Is Your Company Missing the Boat By Not Having a Thriving Talent Community?

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By Mark A. Leon

The term “Talent Community” has been defined, interpreted, misunderstood and speculated on for decades.  Year after year, talent acquisition leaders and business executives all agree that building and harnessing talent networks is the key to corporate growth and maturity.  So why then do so few have them and many that do don’t execute properly?

There are many reasons.  Let us highlight a few.

  1. “I need to hire now.  A Talent Community is not going to get me bodies in these seats.” You have heard the immediacy argument.  There is validity.  A successful talent community is a long-term relationship driven initiative.  It must be planned with proper design, executed with a multi-tier launch and harnessed with a strong communication platform strategy.
  2. “I have a Facebook and LinkedIN Page. Isn’t that a Talent Community?”  Yes and no.  A talent community is made up of individuals with common interests or goals.  People that follow your social communities are in fact part of a talent community.  Here is where that logic falls apart.  First, you don’t own the platform.  At any given time, Facebook or LinkedIN can drop your group.  Second, you cannot parse the talent based on skill, geography or level of experience thus making it a challenge to send targeted communications to specific pockets of talent.
  3. Who manages it? This part may be the trickiest of all the concerns around talent communities.  For this to succeed, this must be a partnership between Talent Acquisition and Marketing/Communications.  Recruitment understands the forecast and needs of the human capital and marketing/communications have the knowledge expertise to provide the communication content.  Without both parties working together, your company cannot launch and manage a strong talent community.
  4. What type of content do I provide and how often? This is different for every company, but here are a few recommendations that may help.
    1. Keep the content relevant to your audience, engaging and relatable.
    2. Focus on key opportunities, associate profiles, success stories and culture.
    3. Don’t overwhelm your community. Only provide 3 – 5 communications annually.
    4. Design the communication to look attractive, professional and enticing (Newsletter formats work very well).
  5. How do I grow my talent community? This will take time, but during the design phase you should consider rolling out a three-tier option for people to register and ensure you do periodic reminders with email campaigns, social sharing and candidate interaction. Throughout the years and beyond.
    1. Provide a registration button on your career site – Often, candidates do not know which job to apply for or they just aren’t ready, so the talent community is the next best option.
    2. Team based social share. Get the recruitment team, business leaders and hiring managers to do a big push on their networks to enhance visibility of the new community.
    3. Direct competitor pipeline. Do lead generation and invite those that are the closest fit to your skills and culture to join and learn more about who you are.

We hope this clears up some common misconceptions and provides valuable tips to take back to your leadership.

At the end of the day, we all want to belong.  Networks have been around since bowling leagues and will continue into the digital age.  They are all around and if companies do not realize the importance of the future talent, they will lose their edge.

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Recruitment Trends for 2017 and Beyond

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By Mark A. Leon

This year has started out like a bang, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are tapping their way into the recruitment space, challenges of identifying specialized technical skill sets is still causing sleepless nights, IoT (Internet of Things) talent is one of the fastest growing fields, companies are looking for ways to cut costs becoming less reliant on agencies and big job boards and the need for recruiters with deep technical sourcing skills and an understanding of marketing is the new purple squirrel.

How do we keep up?

Great question!!! Here are some trends and a few tips to should keep very close to heart as we glare into the shiny future of recruitment.  Things are moving fast, so buckle up.

  1. Data can no longer be ignored. It must be collected, scrubbed, analyzed and interpreted so the proper decisions on effective recruitment marketing spend can be made.  Companies are starting to open their eyes and realize how much money they have wasted over the years on traditional post and pray methodologies.  As companies are getting leaner on operational costs, they want to see their return on investment.  The answer lies in “data”.  Good old fashioned numbers and analytics.  Learn what tools are out there, understand how to interpret and communicate results and ensure you are part of the new data driven world of strategic based recruitment.
  1. Recruiters are no longer processors. I do not mean to minimize the life of a full life cycle recruiter.  In the past, this process may have worked well.
  1. Post the role and wait
  2. Review warm candidates
  3. Screen them based on a template pull out key words to determine if a candidate is qualified
  4. Schedule them
  5. Interview
  6. Offer
  7. Process

I imagine that process map sounded familiar to many.

