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Candidate Experience | 4 minute read

How to Build a Talent Community

March 10, 2014

The evidence clearly supports the value talent communities have in recruiting top talent. There’s no debate about it. The question now is: “How do you build a talent community”? (Don’t worry, this will not resemble the strategy used by Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams: “If you built it, they will come.”)

Step 1: Why are you creating a talent community?

Your “why” should connect to your HR strategy. The following may get you thinking:

• Identify higher volume and better quality talent in specific areas (i.e., IT, sales, customer service)

• Workplace innovation and best practices in the recruitment process

• Build the organization as an “employer of choice”

• Integration of social media into human resources practices

Whatever it is that your organization is hoping to achieve should guide your approach.

Step 2: What is your platform of choice?
By platform, I mean technology. Because, after all, everything is driven online. Whichever platform you chose to use, ensure it’s simple to use – both for you and, more importantly, community members. There’s nothing worse than a difficult recruitment process – think of it as making a good first impression. When someone expresses an interest in being part of a talent community, this is your chance to make a good first impression.

The platform needs to be fully integrated with your career site and work flawlessly on mobile, smartphones and tablets. Career site integration means your career site visitors should be able to access the talent community with a click of a button somewhere highly visible on your career site. This flexibility ensures you are not ignoring a particular segment who may prefer to use online tools in a specific way.

A great place to start is by using Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and Google Plus communities. This is as basic an online platform as you’ll find but could be an effective low-cost option to start. For a heavier investment you can take a look at a number of niche platforms.

Step 3: Dedicated resources and business process change are imperative.
Let’s cut to the chase here. A successful talent community requires dedicated resources. And, it also represents a change in how HR and talent acquisition professionals view talent. It’s the same argument that I make for social media. You cannot simply turn on a switch and expect magic to happen.

You need to dedicate resources to talent communities and make it an integral part of a select group of recruiters and/or HR practitioners’ day-to-day activities. This results in a change in how HR conducts business. Ensure those resources have the abilities to successfully do this – social media, relationship building, online conversation management, content and marketing are key skills.

Don’t think you can overlook this step, as many organizations do. You would be disappointed with the results.

Step 4: What is your engagement strategy?
This is where the “rubber meets the road.” The impact of your talent community will depend on the level of engagement within the community. Before you start engaging and enabling engagement between community members, you need to think about the following:

Talent Channels – Where will your community members initially come from? Referrals, social media platforms, your career site or even traditional methods like face-to-face networking, career fairs and so forth. Wherever they come from, it needs to be easy for them to access and gain entry into your community.

Content – What are your four Cs of content marketing? Consumption, curation, creation and connection. Content comes in many different forms so you need to identify what types of content you will be sharing with your community. Topics include career search, organizational culture, current recruiting trends and industry insights.

Your Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition (EVP) – A potential outcome of your talent community is identifying top talent. The benefit of an effective talent community is that it’s focused on long-term relationship building where you get to know people on a personal level. You simply can’t do this with traditional recruitment. Your talent community is the perfect place to showcase your employer brand and EVP. You will find members increase their level of engagement with your company or self-select out of your community.

Step 5: Measure!
Constantly evaluate all aspects of your talent community to ensure it’s performing the way you want. If your community members are not engaged, you need to change something. If that’s the case, do it quickly and push forward.

Building a talent community takes time as there are many elements. You simply cannot rush relationship building. It happens organically. Leverage the power of talent communities to attract and recruit top talent to your company.

About WilsonHCG

WilsonHCG is an award-winning, global leader in total talent solutions. Operating as a strategic partner, it helps some of the world’s most admired brands build comprehensive talent functions. With a global presence spanning more than 65 countries and six continents, WilsonHCG provides a full suite of configurable talent services including recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, contingent talent solutions and talent consulting. TALENT.™ It’s more than a solution, it’s who we are.