Kings of Consistency: Zappos’ Organizational Culture

2 min read
Dec 16, 2014

zappos-logo-Would you give trainees $4,000 to leave your company? Zappos does. As a company whose culture is built on 10 core values, Zappos is literally looking for the right fit. Everything Zappos does to hire and train recruits comes down to one thing: maintaining a stellarand consistentorganizational culture.

How Weird Are You?

Just having core values won’t strengthen a company, but having employees that are aligned with them will. During the culture interview, candidates are asked questions that are based off the company’s 10 core values.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?” You won’t get this question in a typical interview. You will at Zappos. This question alludes back to their core value of “create fun and a little weirdness.”

"We really place such a high value on culture that if a candidate demonstrates behaviors out of alignment with our core values, we will stop the process right there," says Mike Bailen, Senior HR Manager. Having these types of interview questions allows Zappos to create a consistent way to measure their candidates.

No ‘I’ In Team

Teams work well together when everyone gets along. During the interview, candidates are taken out to lunch with the team (it’s actually an off-site interview). Zappos looks for someone who naturally blends in with the team, whether in or out of the work environment.

The power to make the final decision doesn’t lie with the hiring manager. Teammates voice their opinions about whether they feel like that person is the right fit. Giving this type of ownership allows employees to create a cohesive team that’s centered around identical core values.

Hold The Phone

Whatever the position, new hires go through the same training: handling customer calls. Putting these employees in direct contact with customers reinforces the idea that customers are the number 1 priority.

At the end of the customer service training, Zappos offers these new hires $4,000 to quit. Why? If an employee isn’t ready to dedicate their work to customers, they’re not the right fit. Preserving their unique culture is so important that Zappos will incent culture-killers to leave.  

Zappos is about consistency. From their hiring process to their training, every employee is given the same treatment that reinforces their 10 core values. Do you want to build a culture as stellar as Zappos’? Then you have to be deliberate and consistent in every single step of the process. Only then will you have a culture worth writing about.


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