That day is over.  The best talent isn’t waving a giant flag, saying come and get me, nor are they posting their resumes on a job board to gather dust.  Great talent is fluent.  They are constantly growing and thus they aren’t planting their roots anywhere and are harder to find.  You need to learn to become a technical sourcer as well as a process driven recruiter.  Finding the talent themselves of become as difficult if not more than closing the deal.

  1. Stay abreast of new technology. There are hundreds of thousands of tools, apps and extensions that are there to make our lives easier.  From helping find the talent, to finding their common interests to contact information.  They all promise the world. Most do not deliver, but you need to read up on the new technology, test the solutions and determine those that provide you with the most value. Many are free and most offer free trials. Take advantage.
  1. Never lose touch of the human side of recruitment. This is a reminder that all relationships are built on trust, comfort and commonality.  Research your candidates as they will you and your company, find common ground and built a relationship during the candidate experience, so that when it is time for the offer, they already feel like part of the family.
  1. Be a client champion: If you don’t believe in your company, your candidate never well.  Find out what makes you passionate about being there and make sure that comes out with every interaction.
  1. Be vulnerable: Every year after the NCAA March Madness tournament ends, I wait for the infamous “One Shining Moment” video.  It makes me cry.  We make decisions based on emotion.  We are human (at least for now).  Candidates do too.  Share your story with them.  Whether it is a great success or emotional tearjerker, be vulnerable to them.

I am going to stop here.  That isn’t to say there aren’t more trends to share; nor does this mean I won’t do a sequel.  It is just a good time to stop.

Take this to heart.  The function is changing.  Some things remain and some are getting a major facelift.  Determine what you need to do to change with the times.

Good luck

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Are Recruiters Missing the Train of Change

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You don’t have to be in the Talent Acquisition space to know the canvas of recruitment is evolving faster than most other professions.   The tools and resources available to network, identify talent, grow networks and manage referrals are tremendously effective and readily available.  If you have had your business savvy hat on while enjoying a latte watching the stock market ticker, you will see that LinkedIn has been leading the way among the social media stocks. Their future looks bright and the numbers and enhancements to the platform support that.

As talent acquisition professionals, are we getting on the train to transition or waiting at the station for the slower traditional horse drawn train to come later on?

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a post recession recruiter, you don’t have to do much research to see that the workforce has changed:

  • There is a shift from an employees market to an employers market
  • Pay for performance is taking on a more critical role and traditional merit increases are flat lining
  • Less opportunities are available
  • More specific and defined skill sets are required for professional opportunities
  • Virtual employment is becoming a more cost effective option
  • Technological savvy skills are not longer just a “nice to have”
  • Targeted research and marketing campaigns are not just identifying the talent, but providing a complete profile of the individual to match them against the culture of the organization.
  • Strong candidates are being aggressively sought out while the less qualified are trying the “throw it and see what sticks approach”
  • Some see the employment numbers as grim; while others see great opportunity
  • Recruiters are no longer “processing” candidates; they are understanding the role, team, the culture and the challenges and matching them against the best talent to meet the needs of the role.

So, why would I say that recruiters are missing the train of change?

There are a number of wonderful tools for strategic sourcing, networking, developing and harnessing talent networks, managing candidate flow and marketing/outreach.  We are anointed with more tools than ever before and yet we are wasting all this great opportunity.

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What are we doing wrong?

  • We are not developing and leveraging our personal brand.  How many LinkedIn profiles are either bland and boring or look like they were developed by a greasy haired used car salesman?
  • Too many recruiters are on the “big” social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) yet ignoring the little gems.  Do you have an About.me profile? (about.me/recruiterpoet).  If not, you need to.
  • We are still afraid of the risk.  If a platform is new or not yet established as an accepted tool, we will not take the chance and determine its value.  We wait for Mashable or several large companies to test the waters first.  I jumped on the scalability of Bullhorn Reach from day one because it had a great development team, management team and partnerships with the large social platforms.  That turned out to be a invaluable resource for myself, my team and the industry.
  • Recruiters do not effectively measure or understand the process behind analytics.  Metrics are the key to any successful campaign.  Understanding the numbers, tracking trends and developing effective strategy implementation based on projected outcome is essential in our space.
  • Are we leveraging the networks to the fullest extent?  I am not sure we are.  How many skill specific circles do you have on your Google+ account?  How many regional or skill groups do you belong to on Facebook?  Are you a member of 50 groups in LinkedIn and do you rotate membership to diversify your reach?  Are you using sites like Reddit, Stumbleupon or Slideshare to brand your roles and company image?
  • We are not communicating in the social space.  We feed jobs out like a Pez dispenser, but how many are talking to the candidates.  I see talent acquisition folks are talking to each other on Twitter and sending sound bites from conferences, but shouldn’t we be talking and engaging with the candidates?

