How to Build a Talent Community

How to Build a Talent Community

There’s a lot of talk about talent communities on the web right now, and why not? There are various benefits that come along with building talent communities, including the ability to fill positions more quickly and successfully.

But how do you go about actually building and maintaining a talent community? And what do you do with it once you have one? Those questions can be answered in three simple steps:

Step 1: Add Candidates

The main way that people will become part of your talent community is through the regular job application process. While most applicants either get hired or turned away for specific reasons, there are always a few candidates that fall into a grey area that your talent community can cover. Consider adding candidates to your talent community if:

  • They aren’t a good fit for the position that they applied for.
  • They aren’t a good fit for any of your currently open positions.
  • They could be a good fit for your company if you had the right position.

In this situation, you would inform the candidate that while they have been rejected for the position they applied for, you were impressed with their resume or character and would like to add them to your talent community for future consideration (let them know that you do actually go back to that list—it isn’t the round file).

The second way you can build your talent community is by allowing job seekers to express interest in working for you without directly applying for a job. This opens the opportunity for you to capture talented candidates who you might have missed otherwise because you didn't have a relevant position available for them at the time. Most applicant tracking systems don’t provide a way to do this out of the box, so you will need to find a way around that limitation.

Some companies include an email address on their career site that job seekers can contact if they have general inquiries, but this isn't an effective solution. The email address is often difficult to find, job seekers are often unsure about what to say in such emails, and the emails just go into someone’s inbox rather than an organized system.

A better option is to include a form on your career site that interested candidates can fill out. A small form in the sidebar of your career site (i.e. a widget) is much more visible to job seekers than an email address hidden in a paragraph somewhere. The form also provides a simple and painless way to contact you because the job seeker won’t need to think about how to phrase their email or which files to attach. Finally, the information provided in the form feed directly into a CRM system so that everyone in your organization has access to the new contact.

Takeaway: Use a simple form (widget) to collect job seeker info and add them to your talent community.

Step 2: Keep Them Engaged

When somebody joins your talent community, it's essential that you interact with them. You want to build relationships with these people (possibly long-term), and regular communication is part of the process. Here are a few ideas to help you accomplish this:

  • Organize your community into relevant groups (accounting, IT, nursing, sales, etc.) so that you can send more relevant and targeted information to each member.
  • Send out a weekly or monthly update email with items like:
    • New positions that recently became available
    • New product releases, or other company updates (e.g. workplace renovations)
    • Interesting things your employees did
    • Job fairs or other job-related events your organization is hosting/attending
    • Industry events that your company will be hosting/attending
  • Encourage them to follow you or your company on social media sites (FB, Twitter, Google+, etc)
  • As always, talk to them like real people and don't be promotional

Takeaway: Regular communication is key. Without it, job seekers will move on and forget they ever engaged with you in the first place.

Step 3: Revisit and Review

The final step is to actually use your talent community as a sourcing tool. This sounds obvious, but unfortunately for many companies, old resumes and past applicants might as well be gone forever. This is actually what most job seekers expect to happen. Your company can earn a lot of respect by simply not forgetting about your talent community.

The key to preventing this tragic waste of potential talent (beyond regular communication) is to periodically review the people in the talent community group to see if any of them would be a good fit for your latest positions.

Anytime a new position opens up, your talent community is the first place you should go. When you find potential matches, send the job to each relevant person and suggest that they apply. However, make it clear that this is not a job offer and employment is not guaranteed.

That’s it!

Give people a way to join your community, engage with them once they’re in, and then go back and match people up with your new positions when you can. Once you follow these basic steps, you will reduce your time-to-fill and enhance your quality of hire. In

Of course, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that’s CRM can make your talent community truly effective by giving you access to the widgets, communication tools, and search features you need. If you'd like to learn more, simply contact us.

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