Recruiter Spotlight: Rockne, This Week on @InsideZappos

Picture this. You enter a room full of mismatched colored tiles.  At the end of the hallway, there’s a door. Discovering it’s locked, you decide to turn back around.  But wait! The original door you came from now has a music activated lock? OMG, this place is weird. After playing the password song, the original door opens to a jaw-dropping scene. Everything in this new room is made of sweet treats and sugary delights. Oversized gummy bears and caramel-covered apples hang from trees. Mushrooms covered with whipped cream. Twizzler candies coiled up in fern-like shapes and sizes. Chocolate milk waterfalls adorn the background. This can’t be real… or can it?

To be completely honest, I’ve never come across a place like this unless I’m glued to my TV, watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In reality, there wouldn’t be such a place. It would attract ants and other bugs. The sugar would probably crystalize over time or just dry out. The realist in me has come to terms that this would probably never happen, yet the feelings I get when I think of such an idea are the same feelings I get here at Zappos.

From the unparalleled focus on customer service and satisfaction, to the opportunities that this company provides to every employee, and not to mention the free happy hours, I constantly question this company’s legitimacy.  Can this be real? Well, in this case, yes it can!

@InsideZappos, @Zappos, inside zappos,zappos core values, zappos culture, zappos employees,Zappos Family,Zappos Recruiters,Zappos Recruiting, Zappos Merchandising, Zappos on Twitter, #InsideZappos, Zappos careers, For five years now, I’ve been part of this amazingly quirky and passionate company.  I’ve been fortunate with many growth opportunities, from customer service to new hire training and now recruiting. Through it all, I’ve realized one thing: When it comes to this company and where you want to go, literally the sky’s the limit.  Each day brings a bountiful amount of challenges, opportunities and rewards. So much so, that you constantly find yourself editing your professional and personal roadmap. Just like the dead end hallway in Willy Wonka, you sometimes realize that a path you may have taken might not be the right one for you and that’s alright. Zappos supports your mistakes and encourages you to turn around and try a different path.

When you find that right one however, you’re not welcomed with gummy bear trees or chocolate waterfalls or even Twizzlers.  Even better, you’re welcomed with the opportunity to love the job you’re doing. Don’t worry though, I promise there’s still chocolate here! Above all, this company makes you realize that the experiences you encounter here will only bring out your very best potential.

Speaking of Willy Wonka, wasn’t that a crazy character?!  So much quirkiness, so much pizazz.  In a strong way, I can definitely identify with him. Seven years ago, I took the chance and moved from Hawaii to Las Vegas to create my vision of who I wanted to become. My eclectic taste in reality shows, music and Spam very much mirrors Wonka’s diverse outlook in life. It’s almost like I’m the quirky carbon copy of Willy Wonka himself. There is one thing, however, that I can’t agree with: that hideous top hat! LOL.

With that being said, I’m super excited to announce that I have the amazing privilege of representing @InsideZappos this week! My job is to share the wacky, the zany and the sometime whimsical environment known as Zappos.com! I promise I’ll try to include my crazy personal antics as well! It’s time to take that leap, open that door and see what #InsideZappos is all about.

First things first! Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Thursday 4/17 at 10am PT / 1pm ET for our next  #InsideZappos Twitter chat, hosted by yours truly, Rockne Henriques @Rockne808 , the Merchandising Recruiter for Zappos and Tyrone Holokai @tyroneholokai, one of our future Fashion Footwear Buyers. We’ll be sharing our Zappos journeys with the world and answering all of your questions.

The best part? We will be joined by all of our recruiters at @InsideZappos. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it! See you there!

Recruiter Spotlight: Kyle, This Week's @InsideZappos Social VIP

What an amazing time it is to be @InsideZappos! First we’re in a blender, now we’re saving lives - What?!! Just kidding. All “Internship” movie quotes aside, we’re super excited to carry on our recruiting visibility efforts, leveraging social media to make the stereotypical mundane hiring process a more personable one. As we scale, our goal is to not only protect the Zappos culture, but root our talent brand by focusing on what’s most important - candidate experience!

@InsideZappos, Inside Zappos, Zappos Recruiting, @ZapposCoach, Zappos Recruiters, Zappos Core Values, Zappos Culture, Zappos Employees, My name is Kyle, and I’m a technical talent sourcer here at Zappos.com, Inc. I proactively scour the globe for the most technically capable and culturally sound candidates who will contribute to the Zappos vision. June will mark my 2 year anniversary with the Zappos family and I couldn’t be happier! I am thankful for the support of the good people here who have encouraged me to take risks. Big shoutout to Augusta Scott, our very own @zapposcoach. She helps change lives for the better.

