Employers have devised some ingenious methods for winnowing down their applicant pools. The “would you plug in the printer” common-sense job interview test is an interesting one. It’s not immediately clear to me what the right course of action is. Should you take the initiative to plug in the printer without asking permission, when you don’t know why it was unplugged to begin with (and risk starting an electrical fire)?
I like the soda-can ethics test myself. It goes like this:
You are interviewing a potential employee in your office. On your desk is a stack of applications from other hopefuls, and atop that sits a can of soda. At one point you excuse yourself. “I know I can trust you not to look at anything on my desk,” you say. “Those applications are confidential.”
Will your job applicant lift the soda can to look at the competition? You’ll know soon enough.
Because the soda can has no bottom, and is filled with ball bearings.