Jet.com’s (Very Literal) Approach to Candidate Experience

Jet.com’s (Very Literal) Approach to Candidate Experience

Emily Smykal

Progressive business practices can do more than raise your corporate profile, they also boost your employer brand. Showcasing the ideals of your business in your talent acquisition strategy can attract top candidates looking for an employer that matches their values. Chipotle, for example, actively promotes its benefits for part-time employees and tuition reimbursement as a way to attract quality candidates.

Startup Jet.com, an online shopping platform taking direct aim at Amazon’s customer base, also understands the benefits of employer branding. And they’re not just waiting for potential applicants to hear about Jet’s values and culture organically–they’re taking the Jet employment experience straight to them. Thanks to design studio Helios Interactive, Jet now has several full virtual reality (VR) videos, filmed inside their New Jersey headquarters.

What’s so exciting about a VR video? It means Jet isn’t using some slick, overproduced corporate montage filled with stock footage and empty quotes to appeal to candidates. The company is allowing applicants to see real, day-in-the-life situations at Jet, from meetings to company happy hour. In this post we’ll discuss Jet’s efforts to take its employer brand up a notch, and why this is so important for candidate experience.

Why Does Jet Need to Attract Top Talent?

Jet’s eCommerce site has only been running since July 2015, but it’s already making waves. With $220 million in funding and additional offices and fulfillment centers open in Kansas, New Jersey, Nevada and Utah, the company needs far more than its 622 employees. In fact, Jet intends to hire over 2,000 more staff by the end of next year.

So what’s going on at Jet? Competing with an online shopping giant like Amazon is no small task, and Jet is tackling the problem in two ways: building an eCommerce platform that works in fundamentally different ways, and making it calculate the lowest prices as fast as possible. So it’s no surprise that Jet has been hiring (and needs to hire more of) the best developers and software engineers.

What Is Jet Doing Differently?

A startup like Jet.com knows it needs to recruit top tech talent and effective senior leaders, and it needs to do so quickly. Amazon is lightyears ahead of many online shopping sites, and is making inroads to niche markets like Etsy’s. Besides providing a shopping platform that works differently from Amazon’s, Jet is also creating competition for Amazon when it comes to employer brand.

Jet is based in Hoboken, NJ, and is touting its corporate headquarters as a perk candidates should pay attention to. It’s a smart move–with close proximity to all the benefits of New York City, and slightly lower living costs and taxes, the 40,000 square foot space has a lot to offer. And that’s before you even get inside.

What’s interesting about Jet’s employer brand is the way it’s promoting itself, and its office specifically. The new VR videos the company has on hand were created for job applicants. The 360-degree views, seen through an Occulus Rift, let an interested candidate pan around the Hoboken office while listening in on the daily workings of the Jet team. A meeting with CEO Marc Lore, happy hour with the Jet band, or this Wednesday Tech Talk:

Jet needs quality candidates to expand and refine its unique online shopping system. But flying in every developer and every merchandising analyst adds up. Why not offer candidates an in-depth look at the company from the comfort of their home? Video have become such a popular source of content online, it makes sense for Jet to leverage that technology to attract tech workers.

How to Separate Your Employer Brand from the Competition

In-demand workers like software developers and analytics experts already expect many benefits from the companies that want to hire them. So offering employment that goes above and beyond expectations, with a candidate experience to match, lets employers stand out from the crowd. Jet’s focus on its employer brand, and boosting the candidate experience through VR, can help it attract quality hires who might otherwise take a job with Amazon.

Can’t afford to produce your own VR videos, or not sure how? Not every talent acquisition strategy needs to take the same approach. But you can implement some of Jet’s ideas. First, take stock of what you have. What exactly can you offer the candidate? Next, how can you share these benefits with applicants, or even before a job seeker applies for one of your positions? Google took a different approach, identifying potential hires via obscure search terms only advanced engineers would know.

Your corporate career site, and your talent acquisition strategy, need to stay ahead of the curve regardless of the technology your business runs on. One of the best ways to make this happen is to view your company, and the process candidates go through to get there, through job seekers’ eyes. Modern candidate experience is online, on your phone, everywhere. So why not use that technology to reach potential applicants, and see what they see.

Check out our new eBook, “The Talent Acquisition Leader’s Guide to the New Candidate Journey.” From employer branding to recruitment marketing and conversion optimization, this eBook dives into what modern leaders should be thinking about.

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