My journey to Zappos began back in December 2011 when I filmed my first and only video cover letter. (Enjoy!) A Zappos recruiter reached out after my 3rd time applying for various merchandising assistant roles. Like many, I assumed merchandising is where everyone starts, Zappos being an e-commerce site selling shoes, clothing and all. My recruiter was patient enough to let me know that most folks start in the call center, learn the company, and then apply to positions they’re passionate about. I was wowed away by that! Most of the other companies I applied to at the time didn’t even bother to let me know they filled the position already. Being my first encounter with a Zapponian, that’s when two things were confirmed for me: (1) Zappos is a special place with people who care & (2) I wanted to pay that kindness forward and WOW potential candidates like she did.

Fast forward to June 2012, I took that advice, applied for the call center role, and was selected to join the Customer Loyalty Team on the phones. After a year of “wowing” customers via phone and live chat, I decided to “pursue growth and learning.” (One of Zappos' ten core values.) I applied for the internal Sourcing Z’Apprentice role with recruiting and got it! I even emailed my original recruiter to let her know that I would not be here if it weren’t for her support during my journeys’ infancy. After three months of rocking the Z’Apprenticeship, recruiting converted me to full time status, and now I live my dream job every day! I get to find and engage talent for one of the best brands in the world. I am so humbled by my Zappos expedition thus far and can’t wait to see what the next chapter in this developing story will bring! 

Last week was an incredibly successful maiden voyage for @InsideZappos new Social VIP program because Christina Bates (@CBates9) let her boundless energy and enthusiasm shine through her tweets. Thanks Christina. Let’s keep this party going! This week, I'll be the voice behind the tweets @InsideZappos, sharing the quirky fun shenanigans occurring every day in the kingdom of Zapponia (work gets done too, promise!).

Check us out this Thursday 4/10 at 10am PT / 1pm ET for the second Zappos tweet chat, hosted by myself @kylenathaniel and Dave Stevens @byterange, the Mobile Web Manager for Zappos Tech. There will be many other Zapponians on the Twitter chat as well, fielding questions and sharing insights on the cultural climate #InsideZappos. Hope you can join us!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We welcome everyone (Zappos employees – current or future!) to join our #InsideZappos Twitter chat this Thursday April 10th at 10am PT / 1pm ET at http://tweetchat.com/room/InsideZappos. Mark your calendars now!
 
Q1: What’s your current role at @Zappos and how long have you worked here?

Q2: What's the BEST part about working @InsideZappos?

Q3: What your FAVORITE @Zappos perk / benefit?

Q4: What's the COOLEST thing you've ever purchased on @Zappos or @Shop6pm?

Q5: What makes @Zappos the MOST UNIQUE company culture you're worked for?

Q6: If I could describe @Zappos in one word, what would it be?

View 485775591's profile

Zapponian Spotlight: Stephanie H.

At Zappos, we like to make sure that Customer Loyalty Team has someone they can turn to if they need some additional information. This is called the Resource Department. We also like to make sure the Resource Department (“RDesk” for short) has someone they can turn to if they need additional information. This role is called the quartermaster. They are like the Resource Department’s resource department! They have even more Inception-like qualities.

One such quartermaster is the indefatigable Stephanie H. The H stands for “hunka burnin’ love”. Ok, that’s not actually true. The H is a closely guarded Zappos secret. I sat down with Stephanie to see what other secrets she might have…

create fun and a little weirdness, zapponian spotlight, zapponians, zappos core values, zappos culture, zappos employees, zappos hq

First question is a challenge. If you answer it, you receive one point. Then at the end of the interview, we’ll see who has the most points.

SH: Wait, so I’m competing against you, and you know the answers to everything? 

No, I don’t know the answers to everything. If you feel like you have any challenges you wish to issue during the interview, you are free to do so. You should know that gives me opportunities to pass you in point. Ok, are you ready?

SH: Yes.

Ok, that is one point for you since you got that one right. Now for question two. Can you describe for me what quartermasters do. But your answer must be an acrostic that spells the word “pirate”!

SH: Ok, so P- I help “please” the team. If they have questions, I help answer them. Or if they need anything like tissues because their nose is running --

Or they’re crying.

