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Why You Should Start A Talent Community Now

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what exactly makes up a talent community. Is it the contents of your CRM? Your job board resume database? The collection of people that ‘follow’ your company on LinkedIn. For me, there isn’t necessarily a single hard and fast definition. What there is though, is an overriding theme.

The clue is in the word. Community. A talent community is a group of candidates that a company is focused on building a relationship with. The emphasis is very much on communication. Companies stay in touch with these candidates and focus on creating a two-way dialogue. It’s a learning opportunity for applicants, who have an opportunity to ask recruiters questions and get to know the brand, while it offers companies the chance to draw out the application process and fully understand whether a candidate is a good cultural fit.

The current ‘war on talent’ is forcing companies to change the way they hire – talent communities are central to these changes. We recommend you get ahead of the curve and start your talent community right now!

Here’s why:

Everyone is passive nowadays

Look around your office. Everyone you see probably falls into the category of passive talent. You might be surprised to hear that as many as 35% of employees are quietly looking for a new job within weeks of joining a new company! Even your co-workers who aren’t actively looking for new opportunities, the people who may be more than happy in their respective positions, are passive candidates nowadays. Do you think really think that, if a great opportunity came knocking, they wouldn’t be open to hearing more?

We’ve reached a stage where almost everyone can be included in the ‘passive talent’ category that we all hear so much about. Understandably this group often encompasses the most talented employees that companies have to offer – the kind of people that could be real game changers for your business.

You can’t rely on these candidates applying to your company, you need a different approach. This is where the talent community framework comes in handy. The hiring process becomes more informal. Less of a ‘just-in-time’ approach, more of a relationship building exercise.

Focus on connecting with this top talent and letting them know the exciting things that you’re doing. It’s a time investment and you may end up with a more drawn out hiring process, but it’s the best way to hire the very best candidates in today’s hyper-competitive market.

Stop losing talent

We often have a very rigid view of the hiring process. A candidate ticks the boxes? We hire them. They lack the required skillset? Straight into the no pile. We rarely stop and think about whether that applicant might suit a different role that we’re hiring for. Or whether they will become a great fit in 6 months time when we’re hiring again.

Talent communities let you decide for yourself where a candidate fits in your organisation. It’s this logic that led Zappos to remove job positions from their application process. Now you apply to become a Zappos insider and the company decides which role you are most appropriate for.

This puts the power back in the hands of your recruitment team and stops talented individuals, that might be perfect for your company, from slipping through the gaps.

This post originally appeared on the Seed Blog

Ben Slater is Sales & Marketing Director at Seed.jobs, a platform bringing marketing and data science to hiring. Follow him @BenJHSlater

Candidate Experience: Getting It Right #TChat Recap

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not strategies.”
Lawrence Bossidy, Author & Former CEO, Honeywell

If talent is what matters most at the end of the day, why do so many companies struggle to provide a stellar experience for job candidates? And how can we finally fix that?

This is the hot topic the TalentCulture community tackled this week at #TChat events — with guidance from two of the HR community’s most knowledgeable candidate experience experts:

Elaine Orler, President of Talent Function Group and chairman of The Talent Board;
Gerry Crispin, Staffing Strategist and Co-Founder of CareerXroads Colloquium.

(Editor’s Note: See #TChat highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Building Brand Advocates One Job Opening At A Time

What is candidate experience, anyway? Of course, it starts long before a potential employee ever arrives for an interview. In fact, some #TChat-ters say it’s smart to think of it as an ongoing brand experience that begins the moment an individual envisions a future with your organization, and continues throughout the recruitment process, and beyond.

Smart employers consider all the touch points in that process, not just the tone and content of a job description. Every interaction helps shape a candidate’s impression — from the way a company website portrays its workforce, and the way it engages with employees on social media, to the pace and flow of ongoing communication with applicants. No detail should be overlooked.

Why do details count? Because, according to our guests (and the 2013 Candidate Experience Survey Results), these factors make a lasting impression on job seekers. And cumulative impressions can determine a brand’s destiny.

Early results from nearly 50,000 former job candidates confirms what common sense tells us. Once candidates develop a perception of an organization, they’ll share their thoughts with others. And that word-of-mouth behavior can have a measurable impact on your business — for better or worse.

