5 Ways to Build a Better Talent Community

Feb 18, 2013
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

In every recruiting process, metrics are key. And the most measured are time and cost. But have you considered the most important business metric of all, top-line revenue? You only need to evaluate some of these critical stats to understand why accelerating top-line revenue is one of the only metrics with which senior executives are concerned.

First, let’s look at time-to-hire. On average, it takes about 43 days to fill an open job. This means your critical positions are sitting empty for over a month while you scramble to find just the right candidate on job boards, via social media, and in the mound of old applications you received last time a hiring need arose. With such a long lead time, those empty seats are delaying revenue and growth. In fact, for every empty seat, you could be missing out on up to $2,000 in revenue per day. For companies that have hundreds or thousands of open positions, that’s delaying revenue growth in the millions.

Now let’s look at cost to hire. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, a company with more than 1,000 employees is spending about $4,285 per hire. These companies generally hire around 550 employees per year, which totals about $2.4 million spent on recruiting.

How can companies save time and money in the recruiting process, while accelerating top-line revenue? We think talent communities are the answer.

By turning your static career site into an active talent community, you can build a private pool of candidates, nurture relationships with talent over time, and tap into that pool when a hiring need arises. Results include reducing time-to-hire, lowering costs, and increasing time-to-revenue.

If you’re looking to attract and engage the best candidates, here are some tips for building a better talent community:

Make Communication a Two-Way Street

Top-tier candidates are looking for information about your company long before they’re ready to apply to a job. They won’t jump at any opportunity. They’ll be looking for chances to ask questions about your open positions and understand your company culture.

So use your talent community as a place where communication moves in both directions. Encourage great candidates to ask questions. Then make sure you answer these question in a timely, brief, and informative manner. By making communication a two-way street, you’re turning your talent community into an active place, where candidates feel like they’re being heard.

Develop an Inclusive Community, Not An Exclusive One

You can’t afford to ignore segments of the candidate population. You want your talent community to be made up of all possible candidates. These could be internal employees, passive candidates, active job seekers, and even company alumni. The more diverse your talent community is, the better populated it will be with rich content, quality conversations, and a high-caliber talent.

Encourage Referrals

The power of the employee referral is a critical component to a successful talent community. After all, referred candidates are 40 percent more likely to be hired than blind applications, according to a recent New York Times story.

Given the inside perspective gleaned from your current employees, these referral candidates will better understand the company culture and the demands of the position. So it should come as no surprise referrals tend to stay twice as long.

The trouble is, only 23 percent of employees are actively referring their network because 60 percent say their company doesn’t provide the means to do so. If you’re not encouraging employee referrals, you’re missing out on a prime source of new employees who are more likely to fit the company culture, and perform better.

Share Relevant Content

A great way of getting your talent community engaged is to share relevant content about your company or industry. Emailing company news and milestones — in addition to new job alerts — will give interested candidates an inside look into your organization and plenty of reasons to return to the community.

You should also share interesting articles about trends impacting your industry and encourage talent to discuss and share their thoughts. A smart comment about an important industry trend might help you discover a candidate with outside-the-box ideas and top-quality thinking about the issues of the day.

Make Connecting Fast and Easy

Most importantly, you want the process of connecting with your company to be fast, easy, and painless. You don’t want to force interested applicants to spend hours filling out endless forms. Instead, candidates should be able to express interest by simply joining the community in less than 60 seconds.

Communication between candidates and internal recruiters can be made easy by shortening interactions to the size of an average tweet. (That’s about 140 characters for the hashtag-phobic.) This way, asking and answering questions becomes easier for both sides of the equation.

Transforming your career site into an active talent community will allow you to build relationships with your future workforce, long before the hiring need arises. More importantly, what that means is accelerated time-to-revenue and reduced cost of hiring.

What are some of your tips for building a better talent community? Share in the comments!

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.