SH: Or they’re crying. I‘m there to wipe their tears. And their nose. Ok, the letter I. Can I just make the “I” me? I’m quartermaster so “I”. R is “run around and dance”. A is --

(At this point, a Zappos Insights tour group from Taiwan joins us in the UFO meeting room…)

SH: A for “all kinds of stuff”. T for “telephone”, I answer that. E for “excitement”…

(the Taiwanese tour group applauds here)

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and why?

 

SH: Whether I’m hungry or not, because my answers will have a lot to do with whether I’m hungry or not--or grumpy. But if I’ve had food, I’m a happier person.

Wow. If you ever get interviewed again, I hope someone asks you that question.

Anyway, next question. So, you notice there’s this pad and pen in front of you. To a layman, it might seem more logical for the pad to be in front of me. But I assure you this is not an error. For your next question, you must explain what Zappos culture means to you. But while you answer, you must close your eyes and draw a rabbit.

SH: Umm, ok.  [draws bunny] To me, the Zappos culture means that I can go to work, and I can have a fun time. I still get my work done, but I can dance around in between calls, and I can sing and express myself. 

Keep answering until the bunny is done! You ran out of answer before you ran out of bunny!

SH: Is that cheating? Oh no! And yeah that’s it!

Stephanie puts the pen down. I hold up the drawing of the bunny.

create fun and a little weirdness, zapponian spotlight, zapponians, zappos core values, zappos culture, zappos employees, zappos hq

Stephanie's rabbit & a real rabbit for reference.

The tour group “oohs” and “ahhs”.

If you could be any kind of shoe, what would you be?

SH: I would be an Alexander McQueen heel because I can’t afford one.

That is the end! Thanks so much Stephanie for taking the time to do this Zapponian Spotlight interview!

Oh, and those tourists? Some say that they are still in the Zappos UFO to this very day, whispering things that you can’t understand. ‘Til next time!

View 41747885's profile

Content Has No Limits!

Content’s fall 2013 Olympics last week at the beautiful Springs Preserve.  Following tradition, the department was divided into six teams distinguished by color.  Each team came up with their name and was encouraged to show team spirit by representing their color.  Competing this year were The Hornets, Chicks with Tricks, Blue Steel, Purple Haze, Orange is the New Black, and The Lone Pink Rangers.

build team and family spirit, Minute-to-Win-It, Springs Preserve Las Vegas, zappos content team, zappos core values, zappos culture, zappos employees

The fun-filled event started off with four Minute-to-Win-It games: Suck It Up, Cookie Face, Speed Eraser, and the hilarious Junk in the Trunk.  The latter involved contestants shaking ping pong balls out of empty tissue boxes that were tied around their rears.  Up next was an intense round of trivia with questions from five different categories.  Isn’t it funny how people are always convinced that their buzzers don’t work?  The competition wrapped up with a photo scavenger hunt.  Teams were given clues to various attractions throughout the Springs Preserve and a time limit to find as many of those as possible. 

build team and family spirit, Minute-to-Win-It, Springs Preserve Las Vegas, zappos content team, zappos core values, zappos culture, zappos employees

The day wound down with socializing over a delicious catered meal, including sandwiches & wraps, pasta salad, potato salad, chips, cookies, and assorted beverages.  Small prizes were awarded for Best Team Name (Blue Steel) and Best Use of Team Color (Chicks with Tricks).  Fabulous prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place overall winning teams at Content’s next department meeting October 1st.  Until then, the judges are keeping those scores under wraps.  Although, they may or may not be accepting bribes…

View 41747885's profile

Content Does it Again!

The Content department decided to bring back its long-lost tradition of “Picnic Olympics” this year on Tuesday, April 9th.  What a windy day it turned out to be!  At least I didn’t get slapped in the face by a flying hamburger again this year! 

The fun-filled shindig took place at Pecos Legacy Park, where everyone donned their Content t-shirts and creatively decorated themselves in their team colors.

While Dickey’s BBQ set up the catered spread of beef brisket, pulled pork, potato salad, baked beans and other picnic favorites, six teams feverishly scoured the park for scavenger hunt clues.  There was no actual hidden temple, but it was Team 1, the Purple Parrots, who claimed victory in this event. 

zappos IP inc., Zappos Content Team, Zappos Content Department, team building, Zappos Core Values, Zappos fun, Zappos employees, Zappos picnics, Zappos Content Picnic, build a positive team and family spirit

With bellies too full for any intense physical activity, the next round of competition involved five Minute to Win It-inspired games.  This fast-paced event really had everyone cheering each other on!  From fishing pennies out of pantyhose to stacking dice on Popsicle sticks, the hidden talents of some Content members became all too apparent.  Team 3, Vitamin C-ya, pulled ahead of all others in this round.

