Meetup’s Unique Approach to Talent Pipelines

“Talent Pools.”

“Talent Pipelines.”

“Talent Networks.”

All of these buzzwords describe the same thing — the idea of building a community of individuals whose skills you will need before there is an immediate opening for them. The idea is to strengthen the bonds between these people and the organization so that when the need arises, it’s a simple matter of picking up the phone.

In theory, of course.

In practice, I’ve seen too many software solutions aimed at creating these “communities” turn out to be little more than databases with candidate names and contact information. I’ve seen too many companies fall in love with the idea (which is a really good one), but not put in them time necessary to implement them in a way that realized the concept’s potential.

This Tuesday, I attended a NY Recruiting & HR Network Meetup and had the pleasure of hearing Linda Paul, the Director of Team Development at Meetup talk about her work.

As background, Meetup is a software company that enables group organizers to create and manage events.  It helps people organize more than 100,000 face-to-face events each month. Its site is simple to use, and with only 58 employees the company, has developed a passionate fan following.

With such a devoted base of users, it’s not a surprise that many people want to work at Meetup. In a classic example of eating its own dogfood, Linda has developed the Working@Meetup group in order to develop relationships with potential employees.

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The group currently has 424 members. Each month Linda organizes a face-to-face Meetup with 25 new people from this group at the Meetup headquarters. Those attending the Meetups get the chance to talk to current employees, get wowed by their cool office space (which is just up the block from ERE’s not-quite-as-cool digs), and get a feel for the culture of the company.

Early in the program, Meetup was getting a lot of very excited and very unqualified people signing up for the events, so it adapted. The current process prequalifies people to make sure that they are local and have skills in areas that the company needs before they can join the group.

The candidate experience is a seamless interaction with the Meetup brand; they sign up via the company’s product; get to tour the office, and meet the team. The people at Meetup get the chance to evaluate a group of prospects, develop relationships with them before they are critically needed, and leave a great impression.

Meetup found a way to run their program without expensive software, and they also did not forget that there’s no replacement for good, old-fashioned human touch.

Its program is simple, but I think it’s a great example of a company that’s done things right.

I’d love to see other examples of organizations doing this well. If you know any, let me know in the comments!

ERE Media, Inc. CEO David Manaster continues to learn about recruiting every day. His first job in the profession was way back in 1997, and he founded ERE Media the following year. Today, David spends his time thinking up new ways that ERE can serve the recruiting community. You can follow David on Twitter or email him at david(at)


6 Comments on “Meetup’s Unique Approach to Talent Pipelines

  1. [thanks Todd]

    The interesting element of the meet ‘em Meetup is that in theory you only attend once. Once you’ve met by Meetup, there’s no longer a reason to attend another meeting.

  2. I believe the usual term for this is “Employer’s Open House”. It often works. It’s not new.

    Keith “Seen a Lot of It Before” Halperin

  3. @Steve: Thanks for the addition – I left that part out!

    @Keith: You’re right, open houses are nothing new. But execution is everything, and what stood out for me here is the seamless integration of the company’s brand and online experience through the program. I don’t see that often enough.

  4. Thanks, David, for all the positive feedback.
    Keith – Of course the concept of Open House recruitment is nothing new. Just the way I am taking advantage of my own company’s platform. If you’d like to hear more about the advantages and challenges, I’m more than happy to share!

  5. Nice crisp article David, thanks.

    I just attended a think tank on this subject in the UK and I think your early point on buzzwords in this article is an important one. What came out of the think tank is that we all talk about “talent pipelining” “talent pooling” etc. but all 12 companies who attended had a different view on what it is. Most described talent pooling – a database of people who may be useful at some point in the future. Others talked about specific individuals lined up for specific jobs (or job groups)which we collectively agreed is more in line with the concept of talent pipelining.

    One thing that was clear is that there appears to be 3 situations where effective talent pipelining is perhaps most feasible:

    1) Where there are effective workforce plans in place
    2) Where there are, year on year, re-current jobs
    3) Where there are high volumes of recruitment with “predictable patterns”

    Without one or more of these it becomes a challenge (and is perhaps in some cases time ineffective) to do anything but talent pooling?


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