Talent Acquisition

Why Have Zappos Stopped Posting Jobs and Will It Work?

Zappos, the online shoe retailer, has been making a lot of waves lately.

They announced that they’ll no longer be posting their job openings, opting instead to actively search for prospective candidates for open positions and build candidate pipelines for future use.

The amount of press the announcement has garnered for the company is impressive, but is it deserved? What Zappos is doing is essentially the exact opposite of companies who post jobs that don’t exist.

So why are they doing it?

And will it really work?

You don’t need to post every job:

First of all, not every open job needs to be posted in order to be filled.

Here’s some breaking news – if Mick Jagger leaves the Rolling Stones, the remaining members will NOT post an ad for a new singer. Why? Because they don’t need to. Their brand is reputable and established enough to find the talent they need without an ad (not that they would try to replace Mick, but you get the point).

One must realize that the actions taken to fill an open position at Zappos will differ greatly from that of the small mom and pop neighborhood business, or any business without Zappos’ visibility and reputation for that matter. Considering the number of candidates Zappos’ recruiting team deals with on a weekly basis, establishing a pipeline of candidates for their integral roles should not be a problem.

It’s sometimes not necessary to advertise:

Second, being that Zappos is an online shoe and clothing store, the majority of their positions are customer service and call center jobs. Is it really necessary to advertise customer service and call center jobs in order to fill them?

There’s never a shortage of customer service job seekers, and anyone looking for a customer service position would presumably much rather work for a reputable company like Zappos than at a shoe store in the mall.

Even if the company hadn’t eliminated their job postings, what are the chances they would have advertised any of their C-level positions should they come available? Add to the fact that the company resides in the bustling city of Las Vegas, and the plan suddenly becomes clear.

Why waste time and money posting ads for jobs and shuffling through thousands of applications when candidates for the jobs that would have been advertised are readily available?

There are pros AND cons:

For job seekers, I see pros and cons to the practice. On the up side, it should make for easier upward mobility within the company. Granted, there will still be competition for positions in the form of resumes collected through the pipeline and by the corporate recruiting team, but eliminating resumes from job postings thins the competition for current employees looking to move up the corporate ladder.

On the down side, for those who don’t currently work for Zappos but are seeking a job with the company, there’s now another hurdle to clear. We all know the frustration of applying for a job and not receiving a response. For job seekers looking to join Zappos, there’s now the added task of finding out what jobs are available, and whom to send resumes to.

What may prove advantageous to the employer will prove the opposite for job seekers with no inside track to the company. Zappos is planning on implementing a system by which candidates can become “corporate insiders” by joining their talent community – essentially a database of job seekers. But this puts all the power in the hands of the company, with job seekers not knowing when jobs are available, if they’re available, or which available jobs they may be contacted for an interview.


Lastly, let’s not overlook the fabulous attention this revelation has captured for Zappos, which brings the company even more of the clout they need to never have to post another job ad. Zappos has become the neighborhood kid who publicly declares he will no longer do things the way all the other kids are doing them, whether or not anyone cares. With or without the announcement, the end result is still the same. But if a tree falls in the forest, does it really make a sound if it doesn’t first proudly announce that it has decided to no longer stand?

By John Feldmann

John Feldmann is a Senior Communications Specialist for Insperity in Houston, TX. With over a decade of marketing and employment branding experience in the recruiting and human resources industries, John specializes in employment- and HR-related content development for a variety of media types in order to communicate Insperity's brand to both business professionals and job seekers. Follow John on X @John_Feldmann.