Build a Talent Network Before Building Your Community

I just completed my a presentation that I am doing on Talent Networks for the SilkRoad Users Conference in Scottsdale, AZ next month. The first draft was focusing on building Talent Communities and how to engage your candidates. When I was speaking with the Princess of Social Recruiting @theonecrystal, Crystal Miller, she started asking me about how we are going to build Talent Communities (TCs) at our company. As I started explaining, I got the “hold on Michael” as in years past when my mom would call me out on something. Used to the guilt, I waited for it.

Crystal said, “Michael, you are building a talent network and not a talent community.” I asked her how they were different and like my friend Crystal always does…she enlightened me.

I thought I would share those differences with my readership even though superrecruiter has been very busy at work and at home. Here are the facts on Talent Networks:

Talent Networks…

  1. Focus on engagement of candidates for immediate or future short term needs. If you know you have a Project Manager leaving June 30th, a strong Talent Network would include a group of qualified project managers who you pulled from your ATS, LinkedIn, Facebook, or an Associational site over the last 3 to 6 months.
  2. Focus one way communication – recruiter to specific network – where the candidate generally opts-In to the network via one of the ways discussed above. Do not get me wrong, there is two-way communication exchanged between you and the candidate, but you need to feed the candidates information about your company, a position or other events related to the types of positions you are recruiting for.
  3. Targeted content is broadcasted to certain populations. If you build a talent network made up for creative designers, you want to share information with those networks about the latest 3D Design and Graphic Technologies.   You send them information on logistics they will not be interested because that is not their focus.
  4. Engage your Talent Network.   To engage the content will need to be timely, relevant, meaningful, but most importantly, make it actionable.

Actionable content puts the onus in the hands of the reader to “take action” on your post to them. Example: Great Job at XX Company that you may be interested in! Looking yourself? Click Apply! If you are not currently looking, share this link with 10 of your friends and have them share it with others in their network”

You are taking the simple step to send out your latest hot job and asking the recipients to take action on what you have shared. A basic request to your talent network will not only lead to your job being broadcast to your network’s network who have relevant experience thus giving you a nice pipeline of candidates. In some companies there are frequent referral programs where “networkee” lets the Recruiter know they have shared the link with X number of candidates. Once they hit certain number of referrals or information push-outs from you, they get recognized on the whole talent network or receive a gift card as a thank you.

Where do I store the info? Easy – a CRM. There are quite a few out there such as Avature, Talent Circles, and Talemetry to name a few. You can even look at’s product Chatter. Most ATS’ are not candidate engagement tools, they are a talent attraction tool. What you do with that information in the ATS? Create shared pipeline folders. Now what? ATS were not designed with engagement in mind. Their goal is post, pray and stay compliant with DOL, OFCCP, and the EEOC. CRM tools can sit on top of your ATS System and allows you to set up drip campaigns, track engagement, and report on who is in the pipeline. Just ask the likes of JCPenney, Raytheon, AT&T, Pepsico, and other medium to large sized organizations. The great part about a CRM tool is it takes no more than 6 weeks to implement and the cost is very reasonable depending on the number of users you have.

So that is my take on Talent Networks. They are NOT the same as Talent Communities, but as @theonecrystal says Talent Networks are a great place to start leading up to Communities (i.e. crawl before you walk mentality).

Talent Communities take a lot more work and direct communication with individuals who you may be pipelining for the longer term (succession plans or evergreen positions) but the details of Talent Communities is for another blog post.

If you are looking to get your network started or ready to start Talent Communities, I would strong seek Crystal out to help your organization get you started.  There is a lot to do, but the long term impact will make you shine in your customer’s eyes.

Tags:  @theonecrystal, #avature, #talentcircles, #talemetry, #chatter, #crm #ats #openhire, #connections, #silkroad, #recruiting, #talentnetworks, #talentcommunities, @superrecruiter, #community, #talent


About Superrecruiter

Strategic corporate recruiting leader based out of Dallas, TX finding A level talent faster than a speeding search string and able to build successful partnerships and measure results yielding excellent results! Michael Goldberg leads a corporate recruiting team focusing on Trade Show, Conventions, Audio Visual, Staging, Lighting, Video, Hospitality, Hotel AV, Creative, Experiential Design, Marketing Strategy, Face-to-Face Marketing, and Corporate related positions.
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6 Responses to Build a Talent Network Before Building Your Community

  1. TheOneCrystal says:

    Wow, Michael – what a super endorsement.. thank you! So glad we’re friends & I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to consult w/ you on this topic! Good luck w/ your SilkRoad prezo; I’m sure you’ll knock it out of the park. 😉

    Great rule of thumb for discerning the differences between “Talent Networks” & “Talent Communities:”

    Talent Networks allow you to “Push” relevant information to the candidate and is a 1- to 2- way connection/conversation – it’s just between the two of you.

    Talent Communities open up the conversation to everyone; with the intention of providing value beyond the ‘potential pipeline.’ Discussions, projects, and ‘learn-share’ topics allow for all members to benefit & Community Managers to gain insight into the prospective candidates they’re actively ushering in. PS: Talking more about this on Blogging4Jobs Thursday and for the next few weeks with specifics on content ideas that work, and the most complex part of the Talent Community: the members – diving into group dynamics/sustainability! Fun! 🙂

  2. Love it!!! And absolutely agree… we built our Talent Network at AT&T a few years ago and I’ve always made sure to differentiate that it’s a talent network and *not* a community, because we aren’t engaging candidates in that way to where we are actively building relationships or creating the opportunity for the two way engagement within our site. They opt in by providing basic information so that we can keep in touch with them by periodically sending them news and info relative to their job search or inviting them to apply to jobs that fit their profile. This has worked so well for us (#4 source of hire out of all media types in 2011) that quite honestly, we don’t see the need in building out a community other than via our Facebook page.

    • That is incredible Carrie. top 4 source. I am curious how many people are actually measuring their sourcing around Talent Networks. It is crucial and I should have touched on it more. I appreciate the time today and love how AT&T is so successful at Talent Networks, Mobile Recruiting and the other great platforms you and the #AT&T TA team have built especially over the last 3 years!!

  3. Pingback: 5 Best Recruitment Marketing Articles of the Week 5.19.12 to 5.25.12 « SmashFly Recruitment Marketing Technology Blog

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