Have you heard of the Zappos Insider program? It had quite the buzz when we first rolled it out in May of 2014, and since then it has continued to attract the attention of recruiters, bloggers, people who want to work at Zappos one day, and of course, the people who just love the Zappos brand. I can tell you, though, in its preliminary stages it sounded crazy, and it was hard to imagine it being what it is today.
Let’s go back, way back, okay maybe not that far but, to the end of 2013. The recruiting team’s statistics for the year were completed, and we were in pure shock! We had over 30,000 applicants that year, and only 1% of them were hired. When we realized that a majority of our time was being put towards rejecting 99% of our candidates. We knew it was time to make a change and start focusing on finding the right people for the right positions.
Another thing that we found shocking was that our bounce rate from our jobs page was over 80%. We realized we were missing out on quite a bit of talent and all because the right opportunity wasn’t available at the time a large majority of our page visitors were interested. This was a huge problem!
So how did we fix it? Enter the Insider program! In May of 2014 we went full force with this program, removed job postings for a majority of our positions, and started to really change the relationships that we had with our candidates and Insiders! As Insiders, people who are interested in working at Zappos visit our jobs.zappos.com page and create a profile. From there, they can upload their resumes or link their LinkedIn profiles and make their profiles as unique as they choose. Individuality and a little weirdness is encouraged!!
Once Insiders complete a profile, our recruiters are able to compare skillsets and passions with open and future positions to find the best potential candidates. It gives the Insiders top consideration, doesn’t require a positon to be open for them to be able show us they are interested in working for Zappos, and of course, we saved the best for last, it can give them more opportunities to be considered for! Sometimes they are considered for positions they didn’t even realize they qualified for! It sounds too easy right? It really is as simple as that.
Now we can get into the meat and potatoes of the program! One of our goals was to change the way we communicated with our Insiders and candidates. Social media and Insider events really helped us to reach the next level in building relationships and becoming more connected.
Right around the time the Insider program was launched, we started heavily branding the @InsideZappos handle and #InsideZappos hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Believe it or not, a majority of the recruiting team had never been on Twitter and had only used Facebook and Instagram personally. In addition to that, the team had a social handle on many of these very channels that had very rarely ever been used. In fact, we had less than 100 followers when we started.
Getting started seemed scary and a bit tricky, but with the help of Stacy Zapar from Tenfold, we were able to gain a following pretty quickly, pick up on common use practices for social media, and within no time, run our social channels ourselves. Today we have an amazing following and use social media to pull back the curtains on the Zappos culture while engaging with our Insiders and answer questions for anyone along the way.
As one of those people that had never used Twitter before, I was pretty nervous about using it regularly and for business purposes. I started with a goal of tweeting out twice a day. It could be about anything, but I tried to really tweet about things that spoke about my hobbies and interests (mostly about pigs, let’s just be honest) and have a unique voice. Two tweets a day turned in to several and an opportunity to actually manage the Insider social media channels.
Some of the fun things that we do on social is focusing on random Zappos shenanigans, sharing links on the culture and life in Las Vegas, and everyone’s favorite: sharing cat memes. Also, to help give the channel a unique voice, each member of the recruiting team is made the “Social VIP” of the week. That week, they are responsible for coming up with the content, engaging with anyone who asks questions or reaches out, and really just being the voice of the @InsideZappos channel! This keeps things fresh and authentic, which in turn keeps our followers engaged.
One of the great resources we have been using to showcase our unique set of benefits and perks is The Good Jobs. With their help, we are able to keep everything in one place, focus on certain aspects of the company, and share the badges that we have earned with people interested in working with us! After all, benefits are a huge part of the decision to accept a position.
In closing, if you haven’t already started taking advantage of the priceless opportunity that social media can add to your business, it is definitely time to think about it. Start small, tweet one time a day, see where it goes. If it works out, pick another form of social media and give it a go! It takes time, but it can be a lot of fun, and if your experience is anything similar to ours, you will see the difference in the relationships with your customers, candidates, and even employees.
Interested in seeing how the @InsideZappos team does it? Follow the whole team here!
Social Recruiting and Engagement Specialist for the Zappos Family of Companies, @MeliGonZappos