A Community Few People Really Want

May 17, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

What do you do when you create a community, but your job candidates don’t seem so interested in it?

That was a topic of an informal discussion led by Lance Haun at the #socialrecruiting summit in Minneapolis.

For Generation Y, one conference-goer in the session said she created an online group for college-age students and interns to interact. Well, she tried. They didn’t take to it. “It’s been a one-way blast to them,” she said. “They would not engage.”

She said many see each other in real life every couple of weeks at an event the company puts on, which involves a short educational session followed by networking. They also do community service projects together. But on the company intranet, they’re not chatty. And this is a problem because recruiters want them online so they can check them out and recruit them.

Another recruiter suggested to her: “I don’t know a bunch of college interns are going to get on a Ning website … you have to use their method of communication.” Still another attendee said college kids want to know three things: where to live, where the party is, and what’s happening tonight. “They don’t want to share information that opens them up for spying.”

Haun agreed, saying that if you don’t capture people in the medium you want, but you engage them in one way or another, that’s plenty good. “It’s about fostering community,” Haun says. “But how do you do that within their systems? If the networking events work, do more of them. We spend a lot of time fighting what isn’t working, rather than doing what is working and saying, ‘let’s increase the volume of that, and chase those things.'”

Also in the group: a discussion of whether one source of hire, like social media, is better than another source, like job boards. One participant said that if you’re looking for marketing or technology employees, “I’d say you want to use some of the sexiest tools in your kit,” and that’s probably going to involve social recruiting sites. Not necessarily, another attendee countered, saying that a few hours getting 15 hires from Monster may be better than a few hours getting one hire from somewhere else.

Kris Dunn touted professional associations as a hire source. “I love professional associations,” he said, saying that for a couple of hundred dollars, you can sometimes get access to a great database. “As long as you treat it in a respectful way,” he says, and not “suck down the database and spam 3,000 people.” If you can’t join the association, perhaps, said one attendee, you can sponsor.

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