Main image of article Zappos Judges Candidates First By Cultural Fit

Acing white board tests and demonstrating rock star skills isn’t enough when it comes to Amazon-owned Zappos. Apparently, the online shoe retailer wants more. And, unfortunately, the more is something that can be hard to deliver – unless you’re willing to undergo a personality transformation. In a speech to last week’s START conference, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh said a candidate’s make-or-break moment comes when HR interviews them solely to figure out whether they’ll be a good cultural fit. After all the traditional interviews about technical skills, experience and fit with other team members, this is the one that really counts. Said Hsieh:

We’ve actually passed on a lot of really smart, talented people that we know can make an immediate impact on our top or bottom line, but if they’re not good for the company culture, we won’t hire them for that reason alone.

Can You Walk Like This?

So what does Zappos consider a cultural fit? The company puts it out there on its website. In its words:

  • Deliver Wow through Service
  • Embrace and Drive Change
  • Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
  • Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded
  • Pursue Growth and Learning
  • Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
  • Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  • Do More with Less
  • Be Passionate and Determined
  • Be Humble

Zappos takes this stuff seriously: How well you adhere to these values can count more than your performance when it comes to keeping your job there.