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30 May 2013

Communities Don't Cut It: The Rise of Talent Networks

Posted by Talemetry Today

 

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; a positive 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 networks 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 that transform recruiters, traditionally “gatekeepers,” into career concierges. Or, as they’re more commonly referred to, “brand ambassadors.”

These talent networks have traditionally been called “bucket reqs” or “candidate 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 networks 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: organizational fit. And that’s something no ATS can determine.

Topics: candidate sourcing, company culture, talent generation, Talent Networks & Sourcing, social recruiting, ATS, talent networks

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