Why this company is dumping its job postings

Corporate hiring is a hugely inefficient process. People apply for jobs they are easily qualified for, but get largely ignored. Companies are swamped with resumes and have no idea how to find the right ones.

It can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating for all involved. And that's why one company is axing the whole thing.

Shoe and clothing retailer Zappos is getting rid of its job postings, The Wall Street Journal reports. It plans to hire 450 people this year, and is requiring potential employees to join its social network, called Zappos Insiders.

The idea is to get to know employees long before they are hired. Anyone interested in a job needs to start chatting up current employees and show their love for Zappos. Recruiters might hit them up with an online Q&A session or engage them in a contest, The Journal reports.

It's an unusual move. But then again, Zappos, acquired by Amazon.com (AMZN) in 2009, is an unusual company. It just took away all job titles and managers, choosing instead to distribute power in a flat "holarchy" that will be fully operational by the end of the year, Quartz reports. No one will be allowed to hide behind a title; everyone will have to meet set expectations.

At a recent company "all hands" meeting, one female employee climbed into a case filled with tarantulas to win a $250 gift card. In 2012, one employee stayed on a customer service phone call for 10 hours and 29 minutes -- mostly talking about life in Las Vegas, where the company is headquartered -- and eventually sold a pair of Ugg boots. The company praised the call to The Huffington Post, saying it helped "deliver wow through service."

With that kind of culture, it perhaps makes sense that Zappos would be inundated with 31,000 applications last year -- far too many for its seven-person recruiting team to adequately address. The company ended up hiring 1.5 percent, The Journal reports. Now, the hiring department will use software to help sort out its "insiders."

There are questions about whether this experiment will work. Will an insider stick around for months, even if no progress is made on hiring? Will prospective employees even have time to participate in yet another social network?

Twitter users seemed to be split on the idea. "The death of the job ad as we know it," wrote one user. "Makes sense if you're a desired employer," wrote another. "Everyone I've hired has come through relationship development. None via job posting."

Yet other users were skeptical. "Seems like an excellent way to attract only the unemployed," wrote one user. "Zappos' innovative new hiring method: nepotism," wrote Christopher Mims, a technology columnist for The Journal.

Zappos is hardly alone in toying with the hiring process. One messaging company, Kik, likes to start employees part-time before moving them to a full-time job, Marketplace reports. Other companies have tried out a professional version of speed-dating to find potential workers.

And once they're hired, the scrutiny may still continue. A moving company called GentleGiant asks new workers to run stairs at Harvard Stadium with their supervisors. Compared to that, chatting on an online social network seems like a piece of cake.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.