Talent Community is a mindset. Really. #TChat Recap

A very special thank you goes out to our guests on this week’s #TChat Radio Show — The Why of Online Talent Communities — Jessica Lee, Amy Ng, Chris Havrilla and Frank Zupan joined us for a great discussion. We were certainly moved and schooled by these seasoned practitioners. If you missed it, you can stream this month’s show via the folks over at Focus.com.

There’s a fox dressed like a hen in the hen house. Nobody likes that. Especially the real hens. They’ll bounce that little bugger right out of there faster than he can post:

“So, do you come here often? You should check out this job.”

I first heard the stories when managing product launches in the late 1990’s for customers like Hewlett-Packard and Brocade Communications. Aggressive tech recruiters scouring the new frontier of the World Wide Web looking for software engineers and website programmers. They began joining online tech user groups and forums in droves via CompuServe, AOL and Yahoo. The Web was new and hot and the most progressive companies understood they had to have an online presence to compete long-term.

Since even way before then, though, techies had found themselves the first to create places electronically where they could go and talk coding and development shop. The recruiters that recruited them followed suit. But the problem for many was (and still is): There was no get-to-know-me dance. There was no authentic befriending prior to proposing.

Sure, there were developers who were willing to be wooed with wads and wads of cash for positions that sounded glamorously sci-fi. But most of these self-described geeks had a unique and sometimes vehemently protected culture (and still do). Outsiders who just blatantly sold were shunned.

Recruiting is marketing and sales is employment; brand is product/service; brand is marketing; and sales is recruiting. No one in any of these fields denies that. But, the nurturing, relationship-building mindset is missing for many. What I mean is, if I get ten people interested in my company, I may put them in a box (ATS or CRM), and never talk with them again (if I even talk to them to begin with). I talk to them and at them, opening the lid and dropping in sales material. But I never talk “with them” about anything – which is ironic because recruiting, marketing and sales success depend on a nurturing, relationship-building mindset.

When I had heard the stories of recruiters being bounced from online forums, the one thing I couldn’t get out of my head was the mindset of the different factions. On the one hand you’ve got some overzealous “salespeople” just looking to close the reqs, and on the other you’ve got the like-minded forum participants who wanted to talk about their trades, their projects, the tech future and maybe the companies they worked for and those they interested in.

But these gatherings could’ve occurred at local coffee shops, restaurants, colleges, co-working facilities, industry events, you name it. So it wasn’t (or isn’t) the physical location that made (makes) community, it was (is) the like-minded mindset.

Talent Community is a mindset, kids. Really. It’s sales-free collaborative communication, at least initially. Nurture that and you’re in.