Talent pools. Talent communities. Talent tribes. I don’t care what you call them — just find me some talent!
A few years ago, talent acquisition folks got all hot and heavy in regard to “talent communities”: this idea that your organization should gather similarly talented people into a social community and engage them with each other and with your own awesomeness. Conceptually, it sounds really good.
In practice, it reminds me of a community pool.
When I was a kid growing up in the city, we couldn’t wait for the public pool to open each summer. It was the only free entertainment for us Latchkey kids with no Internet. We all knew the little kids — and probably most of the big kids — were peeing in the pool. It didn’t stop us. We disassociated the small amount of pee with the large amount of water and made the decision to jump right in!
Candidates don’t make this mistake.
Candidates assume you pee in your own pool, and they don’t want to join in your urine-soaked fun. They have choices, and most will choose to swim in a pee-free pool.
What is your “pee”? It’s the lame marketing messages you send within your content. This kills your talent communities.
So, how do you fix this and get candidates interested in you? three things to consider:
- You may not need a talent community. What you need is a great CRM tool that can engage candidates for you, without you doing the work. Let’s face it: Most candidates don’t want to be in your pool, but they do want to know when you have openings. They are willing to hang around the pool; they just don’t want to jump in until they’re sure the water is just right. They want a talent network, not a talent pool.
- Start thinking about where the talent you seek is hanging offline. Yep, I love online recruiting. It’s fast, and it can be easy, but as the labor market tightens, the pool you’re trying to swim in will be packed. It’s time to find some old swimming holes. You know, the ones all the folks online are forgetting about!
- Surprise your audience. Think like a marketing professional. Traditional ways of attracting talent didn’t stop working; you just stopped using them and invested all your dollars into online tools. I keep joking that 2015 will be the year of the billboard in talent acquisition because they work! Ads that run in movie theaters before the show start actually work. Are they silver bullets? No. But they should be part of your strategy.
Finally, you need to leverage your employees, your retirees and your organizational alumni. Have you ever hung out with some retirees from your company? They love to talk shop. They also love to tell their family about your job openings, and advise them on how they should apply. We write them off as has-beens. In reality, they are probably your single biggest fan base, and you totally ignore them! You have hundreds of retirees who would love to recruit for you. You just need to ask them to help.
Trying to wrangle a bunch of talented people and keep them engaged — when they don’t work for you — is an exercise in futility. The content you need to create and deliver on an ongoing basis is extremely difficult to develop and maintain. Applicants and candidates want to learn more about your organization. It’s time for talent advisors to make it easy for people to swim in your company’s talent pool without worrying about what’s in the water.
Throughout the month of August, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around the biggest recruiting issues right now and getting you ready for CareerBuilder’s Empower 2015. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions, and find out more about Empower 2015 here.