This is how Zappos’s Stacy Zapar describes what happened to the company’s job postings Thursday: “Gone. Poof. Done.”
That’s right. The online shoe and apparel retailer has decided it will no longer post job openings, a strategic move based on a belief that such postings are a lousy jumping-off point for meaningful relationships with prospective candidates.
In a blog post, Zapar outlined why the company made this shift:
“Job postings are a conversation killer,” wrote Zapar, the company’s strategist for candidate experience and engagement. “A job posting is that bright shiny object in the room that distracts from the real conversation and networking to be had. It’s a dead end road, a recruiting black hole where applicants go to die or leave with a negative experience and impression of your company. They’re one-way conversations where your candidates don’t really have a voice. They’re that sore thumb sticking out as we make this evolution back to old-school, relationship-based recruiting.”
So what is the company going to do instead? It has started a program called Zappos Insider, which it says is “like a special membership” for people who want to learn more about the company and its distinctive culture. Participants will get to chat with Zappos Ambassadors and are promised “top consideration” for job openings. It’s an approach that sounds like it favors prospective employees who are most deeply engaged with the brand. The people likely to take the time to enroll as Zappos Insiders are not the ones who are robo-sending résumés for every opening they see on Monster.com.
It’s not surprising that Zappos is pushing boundaries when it comes to talent recruitment and retention: This is, after all, a company that pays new employees to quit and did away with job titles and managers.
Zapar said that Zappos’s plan is to bring a more personal, even “old-school” touch to the recruiting process by eliminating the somewhat transactional feeling of simply responding to a job post. And it will set Zappos apart from many of its competitors, who seem increasingly focused on using technology and big data to streamline and fine-tune their hiring processes.
But it appears the key challenge will be scale: If there is massive interest in the program, will the company have the resources to ensure that everyone is getting the personal touch they’ve been promised? And how long is someone willing to hang out in Zappos’s orbit before becoming discouraged?
We’ll be watching to see whether it works, and whether other companies follow suit.