Department, team building, Zappos Core Values, Zappos fun, Zappos employees, Zappos picnics, Zappos Content Picnic, build a positive team and family spirit

No one was safe from humiliation during the final round of competition!  Teams battled it out in several relay race games, which included jumping rope, running like a chicken, hopping like a frog, and more.  Team 4, Cruel and Unusual Content Chaos (AKA: Your Worst Nightmare), took first place.

zappos IP inc., Zappos Content Team, Zappos Content Department, team building, Zappos Core Values, Zappos fun, Zappos employees, Zappos picnics, Zappos Content Picnic, build a positive team and family spirit

As you can see, team and family spirit was in full swing at the Spring 2013 Content Picnic Olympics.  Some great prizes were awarded not just to the overall winning teams of the games, but also to these honorable mentions:  Team 5, Green Eggs and BAM!, for best team name and Team 2, Pinky and the Brains, for best use of team color.  A great time was had by all, and hopefully history will repeat itself at Content’s next Picnic Olympics this fall!

America's Happiest Employee

When I wrote this article I hadn’t noticed that the employee I featured, Roz Searcy at Zappos, had a Twitter handle.  I just read her Twitter profile.  The first sentence reads, “7+ years for the greatest company in the world!” Is there any doubt she is the happiest employee in America?

Zappos Culture, Zappos Tours, Downtown Project, Carmine Gallo, Zappos Las Vegas HQ, Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Zappos Core Values, create fun and a little weirdness, “You name it. I make it happen.” That’s what Rosalind (Roz) Searcy said when I asked her what she did for her employer, Zappos.com. I’ve met thousands of employees. I speak at their companies, conferences, or interview them for my columns and books. Most employees like their jobs and they’re grateful to have a job at a time when millions of people do not. In rare cases I meet employees like Roz, who are passionate, happy, enthusiastic, and inspired day after day and year after year. In my opinion Roz Searcy is America’s happiest employee.

I met Roz two years ago when I visited Las Vegas and requested a tour of Zappos.com headquarters in Henderson, Nevada. Zappos.com is consistently rated as one of the best places to work in the country and has built a reputation as the gold standard in customer service. I wanted to learn why so I could share the lessons with my readers. Roz showed up in a shuttle to pick me up from my hotel on the Vegas strip. I was the only one on the shuttle and Roz had no idea that I was writing a book. I soon learned that Roz picked up anyone who wanted to visit Zappos—vendors, journalists or customers.

“Why did you pick me up? I could have taken a cab,” I said. “Don’t be silly. We treat our customers like family,” Roz responded. “If you had a family member in town, wouldn’t you pick them up from the airport or hotel?” I thought Roz was the happiest shuttle bus driver I had ever seen. It’s what happened next that really surprised  me. Roz parked the shuttle, walked inside the building, and took her position behind the front desk. Roz was the receptionist, yet she gladly volunteers to pick up guests as well. “From the first day I walked in the door [February 22, 2005] I knew it was the place I was going to work for the rest of my life,” Roz told me.

Two years later, December 2012, Roz is still working at Zappos, happier and more passionate than ever.  One of her colleagues told me, “I’ve never seen Roz in a bad mood. As a matter of fact, the day I came to Zappos for my first interview, Roz was in her previous role as the front desk receptionist and she not only made me feel welcome, she made me feel like I was the most important visitor to the office that day—which I can guarantee you I wasn’t.”

Zappos.com is an independently run subsidiary of Amazon with nearly 1,300 employees. In September 2013, Zappos will relocate to its new headquarters in downtown Las Vegas. Roz has a new role that fits her perfectly—as a member of the downtown community team her primary function is to get to know every business owner downtown and to build relationships between Zappos and those businesses.

Here are five reasons why Zappos inspires Roz and hundreds of happy employees. 

Hire for cultural fit. Everyone I met at Zappos had a friendly, outgoing personality. From Roz to my tour guide, everyone exuded passion and enthusiasm (see the video below that I recorded with my smartphone).

