How Zappos Ruined Job Posts!

Zappos made a big splash last week announcing they were no longer going to post their jobs!  From this point forward, or as soon as they can get out of their legacy system, they’ll stop posting their open jobs.  Instead of the good ole post and pray strategy used by the majority of companies worldwide.  Zappos’s Talent Acquisition team will now only proactively search for candidates, build networks of possible candidates and always have a slate or ready candidates available for each hiring manager whenever they have a need arise.  Sounds like the same line we’ve been feeding all of our organizations for a long time, right!?!

The difference is, Zappos can actually do it, you can’t.  You see Zappos is a ‘one-percenter’.  They are one of the very few employment brands who don’t need to post their jobs to get candidates, they have more candidates than they can handle.  They have one of the most engaged employee bases known to man, who refer more great employees like themselves.  Zappos can kill job postings, because job postings, in their environment, actually make them less efficient!  Their Talent Acquisition team is smart and doing exactly what they should to kick their competition to the side – taking advantage of their greatest strengths!

I do wonder, though, isn’t Zappos very big public announcement of ‘killing job postings’ just one very, very big job post!  Ah, employment branding and marketing.  Silly rabbit.

Let’s be clear you are not Zappos.

While you’ll need to keep running your post and pray strategy, I do think there is something valuable to take away from Zappos’s new no job posts posting strategy.  Zappos has publicly shown all HR and Talent shops, you don’t really have to post your jobs!  “What!?! Yes, Tim!  Yes, we do!  You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about!”  Calm down, calm down.  There are a few shops around that will continue to be forced to run job postings do to government contracts, or other ‘contractual’ arrangements, I’ll give you that.  But there is nothing legal, for most employers, that forces you to run job postings.

Most employers can hire whomever they choose. It is a best practice to post jobs, internally and externally, to ensure you are pulling in a widely dispersed pool of candidates, and not opening yourself up to potential hiring biases, or even illegal hiring practices.  But most employers do not legally have to post a job.  And just because you post one job, doesn’t mean you have to post all of your jobs.  That is the big takeaway from what Zappos is doing.

Let’s face it.  Zappos’s operations is mainly a call center.  They sell shoes over the internet and on the phone.  They are customer service, and the best customer service job option known to man.  They are in Vegas which has thousands of crappy customer service jobs.  If you’re good at customer service in Vegas,  you’ll eventually want to work at Zappos.  They have no need in posting call center jobs!!!

You probably have similar issues.  When I worked at a large health system we had no need to post openings for cafeteria workers and lower level positions.  We had people contacting us daily wanting those jobs.  Yet, every time we had an opening, we would post the job and have to deal with hundreds of applicants.  Our ‘legal’ department made us do this.  It was do ‘reduce’ potential risk, of which, was almost zero to begin with!  It was stupid.  It made us do more work.  It wasn’t needed.

Zappos has put the entire Talent Acquisition industry on notice.  To stop doing stupid stuff, like posting jobs you don’t need to post.   If you think you can get away with not posting any of your jobs, well, good luck to that.  You’re not Zappos!

The micro-blog post, after the blog post:

You know what really pisses me off about this announcement from Zappos!?  For the next 3 years I’m going to have to go to conferences and listen to people like Stacy Zapar and Mike Bailen tell us how Zappos is changing the recruiting world! Ugh! More Zappos HR conference speakers…didn’t we already go through this with them?  Oh, yeah, I wrote about it, like three years ago and Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, actually commented on the blog post – that was really cool!  Check it out here!  How Zappos Ruined HR! 

P.S. Stacy and Mike if you guys ever want to speak together at a conference just let me know – I’m willing to ride that Zappos gravy train out with you for the next three years!

6 thoughts on “How Zappos Ruined Job Posts!

  1. I agree with Tim re referral hires, however, if as you say the talent team are doing what they should be they’ll also be headhunting and approaching candidates directly therefore creating a diverse talent pool from which to draw upon to fill open positions.

    Where I disagree is that only the Zappo’s of the world can do this. Almost any company can implement this approach. Unfortunately HR or internal recruitment teams are often seen as a cost center not a business enabler. Shifting paradigm, reducing reliance on automated systems and moving to a more pro-active approach which engages potential candidates would produce significantly better hiring and in my opinion.

    Post and pray is dead and has been for the last few years. If businesses want to attract the best talent for their positions they should be investing in building a pro-active talent acquisition team if they haven’t done so already

  2. I applaud Zappos’ ingenuity and willingness to think outside the box to source candidates – but you hit the nail on the head, Tim.

    “The difference is, Zappos can actually do it, you can’t.”

    Most employers do not have Zappos-level brand awareness. It’s easy to overlook this function, but job postings serve as much to advertise the employer as they do any one job.

    • Josh –

      That’s a common belief with this, right? The thing is everyone really wants referral hires, we love referral hires, we always feel great to get referral hires. This is all this is. It’s referral hires. If that’s discriminatory, we all got some big issues.

      But you’re right, Josh, referral hires are in a sense can be very discriminatory. If you allow your current workforce to ‘refer’ all the new hires, you’re just going to get more of the same (statistically). If you have a diverse workforce great, if you don’t, you’re in trouble.


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