Recruitment strategies come in all shapes and sizes. But which method best beats your competitors in the war for talent?
Building a talent community is the way to go to attract and retain a highly skilled workforce while saving on recruitment spend and effort.
A talent community is a sourcing strategy that aims to engage candidates deeply for employer branding and future hiring.
What is a talent community?
Talent community means tapping into the available pool of candidates to become an organization’s future employees.
They are built via digital networks like social media, email newsletters, and resume/candidate databases to nurture candidates even when they aren’t considered for a position. The purpose is to keep the organization top of mind of the applicants.
It takes time and effort to maintain a talent community, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages like:
Reduced cost per hire
A talent community allows you to directly communicate with job seekers, which brings down your advertising expenses. You also have access to readily available candidates, decreasing the time you have an empty post and negatively affecting your company’s revenues.
Decreased time to hire
People are already interested in working for your organization, so they monitor the latest job opportunities rather than waiting passively for recruiters to notify them of the latest vacancies.
Instead of waiting for applicants to respond to job ads, recruiters match candidates with open roles, which is a huge time saver for recruiters.
Enhanced quality of hire
Candidates are already in the talent pipeline and fit the ideal candidate qualifications, ensuring you have the right people for your organization.
Moreover, these people know your company culture and are more likely to stay with your organization due to matching values.
Increased job offer acceptance rate
Even if employers present a good job offer, there’s always the possibility that your candidate would accept a better offer from another employer.
It's not just the salary applicants consider when taking a new job. Nowadays, applicants also think about work perks and what the company stands for, especially if they’re the type to stay long in a company.
Through a talent community, candidates can visualize your organizational culture and the type of people the company employs. When the talent community can replicate rapport among its members, applicants see it as a place to stay and grow rather than just a place to stay, which leads to higher acceptance rates.
Better candidate experience
In a talent community, members can openly ask questions or give feedback or opinion and have the chance to try again with a company.
Job seekers can join and see what the organization has to offer without the commitment of being an employee or the effort of submitting a resume.
There’s no obligation to stay so members can leave anytime they want should they decide that working for this organization is not for them.
What is the difference between talent communities and talent pools?
Talent pool and talent communities may look the same because they're made up of people more likely to work for your organization in the future.
But the similarities end there.
A talent pool is a database of not only people that have applied for jobs but also candidates that were sourced and referred.
Communication is one way: recruiters can reach out to job seekers about other positions, but candidates can’t talk directly to recruiters to verify new roles in the company.
And even if these applicants try to send an email or text, recruiters' answers are slow, and sometimes send canned responses. In essence, candidates are being controlled and are relegated to be reactive.
Meanwhile, a talent community provides two-way communication: the candidate and the recruiter interact. There’s a give and take of information. And members also include the current staff of an organization that sometimes serves as employer brand ambassadors.
Moreover, a talent community provides:
Members are given the freedom to voice their opinions. Conversations are not moderated or vetted. Anyone can join in discussions, even new members. This openness becomes valuable because members can see the company’s personality.
Members work together to identify and solve challenges. They also bring in new ideas and share thoughts about what the company does, how it does things, and who does it.
Employees provide applicants with details of their experience working for the company - a piece of good information for job seekers to know when deciding who their next employer would be.
When people share ideas and get accepted for it, it fosters a feeling of belongingness because they feel part of the community. As a result, hiring or sourcing is easier because candidates are already familiar with the people working there and get to know them and relate to them.
Eventually, when these candidates work for your company, they already have friends to talk to because of the earlier online interactions.
How to create a talent community
Growing a talent community seems daunting initially, but with the right approach, you can develop a community filled with talented individuals eager to work for your organization.
Here’s a step-by-step process for creating a talent community:
1. Choose a platform
First, you must decide if you have the resources to build a talent community.
If you currently don’t have the budget, you can use a spreadsheet to keep email addresses and notes of candidates.
Should your staffing requirements surge and you have the resources available, having a candidate relationship management (CRM) is the best solution.
It will save you plenty of time in your candidate nurturing strategies by automatically accessing qualified candidates that weren’t hired previously and potential candidates who’ve visited your website’s career pages. It also automates the candidate communication process via follow-up emails and text messages.
Some ATS also have talent community features so that you can check to see if this is an option.
2. Identify members
Next, set criteria to help you identify who will become part of your talent community. It doesn’t have to be super specific to a position, but it needs to at least target people with potential skills and experience that would be an excellent fit for your company.
