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How to Hire Passionate Employees

Bazaarvoice has been named the best place to work in Austin for four years in a row by the Austin Business Journal, and according to CEO Brett Hurt, BBA '94, that’s the result of a strong, deliberate company culture that starts during the company’s distinctive hiring process.

Bazaarvoice employee

The process is meant to simulate the kind of crisis that would show an employee’s passion for the company. Hurt describes it this way:

  • “Assume that the candidate, who’s applying for a job in sales, becomes a finalist for the position. That means at least eight internal Bazaarvoice interviewers are unanimously passionate about the candidate.
  • “We call our finalist on a Friday and we say, ‘Congratulations, you’re a finalist at the hardest company to get a job at in Austin. We just have one more thing to ask you. We need you to come in on Monday and present to us like we’re a prospect. You’ll have 45 minutes to present, and we’ll do 15 minutes of Q&A. You have to be in your role the whole time. You build the Power- Point deck from scratch. And by the way, over 50 percent of people fail this test. Good luck.’”
  • The person who passes that test spends about 16 hours that weekend on it, says Hurt. “And by the way, there are no official office hours at Bazaarvoice on the weekends,” he explains, “But it’s no different than if Proctor & Gamble came to us on a Friday and said, ‘We need this request for a proposal filled out by Monday.’ Sometimes you’ve got to do what it takes. It’s not that often that something crazy like that happens, but a crisis will really test you.”

Read more about company culture and passion in the OPEN magazine feature profile of Brett Hurt, "You Gotta Have Heart."


#1 Too true. Ever since they

Too true. Ever since they went public, it's very much an "us vs. them" mentality in that place. If you want to see George Orwell's "Animal Farm" or Golding's "Lord of the Flies" in real life, go get a job at Bazaarvoice.

#2 Brett Hurt is NOT on the same

Brett Hurt is NOT on the same page as his company. The PROCESS may be good and unique, but the PEOPLE are at fault. BV believes, because they have been ranked as "the best place to work in Austin," that their stuff don't stink. This kind of hubris found at BV creates an entitled HR/talent acquisition group. By "entitled," we're talking about candidates coming up against immeasurable egos just to get past the initial phone screen, as BV's HR wants candidates to "kiss the ring" before moving on. By extension, BV HR's attitude creates an unnecessary tension between those interviewers on the panel (who desire to fill a position with the best person possible) and each candidate (well, mainly those who still want the job even after dealing with BV HR's embarrassing behavior). Having worked with a lot of internal HR types to fill positions over the years, I can tell you that BV's HR is turning away more qualified candidates than those they are getting to fill the open reqs. There are better places to work than BV in Austin... don't forget the squeaky wheel doesn't always get the oil.

#3 Some other advice - 1) Come

Some other advice - 1) Come in hungover 2) Don't wear shoes to the presentation 3) Turn down the first 3 offers they give you.

#4 or the title of the article

or the title of the article could be: "how to hire employees who are gluttons for unmitigated punishment and have no lives outside of work".

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