During the hiring and promotions process, Bezos looks for people with the courage to challenge the status quo. He says a manager must ask: "Does this person like to be innovative? Do they have a bit of a pioneering spirit?"
Bezos on hiring mavericks starts at 5:00
"Maybe they're also a little bit annoying because they might be … a little bit radical or a bit of a rebel," he continues. These "mavericks" are not always "the easiest people to get along with," says Bezos, "but you want them at your organization."
Encouraging new ideas, and even dissent, is important to running an innovative workplace, according to researchers, including Francesca Gino, author of "Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life."
"As humans, we often focus on just one perspective, and generally it's our own," Gino says. "Whether it's in conversations or in meetings, we often seek out the opinions of people who have something similar to offer. What rebels do is fight that instinct. They find ways to steer some conflict or encourage disagreement."
Of course, hiring non-conformists comes with some caveats, even for Bezos. This type of employee should be a "spice" within the organization, he explains. "I wouldn't recommend having 90 percent mavericks," he says.
Additionally, this person must offer traits that still help the team, he says. "You also have to be organized," Bezos warns. "You can't just be a crazy person."
Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!