The Wall Street Journal reports a new way to employ the unemployed: Zappos (a subsidiary of Amazon) is creating a social network to have candidates mingle with current employees and show if they have what it takes.

Zappos, based in Las Vegas, plans to hire at least 450 people this year, but candidates won’t find out about those jobs on, or the company website. Instead, they will have to join a social network, called Zappos Insiders, where they will network with current employees and demonstrate their passion for the company—in some cases publicly—in hopes that recruiters will tap them when jobs come open.

Noah McCormack isn’t having any of it (and neither am I).

Zappos has apparently decided it is no longer good enough to be a qualified hire who is interested in the job. An interested applicant must also spend unremunerated time pretending to engage in virtual social relationships with existing employees. The American economy has become so warped that it now appears reasonable to a subsidiary of a leading public company to require people who may never be hired to spent large amounts of time pretending to be friends with people with whom they may never work.

And the next paragraph is simply chilling:

This represents the convergence of at least three disturbing trends in the current American economy: the long-term unemployment of large numbers of people and the consequent power given to any company which is hiring; the technology industry’s revival of old prejudices under catchy new names; and the way that technology increasingly erodes any sense that our work selves are merely a component of our lives, rather than the entirety of our existence.

I would never apply to a job this way. Period. It’s off the radar. These are the fake, illusionary relationships that people warned about when it came to Facebook. And what about the fact that in a social network, you can’t express your emotion effectively? Your tone, your range, your vibrancy, it all disappears in the face of a text box.

This is ripe for discrimination and selective screening with no due process. I want to work at companies that are willing to take a chance on me.