Can You Pass the Elevator Test?


By Jack Rosenberger

The next time you need to professionally evaluate someone, ask yourself, “How would I feel about being stuck inside an elevator with this person?”

The elevator test is a quick, thumbs up or thumbs down evaluation method. It can be used as a likeability benchmark for a job candidate, a tool to evaluate a colleague in the workplace, or as a private parlor game when trapped inside a crowded elevator in a midtown Manhattan office building.

The elevator test helps you to define your thoughts and feelings about a person, with the circumstances being physically stuck inside a confined space with a particular individual for an unknown period of time. The elevator test also asks the question of how the aforementioned individual is likely to respond when unexpectedly caught in an inconvenient (and seemingly dangerous) situation. Some people will take charge of the situation and summon help via the elevator’s intercom. Others will stare at the closest elevator wall or scroll through the Instagram feed on their smartphone. And at least one person is likely to start griping and moaning and, yes, griping and moaning about the present situation.

The elevator test doesn’t aim to provide an answer to any of the unanswerable questions of life, but it can help you quickly shape your opinion of a person, and sometimes that’s enough for the moment. 

About the Author

Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via @CIOInsight. You can read his previous CIO Insight blog post, “The CIO’s New Tool: ‘Journey Management,’” by clicking here.