Much ink has been spilled about the decline of job boards and the end of their role in recruitment services. These days, all you have to do is type “death of job boards” into Google and you’ll find plenty of commotion about the topic. The end of the job board era is giving way to more LinkedIn, talent communities, social recruiting and more.
To add salt to the wound – or perhaps to drive a nail into the proverbial coffin – Zappos just announced that they will no longer use job boards for recruiting. In fact, the company’s head of talent acquisition stated that Zappos will no longer post openings on its own site.
Instead, they will use Inside Zappos, a community where folks interested in learning about the company can interact with them and discuss what it’s like to work at Zappos – and perhaps even provide insight to help the company.
Zappos has always been very progressive in pushing the envelope on people practices. Previously, the company worked to eliminate titles and hierarchies, and even offer people money to leave the company voluntarily – impressively, those efforts helped the company improve a brand that has already stood tall in employer differentiation. Zappos ranked No. 31 on Fortune’s list of the best places to work in 2013.
As many have commented, not only does Zappos’ latest move speak to the strength and the confidence in its employer brand, but it’s also a testament to Zappos’ determination not to rest on its laurels, but to continue pushing new talent acquisition processes.
However, there is one interesting angle that I believe haven’t been talked about, and that is the matter of employee referrals.
Inside Zappos is more than just a talent community. Having employees network and interact with the talent pipeline – both active and passive candidates – will yield to a greater understanding of each individual’s prospect of fitting the Zappos culture. In some cases, it will even help improve their skill and knowledge levels.
After some time spent in the community, a comfort level will be reached where a Zappos employee might feel comfortable in referring someone who is active in Inside Zappos. This is as close as we can get to an employee referral – notwithstanding the traditional way of knowing someone or working with them in a prior life. Essentially, Zappos is attempting to flip referrals from an inside-out process to an outside-in process
There’s data to support the argument that this strategy makes sense. According to recent research from the Aberdeen Group, employers give employee referral programs the highest overall effectiveness rating of any source of new hires – a 3.44 on a scale from 1 to 5. Internal job boards rank last, at just 2.52.
Maybe I’m overanalyzing, and this could just be a “what the (heck), let’s give it a shot” after a night out – but I doubt it. Zappos continues to have a strong track record of innovating its talent acquisition strategies and enhancing its brand as an employer. In this humble blogger’s opinion, this latest move is a brilliant one, and I can’t wait for the company to make similar noise in the headlines again.
Read more from Jayson on the Ceridian Blog
About the Author: Jayson Saba serves as the VP of Strategy and Industry Relations at Ceridian, a global integrated talent management solutions provider. Prior to Ceridian, Jayson was an analyst at Aberdeen Group’s Human Capital Management practice. As the lead analyst for Core HR, Workforce Management, and Outsourcing, Jayson published over 100 research papers and reports about technology and best practices. Jayson is a frequent contributor to industry and trade magazines including HR Executive, PayTech, HROToday, Workforce Management, Talent Management and The Economist. He regularly presents at HR conferences and trade shows.