Industry News | October 1, 2009

Zappos CFO Tells Execs How to Hire Right

Alfred Lin, COO and CFO of, addressed Dine America attendees last week in Atlanta at the annual executive conference, sharing his company’s secrets for hiring the right staff., which is an online retail site, was recently bought by for $928 million and built its empire on great customer service and positive corporate culture.

“Be real and you have nothing to fear,” Lin told conference attendees.

He went on to explain that Zappos offers every employee $2,000 to quit before beginning his first day of work. Although the audience was surprised by the price tag of such an HR effort, Lin explained that employees who were more interested in $2,000 than becoming a reliable, engaged employee were not the type of employees the company sought.

Instead, Lin said, successful brands have people who “don’t chase the paper, they chase the dream.”

As part of its hiring process, Zappos looks for ten key characteristics in potential employees, including creativity, passion, and the “wow” factor.

Lin’s full list of values for potential employees is below:

1. Deliver “wow” through service.

2. Embrace and drive change.

3. Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded.

4. Pursue growth and learning.

5. Build open, honest relationships with communication.

6. Build a positive team atmosphere.

7. Do more with less.

8. Be passionate and determined.

9. Be humble.

Dine America is a two-day annual conference of quick-service executives hosted by QSR magazine. This year’s conference took place Sept. 20-22 in Atlanta, Georgia, at the J.W. Marriott.

By Blair Chancey

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