Culture August 9th, 2017

My Time As An Intern: From Application To Acceptance

“It’s a process. It’s a formality; it’s a necessity. It’s long and arduous, but everyone goes through it.”

All of these disheartening clichés led me to dread the process of job interviewing. Zappos, however, changed my perspective entirely.

My name is Josh Levine, and I’m a rising senior specializing in marketing and logistics at Ohio State University. In a school of 45,000 undergraduates, it’s easy to feel like a number in the system. It becomes natural to go through the motions feeling as though you’re just one in a crowd of many.

One late September night, I stumbled across the Zappos internship page. As any frantic college student would do, I eagerly searched the positions, hoping my skill sets matched up for the job at hand. After all, that’s what matters, right? Shouldn’t technical expertise be the basis of any hiring process?

Interviewing at Zappos made me realize that being a number doesn’t exist and high-level knowledge is merely a mindset. The Zappos Recruiting Team makes it very clear that they disregard GPAs and resumes at the beginning stages of the process. They screen for things like passion and leadership, rather than a 4.0 and a polished elevator pitch.

One month later, after multiple online interviews and technical challenges, I'd arrived in Las Vegas for an in-person interview, knowing that in 36 hours I’d be back in Columbus hoping I’d done enough to earn my spot at Zappos. However, little did I know that the next three days were going to be unlike any other job experience. Ever.

Zappos prides itself on its first core value, Deliver WOW Through Service. And this rang true through every facet of the process.

I was wowed by the large, loud and proudly branded Zappos shuttle van at the airport; I was wowed by the campus tour; I was wowed by the lunches with employees across departments; and I was wowed with happy hours with my potential team, Zappos Insights.

Zappos Insights was created to share the culture of Zappos with companies around of the world (which I’ll get into more during a later post). Though I was applying for a marketing position, my responsibilities wouldn’t end there. I was told everyone on the team wears multiple hats, no matter his or her level or position. This excited me greatly, despite my self-doubt of real-world experience.

But as I mentioned earlier, Zappos’ recruiters look for technical skills as well as the ability to fit into its culture.

And then, a few weeks later, the good news came. I was offered the internship with Zappos Insights! It seemed surreal and, to be honest, simultaneously undeserving. But more than anything, it presented itself as an opportunity to contribute to a culture that values individuality.

Like other college students across the country, I was fortunate to have standing offers from other companies. But in the end, I asked myself what I was looking to gain from a summer internship. The answer was clear: culture.

This notion led me to realize that work should be an environment that not only accepts people’s differences but embraces them. There’s a reason it’s called the Zappos Family — once you join, you’re accepted for all of your quirkiness, inside and out.

Fast forward a few months later, and I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work!

Stay tuned for my next post as I discuss the world of Holacracy and how it plays a crucial role within Zappos Insights.