Here are some criteria to consider when choosing a member of your talent community:
- Job seekers who’ve shown interest in your organization but there isn't an open role that matches their talents and abilities
- Applicants who’ve passed your interview process but didn't receive a job offer
- Applicants who have the skills and potential, but there isn’t a current match with a specific position
- Job seekers who aren’t a good fit for the role they’ve applied for at the moment but could be in some positions in the future
- Passive candidates
- Referred candidates
When communicating with members of your talent community, you could say that even though they weren’t considered for the position at the moment, you were impressed with their resumes and would like to invite them to join your talent community for future opportunities.
3. Source candidates to include in your talent community
Beyond your candidate database in your ATS or CRM, here are options to source talent to grow your community:
- Contact Form on your website, specifically on your careers page - you capture job seekers’ information if they can’t find a position that suits them by notifying them via job alerts. Interested individuals can also upload their resumes that go directly to your ATS.
- Newsletter subscription - encourage people to voluntarily join your mailing list to get updates on industry and company updates, specifically the latest open roles.
- Talent and career fairs - get up close and personal with candidates by participating in career events where recruiters can perform massive talent searches and conduct batch interviews simultaneously.
- Social media - recruiters need to network with the right people on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Get more insights into their interest and skills or casually DM them to start conversations about their career goals and subsequent job.
- Employee networks - your workforce is your best employer brand ambassadors. Their friends and colleagues are more likely to share similar backgrounds and interests, so tap into their network for future employees.
- New graduates - if you’re interested in hiring people for entry-level positions, try school alumni associations, boot camps, and certification programs.
- Previous employees - tap employee alumni networks and boomerang employees to work again for your organization by presenting new roles that better suit their skills and experience.
- Old candidates - keeping in touch with applicants who were closely considered for the role shows that your company still believes in their capabilities. There’s an opportunity to reconnect and potentially become an employee later on.
4. Segment members
Segmentation is important because it allows recruiters to better understand candidates’ needs and desires, which is crucial to your employer branding and hiring process.
Start by categorizing your talent community into certain occupations like marketing executives or engineering professionals. Another option is grouping them according to experiences like new IT graduates or seasoned accountants. Advanced segmentation includes categorizing via geography, like all nurses in San Diego or San Francisco. Or via affinity groups like veterans.
Once properly segment your talent community members, you can design content and messaging that suits their interests.
5. Create engaging content
What makes members stay within talent communities is the high-quality content that further engages a candidate in an organization and makes members stay within talent communities.
While job vacancies are the main attraction for candidates, they also need relevant and consistent information that offers a glimpse of what it’s like to work for your organization.
Here are some ideas on the types of content to share within your community:
- Industry trends and updates - show you on top of your game by sharing news and contributing to conversations about the latest happenings in your industry
- Organization news - whether the company is launching a new service or having product updates, it would pique candidates’ interest in your company.
- Career tips - write blogs or social media posts about tips for creating the perfect resume, passing the job interview, salary negotiation, accepting the job offer, dealing with managers and coworkers, and how to be successful at work.
- Employee testimonials - this is the most obvious way to show applicants what’s a typical day like working in your company. It could be a quick 1-minute video of a staff interview or a company tour. Or as simple as a pull quote and photo of the featured employee
- Company events - announce upcoming career fairs and networking events to promote your latest job openings and encourage people to join your talent community.
Examples of talent communities
There are plenty of talent communities out, so organizations need to boost their employer brand to attract candidates.
There are several tactics recruiters can use to build their brands:
Online talent communities
Online talent communities can help recruiters nurture relationships with ‘silver medalist candidates’ who may become future employees.
Regular communications with helpful company and industry-related content keep the employer at the top of the candidates’ minds and allow recruiters a group of candidates to shortlist every time a new role opens.
Email marketing is a must-have strategy in developing your talent community and employer branding.
Recruiters can email candidates about the latest vacancies, company news, career tips, or industry trends. Just make sure you personalize your emails with relevant and exciting content to boost your candidate experience, like sending them job openings relevant to their skills or industry updates related to their occupations.
Social media platforms
Social media is everywhere, so it makes sense to use this medium to promote your talent community.
It is essential to choose a platform where your target candidates spend most of their time. For example, LinkedIn is the top social platform for people working corporate and office jobs, while Facebook is popular among skilled tradespeople.
While it's easy to overshare your content and promote your organization, focus on the value with resources and content from industries and other relevant companies.
Social media is about sharing and engaging, so always think about the best interests of your members and followers.
Talent communities can help recruiters source more candidates because it helps them save time and money with massive candidate outreach and nurturing for future staffing requirements.
Combine talent communities with other strategies like employer branding and recruitment marketing for successful talent acquisition.