Are you building a Talent community?



Greetings! For those of us in the Talent acquisition space the current market dynamics for recruiting IT talent seem to be quite interesting. As the demand for IT talent seems to be growing significantly the supply-chain of candidates seem to be diminishing. To make matters worse the demand for IT talent in certain geographies is completely skewed towards the candidates and most often than not there is a bidding war that’s quite rampant.

To avoid such patterns companies are starting to think out of the box and are focusing on building Talent communities vs. Talent pipelines. Theoretically this means changing your candidate acquisition strategy to a proactive model instead of the tried, tested and “not so wanting” reactive model.

Like it or not most companies already have their talent communities. How you may ask? Well if you have a company page on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter you are already building a community of followers. The concept of Talent community is a natural extension to this and a way to monetize on the follower base. I know it’s easier said than done. As I pondered further I was able to chalk out certain advantages (please comment on other advantages you may feel are worthwhile) for building a talent community as follows:

1: Will help companies to tap into a talent eco system

How? When building a talent community companies should be inviting candidates of various skills and levels of experience to be part of the community instead of advertising for a specific position. This allows companies to avoid the silo-based approach of gunning for active or passive candidates. After nurturing the talent over a period of time companies will have an opportunity to tap into the eco system. Once they garner enough interest from the talent community they can start harvesting talent by reaching out to them for current opportunities they are trying to fill and cast a wider net for opportunities down the road. Keep in mind though this strategy takes time and patience. Unless companies start to think out of the box these solutions will not yield results. My suggestion would be to carve out a talent community building strategy along with your current candidate acquisition models.

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 2: Will help companies to think strategically and execute tactically

How? Identify a strategic road map for talent acquisition i.e., skill, volume, geography, full time vs. part time, generation X vs. Y. Once this exercise is accomplished you can go to bat with the tactical approach. This will entail building relationships with a broad brush of candidates by inviting them to join your talent community. Having a dedicated sourcing team scouring legacy job boards and social media would be a great way to do this. Once you hit a few key milestones and hit the critical mass in the community you can start a customized outreach campaign to the community via videos, audios, webinars etc and request for referrals.

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 3: Will help companies to showcase their culture.

 How? Forget “spray and pray”. If you have an audience of talent that has opted in to be part of your talent community half of your battle is already won. By showcasing your company culture via audio (interview with your resident SME), Video (an impactful well put together 3-5 minute videos, Sharing non proprietary open source code samples, Social causes your company believes in and participates, Growth patterns of employees over the years etc. An added advantage for this kind of exercise is to always use your existing employees as your brand ambassadors. No matter how big or small your company is employees can and will come across as the most authentic and unbiased source for validating your culture.

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 4: Will help companies to host webinars/hangouts

How? As you segment the talent community into various sub groups you can invite candidates within these subgroups and host content rich webinars, brown bag sessions, hangouts etc. Remember the deeper the outreach the better the results.

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 5: Will help companies to engage the talent community by hosting hackathons and harvest talent

How? Hackathons are gaining popularity and help companies to understand the strengths and weakness of an individual developer based on a predetermined criteria. Programmers for the most part love to hack and based on the type of company you are and your ability to attract talent you can host various types of hackathons to keep the buzz going and have the existing folks in the talent community reach out to their networks in turn creating a “viral effect”.

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