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I keep hearing so much hot air and bluster from social media 'experts' about how talent communities are the way to go. But what does it all mean?

My understanding is that the idea is that companies try and make their customers, or in this instance, potential candidates, talk to each other. Engage in a cosy little chat within an online community with the notion of sharing information,opinion, ideas etc. But why???

Overshadowed only by marriage and buying a home, an individual's career is an extremely precious, vital commodity. It's also by and large, very much a private thing. It's not something to be shared with strangers online. It just isn't.

I often think that many involved in the social media and recruiting business just don't have the ability,or maybe just refuse to put themselves in the shoes of a typical jobseeker. My guess would be that the vast majority of jobseekers don't want to fritter away their spare time 'engaging' with like minded strangers in the vague notion they may one day down the line be considered for a job at the community host's company. Why would any sane person with any kind of life want to do that?

And, even if you did build yourself a talent community, how could you be sure you were talking with and too the very best people out there? Is he really a 35 year old rocket scientist or a redneck sitting at his computer in underpants sipping a beer?

Honestly I just don't get it as a concept. All of a sudden the man and woman in the street wants to share their career aspirations online with people they don't know. It never was the case, why should it be now just because the 'experts' tell us it is so?

I'd sooner read a blog by a jobseeker saying what they want than a guru telling them what they need.

Views: 411

Tags: community, engage, jobseekers, media, online, recruitment, social, strangers, talent

Comment by Ryan Leary on March 1, 2011 at 12:39pm
 

Talent Communities mean different things. The notion that candidate are having 'cozy' conversations is not the focus of a talent community. The focus of a talent community will vary from organization to organization but they have become a vital part of the recruiting process in the 'corporate' world.

 

I can write for days on the topic but if you boil it down to an employer’s 'recruitment brand' you can see the obvious impact. It's about reach, messaging and educating potential talent on the recruitment brand. This is not something independent or agency recruiters are typically concerned with. Clearly for larger corporations this is an advantage and a necessity.

Comment by Phil Welch on March 1, 2011 at 12:40pm

OK, I know you're doing this deliberately Alasdair, but I'm taking the bait anyway.

Talent communities aren't necessarily about discussing nothing but work. They're a way for organisations to engage with people who have the interests, skills and expertise they're looking for. And that interaction can involve anything, from discussions on industry issues, to sharing informative links and giving them access to senior managers in the organisation.

This blog site, for instance, could just as easily be called a talent community. I'm assuming that everyone here has an interest in recruitment. And we certainly feel passionately enough about it to share our thoughts on it. So, anyone looking to recruit recruiters would be crazy not to look here.

I agree that finding a job is one of the most important decisions you make. So, in an economic environment where competition for jobs is increasing, job seekers are spending more time making sure they give themselves an advantage. And increasingly, that means starting a dialogue with organisations they're interested in joining - whether in a so-called talent community, on a Facebook page, or through some other form of social media. It gives them insight into the organisation and a chance to engage with senior people in that organisation, and they're often the first to learn about the latest vacancies.

None of this involves a guru telling them what they need. Instead, it's more about job seekers finding out for themselves about working at an organisation, directly from that organisation.

Comment by Alasdair Murray on March 1, 2011 at 12:49pm
Thanks for taking the bait Phil, and yes, I am keen to get people's different points of view. I'm still not sure I'd want anyone knowing I was engaging with a competitor if I was currently in someone else's employ,or is the idea that everyone calls themselves 'Red fox' or 'Talented in Taunton' for this dialogue/engagement? And again I ask, how do we know these people who roll up and start engaging are actually any good at what they do? Just because I'm in a community for rocket scientists doesn't automatically make me the best rocket scientist around,or indeed a rocket scientist at all. I may just be lonely and grateful for the chat in my porn break or I could be 12 and just a bit geeky. See what I'm getting at? Where and how do you authenticate/verify this talent community member's actual talent? Not being one to hang out in corporate employers forums in my spare time I'm just curious.
Comment by Phil Welch on March 1, 2011 at 1:05pm
For the most part, these forums police themselves. Because the people in them very often have a shared interest - or shared career experiences - they can usually spot someone who doesn't have the same level of knowledge or expertise. So, taking your example, you'd be rumbled pretty quickly by a genuine rocket scientist if you tried talking about rocket fuel quotients or suchlike. And there should always be a mechanism for blocking people if they're reported to the administrator. Like I said, very much like this site.
Comment by David Smooke on March 1, 2011 at 1:32pm
If they don't have the same level of expertise the language will show it as it does in person. What about the redneck rock scientist who drinks beer in his underwear and invents the new rocket ship? Does he exist? Industry is results; I mean blogging is quality of words and recruiting is quality of hire. What brings us together is the talent to discuss how to manage our ideas. I come up with ideas for work in daily life. I come up with ideas for daily life while working. It is only natural in engaging in "cosy little chat within an online community with the notion of sharing information,opinion, ideas etc." some of one's private life will be shared. Transparency!
Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 1, 2011 at 1:57pm
Then why not call it a company chatroom?
Comment by Luke Toland on March 1, 2011 at 9:15pm

Very interesting points Alasdair. I do find it surprising that there is an expectation that professionals or job seekers are now expected to find some niche forum in order to get ahead. Everyone has their passions and that's fantastic. My background is in finance and I love keeping abreast in that area. But I don't feel an inclination to begin discussing theories, experiences and corporate events. 

 

Phil really summed it up. The communities are about signalling to fellow users that they share a commonality and interest in whichever topic area. I'm sure some users specifically join discussions for the express purpose of landing on some recruiter's radar. By and large though, you're at the community because you want to, not because you're trying to improve your career track, though I'm sure it helps. Of course you're going to get the vapid responses that contribute nothing and merely nod in a certain direction. If a recruiter was floating about, they'd overlook and move on to the next comment. 

 

Part of the problem with online communities is tracking. There are oodles of erudite, keen and intelligent people who have something interesting to say and can throw spanners into the work by bringing a new take. However, unless you've a record of everything you say, and in the context of the discussion, it might be difficult to convey to a potential company that you are as active as you say.

 

Companies that really want to stoke discussion ought to hold forums themselves or on the job boards.

Comment by Lauren Smith on January 23, 2013 at 5:00pm

Hey Alasdair - Great question.

The #1 reason why a candidate should join a talent community, is because it's SO MUCH easier than spending the 45-minutes to apply via the complicated ATS.

Just join the community in a few clicks, and stay up to date, meet people who work there, and decide to make a move when you're ready. 

Here's some tips we recommend for building a talent community at your career site: http://www.ascendify.com/10-best-practices-for-building-a-talent-co...

I'd love to show you some of the pretty amazing technology we're developing.

Might get you to change your mind :) 

Lauren

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