I agree with Suzanne Lucas‘s thesis on Why Zappos’s New Hiring Techniques Are a Complete Waste of Time:
Just because the cool kids are doing something out of the ordinary doesn’t mean it’s good for your business.
As my contribution to Ultracrepidarianism, I want to weigh with my own opinion about what Zappo’s is trying to do. I understand their frustration as I have complained previously about going through resumes as described in Reflections on “the recruiter honeypot”, and in Resumes and Job Interviews.
I think my view of the world is summed up by the following quote:
There are no extraordinary men…just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.
Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr. (Bull)
Zappo’s is after extraordinary people instead of looking for ordinary people who can adapt to extraordinary circumstances. You have to provide an environment in which ordinary people are willing and able to overcome extraordinary circumstances.
Yet people looking in from the outside would see these people as extraordinary—an innate property. Instead they are flourishing in a particular environment. Transplant them to a different environment. The employer would then blame the recruitment process for the failure.
However, as I tried to say in my Comments on “2 Interview Questions That Separate the Doers from the Poseurs” by @INC, the trick is to find people who understand what they are doing and can make their own luck.
To get extraordinary, I would say you have to be lucky to have the people who can rise to the occasion. I would imagine that predicting who is able to do so is hard to predict.