Tony Hsieh’s Brilliant Strategy For Hiring Kind People

Tony Hsieh’s Brilliant Strategy For Hiring Kind People

MAX NISEN NOV. 22, 2013, 2:14 PM 9,229 6

With all of the focus on finding technology talent and bridging the skills gap, it’s easy for small business owners to forget the most important thing is hiring good, kind people you enjoy spending time with. A great lesson on how to do that comes from Zappos, which is already well known for the lengths it goes to maintain its focus on customer service and a positive company culture. It even designed its new headquarters in Las Vegas with its culture firmly in mind.In a recent video interview with The Wall Street Journal, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh revealed an awesome technique the company uses to make sure hires aren’t only good cultural fits but also good people. The core philosophy: Even if you make an amazing impression in the interview, if you’re rude to your ride from the airport, you aren’t getting the job.

“A lot of our job candidates are from out of town, and we’ll pick them up from the airport in a Zappos shuttle, give them a tour, and then they’ll spend the rest of the day interviewing,” Hsieh says. “At the end of the day of interviews, the recruiter will circle back to the shuttle driver and ask how he or she was treated. It doesn’t matter how well the day of interviews went, if our shuttle driver wasn’t treated well, then we won’t hire that person.”

To be fair, there’s probably some allowance for jet-lag-related grouchiness and nerves. But there’s never an excuse for being impolite or rude to somebody just because they drive a shuttle.

That’s just one step, according to Hsieh. The company also puts all new employees, regardless of job function, through the same training that call center reps go through. That includes training on the company’s culture, history, philosophy of customer service, and two weeks on the phone taking customer calls.

They can and have fired people during that period, before they’ve started the job they were initially hired for.

“It’s pretty hard to fake your way through that entire four weeks,” Hsieh says.

Particularly for small business owners who likely spend most of their days working directly with employees, it’s doubly important to make sure that they’re working with people who aren’t just pretending to be nice for the interview.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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