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Zappos is forcing new job candidates to join its own social network

Zappos is forcing new job candidates to join its own social network

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That résumé you've been laboring on won't get you very far at Zappos. The online shoe retailer owned by Amazon has completely done away with traditional job postings. Instead, hopeful candidates will need to sign up for Zappos Insider, a makeshift social network where they'll be able to interact with (and try to impress) current employees. You won't even find a list of open positions anywhere on Zappos' website any longer; it's all contained in the new social circle. This from the same company that abandoned job titles and workplace hierarchy in December.

"We want to get to know who you really are and not let our first meeting just be through a job posting," reads the landing page for Zappos Insider. Michael Bailen, the company's head of talent acquisition, recently told The Wall Street Journal that this revised approach makes for better results on both sides. "We spam them, they spam us back," he said of the old job process. The job postings left Zappos inundated with résumés and often paralyzed its recruiting team.

Your cover letter skills are useless

Now, Zappos Insider allows job seekers to choose the team they're interested in joining. From there, candidates may wind up in Q&A sessions and other tests designed to assess who's a good fit for Zappos — and weed out those that aren't. And even if they're not hired immediately, Insider gives them a way to keep communications open with a chosen Zappos "ambassador." There are still predictable elements within this novel approach, like a "Life at Zappos" section boasting about the company's mission and campus perks like parades, ice cream trucks, and live animals.

The company also insists it's mindful of privacy, giving people the choice to engage publicly or privately as they look to get a foot in the door. Ditching the cover letter and résumé for a social network seems a bit surreal; not even Facebook does things this way. And it certainly requires hopefuls to jump through extra hoops, but Zappos seems to think Insider is the way of the future. "We're hoping a lot of other companies jump on board," Bailen said.