know you’re interested enough in him/her to do the obvious research.

To work for Accenture, Paul wants to know you have enough on the ball to learn a bit about him, and by extrapolation, a new or prospective client, before a first meeting.

  1. Check your interviewer’s LinkedIn activity.

Click the down arrow beside the “Follow” tab and then click “View Recent Activity.” This is where you’ll learn more about what really matters to your interviewer – and where you would have found Paul’s post.

Look at a few of Accenture’s 2016 accolades:

#29, The World’s Top 50 Most Attractive Employers, Universum
#36, World’s Most Admired Companies, Fortune
#37, Best Global Brands, Interbrand

The company didn’t reach those levels of esteem by hiring people who lack the soft skills to form connections with clients and colleagues.

  1. Check your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile contact information.

Paul’s LinkedIn profile shows he has a Twitter account. (BTW: It’s good to upgrade your Twitter game when you’re looking for a job.)

Check his feed. It’s packed with information about his business interests and personal passions – potential icebreakers for those first awkward moments of an interview.

  1. Don’t forget to research the company too!

While it’s not enough, it’s also a competitive requirement. You’ll find some quick tips here.

As Paul said in the comments to his LinkedIn post, “Hopefully they [the candidates] have researched both.”

Can You Prove Your People Skills in an Interview Process?

The comments on Paul’s post showed naysayers and fans for his approach.

Now that you know you might get tested on your relationship building skills during an interview, who do you want to be? The naysayer or the winner?

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Image: Canva
Updated May 2019

© 2016 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 2

  1. This borders on ignorance — possible even discrimination –basing worthiness on whether or not someone is a LinkedIn user, and seems a poor attempt to seem clever. I might have found that understandable if this had been for a job with LinkedIn. And I say this as someone who does look at interviewer/candidate prolifes on LinkedIn.

    What if he had tried the stunt on Twitter or Instagram? Does that mean people who don’t use those aren’t qualified? Unless, of course the job was intrinsically connected to being an expert in those tools.

    There are other ways to find out about a person. One could learn more about an interviewer through articles published about their activities, which will often include direct quotes and views that are not on thier LinkedIn profiles. Personally I would be much more impressed by a candidate who mentions/asks about substantial facts rather than a silly password, or what my dog ate yesterday. Actually I would be a bit creeped out by the latter.

    I have encountered many candidates and colleagues who coasted into positions if higher responsibility based on similar flash tactics, and were terribly unqualified. In the end, they cost the group a huge amount of wasted time and money.

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