When it comes to hiring, most companies follow a pattern: publish a job posting, review applications, interview and hire. In early 2014, the shoe company Zappos made a decision to turn the process on its head. Although the Zappos hiring shift is a one-off occurrence, it has the potential to transform the way job seekers approach the search process.
Zappos, which is known for its unconventional and experimental practices, decided in May of 2014 to stop using a traditional hiring process. Instead, it created a company social media network called Zappos Insiders. If a person wants to work for the company, they must join Zappos Insiders and start connecting with company employees. Insiders must also participate in quizzes, contests and other social tools designed to gauge personalities and skill sets.
With the new Zappos hiring system, applicants will not need to look out for job postings; instead, they will be moved through the Zappos Insiders system based on their participation. The company has connected the system to software that analyzes candidates and organizes them into the correct divisions based on responses and skills. This early funneling is designed to narrow the candidate pool from the beginning, reducing the administrative load on the company's hiring team and freeing them to pursue promising candidates.
For job seekers, the new Zappos hiring system represents a radical departure from traditional processes. Instead of firing off a resume and cover letter, potential employees need to spend considerably more time seeking employment with the company. The new system will reward motivated people and weed out those who are not truly interested in working for Zappos.
The Zappos hiring decision is just one of the company's many unusual practices. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new hiring process came just a few months after the company made the radical choice to eliminate job titles. Other company policies, including paying new employees to quit after their first week, support its goal to build an innovative work environment. In fact, one of Zappos' core values is to create fun and weirdness.
Although the shift in the Zappos hiring process has not worked its way into other companies, it is certain that businesses across the country are watching for its success or failure. For companies that cannot sustain the expense of hiring and then losing top talent, a more social, personality-based system might be a viable solution. If the Zappos system works well, other companies may emulate it to find employees who will stick around after the first year or two.
At present, the Zappos hiring system is unlikely to change the way job hunters approach the process. If the company's experiment streamlines hiring, however, social media recruiting may become the wave of the future.
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