A Radical Innovation in Recruiting?

Document created by 1050210 on Nov 13, 2014
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Published Date: 06/16/2014


Reneé Watkins

By Reneé Watkins


Many companies today have an aggressive, continuous recruiting process where a large pool of qualified candidate names and qualifications are kept on file at all times. The biggest problem you face is that it is nearly impossible to keep the information current from the time you first receive it until a matching position surfaces.


There is nothing more frustrating than to receive a job order, immediately know who in your candidate pool is the perfect match and to then have the rug pulled out from under you because that candidate is either no longer available or got tired of waiting and lost interest.


Since the earliest computer-based recruiting tools, HR organizations have been in search of a system that not only stores candidate information but automatically keeps it current. Unfortunately, the demand for more bells and whistles in the recruiting space has created easier and more automated application software. As a result, recruiters are getting sometimes hundreds of resumes per opening. This only serves to further complicate the issue of sifting through applicants and keeping qualified candidate information current.


Zappos, the online shoe retailer owned by Amazon, has grown tired of trying the available software tools while waiting for the perfect mixture of technology and human interaction with viable candidates. Michael Bailen, head of talent acquisition for Zappos, has thrown out the old technology and created something innovative and exciting to identify and evaluate qualified candidates, maintain contact with them and keep their interest piqued.


An internal social network entitled “Zappos Insiders,” invites interested applicants to interact directly with Zappos employees and managers. The system, by design, has many advantages over traditional recruiting technology. Information exchanged is specific to Zappos, so applicants gain first-hand knowledge of the corporate culture and work environment directly from the employees. Entry to the network is not associated with any specific openings, so candidates can be objectively evaluated for “best fit” within the organization based on their likes and dislikes and the opinions of multiple, interfacing Zappos employees. Direct and immediate feedback, as well as coaching for interview preparation is another side benefit from employees to applicants.


This type of continuous and open interaction between the applicant and people within the organization serves to maintain current information, as well as interest. Therefore, when an opening does present itself, the applicant is already involved and knowledgeable about the organization. Employees and managers may already be familiar with the candidate and have likely engaged in online conversations with him or her already. Candidate interests and personality have already been taken into account regarding a “fit” with corporate culture.


Zappos, which has 1,500 current employees and processed 31,000 applicants last year for 450 openings, sees this type of system as absolutely necessary to freeing recruiters to get back to the basics of skillset and experience with regard to candidate qualifications. The “Zappos Insiders” system is designed to involve existing employees and managers to evaluate the softer skills of applicants and leverages that involvement to keep qualified applicants interested until the right opening comes along.


We have long been told that in each organization, every employee has an opportunity to be a “sales” person for their company through their interactions with people outside the workplace. Now, Zappos is proposing that every employee has an opportunity to be a “recruiter” as well. This may prove to be just the right mix of technology and human interaction.