You all heard the big news! In a bold BOLD move Zappos will not be posting jobs any longer. WTF???? Well… this is what most people in the HR/Recruitment industry would say. Me? I say, “heelllll yyyyeeeahhhh”! It’s about time this happened.
My close network contact and friend Stacy Zapar, Social Recruiting & Candidate Experience Strategist at Zappos delivered the news in her most recent LinkedIn article, “Big News: The Day the Postings Died“. The Washington Post ran a story late last week about this landmark strategic decision, including noting a couple of potential challenges including, “scalability of being able to effectively interact with each member of the Zappos Insider talent network, and how long someone would hang out in the platform before getting discouraged that their efforts are a lost cause”.
Here is my take on this, and it might surprise you so brace yourself.
What Do Successful Sales People Do?
I have argued numerous times before that there should be no difference between how a Recruiter and a Sales Person conducts their business. They are both in the business of influencing, relationship building, adding value, educating, persuading and moving others. The only real difference is the end product they are selling. So, do successful sales people use “postings” to attract new buyers? A posting could be a billboard ad, magazine ad or any other type of advertisement, both online or in print. Do they post these ads and then sit back in their chairs twiddling their thumbs waiting for new customers (or buyers) to come flying at them? I don’t think so. So why on earth does the majority of Recruiters rely on job postings as their primary, and often ONLY method of attracting new talent? You tell me.
It’s About the Brand
When people make buying decisions they do so with their emotions first. It’s how they feel about a certain product, whatever it may be, and this includes a place to work. These feelings are influenced by every single communications and interactions channel that they use — peer groups, social media, friends, family, traditional advertisements, online advertisements, word of mouth and the list goes on. The main goal of any Recruiter is to attract and hire the best possible talent out on the market, NOT just the best talent that happens to come across your job posting during the 7 days that it was posted for. Companies who have worked hard to build strong employer brands from the inside-out are more successful at attracting top talent because their fans can clearly associate with who they are. Think about companies like Adidas, Sodexo, Lululemon, VMWare, Google, Coca Cola and Zappos. They may not be the right workplaces for you but you have a very clear idea of who they are. Job postings do very little to enhance employer brand equity other than put a negative damper on it. Get rid of ’em.
Recruitment Technology has Killed Human Interaction
I need to qualify this statement by saying that this is only true in the case of traditional Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) which were designed to ease the burden on Recruiters in administration. ATS’ are kind of like the “Great Wall of China” — you keep walking straight into it, you’ll hit it over and over again. You try and talk over it, around it, or through it, nobody will hear you. You try and climb over it and get through it, you’ll just get frustrated and give up. How’s that for an experience? The term, “black hole” was coined as a result of the similar experiences job seekers were having with ATS’. They spent a lot of time filling out repetitive online forms, and when hitting “apply” all of this data disappeared into a black hole. They were left wondering what happened to their application. Would anybody read it? What’s the hiring process like? How long would it take? All of these questions that they had no answers to — eventually frustration, disappointment and even anger would result. Oh.. and then you would get a form email saying you were not successful for the role you applied to 2 months earlier. Huh? Terrible, terrible, terrible!
This Social Media Thingy
Social media has only been around for 10 years, but I would say it has proliferated globally during the past 5-6 years. Brands now understand the infinite power and influence that social media can have, simply because its reach is instantly global. No longer can brands have iron grip control over messaging, perception of brand and who is talking about the brand externally. Those days are over. Social media can now be used to share information, recommend, like, dislike, promote, educate, collaborate and the list goes on. From a Recruitment perspective, social media is a great way to build employer brand equity through brand ambassadors — both existing employees and external fans. It can also be used as a platform to express displeasure and dissent. Just ask HMV when employees were live tweeting a mass layoff exercise as it was taking place. Ouch. Yes this is an extreme example but the ease of which anyone anywhere can promote negativity about your organization as a place to work is important to consider. Zappos understands the power of social media more than any other organization on the face of this earth.
Job Postings Simply Suck
Yes I said it! I’ve gotten in trouble for saying this in various forums, but it’s so true and you all know it. If the goal of a Recruiter is to attract top talent by portraying their uber awesome employer brand, how on the face of this earth does a text-heavy job posting do this? It doesn’t. I know, you’re thinking about compliance. FORGET ABOUT COMPLIANCE!! There are so many other ways to achieve compliance in Recruiting without relying on job postings. Get over it, deal with it and move on!
So, what Zappos has decided to do is, and is not earth-shattering. It was only a matter of time before an organization had enough guts to do it, and of course it was Zappos who did this first. Good on them because this decision emulates everything they stand for, as clearly stated in their 10 core values and how their employees conduct their business.
Oh, and would you rather spend your time sifting through 30,000+ resumes and sending out reject notices to 99.9% of them, or would you rather spend your time building relationships with your fans, and building an already uber awesome brand to something we likely have never seen before. Yeah… I thought so! Good on you Zappos… you guys rock!