First, I’d just like to congratulate theTalentCulture team on the 1 year anniversary of the #TChat Twitter chat and community that they’ve put so much hard work into. It’s really come a long way and is a great resource for learning and interacting with progressive recruiting and talent professionals. The Twitter chat happens every Wednesday at 7-8 PM EST with the hashtag #TChat.
At last night’s #TChat, the discussion focused on what Talent Communities are and what companies need to do to create them. I’d like to use this post to share some of my thoughts on Talent Communities and what I think needs to happen to see them succeed.
First, let’s try to define what a Talent Community is.
What is a Talent Community?
While there were a fair share of differing views during #TChat, there was a some agreement in a few major points. Here’s my thoughts from the conversation:
What a Talent Community isn’t:
And I just want to iterate while these might not be a Talent Community, they can have a great positive impact on your recruiting organization.
- Talent Pools with one directional communication (although I would argue they are still a valuable recruiting tool)
- Resume Database or Recruiting CRM
- Customer Service interactions such as IM Chat or Social Recruiting (where you are just responding to candidates)
Defining what a Talent Community is, is a much tougher task. But here it goes.
What a Talent Community includes:
- Tri-directional communication between your company (recruiters, employees, etc.), candidates and other candidates.
- A common interest. What this is will really depend on your industry and the candidates you are looking to join your community.
- A platform to enable anyone to share valuable content & information and interact with the community.
- People that are members of the community and continuously engage (self-explanatory but you need people to join the community before you can have one, right? And what’s different than Talent Pools if they don’t engage?)
Those are the big four I see. Feel free to add any others in the comments.
Now that I’ve taken a brief look at what a Talent Community is and isn’t, let’s take a closer look at the last point: you need people and candidates to actually join your community. No matter if you build a great platform for a community to exist without people who engage others, you’ve probably wasted your time.
So the question is how do you attract people (who could be potential candidates for your company) to join your community and start fostering engagement?
How to get candidates to join your Talent Community?
First, I’d just like to say, let’s lop off “Talent” from the beginning of it. That’s what we as recruiters refer to these communities but as a potential community member I don’t care necessarily care about being potential talent for you but care more about the VALUE that the community can provide me.
It’s no secret why people join communities from Facebook, LinkedIn to your local Elks club. It’s because they believe they will receive a perceived value from joining the community. Whether that is meeting new friends, gaining access to new content or ideas or just having something to do on a Friday Night, there is always some thought of value by the community member.
So when you are building your Talent Community, you need to figure out a few things:
- Who do I want to attract? First and foremost, you need to understand what you want your audience to be. Is it JAVA programmers, social media marketers, mechanical engineers, etc.? Once you identify this, it can impact what platforms you will use and what content you will focus on.
- Where are they now? So you’ve identified the type of people you want in your community. The question is what communities do they belong to now? Ask employees and run Google Searches to try and find out what the most popular communities are. Then analyze what the community does well and where your community can improve on. There may even be a niche in the industry that isn’t currently covered.
- Recruit Active Members: Go out to the most active community members in the communities you find. Reach out to them and ask them to join your community. Also use them as a focus group to identify what gaps there are in terms of content and conversation on the communities that exist today.
- Provide value & content early on: As your community is starting up, you’ll have to provide a lot of the content to encourage candidates to not only join the community but also to begin sharing and engaging. Understand what content works best on other communities (news, education, conversation, opinion, etc.) and implement them into your community. Lastly, make sure to track what content community members are responding positively to and most importantly, produce more of it! Hopefully, at some point, community members will take a fair share of the load in terms of content (and you should publicize their content.)
If you can build a community that provides value to your target group of candidates, you’ll see a significant impact to your recruiting. As candidates see your organization as a helpful resource and industry leader, it will make your recruiting efforts toward these candidates much easier. The important thing, however, is to focus on building the community first and reap the recruiting benefits after it builds up steam.
If the community & engagement is not the priority, you might as well focus on Talent Pools.
Definitely love to hear other thoughts on this topic. I’ll be writing a number of posts in the coming weeks on Talent Communities, Talent Networks and Talent Pools and the value they provide. So check back in!