What’s a Talent Community?

Guest post by Jeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp

modern-workplaceV3Talent pool, talent network or talent community—semantics shemantics. We in the HR industry appear to be having some difficulties wrapping our heads around all of this. For starters, we can’t seem to agree on the definitions for each of these terms, let alone understand what the core purposes of each are. The so-called ‘industry influencers’ are struggling with this as well. If the thought-leaders and influencers are struggling, how can the industry at large have a clear understanding?

Part of the problem with understanding talent communities, lies in our attempts to define it. While we could sit around and debate the meaning of specific words, concepts and ideas, a simple definition just doesn’t capture the essence of what a talent community really is at its core.

Instead, what if we equate the core purpose of a talent community to the practice of relationship building? Take a marketer for example. Why are successful marketers successful? Is it because they create more appealing advertisements? Is it because they have a way with words? Or is it because they are the loudest on social networks? No, not really, and probably not.

A marketer’s success hinges on their ability to build strong relationships based on value, respect, credibility, honesty, and reciprocity. They have the ability to effectively tap into the emotional core of their target audience. They’re engaging and conversational, always discovering and sharing, and asking questions. Their success is directly correlated to their engagement with their audience.

This is exactly what a talent community is all about. The final desired outcome is a rich community of top talent that loves and promotes the brand.

Yet, to date, the approach that the majority of the HR industry has taken is what I call an “old school sales” approach. The industry has this notion that employers hold all the power, and that simply offering an open position is all the effort needed to attract top talent. With this approach, dialogue between a prospect and the organization is limited and one-sided, not to mention inconsistent. Oh, and it’s terribly boring—for everyone involved. How in the world can this practice differentiate you from your competitors, promote brand awareness, and ultimately build strong relationships? Tactics like these only seek to define a position, not create a community.

Appropriately, the answer here isn’t easy. Simply stating the desired qualities of your ideal employees won’t magically draw them to you. Instead, seek out the best talent you know, and ask them how they build relationships with their target audiences. Then begin to cultivate the type of community that attracts the caliber of colleague you’re looking for.

Like any good community, your talent community is only as good as its members. Dedicate the time and effort to understand yours, and you’ll find your success far surpasses a simple definition.



Jeff Headshot SHRMJeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp is leading the way in a growing niche that brings together HR, employer branding, social media, marketing and business. With a diverse career since 2000, spanning all facets of HR Jeff founded SocialHRCamp in 2012; a growing global interactive learning platform that helps the HR Community adopt social media and emerging HR technology in the workplace. Jeff consults and advises HR and Recruitment software companies on content market strategy, business development and product development, and with corporate HR teams across multiple industries to strategically integrate social media and emerging HR technology into HR and Employer Branding strategy.

Jeff is an avid speaker, blogger and volunteer with diverse organizations such as the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, HR Technology Conference, HR Metrics Conference Canada, Illinois State SHRM Conference, Louisiana State SHRM Conference and many other events in Canada and the U.S.. Recently named one of the Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts on Twitter by the Huffington Post he also served as a judge for the 2013 Achievers Top 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards.

You can find Jeff on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

Ask Achievers: How do I get started with employee referrals?

This week’s reader question goes to Kate Pope, our Manager of Talent Acquisition. As our resident expert on all things recruitment, she shares her advice for getting the most out of employee referrals.

Dear Achievers,

I really want to encourage employee referrals at my company, but I’m not sure where to start. What’s the first step? Is it going to be a lot of work (and if so, is it really worth the effort)? It seems intuitively like a good idea, but I need metrics to convince my boss. Help!

- Really Excited For Employee Referrals

Read more →

The Class of 2013: What the findings mean for employment branding and Millennial recruiting

Guest Post by Kristen Dooley

On the heels of each comprehensive “Class of” survey with Achievers, one of the most common questions we receive here at ConnectEDU is “What does this mean for recruiters?” Millennials are poised to become half of the workforce in the United States and companies are increasingly interested in recruiting the right members of each graduating cohort. Naturally, we’re attuned to what those new graduates are looking for, and this year’s survey of 10,000 students is a useful tool for extrapolating effective tactics for recruiting from and branding for this group.

Read more →

5 ways to assess workplace culture fit

Guest Post by: Meghan M. Biro

Recruiting the best talent and culture can be a heartbreaking process. While there’s nothing more exciting and fulfilling than finding the right person for a job, there are those times when – on paper or digital at least – the candidate seems a perfect fit, only to crash and burn within months of being hired. The tangible recruitment and training costs of these mis-hires can be high, and they also drain morale and energy from a team and company.

