It can be challenging to recruit a new employee who fits in with your company's culture and is a team player. Some companies are going the extra mile in order to hire the right people. Tactics used include spying on unsuspecting recruits to favoring Christian married family men with “wholesome values”. Let's take a look at the unique hiring practices of three successful companies.
Zappos is an online shoe retailer run by Tony Hsieh with annual revenue of over 2 billion dollars. Unlike most companies, Zappos does not post regular job postings. Instead applicants apply to become “insiders” and report to a “Team Ambassador”. Zappos recruiters get to know applicants one by one through online chats.
Qualified applicants from out of state get flown in to Zappos' offices in Las Vegas for an interview. During rides to the hotel and office, the driver, who also happens to be a Zappos employee, observes the applicants behavior and reports back to the recruiter. Applicants who treat their driver poorly are automatically disqualified. Hsieh has recounted in an interview that Zappos only wants to hire people who treat co-workers with respect. In addition, the company also teaches prospective employees a 5-week course about their business practices, company values and work culture.
Wanting to hire employees who get along well with others is only natural but some may find Zappos' practices a bit extreme. Observing and “testing” prospective applicants outside of the interview process is not generally the norm. The takeaway for prospective job seekers here is to always be aware of your surroundings and be on your best behavior since you never know when you're being watched.
It's standard to have to shell out well over six figures in order to open a franchise nowadays; the cost of opening a KFC is currently at $1.9 million. On the other hand; it just takes $5,000 to open a Chick-Fil-A. It doesn't take a whole lot of money to own a part of the famous fast food chain but what it does take is "wholesome family values" and a commitment to the company's mission statement which is “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us”.
Chick Fil-A's founder says “If a man can't manage his own life, he can't manage a business”. That's a controversial statement to say the least. It brings up the question if women are even allowed to be franchise owners? What if a candidate doesn't want to have a family for personal reasons?
As a private business Chick Fil-A certainly has the right to their beliefs even though they may not be in tune with that of every American. Despite their controversial hiring practices, Chick Fil-A produced $2.7 million dollars in revenue in 2010 which is more than McDonalds.
Dyson is known for it's state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners and a new Supersonic hair dryer estimated to cost $67 million dollars to produce. Unlike most companies who only hire grads straight out of college, Dyson has a program that recruits the brightest high school students and and gives them a job at R&D facilities accompanied with lectures from professors. It's a work/study program that gives students real life experience in addition to the opportunity to earn a Bachelors degree in engineering. According to Dyson's CEO, the company looks for engineers with curiosity and passion foremost.
The program is designed to produce first class engineers but it can also be a bit of a risk on the student's behalf. It can be a bit much to commit to working at a particular company before you've even completed your Bachelors degree. On the other hand, this type of program offers a higher chance of actually getting a job which can be a big welcome in a volatile job market.
The Bottom Line
Most HR divisions are a lot more lenient in their hiring practices compared to the extreme examples above. However, there are a few lessons to be learned from these successful companies. Making sure that you hire people who fit in with your company's work culture is going to play an important role in ensuring long term success.