I am not proposing that traditional cold calling, networking and relationship building will vanish in the near future.  I certainly hope it never does.  I am witnessing a resistance or lack of understanding of the capability and value the social space brings to recruitment.  If social space wasn’t so critical to our roles, the phrase “Social Recruiting” would not have been coined.

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We are only tapping the iceberg of potential.  I didn’t even reference the future of mobile technology in recruiting yet and for purposes of focus on this piece I will not, but if we don’t all board the train soon, we are going to be missing out on a great ride.

Why I love recruitment

To find something you are passionate about is a gift.
To find something that grants you fulfillment and reward is simply priceless.

There are researchers and scientists dedicating their lives for the opportunity to find cures and promote a better state of living. Doctors and nurses comforting the bodies and souls and extending life so that we may see our grandchildren grow and smile. Teachers who see reward every day in the glow of a child’s eye when they realize they have made a breakthrough. Firefighters who put their own lives on the line on a daily basis to ensure the safety of others. Clergy fulfill a life mission of extending the word of the Lord to those in need. Writers use the benefit of the written word to share a message.

All of these life changing roles serve a purpose. Whether it is to one or millions, their devotion and commitment is a testimony to life. It is the notion of purpose and legacy that grants us a reason to continue our personal journey.

These are extreme examples. We all have value in what we do each and every day from engineers, to chefs, sales, to drivers to accountants. In the circle of existence, all the work we do contributes to a means. It is the value we contribute to society that keeps this well oiled engine moving.

Why do I love recruitment? What is the uplifting result of my chosen career path?

Given the global economic slowdown and the imminent concern over foreclosures, bankruptcy, basic standards of living, rise in poverty, fear and depression, it seems fair to say that helping others find a job is its own personal reward, but it goes much deeper than that.

There are many facets that complete me as a professional. It is the collective embodiment that gives that zest and energy to tackle each day with commitment and pride.

1. Relationships, relationships, relationships – Life is a series of interactions between individuals. Some grow and harness into blossoming flowers while others pass in the wind. Throughout my career I have spoken to candidates on welfare and those making half a million dollars annually and to this day, each and every conversation is a journey of wonder to me. I love the engagement. Making that initial connection and finding that common bond and then letting it grow from there. There is nothing more precious in all of the business world and I get to do it every day. Yesterday, I was reaching out to some of my old networking connections from business I conducted two years ago and it was so refreshing to hear their success stories and their personal life changes. It is the relationships that don’t make the metrics reports or performance reviews but they are the single strongest element of life and business.

2. The ability to change the life of an individual and/or a family. Helping set the groundwork for a career opportunity has ramifications far beyond the assessment and offer. A new career for many is a life change. For some a rebirth or second chance. For others a new challenge. For a few the chance to fulfill a dream. We open the gates of possibility. We hold the key that can guide individuals to what possibly could be the greatest path they can take.

3. Diversification – So many careers are in a box. You have a core group of businesses you support and a set of roles and responsibilities that are a means to an end. In talent acquisition, your client is the company and the scope of expertise is all skills and roles. One moment I may be focused on understanding processes and requirements in the technology space and another I will focus on financial executives. During my career I have dipped into non-profit, consulting, defense, finance, communications, insurance, domestic and global. I stood face to face with Jon Corzine at Goldman & Sachs learned from hundreds of children during Take Your Child to Work Day. Being exposed to all cultures, socio-economic levels and jobs have given me the portfolio to success in how I look at my core goals.

4. Partnership – Recruitment involves many hands in the pot. It is a collective partnership from identification to on-boarding. The process steps involve sales, negotiation, politics, evaluation, risk, and excitement. Working with resource managers, hiring groups, operations specialists, candidates, IT professionals and vendors makes this so much more than what seems like a well run assembly line. Each day is a new set of challenges and one I look forward to.

At the end of the day, it is never about the numbers but the lives. Human capital is and will always be the most critical element of the success of an organization. As automation and robotics take hold, they can only go so far. It is the people that define culture, experiences and growth.

We as recruiters make a pledge to understand the business and identify the best fit for the candidate and the company. We are pioneers to the promise land and I am proud to pave the path.