Business

How Zillow is planning to hire thousands of new employees

John Thomey
John Thomey
Mar 18, 2021
How Zillow is planning to hire thousands of new employees
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Good morning! Happy Urban Tech Thursday.

Today’s edition is an incredibly exciting one. I got to chat with Zillow on some recent company news that it will hire over 2,000 new employees nationwide. I also heard the company’s perspective on the new landscape for hiring and retention coming out of COVID.

Before we get to my conversation with Zillow, I wanted to share a few updates on the paid product and pilot we are building for Urban Tech.

Since I shared a couple of weeks ago that I’ve accepted outside money to build out a paid product for Urban Tech, over 175 of you have signed up for the product beta to help me build the earliest iteration before the full public launch in early summer.

Here’s a look at the incredible folks who are a part of this group helping me figure out what this product will be:

If you’re interested in joining them, please sign up for the beta waitlist!! 🙏

I’m currently working with a technical team and am hoping to have a full website and the first iteration of the beta ready for testing some time next week — more details to come soon.

Join the Urban Tech Product Beta Group!

I’m going to need a lot of help before this is ready for the full public launch, and I’d love for anyone passionate about this space to have a voice on the product we are building — since it’s all for you.

Now let’s get to my conversation with Annie!

This week for the newsletter, I got to chat with Zillow’s Vice President of Recruiting, Annie Rihn. Earlier this month, Zillow announced that it would be hiring thousands of employees across the country to bolster growth plans.

Annie shared with me why the company is growing so fast right now, how it’s looking to manage the growth effectively, and her thoughts on how new workforce models can solve equity issues in hiring and talent retention.

Here’s a bit more on Annie’s background, and you’ll see why I was so excited to chat with her for the newsletter. She’s a rockstar:

As Vice President of Recruiting at Zillow Group, Annie leads the company’s recruiting organization, including strategy and execution for recruiting at all Zillow Group brands and company office locations. Annie joined the company pre-launch in 2005 and built the recruiting function from the ground up. She oversees recruiting for national tech, business, revenue, and emerging markets; the recruiting programs and operations teams; and the organization’s robust functions focused on centralized sourcing, internal mobility, executive search, diversity, and university recruiting.

Annie is a recognized leader in the recruiting field, having spoken on recruiting best practices, hiring innovations, and diversity and inclusion topics at notable events including SXSW, ERE Recruiting Conference, FullConTech, and Talent 42. Prior to joining Zillow, Annie started her recruiting career at both startups and large companies such as T-Mobile and Washington Mutual.

Your team shared that Zillow is bolstering your recruitment efforts lately; can you share more info on that and why you're doing it right now?

We’re planning to hire more than 2,000 employees nationwide in 2021, increasing our total workforce by about 40%. This significant hiring goal was sparked by a year of impressive growth across the business and a historic year in the real estate industry. More and more swiftly, every step of the real estate transaction is moving from offline to online, and we intend to match that trajectory with aggressive growth and innovation.

How do you think a distributed workforce model can help employers better deal with equity issues in hiring and the employee experience?

Representation and equity are very important at Zillow. We are broadening our pipelines and expanding our outreach to connect with more candidates, especially those from underrepresented communities. To measure our progress and hold ourselves accountable to action, in January 2021 we announced three-year representation commitments. We are looking at where the talent is and assessing the gaps we have.

Our Distributed Workforce model – which offers current and prospective employees roles in an office, field, remote or hybrid format — allows most employees the flexibility to work where they are most comfortable and productive, whether that is at one of Zillow’s offices or remotely. It’s a more inclusive, more personalized, more flexible, more efficient way of working.

We are also providing career development opportunities that may have not otherwise existed for our employees. We are proud of our robust Internal Mobility program, and now without location-specific requirements, unlocking new opportunities within Zillow is more accessible than ever.

What role do cities play in the challenge of finding and retaining top talent?

We believe being “headquartered in the cloud” will be a competitive advantage in attracting a broader range of job candidates from across the country. When your home no longer needs to be near an office, your decisions about where you live and where you work can change. We expect that allowing employees to work from almost anywhere will attract job candidates who might otherwise not have applied out of an inability or reticence to move close to our offices.

Similarly, we believe allowing employees maximum flexibility will help us retain our current, amazing talent. Employees can live in whatever city they choose nationwide – or not live in a city at all. The key is that they now have a choice.

Outside of hiring, what's on the horizon for Zillow as a company this year?

Zillow just marked our 15th anniversary, and we’re motivated now by the same dream that motivated us at the beginning: reinventing a disjointed and friction-filled process to make it easier for people to move. While we’ve made tremendous progress and our position is strong, we are, in many ways, just getting started.

Our customers come to Zillow simply wanting to move. The difference now is, more of them actually have the freedom to move. Untethered from commutes and offices, people have begun to re-evaluate how and where they want to live.  This trend, which we’ve been calling the Great Reshuffling, resulted in a record 9.6 billion visits to our mobile apps and websites last year. 2021 will be about capitalizing on that momentum.

