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Zappos Uses a Car Service to Spy on Job Candidates

Photo: Zappos/Facebook

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Not just anyone can be a part of the web's largest shoe retailer, apparently, and the company has a very interesting way of weeding out people who are Not Zappos Material. Business Insider reports that the company would use shuttle drivers who were taking prospective candidates to and from interviews to find out how they conducted themselves when they thought no one was watching.

While of course not everyone would be scrutinized in this way, if interviewees were flying out to interview at the Vegas headquarters, the company would arrange for a van to pick them up. "Zappos wants employees who treat all coworkers with respect," the book Rocket, written by Michael J. Silverstein, Dylan Bolden, Rune Jacobsen, and Rohan Sajdeh, details.

That's not the only unusual hiring practice Zappos engages in, either. The company also stopped using traditional job postings to solicit candidates and instead started asking applicants to get involved in the company by becoming "insiders." These insiders are assigned an ambassador who vets the candidate through a video cover letter and online chats. Eventually, insiders are directed to more specialized areas to interview for specific positions.

Even after being hired, the strangeness doesn't end. New employees are given four weeks of orientation — which they must arrive on-time at 7am for or be fired — and work one week. After this period, Zappos offers the new members of its company payment for time worked plus a $2,000 bonus if they decide they don't fit in with the company and want out. It's an offer that 2 to 3% percent of people actually take.

The unorthodox interview structure is nothing new for Zappos, which eliminated job titles and bosses completely earlier this year while instituting a "holacracy." The company also fires new employees on the spot if they are late to their 7am orientation meeting.