The Why of Online Talent Communities: #TChat Preview

Community connected us around the writing. The writing and the peer reviews were important, yes; that’s why we were there, but the relationships that formed between myself and the other novice-to-published poetry, short story, novel and screenplay writers were what kept us coming back.

The collaborative exercises, the chat rooms, the peer reviews and a myriad of other activities became the glue that bound us all together. For years after I still kept in touch with a handful of them.

This was back in the early 2000’s, before the social networks of today like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Focus, Unthink (which I’m still trying to think through), the TalentCulture Community (of course) and others — but after the online user groups of the early Internet. It was called Zoetrope, a Coppola production, and it still exists today.

I miss that community; I miss the art. I’m sure you may have figured out that it was also a talent sourcing tool for Coppola productions as well as other editors, publishers and writing factions.

When is it a talent sourcing pool versus a talent community? When are they both?

Fast forward to the recent Recruiting Innovation Summit at Facebook headquarters. Listening to talent acquisition leaders from UPS and JC Penney speak about talent communities was telling. The fact is, they really weren’t talent communities in the sense that people interested in the “brand” were communicating with one another about relevant topics or interacting in other collaborative activities.

The fact is, they were drawn to various social recruiting strategies that primarily included online videos, career sites and Facebook pages.


I write that only because it’s what I believe is the path to talent community glory. Meaning, if your talent acquisition strategy doesn’t include social recruiting, you’re probably going to be stuck in the 13th concentric ring of Dante’s recruitment inferno and dead-end resume database. (Thankfully, 13 is my lucky number.)

Most companies I’ve heard from are using social recruiting strategies to drive two-way job information and career communication between them and their “members” — but again, they’re not communities in the sense that members talk to one another and collaborate on a variety of activities, whether they apply for the jobs or not.

Do we really need them today, these online collaborative communities? Or do we just need a Facebook page to “Like”? Is social recruiting a waste of time and resources all together? Should we just stick to our old school rolodex + face-time strategy?

You tell me, baby. Personally, though, building and maintaining online collaborative talent communities inside and out is where the world of work needs to go to be vibrantly competitive.

Sourcing may be commodity, but community is art.

Join us tonight, November 2, at 4 pm PT (7 pm ET) for our fourth radio episode and part two of our exploration of online talent (communities) pools. “Communities” is in parentheses because we’ve heard a lot of cross-talk about whether they’re really communities, or just talent sourcing pools. There is a difference.

We’ll also have our simultaneous #TChat Twitter chat rolling where we’ll tackle these questions:

  • Q1: Online talent communities mean different things to different organizations. Tell us briefly what they mean to you?
  • Q2: What are online talent pools and what are the differences between pools and communities?
  • Q3: What types of recruiting activities do organizations need to embrace to get to pools and communities?
  • Q4: Why is social recruiting so important to building and maintaining talent pools and communities?
  • Q5: What are active job seekers more interested in – jobs or communities? What about passive seekers? And why?
  • Q6: We keep talking about external recruiting, but what about talent pools/communities for internal mobility?

Whether you’re a hiring company, a talent community vendor, a recruiter or a job seeker — this is the #TChat show for you! Come listen to us banter further about talent communities and join in the conversation online on Twitter.

If you’re not familiar with our weekly Twitter #TChat (TalentCulture Chat) or TalentCulture blogging community, we are a collective of business leaders, social media advocates, workplace culture and career professionals, and we discuss the World of Work. It’s about re-imagining how we, as leaders, acquire, empower and retain our workforce today, with emotional connectivity and global cultural inclusivity — the intersection of Talent + Culture.