I believe that we are in the golden age of recruiting. The talent pool hasn’t been this rich since the early 90’s. While the economy has been recovering, there are still plenty of talented unemployed (and underemployed) people. Technology has allowed for more companies to find more people (and vice versa).
In a parallel development, social media has allowed companies to connect with their customers in an almost 24/7 way. Where as before they could reach out passively (via TV/radio/billboard ads), through social media they can send targeted ads and offers based on what the customer tells them. Now Zappos is essentially combining social media and recruiting.
The gist seems to be that since Zappos has frequent openings they are always recruiting. They believe that by getting to know potential candidates better (and candidates learning about them) they will have a better idea of who the best ones are because they have greater knowledge about them. Which begs the question of what data which is gathered in this portal is Zappos using? Is it based on skills, abilities and personal characteristics? Shopping habits on the Zappos site? Both?
If they count posts or contacts, they could be assessing for extroversion. Or, analyze them for writing. Clearly, each recruiter is looking for people like them, which on one hand may improve fit in the short-term, but may be ignoring skills and abilities that would lead to higher job performance.
The frequent interactions would allow a recruiter to ask interview-like questions, probe for specific experiences and skills in a much more casual environment. For Zappos, that could lead to some real-time evaluations (“We have a position opening that requires skill X, let’s see who is online or in our database that has it.”).
For applicants who already love the brand, it’s a great opportunity. They get to interact with people who (theoretically) share their passion and feel like they are part of something, even if they do not get a job. Of course, part of the risk for Zappos is that, even though they are very clear about matching people with jobs if there is a fit, they will alienate some people who love the brand and interact a lot with the company but never get a job. But, that happens to a certain extent in traditional recruiting as well.
This approach to recruiting does seem to be a significant leap. It meets millennials where they live, which makes a large talent pool available. The approach also has the potential of gathering a lot of valid data about a person in a less stressed atmosphere, which may be more predictive.
How are you using technology to up your recruiting game?
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