Zappos ditches job posts, replaces them with a social network

Tony Hsieh

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

It’s common practice for companies to look at prospective employees’ social media accounts to get a better sense of who they are beyond a resume and cover letter.

Zappos is taking that one step further.

The Las Vegas-based shoe retailer announced that it’s doing away with traditional job postings. Instead, interested folks will need to join Inside Zappos, a new social network for the company’s prospective employees. Joining the network will give applicants “priority consideration” for upcoming job openings. The network allows recruiters to get to know applicants and their interests, while allowing applicants to network with existing employees.

Traditional cover letters are out, though Inside Zappos allows people to upload a video cover letter describing themselves and talking about why they’re interested in joining the Amazon subsidiary. The company hasn’t been able to do away with all of the trappings of a traditional job search: users are prompted to put in a resume when they get started on the site.

The social network, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, may seem like an odd move. But it makes sense for a company like Zappos. CEO Tony Hsieh is famously protective of the company’s fun-loving culture, and the company considers whether someone is a fit for its environment in addition to whether they have the right job qualifications. By building this social network, Zappos can find people who fit its culture before there’s even a job opening.

It’s another interesting move from Zappos, which announced late last year that it is doing away with the traditional corporate hierarchy and instead moving to an organizational structure based on “holacracy,” which distributes decision making power across an organization. Instead of a traditional tiered organizational chart, the company will be organized into more than 400 self-governing “circles” by the end of this year.