Editor's note: The following comes from Zappos Insights, an executive education training program.

Zappos Family Core Values Interview Assessment Guide

Applicant Name:

Position Interviewing for:

Interviewer Name:

Overall Score:


Peak Score: 

Definition of Ratings: 

5 = Strongly Agree/Exceptional – Applicant clearly illustrates understanding and belief of the core value. Applicant gave solid examples demonstrating his/her understanding of the value and correlating professional/personal examples that show the applicant putting the value to action. Applicant embodies the key traits of the value. 

4 = Moderately Agree/Above Average – Applicant shows good understanding of the value. Applicant was able toprovide some examples to show his/her understanding and use of the value as well as illustrating traits of the value.   

3 = Neutral/Average – Applicant seemed to understand the value but did not clearly demonstrate use of the value or illustrate traits of the value.   

2 = Moderately Disagree/Below Average – Applicant did not seem to understand the value fully or provide examples where he/she used or demonstrated the value in a professional or personal setting.  

1 = Strongly Disagree/Unsatisfactory – Applicant doesn’t understand the value and/or actively disagrees with the value. Applicant illustrates traits opposite of the value.  

N/A = Not Applicable – Could not assess during the interview.



The applicant understands what great customer service is, what Zappos.com Customer Service is.What does great customer service mean to you?” “In your last job, how did you know if your customer was satisfied?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant views his/her job as more than 9-5, more than his/her job description, and is eager to go above and beyond. Give an example of a time you went above and beyond, why did you do it? Any regrets? NA 1 2 3 4 5 

The applicant knows how to WOW. “What’s the best work-related compliment you’ve ever received?”“What’s something that you did at work that maybe no one else knew about but you are very proud of?” NA 1 2 3 4 5 

The applicant can be innovative and unconventional. “Tell me about a time you came up with an innovative solution to a problem.” “Tell me who you think is the most unconventional person you have worked with. Do you think they were successful? Did they do a good job?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

Did the applicant WOW you? NA 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)   




The applicant readily embraces and drives change in a positive manner. Have you suggested any new ideas to your manager recently? What were your suggested ideas? How did you present them? Were they adopted?” “Did you ever have unpopular or minority view point and if so, did you stand up for it? What happened?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant pushes him/herself professionally and personally instead of just doing what comes easily. “How did you get into your current line of work? What did you want to be when you were growing up?” “Tell me about a time you had to really stretch yourself at work? What happened?” “What was the hardest thing you had to do professionally in the past month?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant thrives in an environment of constant change. “What’s a work environment that you would be really uncomfortable in?” “Have you had an experience where you poured your heart and soul into a project which ended up being scrapped? What happened? How did you handle it? “What accomplishment are you most proud of from the past year?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)  



The applicant is someone you would enjoy hanging out with in a social setting. “What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant shows individuality or personality during the interview and does not try to blend in and say the right thing. “If you had to change one thing about your interview process so far with the Zappos Family, what would you change?” “On a scale of 1-10, how weird are you? Why or why not?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant believes it is important to have fun in the workplace. “What did you do at your last job to make the workplace more fun?” “What’s the most fun you ever had while working?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant does not feel “straight and narrow.” "What co-worker behaviors drive you crazy?” “How would your closest friends describe you?" “How would your manager describe you? NA 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)  




The applicant is willing to think and act outside the box. Give me an example from your previous job(s) where you had to think and act outside the box.” “What was the best mistake you made on the job? Why was it the best?” Tell me about a time you recognized a problem/area to improve that was outside of your job duties and solved without being asked to? What was it, how did you do it?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant is more creative than the average person. “Would you say you are more or less creative than the average person? Can you give me an example?” “If it was your first day on the job here and your task was to make the interview/recruiting process more fun, what would you do for those 8 hours?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant is willing to take risks in trying to solve a problem. “What’s an example of a risk you took in a previous job? What was the outcome?” “When was the last time you broke the rules/policy to get the job done?” N 1 2 3 4 5 

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)   




The applicant challenges him/herself to grow and learn both personally and professionally. What is the last book you read? Would you recommend it to me? Why/why not?” “How do you keep current with what is going on in your field/industry?” Did you receive feedback on your job performance at your last position? How often? Was that often enough? Was it helpful? Why?” What were some areas of development in your last feedback session? What did you think of that and what did you do to improve?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant has a goal/plan for their professional development. How would this job fit in with your long-range plans?” “Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?” NA 1 2 3 4 5 

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)  




The applicant recognizes the importance of open and honest communication. How was communication at your previous company? What would you do to improve it or make it more effective? “Describe a time you had to present unpleasant information to someone. What was the situation and how did you communicate what needed to be said?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant applies open and honest communication to managers, colleagues and vendors alike. “Tell me who was your best/worst manager and why?” “At your previous job, who did you have the most difficult time communicating with and why?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant appears to be open and honest with you. “What’s most important to you in your next job?” When was the last time you asked for help at your job? Describe the situation, how did you feel about asking for help?” ”What’s a job you’ve had that wasn’t very satisfying? Why wasn’t it?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant understands that good communication also includes good listening. “What’s the most important part of good communication?” How do you illustrate to someone that you are listening to them? NA 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)  



