Amazon Subsidiary Zappos Plans Only to Hire 'Insiders'

A warm greeting in Zappos headquarters
FlickrWorkers at the Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas.

On-line shoe retailer, Zappos, just announced it has eliminated job postings from its recruitment strategy. Instead, people interested in working for the company must join their exclusive social network and become a "Zappos Insider" so they can connect with employees and demonstrate their passion for the company as a way to help the hiring team determine if they are a fit for their corporate culture. Read more about by clicking on this Wall Street Journal article.

Job Seekers: Is It "Welcome Back to High School" Time?

For many people reading this, there will be a gut-wrenching cringe, and then the words "Ugh. Are you serious?" running through their brains. The idea of having to befriend employees and openly profess your love to an online crowd could bring back some not-so-pleasant high school memories. Jocks, nerds, band members, etc. Is that the direction hiring is headed?

Depends On How You Look At It

For those who feel an instant connection with the Zappos approach to hiring and admire what they do to keep top talent (check out their benefits and corporate culture and you'll see why so many people want to work there), signing on and trying to impress the hiring team will seem like a no-brainer. Many job seekers would much rather play the Zappos game then take their chances on the outdated method of submitting a resume and cover letter--especially when studies show your application is far more likely to get tossed into a big black hole that way. Meanwhile, for those who find the idea uncomfortable, they just need not apply. Therein lies the answer to why the elimination of job postings trend will continue: hiring IS discrimination. There's no way around it. Creating an insider's club as part of the hiring process simply allows you to decide if you want to compete. (FYI - In this article on AOL, I outline the most popular things you can get discriminated for and how to fight back.)

Good News: Lots of Small and Mid-sized Businesses Won't Be Following In Zappos Footsteps

The reality is most companies don't have the HR staff or budget to do what Zappos is doing. However, that doesn't mean they won't be trying to create a more interactive way for you to connect with them. Many are using LinkedIn's new Careers Page feature as way for you to follow them. It's a great option for staying on top of news related to a company you want to work for. It also lets you see the profiles of other employees and lets company recruiters access your profile. In short, if there's a company you want get hired by, you better be following them on LinkedIn!

Like It Or Not, Getting A Job Today Means Stepping Up Your Game!

The takeaway from the Zappos hiring trend is now, more than ever, to land a job you'll need to:

1) Study-up on employers and your competition.
2) Be able to effectively showcase your skills.
3) Have incredible confidence and believe you are worthy of the job.

Ironically, all of the above are needed to play professional sports. Now, it appears the corporate landscape is proving to become equally competitive. To win, you'll need to step up. (Again, I encourage you to read this article on how to compete against hiring discrimination.)

What do you think? Is 'Zappos Insider' a good idea? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.