Amid what we believe will be a healthy housing market, this year will be pivotal in our transition from what we call Zillow 1.0 (a media-focused business) to Zillow 2.0 (a transaction-focused business). We are investing aggressively in technologies and services that improve the customer experience. For example, last month, we announced our intent to acquire ShowingTime, an industry-leading real estate showing software provider that facilitated more than 50 million in-person home tours in 2020.

We envision a future experience that begins on our mobile app, where a customer can immerse themself in a home via our 3D Home technology, book an in-person tour through ShowingTime with an agent, get prequalified through Zillow Home Loans, work with a premier agent to buy the home, close the transaction with Zillow Closing Services and even sell their home to Zillow for the Zestimate price in select markets We believe we have the pieces in place to execute on this vision now.

Is there anything from a residential real estate or home buying trend perspective you would call to Urban Tech readers’ attention?

Zillow’s economists have made bold predictions for an even stronger housing market this year, projecting a near record of 6.8 million home sales for 21% growth, plus double-digit home price appreciation.

A few macro factors are at play here: The Millennial generation is entering prime home buying years. Mortgage rates are low. And the past year has members of all generations rethinking where they live with a new lens of flexibility and possibility as the Great Reshuffling continues to take hold.

Zillow economists are expecting 2021 to be the hottest spring shopping season in recent memory, with sales happening quickly and often above list price. That said, the concept of a “spring shopping season” may be fading somewhat. While springtime has historically been the best time to list a home for sale, homes continued to sell quickly through the fall and into the winter last year. The increased adoption of real estate technology has given buyers more tools to shop from the comfort of their home, which can be done just as easily in the dead of winter as it can during the warmer spring and summer months. That’s likely to lessen the traditional seasonality of home shopping as it reduces the impact inclement weather can have on things like in-person showings and open houses.

Urban Tech's readers are a highly talented bunch of people. Are there any open jobs at Zillow that you'd point them to look at?

Yes! If you’re ready to help us transform one of the country’s largest, most complex and most important industries, visit zillow.com/careers to see all of our job openings.

Thanks for reading this week’s edition!! Please continue to share Urban Tech with your networks. 🙏
As always, thanks for helping me do the most exciting work of my career/life. Have an amazing weekend!!
✌️JT

Good morning! Happy Urban Tech Thursday.

Today’s edition is an incredibly exciting one. I got to chat with Zillow on some recent company news that it will hire over 2,000 new employees nationwide. I also heard the company’s perspective on the new landscape for hiring and retention coming out of COVID.

Before we get to my conversation with Zillow, I wanted to share a few updates on the paid product and pilot we are building for Urban Tech.

Since I shared a couple of weeks ago that I’ve accepted outside money to build out a paid product for Urban Tech, over 175 of you have signed up for the product beta to help me build the earliest iteration before the full public launch in early summer.

Here’s a look at the incredible folks who are a part of this group helping me figure out what this product will be:

If you’re interested in joining them, please sign up for the beta waitlist!! 🙏

I’m currently working with a technical team and am hoping to have a full website and the first iteration of the beta ready for testing some time next week — more details to come soon.

Join the Urban Tech Product Beta Group!

I’m going to need a lot of help before this is ready for the full public launch, and I’d love for anyone passionate about this space to have a voice on the product we are building — since it’s all for you.

Now let’s get to my conversation with Annie!

This week for the newsletter, I got to chat with Zillow’s Vice President of Recruiting, Annie Rihn. Earlier this month, Zillow announced that it would be hiring thousands of employees across the country to bolster growth plans.

Annie shared with me why the company is growing so fast right now, how it’s looking to manage the growth effectively, and her thoughts on how new workforce models can solve equity issues in hiring and talent retention.

Here’s a bit more on Annie’s background, and you’ll see why I was so excited to chat with her for the newsletter. She’s a rockstar:

As Vice President of Recruiting at Zillow Group, Annie leads the company’s recruiting organization, including strategy and execution for recruiting at all Zillow Group brands and company office locations. Annie joined the company pre-launch in 2005 and built the recruiting function from the ground up. She oversees recruiting for national tech, business, revenue, and emerging markets; the recruiting programs and operations teams; and the organization’s robust functions focused on centralized sourcing, internal mobility, executive search, diversity, and university recruiting.

Annie is a recognized leader in the recruiting field, having spoken on recruiting best practices, hiring innovations, and diversity and inclusion topics at notable events including SXSW, ERE Recruiting Conference, FullConTech, and Talent 42. Prior to joining Zillow, Annie started her recruiting career at both startups and large companies such as T-Mobile and Washington Mutual.

Your team shared that Zillow is bolstering your recruitment efforts lately; can you share more info on that and why you're doing it right now?

