5 ways to build an Opt-In Talent Network

One of the biggest trends in recruiting today is the development of Talent Networks.  Here’s how I define a Talent Network (definitely feel to add your definition in the comments):

A Talent Network is a community of candidates that a recruiting organization builds organically through opt-in and sourcing and most importantly, engages with (via social media, email, SMS) to drive qualified candidates & hires into their recruiting process.

For this definition, I would focus on three main things.  First, a Talent Network is built through two main methods: Opt-In and Sourcing.  Opt-in is probably the most important driver in building out your network as opt-in gains permission from candidates.  Second, this feeds into the other main focus which is engagement.  Organizations that want to build a successful Talent Network need to engage with candidates not only in providing useful information to these candidates but in providing good customer service during the recruiting process.

Lastly, you are building a Talent Network in order to produce results.  When determining success of a Talent Network you are focusing at two main things:

  1. Bi-directional communication: A well built and managed Talent Network can greatly enhance your employer brand and produce future candidates for your organization.  The key is to continuously engage with these candidates by sharing great content that includes jobs, company news, education, hot industry topics, etc.  Be as helpful as possible with the information you provide.  But don’t just stand on your soapbox, also create ways for candidates to provide feedback and ask questions about your organization.  And respond quickly.  This can be invaluable to improving your recruiting process.
  2. Fill Future Jobs: The reason you put effort into creating a Talent Network is because you want to fill your company with great people.  Engaging with candidates that have interest in your company and keeping them abreast with opportunities that are available is a great way to increase your # of qualified candidates you receive for each future position and can help you decrease your reliance on other paid recruiting channels.
A well oiled Talent Network can have a great impact on not only how candidates view your company but in the raw results that drive recruiting success.

However, engaging with your Talent Network is only Step 2 of the process.  Step 1 is capturing and building that network of candidates that you will be engaging with.  In order to add candidates to your network you need to make it as easy for them as possible to opt-in to this engagement.  That means that you should have a simple way (contact form or follow button on social profiles) for them to connect with your community on all your candidate facing recruiting content.  You don’t want candidates to have to FIND a way to interact with you instead you want your opt-in Talent Network to be a focal point for all the recruiting content.

Here are some places that you should be including opt-in to your Talent Network:

Job Campaigns: The goal of every job distribution campaign should not just be to find a hire but it should also aim at building your Talent Network as well.  To do so include a simple Opt-In form within the apply process that flows into a Recruitment CRM or Database.  You can then start engaging with contacts that didn’t apply but filled out the Opt-in form (which happens more often than you think.)

Career Site: If you don’t already have an Opt-in option on your Career Site, add one today.  Candidates that come to your Career Site are valuable commodities not only because they obviously have some interest but also as they are looking to educate themselves on your company.  Make sure your opt-in option is prominent on your site so that if there are not any opportunities of interest today, you can keep in touch with candidates until a position that fits becomes available.

Events / Career Fairs: The point of a Career Fair or Event is to meet as many potential qualified candidates as possible.  The main problem though is that many companies don’t do a great job of tracking and engaging with the candidates they meet after the event.  Instead of using the old “Apply Online” or “Join our Network Online” sound-byte enable them to join your Network at your booth by having a portal set-up specifically for this.  You can also use mobile recruiting technologies to enable candidates to add themselves to your network with their own mobile phones.

Blog: Many organizations are understanding the power of being transparent and sharing stories from their employees.  A blog is a great way to help candidates understand why working at your company is special.  Doesn’t it make sense to provide candidates with an easy way to engage with you on this channel?

Social Media Profiles: Many organizations are turning to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to engage and communicate with candidates on their recruiting organization and process.  Having candidates follow these channels is a great way to build community for your recruiting organization, however, you may also want to enable candidates to opt-in to email & SMS distributions via these channels as well.  With multiple means of communication with contacts you will be able to better engage and share useful information with your Talent Network.

If you are not using all your recruiting channels to drive candidates into your Talent Network, you are doing your recruitment marketing process a disservice.  With a relatively simple opt-in form or link to your social recruiting profiles, you can provide candidates with easy access to engage with your organization and start building the community & employer brand you want for your company.

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