5 Ways to Build a Better Talent Community

In every recruiting process, metrics are key. And the most measured are time and cost. But have you considered the most important business metric of all, top-line revenue? You only need to evaluate some of these critical stats to understand why accelerating top-line revenue is one of the only metrics with which senior executives are concerned.

First, let’s look at time-to-hire. On average, it takes about 43 days to fill an open job. This means your critical positions are sitting empty for over a month while you scramble to find just the right candidate on job boards, via social media, and in the mound of old applications you received last time a hiring need arose. With such a long lead time, those empty seats are delaying revenue and growth. In fact, for every empty seat, you could be missing out on up to $2,000 in revenue per day. For companies that have hundreds or thousands of open positions, that’s delaying revenue growth in the millions.

Now let’s look at cost to hire. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, a company with more than 1,000 employees is spending about $4,285 per hire. These companies generally hire around 550 employees per year, which totals about $2.4 million spent on recruiting.

How can companies save time and money in the recruiting process, while accelerating top-line revenue? We think talent communities are the answer.

By turning your static career site into an active talent community, you can build a private pool of candidates, nurture relationships with talent over time, and tap into that pool when a hiring need arises. Results include reducing time-to-hire, lowering costs, and increasing time-to-revenue.

If you’re looking to attract and engage the best candidates, here are some tips for building a better talent community:

Make Communication a Two-Way Street

Top-tier candidates are looking for information about your company long before they’re ready to apply to a job. They won’t jump at any opportunity. They’ll be looking for chances to ask questions about your open positions and understand your company culture.

So use your talent community as a place where communication moves in both directions. Encourage great candidates to ask questions. Then make sure you answer these question in a timely, brief, and informative manner. By making communication a two-way street, you’re turning your talent community into an active place, where candidates feel like they’re being heard.

Develop an Inclusive Community, Not An Exclusive One

You can’t afford to ignore segments of the candidate population. You want your talent community to be made up of all possible candidates. These could be internal employees, passive candidates, active job seekers, and even company alumni. The more diverse your talent community is, the better populated it will be with rich content, quality conversations, and a high-caliber talent.

Encourage Referrals

The power of the employee referral is a critical component to a successful talent community. After all, referred candidates are 40 percent more likely to be hired than blind applications, according to a recent New York Times story.

Given the inside perspective gleaned from your current employees, these referral candidates will better understand the company culture and the demands of the position. So it should come as no surprise referrals tend to stay twice as long.

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The trouble is, only 23 percent of employees are actively referring their network because 60 percent say their company doesn’t provide the means to do so. If you’re not encouraging employee referrals, you’re missing out on a prime source of new employees who are more likely to fit the company culture, and perform better.

Share Relevant Content

A great way of getting your talent community engaged is to share relevant content about your company or industry. Emailing company news and milestones — in addition to new job alerts — will give interested candidates an inside look into your organization and plenty of reasons to return to the community.

You should also share interesting articles about trends impacting your industry and encourage talent to discuss and share their thoughts. A smart comment about an important industry trend might help you discover a candidate with outside-the-box ideas and top-quality thinking about the issues of the day.

Make Connecting Fast and Easy

Most importantly, you want the process of connecting with your company to be fast, easy, and painless. You don’t want to force interested applicants to spend hours filling out endless forms. Instead, candidates should be able to express interest by simply joining the community in less than 60 seconds.

Communication between candidates and internal recruiters can be made easy by shortening interactions to the size of an average tweet. (That’s about 140 characters for the hashtag-phobic.) This way, asking and answering questions becomes easier for both sides of the equation.

Transforming your career site into an active talent community will allow you to build relationships with your future workforce, long before the hiring need arises. More importantly, what that means is accelerated time-to-revenue and reduced cost of hiring.

What are some of your tips for building a better talent community? Share in the comments!

Lauren Smith is co-founder and VP Marketing of Ascendify, a talent acquisition platform that helps enterprise companies build talent communities to connect with the future people they want to hire in a more social way. Connect with her and Ascendify on LinkedIn andTwitter.


5 Comments on “5 Ways to Build a Better Talent Community

  1. Thank you, Lauren. Very well-written article, and I appreciate your citing the sources for your facts; an umber of our author colleagues seem to put their “facts” out of the air (or other places)….

    I think that most recruiters and their managers agree that it’s a valuable idea to create talent communities/talent pipelines. However, it’s been my experience that few large companies, and even fewer SMBs are willing/able to commit their recruiting resources to doing this- we either drinking from firehoses or wondering how much longer they’ll keep us on during the slow-down, slowdown. It may come down the unwillingness of hirng someone whose responsibility is to develop relationships with candidates who may not be hired for 6 months, 12 months, or ever.

    Besides organizations like your company which helps companies create talent communities (thank you again for not turning this article into an infomercial, as some of our author colleagues sometimes do), I know of at least two tools which can help with aspects of it- one is a tool primarily designed for managing the employee referral process, and another is primarily a sourcing tool which allows people to more freely and completely access, aggregate, and contact large sections of their social networks (like LI and FB) which are otherwise not directly accessible to them.

    @ Everybody: DISCLAIMER- if I mention some recruiting product or service (as I did abovr), I’m probably hoping to make some money with it if I can; in these cases, I am NOT a disinterested party…



  2. I think one of the simplest things to do is to talk to people. We send out emails to people through Linked In and only talk to the ones that interest. We send reject emails to candidates with no explanations as to why they were not considered.

    I hear so many applicants complain that they can never connect with a real person. My suggestions to recruiters is to respond to ALL emails.

    Some will say “I am so busy that I don’t have the time.” Nonsense, I am managing a req load of 25 engineering positions and I respond to every email inquiry. Make it a priority

  3. @ Edward: You COULD continue to personally respond to every call, email, tweet, etc. you receive, or you could hire a Virtual Candidate Care Specialist for $3.00/hr to handle every communication that you don’t want to immediately go forward with (either “Nos”, or “Not yet/I don’t knows”) and make sure they all have pleasant and professional candidate experiences. The goal would be to have the maximum number of people you don’t hire right now be so happy that they’d consider applying again and/or referring their friends, while at the same time allowing you to devote your time to your more value-added recruiting activities.


  4. Nice article, I particularly like your thinking around “Develop an Inclusive Community, Not An Exclusive One.” I assume in this context that you are building a talent community around a brand or a company. One of the lessons of my past 6 years of building online communities of talent is that if your attempt to limit the membership to just the “stars” or the “silver medalists” or some other method of exclusion, the communities never thrive. Thanks for sharing.

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