Roadmap For Improvement

Early next year, The Talent Board will publish a detailed survey report to help employers make meaningful changes to their candidate experience. But in the meantime, here are some self assessment questions:

• Have you walked a mile in your candidate’s shoes? (And documented that walk?)
• What kind of first impression does your company project?
• Do you acknowledge job seekers when they apply or submit a resume?
• What proportion of inquiries are completely ignored?
• Is information about your company culture available, accurate and complete?
• Are your employees empowered as brand ambassadors?

Inspiration From Candidate-Friendly Companies

How do great employers like Zappos and Microsoft make their candidate experience stand out? They treat everyone with respect and common sense. They also display other “best practice” behaviors.

These actions leave a lasting positive impression – even when candidates aren’t hired. Even when they’ve invested significant time and energy to conduct company research, customize a resume, apply for the position, prepare for and participate in interviews, and follow-up with hiring managers.

Of course, word now travels incredibly fast on social channels. And with organizations like The Talent Board paying close attention, the voice of the candidate is getting louder all the time.

So, if you care about influencing the way your organization is perceived by candidates, consider the resources and highlights from this week’s #TChat conversation, below. Thanks to everyone who contributed opinions and ideas. This is how we can move the meter in a positive direction!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Candidate Experience Survey Insights

Gerry Crispin (2)

Watch the #TChat “sneak peek” video now

SAT 12/7:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post and “sneak peek” hangout video with guest, Gerry Crispin. Read the Preview: “Candidate Experience: Survey Insights.”

SUN 12/8:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at how employers can improve their hiring process to achieve better business results. Read: “5 Tips For A Winning Candidate Experience.”

MON 12/9:

Related Post: Guest blogger, Matt Charney, recommended a provocative approach to improving the status quo. Read “Compliance: Why It’s The Only Fix For Candidate Experience.

WED 12/4:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin about the early findings from the candidate experience survey. Fascinating stuff. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Elaine and Gerry joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open crowdsourcing conversation centered on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Candidate Experience Survey Insights

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/2013-candidate-experience-award-insights.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin for sharing your perspectives on candidate experience trends and implications. We value your time and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about how companies can offer a more effective job candidate experience? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat welcomes leadership development expert, Steve Gutzler, to discuss the role that emotional intelligence plays in our job performance and our effectiveness in leading others. Look for more details this weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

HRO: Engagement Perception and Social Recruiting Technology

I spent most of this past week at the HRO Today conference in Las Vegas as a member of the blog squad, and what do I have to show for it? A new appreciation for HR and Recruiting technology innovation – that’s what.

On the personal side, new friendships were made and old bonds renewed. In short, a very good conference. I even had an opportunity to sing along with dueling pianos  – talk about a Talent Show. Right up my alley. We had many laughs. What happens in Vegas is not always meant to stay in Vegas after all.

This week’s #TChat was a highlight of course. As I referenced earlierin the week,  The HRO Analyst Study was pretty fascinating from my perspective. So while there’s plenty of HR technology out there, much of it is focused on talent management and recruitment. HR and recruiters just are not perceiving what’s out there as innovative, perhaps because most of what we’re seeing isn’t screaming cloud, mobile application. What the survey found, instead, was a gap in perceptions of innovation.

For example, 62 percent of technology providers think it’s vital to innovate in talent management technology – but only 33 percent of practitioners agree. Even more telling: 70 percent of providers surveyed think talent management technology supports work, while practitioners – 37 percent – view the technology as ‘just gadgets’.

But wait, there’s more – over 70 percent of practitioners surveyed say providers ‘rarely or never’ talk to them to gauge whether their offerings align with the practitioners’ business strategies and goals. Yikes, what a disconnect! As a “recruitment practitioner” (one of my hats) I’m hoping there are many more of us who see these innovative tools as a must have – I certainly fall into this grouping.

So let’s go to Door #1 and a review of my stint as a judge on the iTalent2 Demo Competition. The talented roster of hopefuls: BranchOut a solution that helps people tap into their Facebook friends network to find career opportunities; InternMatch a brilliant yet simple application that simplifies finding interns and marketing internship opportunities for organizations of pretty much any size; JobScore a social media-enabled talent management application; SmartRecruiters a winner (did I say it is free?) application with a great SaaS recruiting solution; Wednesdays a team building and employee engagement application built on social media networking, and Work4labs, with a very cool application that enables career sites on Facebook. Quite an impressive array of new technologies included here.

As a judge who ended up being closer to Simon Cowell than Paula Abdul as we first thought – I was way careful about the numbers I gave each company featured, never going past 8 on a scale of 1-10. Apologies to the contestants if that seems harsh, but we’re talking about my passion here: innovation meets matching people talent with new career opportunity.

