The Challenge

Zappos is an online apparel and footwear retailer famous for its outstanding customer service, aiming to always ‘WOW’ its customers. For Zappos, there are no limitations to delivering the ‘WOW’. There are no call scripts, no minimum number of calls per rep per day, and call times are unlimited (the longest call took almost 11 hours!).

While rethinking its candidate selection process, Zappos was determined to offer the same ‘WOW’ experience to applicants. Zappos’ aim was to showcase its unique company culture during the selection process and, at the same time, hire the most dedicated customer service representatives possible.

The big question here? How do you not just feed the applicants a battery of tests, but provide an immersive and fun candidate experience that does justice to the company, its people and its values?


The solution

The team at Zappos started looking for a solution that would provide a great experience for everyone – applicants and recruiters alike. Applicants had to be able to get a thorough look at the company culture, while recruiters had to be equipped with data to back their hiring decisions.

After thoroughly reviewing a number of recruitment technology solutions, Zappos decided to team up with Harver. Why so? “The fact that each and every candidate would get a complete view of the company got us really excited,” says Hayden Balow, People Data Analyst at Zappos.

Together with Harver, Zappos built an online application experience infused with various elements ranging from situational judgment tests and introductory videos to a personality questionnaire, cultural fit test, and skill tests. “And with that, a new era of recruiting at Zappos commenced.”

“The entire experience is shaped to immerse applicants in their potential new role – making it feel like a day at the office. They get to meet colleagues and learn about the company culture that makes Zappos so unique.”

Simultaneously, the experience is a way to find out if the candidates have it in them to deliver the WOW. In the online Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs), applicants help customers with their queries – in which they are faced with choosing between efficiency or making a lasting emotional connection with customers. Exactly the type of choices a Customer Service Agent at Zappos has to make on a daily basis.

“How do you find employees that go beyond fulfilling basic customer expectations and do so in a creative, unexpected way?”

Hayden Balow

Hayden Balow
People Data Analyst

The results

After the new process was built in Harver, and embedded in the recruitment process, the team at Zappos decided to implement several feedback loops to make sure the candidates had an enjoyable experience. And they certainly did.

97% of all the applicants Zappos asked, ‘agreed’ or ‘agreed strongly’ that they’ve had a positive experience when they first completed Zappos’ new online application experience.

“It was the most interactive yet honest application process I have ever been a part of. The whole thing truly gives you a sense of what type of company Zappos is,” a Zappos applicant asserted.

However, the journey of Zappos to provide the best candidate experience doesn’t end there:

“It is very rewarding to see that we’re reaching the goals we set from the beginning. We will continue to collect feedback and iterate the process,” concludes Balow.