Read more →

Big Data: Can you tell the signal from the noise?

Last month, Google’s SVP of people operations Laszlo Bock gave a much-discussed interview to the New York Times on the role of Big Data in the recruitment process. On the one hand, he says, hard data can help you separate your feelings from the facts. While almost everyone thinks they’re leadership material, for instance, few people actually are.

That’s where Big Data can come in handy:

If you go back to somebody and say, “Look, you’re an eighth-percentile people manager at Google. This is what people say.” They might say, “Well, you know, I’m actually better than that.” And then I’ll say, “That’s how you feel. But these are the facts that people are reporting about how they experience you.” You don’t actually have to do that much more. Because for most people, just knowing that information causes them to change their conduct. One of the applications of Big Data is giving people the facts, and getting them to understand that their own decision-making is not perfect. And that in itself causes them to change their behavior.

Read more →

[Infographic] Anatomy of an employee referral

How much do you know about employee referrals?

Did you know they can be 18 times cheaper to hire than traditionally-recruited candidates? Or that they work better, smarter, and stick around longer? If not, don’t worry—we’re here to break down the anatomy of an employee referral for you, so you can see what makes these superstars tick (and how you can get them to work for you).

Check it out:

Antomy of employee referral

Need more insight? You’ll love the stats, testimonials, and best practices in our new e-book, The ultimate guide to employee referrals: How to engage employees, save millions, and drive Employee Success™.

The 5-step plan to build your own employee referral program

recruitmentEmployee referral programs consistently produce the best candidates in the shortest time and at the lowest cost. But if you’re like most companies, referrals comprise only 6.9 percent of applicants. What a waste!

Fortunately, that’s not a fixed maximum; with a little effort, you can boost those numbers. According to Gerry Crispin, a principal at CareerXroads, “companies where recruiters place greater emphasis on referral-related hiring” are able to increase the percentage of referrals by 7-15%. By following the following best practices, you too can start saving thousands of dollars (and countless hours) per employee.

Read more →

Ask Amelia: Tips for recruiting A-players?

ask_achieversWe want to fill our open positions with people who will really move the business forward, a.k.a. A-players, but it seems you can only learn so much in the interview process. What tips do you have for recruiting the right candidates?

Great question! We all want to move the business forward and need the most capable talent to do it. First, ask yourself what business are you in and what does moving forward really look like?

For instance, if you need a change agent, then you are looking for someone that exhibits behaviors that can drive results AND influence people. This combination works well for creating and delivering change. If you need top line growth, then you need someone that exhibits an action orientation and can show self-motivation.

Read more →

How to find and hire employees who care

“The most powerful competitive advantage any organization can have is employees who care.”

Mel Kleiman’s statement is simple yet effective. In his recent article, Kleiman discusses the importance of finding and hiring employees who care. These kinds of employees give discretionary effort, which is the definition of an engaged employee.

Engaged employees care about doing their job well, they care about the company’s products and services, they care about themselves and, most importantly, they care about the customer. Employees who care about customers provide superior service and experiences, which organically translates into increased customer retention and sales.

On the other hand, bad experiences involve someone who didn’t care, and you always seem to remember these experiences. Do you remember the last time you experienced bad customer service? Do you still give your business to that company? More than likely, you don’t. Additionally, you probably told your friends and family about your bad experience, and now they are less likely to shop there too. The effect of a bad experience is costly for businesses, which is why it is crucial to hire employees that care and will ensure customer happiness.

So, how do you find and hire people who care? According to Kleiman, look for those who go out of their way to help others and who like to solve problems.

Here are Kleiman’s five interview questions that will help you find and hire these types of employees:

  1. Have you ever had bad service at a restaurant or store? What made the service bad and how did you deal with it?
  2. When I say, “making an extra effort,” what does that mean to you?
  3. Tell me about the best recognition you ever received at work. What was it for and how were you recognized?
  4. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond what was expected of you at work (or in school).
  5. Have you ever noticed a co-worker having difficulty learning a task or meeting a deadline? What did you do about it?

Once you have a team of people who care, maintain the momentum. Kleiman emphasizes that companies need to demonstrate they care and should reinforce employees’ caring behaviors with frequent, sincere recognition and rewards.

What other questions would you add to the list in order to find employees who care?

The great interview hoax: It’s not just about experience

Your company’s rapid growth calls for a hiring spree, and you receive hundreds of job inquiries from qualified candidates with all the right experience. Seems like a walk in the park, since you have a large talent pool at your fingertips. Although these resumes seem impressive, they may not indicate a fit for your company’s culture, which indicates you must be strategic to find the right talent.

Read more →