The “airport test” (also called the “Pittsburgh airport test") is one tool of employee selection. The interviewer asks himself or herself how it would feel being snowed in at the Pittsburgh airport for nine hours with this person (a job candidate). The name “Pittsburgh Airport Test” has been cited in print since at least 1995.
Some people disagree with the value of the “airport test.” The result of the test is often hiring like-minded people, but this often results in a lack of diversity.
The Harvard Crimson
Corporate Finance Attracts Class of ‘95
Many Seniors Pick Investment Banking
By SUSAN A. CHEN, June 7, 1995
Page 6 of 9
But if students don’t know what recruiters are looking for, Cosentino does.
“During recruiting, two questions are always asked...that a student never gets to hear. The first is the Pittsburgh Airport Test. [The interviewer asks himself] how [it] would feel being snowed in at the Pittsburgh airport for nine hours with this person,” Cosentino says.
“The second question is how [the interviewer] would feel bringing this person in front of a client,” Cosentino says. “The interviewer asks himself does [the candidate] have the poise,articulation and sophistication to persuade a client.”
The New Success Rules for Women:
10 Surefire Strategies for Reaching Your Career Goals
By Susan L. Abrams
Roseville, CA: Prima Pub.
At both Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, the “Pittsburgh airport test” was one tool in employee selection. Specifically, given job capability, would you mind getting stuck in the Pittsburgh airport with the person in question?
The Ten Career Commandments
By Rob Yeung
Oxford: How To Books
Once you’ve met them all, try the ‘airport test’. How would you feel about being stranded with your prospective colleagues at an airport for 24 hours?
The Rules of Job Hunting
By Rob Yeung
I’ve heard interviewers call it the Pittsburgh Airport Test. Projecting themselves into the future, the interviewers would imagine working on a project with you. Suppose that their connecting flight has been cancelled and that they have 24 hours alone with you until the next flight. Unfortunately, you’re stuck at - you guessed it - Pittsburgh Airport. And I bet you can’t name three interesting things to do at Pittsburgh Airport. So if they were stuck with you, would they be able to chat happily and kill the time?
The Airport Test: The Interview Assessment You Didn’t Know You Were Getting
BY MEREDITH PEPIN 10/5/14 AT 10:46 AM
I first learned about the “airport test” from a hiring manager during an informational interview.
What’s the airport test, you ask? Well, in addition to candidates having the qualifications and technical skills to do the job, the manager asked herself after each interview: “Would I want to be stuck in an airport with this person?”
A Googler explains why the ‘Airport Test’ is actually bad for hiring
SATYAJEET SALGAR, CONTRIBUTOR
MAR. 24, 2015, 10:46 AM
In this post, Google product manager Satyajeet Salgar explores the validity of the “Airport Test,” a famous hiring technique that Google cofounder Sergey Brin used back in the company’s early days, according to Ken Auletta’s book “Googled.”
I first heard about the Airport Test in the while in business school - mainly around interviews for consulting firms and investment banks - where we were told repeatedly that interviewers would be looking for people that could pass this test. After all the argument went, in these professions there was a very real chance you’d be stuck at the airport with this person and it really was a good way to gauge a person’s “fit” with the company. I thought, even then, that the airport test was symptomatic of everything that was wrong with interview processes, and some of these companies.