Zappos Hiring: Abandoning the traditional job posting

By Adam Robinson,
June 3, 2014

Business leaders all over the world look to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh as the ultimate innovator. He runs a billion-dollar online shoe and apparel company, was once at the forefront of the dot-com bubble, and is now worth over $840 million. Despite his seemingly endless list of accomplishments and accolades, Tony Hsieh doesn’t have all the answers. 

Zappos recently announced that the company will discontinue their use of job boards. Instead of asking job seekers to apply for positions through job boards like CareerBuilder and Monster, candidates will be required to join the company’s new social media site, Zappos Insiders. According to the Wall Street Journalthe purpose of the site is to enable people to “network with current employees and demonstrate their passion for the company-in some cases publicly-in hopes that recruiters will tap them when jobs come open.” 

In other words, Zappos is completely riding itself of traditional job “advertising” in order to spend more time on qualified candidates. “Recruiters instead will spend time pursuing candidates in the Insiders group with digital Q&As or contests, events that they will use to help gauge prospective hires’ cultural fit,” explained Michael Bailen, head of talent acquisition at Zappos, to the Wall Street Journal

Depending on who you ask, this will end up either being a huge success or failure for Zappos. However, this type of move would be detrimental for virtually every other company (with the exception of Apple and Google-like companies). So while you may think Tony Hsieh has all the answers, in this case he doesn’t – not for your company anyway.

Laurie Ruettimann, an influential HR speaker, made some good points in her recent article “Is Zappos Being Fair to the American Worker?” She questions how fair this new social media site is to people without reliable access to the Internet and how candidates “can demonstrate a passion for the brand?” And my personal favorite – “Wouldn’t you prefer to hire someone who doesn’t have time for this nonsense?” 

It will be interesting to hear how well this new approach works for Zappos. But it’s important for business owners and hiring managers to realize this is not a sustainable method for most companies. Even with social media recruiting efforts through LinkedIn and Twitter, job boards are still an integral part of the hiring process. 

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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