I have a weak spot for technologies that do it well. In classic start-up form no company or application is perfect just yet. Innovation is truly about creating a culture of working and reworking ideas where it’s ok to make mistakes in the early innings. I found flaws in each application from either a usability or branding perspective. It will be exciting to watch their progression in the coming months. There were almost too many good things on offer for the judging panel.

SmartRecruiters won – it’s a free (yes, free), social-media enabled application that helps companies recruit top talent. The pitch was strong, the website is user friendly, it’s organized and the people are enthusiastic about it’s potential in the market.

I have a soft spot for InternMatch. I mentor as many interns as I can and many people know I’m an advocate for these programs. Pay it forward and all, interns are a great resource for any company – and actual work experience with actual companies is part of a complete education.

I’m so energized by the people I met, the ideas that were presented, the technology that is available right now that will make talent recruiting and hr management so much easier and more productive. I can’t wait to talk to people (and clients) about what I’ve heard about in Vegas and beyond. Onward we go.

IMAGE VIA BestofWDW

Innovation Gap Realities Workforce Technology: #TChat Preview

We’ve talked before about how hot the theme of ‘innovation’ is. In the technology world, much of what’s filed under ‘innovation’ is related to cloud technology, or mobile, or ‘apps’. What isn’t so hot, in my observation, is technology that links innovations to people. And so it is here at the HRToday conference in shiny Las Vegas, where technology is everywhere, but the links to employees and workforces are not so clear.

I’m looking forward to visiting the technology demos, and especially speaking with today’s analyst panel, which is bringing a group together to discuss the ‘innovation gap’ in HR technology. As I wear my “everyday practitioner” hat it is apparent to me that we still have some major holes to contend with. Reality Check!

At today’s panel, our hosts for this event, HRO Today, have brought together a great group including Kevin W. Grossman of Ventana Research; Madeline Laurano, Talent Systems Analyst of The Newman Group; Mark McMillan, co-founder of Talent Function Group; Katherine Jones, Principal Analyst of Bersin & Associates, and Jayson Saba, Senior Research Associate of Aberdeen Group. This group of analysts – many with a focus on talent management – are discussing a survey HRO Today ran earlier this year of over 100 buyers and providers of HR technology. The survey’s goal was to get a better pulse on the pace of technology innovation.

So while there’s plenty of HR technology out there, much of it is focused on talent management and recruitment. HR just isn’t perceiving what’s out there as innovative, perhaps because most of what we’re seeing isn’t screaming cloud, mobile or app. Very interesting.

So, what should the role of the buyer and the technology provider be in pushing innovation? My take:

Collaborate to innovate, but do it differently, depending on which side of the table you sit on. If you’re an HR tech buyer, make your technology recommendations based on how, say, innovative recruiting technology can help you build an innovative company. Don’t worry about the technology being innovative per se; that’s the role of the provider.

Providers of technology, listen to your customers. Ask about their recruiting and retention challenges, and think about how to use social media technologies to enhance the technology suites you’ve already built.

With smart solutions like these available, could there be a disconnect between technology innovation and HR?  I say a big yes, and the survey seems to have found the same scenarios unfolding with their samples.

I base my observation both on what I see here in Vegas, and more on what I’ve been experiencing in the market for the past three years. Sure, there’s lots of HR technology. Solutions that target enterprises are probably doing fairly well. But the real struggle is in the SMB, where most people look for and find work.

Workforce technology, perhaps more than other technology solutions, needs to scale. It needs to be useful for the 10 person company and the 10,000 person company. And when we talk about tech innovation in HR and recruiting, please hold the spreadsheets and go long on social media. That’s the edge case.

SharedXpertise and the HR Demo Show just completed a survey on what industry stakeholders, both practitioners and providers, think about innovation in HR technology.

Based on that premise, we want our #TChat community to chime in on the subject later today. Tonight’s #TChat questions are:

Q1: How important is technology innovation in acquiring, empowering and retaining a workforce today?

Q2: Are HR and recruitment practitioners truly “innovative” today? Why or why not?

Q3: How have technology innovations impacted end users’ experiences? Using it or not?

Q4:How do you use technology to support business strategies and objectives?

Q5: Do HR and recruitment technology innovations support the work, or are they just gadgets? Why?

Q6: What can practitioners and providers do to facilitate and improve technology innovation?

Q7: In summary, what do you think it means to be innovative in the HR and recruiting business today?

Back to the conference floor. More thoughts from me soon. Cheers to Vegas!