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What Uber Looks for in Employees


Uber is one of those companies that everyone loves — and at the same time, everyone loves to hate. The past few weeks, the company has been embroiled in a media frenzy, after Emil Michael, an Uber executive, made personal threats to a well-respected female tech journalist. After, Uber announced that Michael would not be fired.

(Photo Credit: bfishadow/Flickr)

This brings up an important question about just what types of people Uber hires — the people who work in Uber’s offices around the world, managing marketing, social media, and customer service, along with the executives in San Francisco. According to documents obtained by Business Insider, which highlight the traits in potential employees that the company looks for, it’s actually no surprise that no one has been fired or demoted yet as they actually seem to want a type of risky, “bro” culture that pushes boundaries — and, if necessary, bullies people.

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According to these documents, Uber looks for the following traits when hiring an employee:

  • Vision
  • Quality Obsession
  • Innovation
  • Fierceness
  • Execution
  • Scale
  • Communication
  • Super Pumpedness

But what exactly do these traits look like for employees? Within the last few years, I’ve been privy to a few secrets about how our local Uber office operates — and how they recruit.

My anecdotal experience is that Uber tends to look for young, single adults willing to pull all-nighters — often under the influence of alcohol — to respond to what the company calls “tickets,” which are notifications that are automatically generated when an Uber user rates a driver low or otherwise has a negative experience. These can be in the hundreds on a regular day, or in the thousands on a busy night such as New Year’s Eve, and so all of the above traits are expected from teams to stay awake for 24-plus hours to both enjoy the night (again, think lots of alcohol), promote the company (think more alcohol while bar-hopping), and then enter crisis mode in the wee hours of the morning — while all the while being Super Pumped about this lifestyle, which barely affords any kind of socializing other than marketing at bars or events (which involves — guess what — more alcohol.) 

Essentially, an Uber employee has no choice but to be obsessed with their job. 

However, Uber has a slightly different way of explaining what they mean — especially when it comes to “Fierceness.” The company told Business Insider that “Fierceness” means, “Be fierce. Do whatever it takes to make Uber a success, even when it’s hard and takes some risk to get there.”

Perhaps that explains the company’s decision not to fire Michael — his actions were indeed a risk, which it sounds like is something Uber is allowing any employee to do as long as it benefits the company (and regardless of who it hurts.)

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Do you think looking for these traits in employees is appropriate? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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