Not Hiring? Build Your Talent Community Instead

Since many companies have had to freeze hiring or layoff people due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, a lot of them are still posting jobs in hopes of “pipelining” candidates. One industry insider told me recently as many as 50% of employers are actively still posting with no intention to hire. But this strategy has one big flaw. It exacerbates the resume black hole for candidates who are looking to find work now.

Instead of this tactic, I recommend employers look at building and curating their own talent communities if you truly want to fill your pipeline for future hiring needs. A talent community also provides a slew of long term cost saving benefits especially when it comes to job advertising. The bigger your talent community is, the less you have to spend on external marketing in the future.

Your organization already has the foundation of a talent community. It’s the database that sits right inside your ATS but most companies fail to use it properly.

A talent community is merely a group of people who have shown interest in working for your company at one point or another. It could be as broad as everyone who’s applied and been rejected or as narrow as your “silver medalists” – those that you interviewed but didn’t hire.

These networks usually manifest themselves in an online format which allow you to maintain a relationship with the candidate over time using channels such as email, social media, and video to communicate industry news, job alerts and other updates about your hiring plans.

By staying in touch with prospective candidates, a talent community allows you to maintain that relationship the next time a job opening occurs as well as building your employer brand for when they are ready to make a move.

If I were building a talent community from scratch, the first order of business would be to hire or assign someone to be the community manager. This person would be responsible for building a digital relationship between you and your candidates through the above mentioned content tactics.

Talent Communities Are Not Lists

The Talent Community should not be thought of as just a list of people that you communicate with, it should also be a place where they can talk to each other. A number of cloud based software platforms like MightyNetworks or Hivebrite already exist which allow anyone to build a dedicated, private online network. It just takes effort and consistency to make it work.

Candidates (especially the good ones) need a good reason to join your talent community. They don’t want to be marketed to with just job alerts. They want to learn and grow in their field and it’s your job to help them do that.

One great example of a talent community that works is by a European company called Specsavers. They are an optometry retailer with locations in about 10 different countries. Their talent community is called Green Club, and it’s not branded as Specsavers at all. It’s a login website, with a message board, video content, professional development courses, events and more. It’s become a powerful tool to augment their optometry hires year in and year out.

You can setup your community as a pre-screen tool as well by asking some qualifying questions during the signup process to give you better data about the candidates who are joining. Once they’ve signed up you can create and curate content that interests them. 

In a past role in recruiting I once set up a twitter account to retweet news from the industry my company participated in (ecommerce). I found RSS feeds for all the major news sites that covered the space and rebroadcast their headlines to the twitter account which was branded as a free resource for the industry “powered by” my employer. It became a solid channel to build our brand and share job leads. If you don’t want to go that far you can do something like what the LinkedIn Talent blog does each week. They put together a list of the 10 Must Read Articles for Recruiters each week. This type of content curation is easy to do for any industry.

In addition to industry news, you should be sharing content such as company news, interview tips, hiring manager spotlights, career paths, new hires, hiring process FAQs, perks and benefits and related events.

Within your talent community, whether its just an email list or a full blown online platform, don’t bombard your members with content. Sending them an email every few weeks with relevant news and if possible segment those emails based on their job type interest

Over time, as your community grows it becomes another channel that you own which will certainly reduce your reliance on outside hiring sources that you are paying for.