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Talent Community: Targeting Active or Passive Candidates?

Posted by Eric Putkonen on 12/07/2015 in Recruiting articles |

Over the years I have worked on establishing new talent communities and I have supported or worked within already established talent communities.  I have also visited other companies’ social media sites and talent communities.  One question comes to mind for me – who are they trying to target?  Active job seekers or people who are just trying to learn more about them because they might want to work for you some day?

QuestionIt is an important question, because who your target will set the tone and will determine the kinds of content you will put into it.

For example, we have all seen various talent communities and social media accounts run by recruiting/HR that is dominated by references to their own jobs or career site or career events.  Who is this targeting?  Quite clearly, it is targeting an active job seeker – someone who wants to know what openings exist right now.

But what affect does this have on a passive candidate – some one who is not looking for a job but is interested in your company?  I would say it turns them off and they stop following.  People don’t want to be sold to or hounded…especially when they are just looking for information.

In all my years as a recruiter, I have heard and been told…you need to find passive candidates.  Active job seekers is not where it is at.  So why are such talent communities targeting active job seekers?

Dr. John Sullivan posted on ERE an article called “The Benefits of a ‘Someday I Might to Work There Talent Community.”  The someday community does not focus on the active job seeker, but on those looking for more information who might want to work for the company some day.  They are not interested in immediate job openings.  He called the talent community that posts its current jobs and thereby focuses on active job seekers as Jobs Networks.

It struck me as odd, because I have never really considered jobs networks a talent community (although many companies do call it as such) and my idea of a Talent Community has always been a someday I might want to work there community.  However, if you do a search on Google for ‘talent community AND join’, what you find is a bunch of companies saying join our talent community to be notified about our jobs.  If you are not currently looking for a job, would you sign up for this?  I would not.

So I think it is important to reassess and perhaps rethink our existing talent communities and ask the question – who are we trying to target?

target-aimingIf you are trying to target the truly passive (calling them passive job seekers might be too much, because they are not looking for a job and so not job seekers at all)…then having a talent community that just posts your jobs, recruiter chat times, recruiting events, etc. will be of no interest to them.

If your talent community page says something like “signing up for our Talent Community allows you to receive customized job and event alerts sent to you via email. You determine the types of jobs sent and the frequency you receive them”…then what you have is not a talent community at all.  It is a job distribution list.

We have to stop calling job distribution lists / job networks by the name of talent community.  Those are not talent communities…there is nothing ‘community’ about it.  They are job and career event distribution lists.  Changing the name will not make it anything else.

If we truly want a talent community and create a pipeline of passive candidates for the future (which I have been told is the purpose of having a talent community), then we need different content than what I have been seeing in most talent communities.  We need to keep in mind these are the most passive sort of candidates and we need to treat them differently than active job seekers (who actually might care about what job is posted today).

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1 Comment

  • A big “amen” to your comment to stop calling job distribution lists “community;” it is a little like calling a police state a democracy. The lesson from our marketing colleagues suggests that in this post-advertising era, customer or candidate or audience engagement is the game changer. You post captures that concept very clearly. Thanks for the post.

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