We’re planning to hire more than 2,000 employees nationwide in 2021, increasing our total workforce by about 40%. This significant hiring goal was sparked by a year of impressive growth across the business and a historic year in the real estate industry. More and more swiftly, every step of the real estate transaction is moving from offline to online, and we intend to match that trajectory with aggressive growth and innovation.

How do you think a distributed workforce model can help employers better deal with equity issues in hiring and the employee experience?

Representation and equity are very important at Zillow. We are broadening our pipelines and expanding our outreach to connect with more candidates, especially those from underrepresented communities. To measure our progress and hold ourselves accountable to action, in January 2021 we announced three-year representation commitments. We are looking at where the talent is and assessing the gaps we have.

Our Distributed Workforce model – which offers current and prospective employees roles in an office, field, remote or hybrid format — allows most employees the flexibility to work where they are most comfortable and productive, whether that is at one of Zillow’s offices or remotely. It’s a more inclusive, more personalized, more flexible, more efficient way of working.

We are also providing career development opportunities that may have not otherwise existed for our employees. We are proud of our robust Internal Mobility program, and now without location-specific requirements, unlocking new opportunities within Zillow is more accessible than ever.

What role do cities play in the challenge of finding and retaining top talent?

We believe being “headquartered in the cloud” will be a competitive advantage in attracting a broader range of job candidates from across the country. When your home no longer needs to be near an office, your decisions about where you live and where you work can change. We expect that allowing employees to work from almost anywhere will attract job candidates who might otherwise not have applied out of an inability or reticence to move close to our offices.

Similarly, we believe allowing employees maximum flexibility will help us retain our current, amazing talent. Employees can live in whatever city they choose nationwide – or not live in a city at all. The key is that they now have a choice.

Outside of hiring, what's on the horizon for Zillow as a company this year?

Zillow just marked our 15th anniversary, and we’re motivated now by the same dream that motivated us at the beginning: reinventing a disjointed and friction-filled process to make it easier for people to move. While we’ve made tremendous progress and our position is strong, we are, in many ways, just getting started.

Our customers come to Zillow simply wanting to move. The difference now is, more of them actually have the freedom to move. Untethered from commutes and offices, people have begun to re-evaluate how and where they want to live.  This trend, which we’ve been calling the Great Reshuffling, resulted in a record 9.6 billion visits to our mobile apps and websites last year. 2021 will be about capitalizing on that momentum.

Amid what we believe will be a healthy housing market, this year will be pivotal in our transition from what we call Zillow 1.0 (a media-focused business) to Zillow 2.0 (a transaction-focused business). We are investing aggressively in technologies and services that improve the customer experience. For example, last month, we announced our intent to acquire ShowingTime, an industry-leading real estate showing software provider that facilitated more than 50 million in-person home tours in 2020.

We envision a future experience that begins on our mobile app, where a customer can immerse themself in a home via our 3D Home technology, book an in-person tour through ShowingTime with an agent, get prequalified through Zillow Home Loans, work with a premier agent to buy the home, close the transaction with Zillow Closing Services and even sell their home to Zillow for the Zestimate price in select markets We believe we have the pieces in place to execute on this vision now.

Is there anything from a residential real estate or home buying trend perspective you would call to Urban Tech readers’ attention?

Zillow’s economists have made bold predictions for an even stronger housing market this year, projecting a near record of 6.8 million home sales for 21% growth, plus double-digit home price appreciation.

A few macro factors are at play here: The Millennial generation is entering prime home buying years. Mortgage rates are low. And the past year has members of all generations rethinking where they live with a new lens of flexibility and possibility as the Great Reshuffling continues to take hold.

Zillow economists are expecting 2021 to be the hottest spring shopping season in recent memory, with sales happening quickly and often above list price. That said, the concept of a “spring shopping season” may be fading somewhat. While springtime has historically been the best time to list a home for sale, homes continued to sell quickly through the fall and into the winter last year. The increased adoption of real estate technology has given buyers more tools to shop from the comfort of their home, which can be done just as easily in the dead of winter as it can during the warmer spring and summer months. That’s likely to lessen the traditional seasonality of home shopping as it reduces the impact inclement weather can have on things like in-person showings and open houses.

Urban Tech's readers are a highly talented bunch of people. Are there any open jobs at Zillow that you'd point them to look at?

Yes! If you’re ready to help us transform one of the country’s largest, most complex and most important industries, visit zillow.com/careers to see all of our job openings.

Thanks for reading this week’s edition!! Please continue to share Urban Tech with your networks. 🙏
As always, thanks for helping me do the most exciting work of my career/life. Have an amazing weekend!!
✌️JT

How Zillow is planning to hire thousands of new employees

John Thomey

John Thomey is a founder of Urban Tech, a newsletter and podcast. He’s a graduate student at the University of Southern California, studying Public Policy and Urban Planning.

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