Organizational culture has become a greater focal point for employees, candidates, and employers in recent years. According to the 2015 Best Companies to Work For list, most of the top employers appear to apply the Marriott philosophy: “Take care of the associates and they will take care of the customers.” By ensuring that associates feel like they belong to their organization, employers ensure that employees are able to do their best at work. In this issue of Astronology, we will explore some unique hiring and recruiting practices that focus on workplace culture.
The Marriott Hotel chain has for some time used gamification to stir recruitment. In 2011 the organization created a Marriott themed game called “My Hotel,” in which potential employees are exposed to the usual challenges of running a hotel, starting with multitasking in a hotel kitchen. Quixey, a mobile technology company focusing on mobile apps, created a game called “The Quixey Challenge.” NBC reported that “Hopefuls can register for one of the site”s challenges, which are created and run by job recruitment platform Readyforce. If they can fix the challenge”s programming bug in less than a minute, they win $100 and a chance to interview with the company.” Halloweencostumes.com uses a simple game of Jenga. Prospective employees are invited to a game of Jenga with their potential managers. Each Jenga block has a question on it that has to be answered by the person who pulls it. This particular ice breaker game opens up discussion and allows for everyone to see how well they could possibly work together. Halloweencostumes.com also uses game-like rapid-fire question sessions.
Amazon.com utilizes a “bar raiser” program in their hiring processes for non-warehouse workers. Current employees nominate themselves to essentially take a second job as “bar raisers.” The “bar raisers” perform an estimated 20 work hours related to this role, on top of their usual workloads. Five to six bar raisers will interview one candidate on their own, either in person or on a phone call. At some point during the process, the candidate may be asked to respond to an interesting and intense question such as “Why shouldn’t you work at Amazon?” Bar raisers who’ve interviewed the same candidate will meet, discuss, and make a decision on whether the candidate is a good fit. Any objection to the candidate by any of the bar raisers means the candidate is eliminated for consideration. The goal is for every new hire to ‘raise the bar’ for the next hire, giving Amazon a continuously improving talent pool. Says Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s CEO) in a 1998 interview, “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.”
Zappos.com takes a totally different, all-encompassing approach. The potential employees (applicants) are encouraged to complete a profile on the company’s social media site. They are urged to “show Zappos their true colors” by including video recordings on the profile as well as using Twitter to follow Zappos recruiters. The company then uses screening software and recruiters to find the best candidates. When a position needs to be filled, Zappos creates a candidate pool from those existing profiles. After selecting some candidates for follow up, the interviews are conducted with the team the potential employee would be working with. This is done to ascertain if the candidate has the needed skills. A second interview is done with Human Resources to ensure the candidate also has the organization’s core values at heart. Typical questions include “how weird are you?” or “who’s your favorite superhero?”. This interview is to ascertain cultural fit, which carries a heavy weight in the decision making process. If hired, regardless of the position, onboarding includes training in different departments. In addition, Zappos offers $2,000 to new hires to quit if the new hire truly does not want to be a part of the organization. Few actually take the offer.
Many of the organizations listed here have the wealth to support their unique, and even possibly risky, hiring and recruiting practices. Understandably, for smaller organizations, more can be at stake during the recruiting process. For many, the typical approach to hiring and recruiting in their particular industry can seem the most reliable. Astronology wants to know, does your organization have any unique hiring practices? Have there been talks to possibly change those practices? Share your thoughts with us and we may publish it at a later date!