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh told me that the company hires for cultural fit. For example, one of Zappos’ core values is to “create fun and a little weirdness.” Zappos managers ask potential employees, “On a scale of one to ten, how weird are you?” The number is not as important as how people react to it. Zappos looks for people who have fun, have passion and personality, and are committed to customer service.

“At Zappos, I’m allowed to be myself,” Roz told me. “I have a strong, bubbly personality. Zappos supports me and encourages me to be me all the time. At the company I worked at before, I couldn’t be as open and personable as I am today. At Zappos I stay at a level nine or ten all day long!”

Commit to transparency. Zappos shares everything with employees, partners, and vendors—the good and the bad. True partners don’t mask results and Zappos goes the extra mile to demonstrate transparency. Daily briefings and call statistics are posted on a whiteboard for everyone to see—employees and guests. Even its all-hands company meetings are publicly available. Here’s a link to the company meeting held in November 2012. If you have three hours, you can watch everything they discussed. It’s all there.

Everything is transparent at Zappos, even the CEO’s condo. Roz told me that as part of her new tour, she takes people to Tony Hsieh’s condo to see the view of downtown. The next time you think you’re a “transparent leader,” ask yourself if you’re willing to open up your home to anyone who asks for a free tour. Hsieh walks the walk.

Help employees grow. When I met Roz two years ago, she was a receptionist. Today she is building relationships as part of the company’s move to its new headquarters. Everyone is given the opportunity to grow at Zappos.com. I even met a “goal coach” whose job was to help employees meet their personal goals. “What does that have to do with selling shoes online?” I asked. “It has everything to do with Zappos,” the coach said. The formula is remarkably simple. If leaders help people achieve their dreams, it makes them happy. Happy employees offer better service.

Empower staff to do what’s right. Customers who call Zappos.com to order shoes or clothes will not feel pressured to get off the phone. There are no scripts or time limits for call-center employees. Hsieh once told me that an employee had spent a couple of hours on the phone with a customer. Hsieh did not ask the employee why she spent so much time with one person. Instead he asked, “Was the customer happy?” Brands that have best-in-class customer service empower their employees to do what’s in the best interest of the customer. Zappos.com views its call center employees as an extension of its marketing arm. Every unscripted conversation can help earn customer loyalty. Employees can even write personal thank you notes after a call. These simple notes make yet another emotional connection with Zappos customers.

Deliver happiness, not products. When I asked Tony Hsieh to describe Zappos.com he didn’t say “We sell shoes online.” Instead he said, “We deliver happiness.” Big difference. Hsieh is a student of happiness, literally. He quotes research into the science of happiness. He’s focused on the happiness of his employees and his customers. Leaders cannot expect their teams to deliver an exceptional customer service if they fail to understand happiness. Once you do, employees will speak about you the way Roz does of Hsieh: “Tony is an open book. He is still the same person I met eight years ago.  He is   very, very regular guy, funny and little weird, passionate, friendly, open and honest, inspiring and an incredible visionary.”

I talked to Roz recently and asked her if she was comfortable with the label, America’s happiest employee. “That’s interesting. In my previous role we chose nicknames for ourselves. Mine was Makena,” she said.

“Makena?” I asked.

“Yes. It means the happy one.”

Carmine Gallo, create fun and a little weirdness, Downtown Project, Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, zappos core values, zappos culture, Zappos Las Vegas HQ, zappos toursCarmine Gallo is the communications coach for the world’s most admired brands. He is a popular keynote speaker and author of several books, including the international bestsellers The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. His new book, The Apple Experience,is the first book to reveal the secrets behind the stunning success of the Apple Retail Store. It has also been endorsed by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

 Carmine has recently launched an eLearning course titled, New Rules of Persuasive Presentations. Follow Carmine on Facebook or Twitter!

View 42554403's profile

Tony Hsieh on "Pivot": How Zappos Risked it all to Focus on Customers

Our very own Tony Hsieh was recently featured on the "Pivot" series on A TOTAL DISRUPTION, two-time Sundance-winning director Ondi Timoner's YouTube channel that provides business and tech insights from the innovators defining our future.

In this video, Tony discusses how Zappos' pivot to focus on customer service and company culture has paid off—for both customers AND employees.

View 469164429's profile

Another Zappos Family Birthday Prank!

Mauricio’s team is at it again this year! You may remember the awesome prank that his team lovingly played on his birthday last year. Well, this time, the birthday “surprise” is more elaborate and involved an even bigger mess!

This is why it’s probably best to stay home on your birthday… IF you happen to work at Zappos.com! ;)