Zappos is known for doing things differently in the workplace, so the latest news from the company isn't a shocker. Instead of placing help wanted postings on LinkedIn, Monster, etc., the e-tailer has decided to open Zappos Insiders, a social site where individuals interested in joining the company can network with current employees and build relationships in the hope that they will be seen as Zappos material.
In a blog — posted, ironically, on LinkedIn — Zappos' Stacy Donovan Zapar wrote that when she first became a recruiter in the nineties, the business was about relationships. "We got to know people, stayed in touch, followed up from time to time. When an opening became available, we reached out to our trusted network, asked them to spread the word, followed up with referrals that came our way. We proactively sourced, cold-called, got out there, met new people, offered to help others along the way. And we made time to give feedback, provide closure, say thank you. We actually cared about the candidate experience."
With the growth of the internet, recruiting has become about "post and pray," according to Ms. Donovan Zapar. When a company needs to fill a position, it posts on job boards and then wades through a mountain of responses that follow. Recruiting, she wrote, turned into "a numbers game, highly transactional, where bulk messaging became the norm and candidates went from being valued contacts to faceless resumes that got passed around and quickly discarded."
According to Zappos' Mike Ballen, by way of MediaBistro, the company received more than 31,000 applicants in 2013. It hired 1.5 percent of them.
With Zappos Insiders, the company, owned by Amazon.com, is looking to bring relationships back to employee recruiting. According to Insider FAQ, Zappos wants to hear from prospective employees whether it has a job opening or not. "You're not just a number; you're a real person with real personality and real skills and we want to treat you that way by getting to know you before making any decisions one way or the other. This is your chance to shine and show us how perfect you'd be for Zappos."
By becoming an Insider, prospects are given top consideration for new openings and, in building relationships, may be able to get a referral from a current Zappos team member.
Zappos has also created recommendations for how to become an Insider standout. Number one on the list is to create a video cover letter or find another creative means to stand out as an individual. "When company culture is as much of a priority as it is for Zappos, these pieces of the equation are so important and you will definitely stand out if you give us a chance to know you beyond the written words on your resume! (Zappos core value #4: Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded.)"
Will the quality of Zappos' new employees be better or worse as a result of Zappos Insiders?