Cole Harper, chief executive of SceneTap, which provides real-time information on the crowds at nightspots in Austin and Chicago, said good people skills are crucial for his employees.
The online start-up takes groups of applicants out to bars to see whether "they get along and play nice in the sandbox or get paranoid and defensive and throw each other under the bus like on 'The Bachelorette,'" Harper said. He said job seekers who spend their time trying to one-up other applicants are usually nixed.
"The last thing you want is for someone to spend their energy trying to prove they're better than someone else," Harper said. "At a small company, if one person fails, it's going to hurt the entire business."
Even candidates for entry-level jobs are facing tougher scrutiny.
Want to sling sprinkles at Pinkberry? The chain requires applicants to brainstorm commercials for its frozen yogurt and then work in teams to devise a marketing plan for a hypothetical product such as a paper cup. Those who make it to the next level have to answer questions such as "If you could invite three leaders to dinner (living or dead), who would you invite and why?"