For the vast majority of us, Talent Communites are a pipe dream...

Another installment in my series of UnModerated blogs:

By and large I reject the notion of Talent Community all together. The very idea that people are inclined to "connect" with a company over a long period of time - hanging out backstage like groupies at a Rolling Stones concert, hoping to get the call to join the team, is nonsense.

Sorry - but this is primarily a pipe dream for most employers. Most employers are not cool, hip spots like Google or Starbucks. My clients sell car tires, put together wire harnesses, deliver cargo across the country and make boxes.

People don't want to hang out in some contrived "community" learning (and dreaming) about what it's like to work in my client's plant that is struggling with union issues right now. They are not "engaged" with my client that simply makes thousands of aluminum lids every day - no one gets hurt - and they all go home safely.

They may stumble into a "TC" when looking for a job - but they aren't pitching a tent and waiting for you. They're looking for a new job. Do you have one they might fit? Great. You don't? See ya later. It's no more complicated than that.

Views: 608

Comment by Bill Schultz on April 10, 2012 at 6:03pm
Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 10, 2012 at 6:29pm

There goes my social life.  I guess i will have to quit hanging out in talent communities engaging in all that entertaining, engaging conversation about Doritos. 

Comment by Tim Spagnola on April 11, 2012 at 6:29am

I like to think of the RBC as a Talent Community of Talent Professionals, but not sure that would meet anyone's formal definition. ; )

Comment by Alasdair Murray on April 11, 2012 at 6:59am

It's just an industry buzz phrase invented by those who can maybe make a few bucks out of the notion of a talent community. truth is, only the very sad hang out in forums with strangers for months on end in the vague hope a job may result at the end of it. People generally want action, immediacy, a result, not some lame line about how it;s the way things are going. Job seeking is an individual, personally thing. There aren't enough hours in the day to hang out and schmooze in forums with companies you might one day want to work for. It's just a plain crazy idea, as I say, touted by those organisations that have something to gain by getting people to believe their hype.

Comment by Greg Savage on April 11, 2012 at 7:07am

I think you are half right Jerry... and half wrong. The wrong bit is going to hurt niche recruiters over time, because "traditional" sourcing methods are going to become increasingly ineffective. Yes, talent communities are a pipe-dream for many. They take work and they take smarts because - as you intimate -its going to need something special to keep them engaged

But you are wrong if you think its impossible. Also you miss the mark here "They're looking for a new job.". thats the point! You are building a community mostly of people who are NOT looking for a job...right now...but might day.At Firebrand I believe we are starting to build a real community.  50,000 twitter followers between the FB twitter stream and senior staff. And they are targeted followers in our space . When we tweet one of our blogs (Firebrand blog, not me) we get maybe 150 -250 Rts. 30,000 people reading the blog a month (FB not mine),  20,000 people entered their data in our on line community salary survey too etc etc..that is a BIG audience of people who know us, and like us a "talk" to us. We calculate 10 candidates a week approach us for a job - DIRECTLY from this community. They may have engaged with us for a year or more before we get the DM "Hey guys thinking of moving, got any cool UX gigs going?"

That is GOLD

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on April 11, 2012 at 9:59am

The difference Greg is that your 'talent community' is following a search firm not a company.  or are the 10 candidates a week approaching you for a job at your firm?  BIG difference when potential candidates follow a recruiting firm to learn what is going on because you represent more than ONE company.  Potential candidates will not follow a company for very long in hopes that by following them they get a job - unless they follow all possible companies in the world.... That would be just plain sad that they spent their life sitting on the sidelines following and not being proactive which would leave them out of the running for a position with any company.

Comment by Suresh on April 11, 2012 at 11:17am

I agree with Tim, this is a Talent Community with common interest. Have some experience myself in running a community or two. What works is common interest and obviously the amount of traffic or members.

Most small and medium businesses would have trouble generating any interest in their website or talent community. They don't have the time or resources to create gimmicks or have creative staff to constantly self promote. What attracts HR folks is not the same that brings in engineers, finance, one size doesn't fit all.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 11, 2012 at 1:00pm
One fatal flaw I see in talent community for a company (as opposed to what Greg is talking about for a large multi branch recruiting firm). Most people have one predominate skill set, engineer, accountant, marketing etc.etc. let's say they do join one of these company talent communities because they think it might be someplace they might want to work or just have some curiosity. They are not looking now so really how often are they going to log in and play in the talent community? Probably not very often if they say, join several company talent communities. At some point they see something or a recruiter contacts them through the talent community for a job. Ok, they check it out and apply. They don't get the job, the accounting group says nope not a fit. Once turned down will they ever be considered again. Happens once in a while but not often. Or they turn it down. Moving forward are they engaged in the talent community. Probably not. Or let's say they join the talent community, apply for a job and don't get an interview after sitting in the community for a year checking in regularly. Once turned down for an interview what are the odds they will get an interview after being turned down? Based on experience of trying to get a candidate reconsidered after they have been turned down for interview, not very high odds of being reconsidered if internal or hiring manager turned them down the first time.
If that person stays in the TC and keeps trying for an interview ,they become just like the candidate who applies for five different jobs through the career page and is turned down..a pain in the butt.

It would seem to me that getting a job through a TC or getting a candidate for a company is
not much different than setting up a job alert on the company career page.

I can't imagine people not looking spending much time engaging nor can I see people turned down spending much time continuing to engage positively. Then what happens, does the company delete and block a disgruntled person who turns the TC into a "glass door" about his turndown or lack of getting an interview. Or is the TC just another avenue for a person to lurk until they get the name of a hiring manager so they can contact them directly.

Lots of people follow recruiters or companies on twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn to see what jobs they have available. I can't see them engaging much in a TC. Or why anybody with much to do would very often or for very long.

I can post one Sr. Marketing job in a major city and get over 400 resumes in a week. Some active, some just curious or thinking about relo to that city. Do they want to chit chat
for months on even a weekly basis. Only the ones who are desperate.

I can see Greg's purpose or a niche recruiter representing multiple different companies, as Cora mentions, but isn't that what we do already by staying in contact with good candidates without having to call it a talent community?
Comment by Alasdair Murray on April 11, 2012 at 1:05pm

I think it would be like a lot of other sites where people sign and up and it seems a good idea at the time. Following a distinct lack of activity or signs of hope, the person who signed up with enthusiasm wil drift away for a few months, remember one day months down the line that they haven;t visited for a while, by which time they'll have forgotten their password or user name or both, they'll get the company send them an email with both, log back in and see that nothing much has changed - and repeat ad infinitum.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on April 11, 2012 at 1:34pm

I agree that the build it and they will come mentality is lacking in the case of TCs. Like Jerry stated, the main problem I find is that most companies are not sexy enough to draw a crowd of groupies to just sit around until they get invited back stage. 

The other situation that continuously gets ignored, as Sandra pointed out, is that at some point the TC will consist of people that have never been or never will be considered as well as those considered and rejected. Now what? 

I've actually joined a few TCs just to monitor what different companies are doing to "engage" their TC. So far, not seeing anything particularly impressive. 

One of my contacts shared with me that a corporate recruiter contacted them a while back to invite them to join a TC, they had a nice chat and discussed possible fit for future openings. All nice and pleasant. So then few months later, my pal spots an open position that looks good. They get in touch with the original recruiter who is supportive and encouraging about them being considered, yet they merely directed my friend to apply online through the ATS. Hmmm, not even being a TC member helped get to the front of the line... Not exactly what I would call engagement. 


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