Talent Networks, Talent Communities, What Are They? Do Recruiters Really Need Them?

Much has been discussed lately about the need for recruiters to build talent networks or communities and leverage them as a source for candidates.

First off, let’s define and draw a distinction between a talent network and a talent community.

Talent Networks: A database of ‘talent leads’ a recruiter can draw on when looking to fill open positions.

Talent Communities: A database of ‘talent leads’ that communicate and interact with each other that recruiter can draw on when looking to fill open positions.

The main difference between a community and a network is the required interaction between the members. It cannot be called a community unless the members can and do interact with each other.

Talent Networks

But therein lies my problem with talent communities. How many active or even passive candidates are willing to spend the time and effort to participate and interact with others who may only share an interest in working at the same organization, assuming the right position becomes available at some point? Anyone? Yeah, very few, that’s the problem.

There are plenty of places were like-minded people can communicate and interact online (forums, online groups, Twitter). Why would an organization expect someone to choose to join their community, spend time interacting and engaging with others in order to simply be kept up to date on potential new job opportunities?

Talent networks on the other hand do not require much if any work from a potential candidate. If interested in being updated about new positions, the candidate can simply join the talent network, which should be a very simple process (upload a resume or sign-in through LinkedIn or Facebook). That’s it, done.

Now recruiters can leverage these warm ‘talent leads’ by marketing open positions and contacting appropriate candidates when new positions become available.

Some shy away from building talent networks because they fear they take too long to build. That could be true if you are only building it through candidate opt-ins.  But what if you could include all the candidates who applied to you in the past and are lost in your ATS? What if you could include resumes from open web sources and LinkedIn searches, and even job board candidate databases you have subscriptions to?  That way you could conduct a single search across multiple sources, capture candidate information, and quickly build and organize a searchable network of top talent.

Want to start building a talent network? Go here.

Want to learn more about talent networks from Susan Strayer, a talent strategy expert and 10+ year recruiting executive? Go here.

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