Building and Sustaining Online Talent Communities: #TChat Preview

Originally Posted on MonsterThinking

The interesting thing about technologies (cloud computing is a good example) is that while they profoundly change the way we live our lives and operate day-to-day, no one, outside a few technophiles, understand not only why these emerging tools are important, but also why the average consumer should care.

And with good reason; the ultimate test of any technology is its transparency; apositive user experience is predicated, after all, primarily on instinct and intuition.

Consumer technology, as a rule, is designed to operate in the background, enabling efficiencies and empowering users in significant, yet silent, ways.

The more one has to think about a technology, the more it calls attention to itself, the greater challenges it faces in gaining user adoption and, consequently, main stream success; user experience is the fundamental difference between a Mac and a mainframe, between 8 MM film and digital video.

But when it comes to the social technologies in the talent acquisition tool box, the goals, and associated best practices, shift from creating transparency to increasing visibility.

This is, after all, the entire point of engagement and employer branding.  Getting top candidates to notice your company, its culture and careers creates the competitive advantage in the war for talent.

This also requires fundamentally rethinking many of the tenets of HR Technology; after all, applicant tracking systems are designed to drive applications, not to mention operational and reporting efficacy, by making the process as streamlined and intuitive as possible for both recruiter and applicant (how well they succeed is a different matter).

The most meaningful metrics here are tactical (days to fill, number of applicants, etc.), but for most organizations in this market, finding applicants quickly isn’t the challenge: it’s finding the best candidates.  Who, as we know, have the kind of marketable skills that mean they probably aren’t actively looking.

That’s where talent communities come in.  In the new world of work, it’s not about selling jobs anymore.  It’s about building relationships.

And the transactional tools of driving applications and developing databases are giving way to strategic initiatives which transform recruiters, traditionally “gatekeepers,” into career concierges.  Or, as they’re more commonly referred to, “brand ambassadors.”

These talent communities have traditionally been called “talent pools” or “pipelines,” but these concepts are quickly drowning in that these relationships exist in private, on the phone or over e-mail, with everything tracked in a closed system: “Just calling to check in and see how everything’s going.”

This 1-1 interaction can easily be scaled, and translated, into meaningful interactions that give insight and add value not only to the candidate who’s “right now,” but those who will be “right” in the future, showing the process and filling in the traditional black holes of transparent technology.

Of course, building talent communities takes time.  But here’s the good news: they’re organic, and if managed properly, are self-sustaining, with the community of candidates driving the dialogue about what it’s like to work at your company – and why they might want to work there.

And while that drives affinity, loyalty, and ultimately, increased applications and referrals for an employer, it also gives the recruiter a recruiter visibility into that most nebulous – but most important – consideration of all: culture fit.

#TChat Preview Post: Building and Sustaining Online Talent Communities (09.28.11)

Because culture’s the core component of all communities.  Your workforce included.  That’s why this week, in the lead up toHREvolution, #TChat Radio will on the air at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT discussing the best ways brands can build – and maintain – sustainable, 3-D talent communities.

We’ll be joined by a cavalcade of social media stars, including:

Whether you’re an employer, candidate, marketer, leader or recruiter, talent communities are more than just a buzzword: they’re likely to be the place you find the next job or your next hire.

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some background reading that, while not required, will help inform  – and prepare – your participation in our #TChat discussion, on air and online, on this week’s topic: Building and Sustaining 3-D Talent Communities:

Q1) What is a talent community and how does it relate to sourcing and recruiting?

Read: How to Build & Maintain A Talent Community by Heather Huhman

Q2) Who’s responsible for building and maintaining talent communities within an organization?

Read: Talent Communities: A Whole New World by Maren Hogan

Q3) Should companies create enterprise wide talent communities, or smaller, specialized “neighborhoods?”

Read: Put A Sandbox in Your Roundabout by Kevin W. Grossman

Q4) What do talent communities need to remain sustainable and successful?  What are the biggest taboos?

Read: How Organizations Are Dealing With Social Media by Harpul Sambhi

Q5) What are some of the biggest benefits of building talent communities for employers? For candidates?

Q6) What does an effective talent community look like?  Any best practices or examples you’ve seen?

Read: A Fresh Approach to Recruitment and Employee Engagement by Connie Blaszczyk

Visit for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.

Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation at our new time this Wednesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro ,  Kevin W. Grossman , and Craig Fisher from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareersand @Monster_Works.