There seems to be no end to the “Talent Community” discussion these days; but, as you scroll through page after page of articles in Google search results, one thing is noticeably absent: Where are the articles about why they’re good for the job seeker? You know, the TALENT in the Talent Community?? Little has been written to explain what the benefits are to being an active participant in these forums/networks and how to get the most out them.
What is a “Talent Community” anyway?
Talent Communities are a re-branded form of the online social communities that have been around for years. Online social communities can cover just about any topic: sports, gaming, products, etc. Most job seekers are already members of at least one. As Talent Community Strategists design their own communities for their companies, remember that the content should serve the talent. People frequent those communities because they share a common interest on the topics covered and it gives them a chance to learn from each other and demonstrate knowledge.
Leveraging Participation and a Chance to Shine
During the planning phase, Community Managers spend a lot of time ruminating on how to get members to participate. This largely revolves on adding content that generates conversations. The best communities provide an opportunities to rally around a common goal for improvement by providing a project, educational opportunities (webinars, chats, etc). Here’s some of the questions they ask themselves and plan around:
- What kinds of conversations will your members expect ?
- How do you get internal stakeholders (employees) to interact with external stakeholders (candidates)?
You can best leverage your participation as an ‘external stakeholder’ member through asking those same questions for yourself. Start discussions and add content that fit with the community’s ongoing theme and purpose. Chances are, you are in the community as the result of an invite; so the community wants you to participate. Ask thoughtful questions of current employee members and interact with the content they and other members provide. Sharing news articles, policy/law changes, and new technologies that affect your role or the business is a great way to differentiate yourself and leverage your participation into that of a valued, respected member of the community.
I Just Want a Job
Here’s the downside of the talent community platform: it’s not an “instant solution” for either side. Just as Talent Community Managers/Recruiters are told not to expect their community to be a viable source for gauging talent for a minimum of 90 days; so is it for the job seeker. When you join the community, you are new – like a stranger at a party. Even if you met someone who invited you – such as interviewing and then being invited after – at best you’re an acquaintance. It takes time to build trust and maintain the consistent visibility necessary for people to recruit you because of your participation in a talent community. Keep your engagement levels thoughtful, strong, and consistent; network with the others in the community (inside or out) and over time, you’ll see a payoff.
Again, the rules for inquiring about a job are very similar to that of advertising one. If all you ever do in a community is consistently repeat “I Want a Job” or “Hire ME!” then you’re likely to be tuned out. A good rule of thumb is to put in 100 pieces of content (responses, new questions, etc) and then use a 1:15 ratio: for every 15 interactions you have, you can either let people know you’re looking or ask specifically about a job opening.
Talent Communities are extremely exciting for the HR / Recruiting space right now and so if you haven’t already been invited into one, be patient: it’s coming. Since a lot of your interaction as a job seeker will depend on how the Community Manager set it up; it can be tricky to give hard and fast rules of engagement. But regular interaction, thoughtful content, and helping others by participating in their discussions will go a long way to building a positive name for yourself in any community you’re in – and shows just another talent: good networking.
Crystal Miller creates great Talent Marketing and Social Recruitment Programs at M3 Talent Consulting in Dallas. As an advocate for proactive social media in recruiting, she works as the Co-Host of #TalentNet weekly Radio Chat on Twitter/Focus w/ Talent Net Live. Crystal believes, “Candidate first.”