Why Your Talent Community Should Be More Than Just a List

Talent communities have reached a level of market maturity such that most companies no longer need to be sold on the idea. In fact, most of the employers I speak with believe they need (or already have) an accumulation of online social cliques from which they can find talent.

I, however, tend think the idea of talent communities is somewhat romantic.

Here’s the problem: Most talent communities are just lists. They lack engagement. A link on a company’s career site asks the candidate to “click here” to join the talent community. The click leads to an opt-in email campaign which sends the candidate updates about new job postings. Otherwise there is very little engagement. This is not a community. 

Talent communities are not magic placement machines. Recruiters still have to recruit.  At best, and if working as intended, talent communities should be good referral engines. That’s really the goal.

Give Employees a Voice

People want to work with people they like, and if you want candidates to understand your company culture and self-select properly into your organization, you should give them access to your employees — current and past. This is also one of the best ways to populate your candidate community with content — which is a key element of any good community. You have to feed it, so get your people talking and give them a voice.

One of my favorite examples of a company that is getting it right is Deloitte NZ: its Facebook community is world class and boasts some of the best examples of culture sharing that I’ve seen. If employers can get their people engaged and sharing in an authentic way, their employer brand and value proposition is real and tangible. If the employees feel it, prospects can feel it, and the result is more referrals. Employee and candidate engagement equals referrals.

Tools to Drive Engagement

At the HR Technology Conference this year I took a fresh look at some tools that help drive engagement and referrals. Here are a couple of my current favorites to help you build a talent community that is more than just a list:
  • RolePoint is a scalable employee referral platform and sourcing technology that facilitates candidate reach. RolePoint aggregates knowledge around connections that allows accurate identification of where potential candidates lie on the passivity scale. Sourcing can be targeted with a rapidly expanding set of data points, forming a detailed picture of applicant potential. RolePoint’s mission is to map this data to drive accurate engagement with candidates that is relevant, timely and actionable. Rolepoint also stood out at HR Tech by co-hosting the HRevolution Tweetup at Mix Lounge, and by having a roulette table at their booth on the expo floor.
  • Work4 turns Facebook into a targeted talent community through its unmatched Facebook referral engine, targeted Facebook job advertising, and newly announced Graph Search integration. The bounce rate for candidates who have to leave the platform, in order to apply for a job, is high. I’m a fan of keeping candidates right inside the largest talent pool online: Facebook — even when mobile, which Work4 handles amazingly well. This team stood out by hosting a very timely “Beer O’clock” happy hour at my favorite Irish pub in Mandalay Bay, RiRa. Work4 also launched a Social Recruiting Score tool that analyzes a company’s social and mobile recruiting efforts in real time. I recently co-presented a webinar with Work4 CEO Stephane LeViet on How to turn your social recruiting into a referral machine.  If you’re into the whole “referral” thing, it’s worth checking out.
  • One platform that I like, which I did not get to see at HRTech this year, is Ascendify. Ascendify spent this year honing their Talent Cloud platform and the result is pretty cool. They create a candidate and employee referral community inside the employer’s career site that actually acts like a community.  It also gives the candidate a score to let them know how well they match a job in which they are interested. This leads to better applies. I like it. Ascendify assures me they will return to the HR Technology Conference in 2014.
There are many players in the candidate community software market. I’m attempting to create a comprehensive list of all of them. It is tentatively entitled “The list of software that makes your candidate community more than just a list”. There are well over 100 vendors. If you want to help me populate the list — which we’ll post in the coming weeks — leave a comment below with your suggestions.
In the meantime, please engage your candidates with employee generated content. Don’t leave engagement to one community manager. You need more than just a list. Feed it!
This post was originally written by Craig Fisher for HumanCapitalist.

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