The applicant values team and individual accomplishments with equal importance. “Do you feel you are a better individual contributor or a better team player? Which do you prefer?” “When was a time you “took one for the team” even though it wasn’t your responsibility?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant understands the concept of team and a greater good. “When was a time you were thrown work that you were not prepared for? What was the situation? How did you feel about it?" NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant encourages a positive team spirit. “Do you ever socialize with people from work outside the office? What do you think about people that do?” “How do you encourage teamwork at the office?” “What’s the biggest challenge you faced working in a team environment? How did you handle it?” What co-worker behaviors drive you crazy? How do you handle it when someone is doing it?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant encourages others to take initiative. “Give me an example of a time you were working with a team/group and one member was not participating/pulling their weight. What did you do?" NA 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)  




The applicant works to improve efficiency at the office. “At a previous job, give me an example of a time you took on more than what was required to improve a process?” “Tell me about a policy or process at your last job that you feel didn’t work quite right or could have been done better? What was it? Did you do anything to correct it?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant can get the job done and work with the resources at hand or come up with a work around if resources are missing. “Under what conditions do you do your very best work?” “What can your boss do to help you deliver your best work? “How detail oriented are you?” “Tell me about a time you were given a task to do but did not have the tools necessary to complete the task. What did you do?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)  




The applicant wants to work here because of the WOW company that we are and because he/she is passionate about the actual job he/she would be doing? “Why do you want to work for the Zappos Family?” “What other types of jobs have you been applying for?” “What did you most enjoy about your last job? Least enjoy?” “If all jobs paid the same, what would you be doing?” “Do you have to fully believe in the mission of a company you work for in order to give your job you all?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant has passion, drive, and perseverance. “What are you passionate about, outside of work?” Not all parts of a job are fun or challenging. What tasks fall into this category for you and how do you motivate yourself to complete these tasks?” “Tell me about a time you had to fight for something you believed in at your last job? What happened?” “Have you ever had to escalate a customer problem or solution over your bosses head in order to do what you felt was the right thing? How did you do this and what was the outcome?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)  




The applicant is honest and forthcoming about his/her strengths/weaknesses. “What is your greatest strength?” “How would this strength directly help you in this position?” “What is an area you need to improve upon? What are you doing to improve it?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

The applicant does not give off a self-important attitude. What was your last position called? Was that an appropriate title? Why or why not?” “Why do you think you are a good fit for this job?” Is there anything else I should know about you to help me make a decision about hiring you for this position?” NA 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Rating (Average of above ratings)  



Candidate Responses to Peak:

Job  = 3, 6, 8, 12, 14

Career  = 1, 5, 9, 11, 15

Calling = 2, 4, 7, 10, 13

Additional Information to cover with Candidates:

â–¡ Salary Expectations (Review Salary History)

â–¡ Discuss Probationary Period (if applicable)

â–¡ Discuss home finding assistance (if applicable)

â–¡ Culture Book (make sure received)

â–¡ Core Values Document

â–¡ CLT Training (Class dates/NO missed time for 4 weeks)

â–¡ KY Boot Camp

Overall Core Values Rating (Average of all final ratings):

Additional Interviewer Comments:

Peak Questions “Peak” by Chip Conley

Candidate, please review the below and pick the 5 questions that best reflect your ideal work life at your dream job and/or your ideal relationship with a job.

1. While I enjoy my work and feel that I do it very well, I often feel I have to look elsewhere – my home, spiritual life, friends, hobbies, community service – for inspiration or fulfillment.

2. I tend to lose myself in my work. I just feel like I’m in the “flow,” and I lose all sense of time.

3. I like what I do but don’t expect a lot from my work. It just provides what I need to do the other more important things in my life. I enjoy my leisure time more than my work life.

4. My work truly makes a difference in the world.

5. The greatest experience I have at work is when I’m truly recognized by others for what I’ve accomplished.

6. If I had to choose between getting at 10% raise at work or finding a new best friend at work, I’d probably choose the raise.

7. I often feel like the work I’m doing is coming from some greater source than just me. It’s like I’m channeling this energy/talent, and I’m amazed by its power. 

8. I’m often not that excited to go to work on Monday morning.

9. My goal in life is to rise to the top of my field.

10. There are moments when I think to myself, “If I were independently wealthy, I’d probably still be doing this work.” I do what I do because I love it.

11. I’ve thought pretty deeply about where my work will take me over the next 10 years and what I need to do to excel in this field. 

12. I’m pretty conscious to use my vacation time and sick days off so I can create more balance and ensure that work doesn’t dominate my life. 

13. I often feel like my work allows me to show the “real me.” My work lets me use my deepest creative gifts.

14. I think work is overrated when you consider what percentage of our lives we spend working as compared to enjoying life. I don’t think much about work when I’m not there.

15. I will do what it takes to become a success in my work.


Reprinted with permission from Zappos. For more information, check out Zappos Insights