How to Start a Candidate Community That Attracts Top Talent

December 31, 2016


The better relationships you build with candidates the better chances you have of finding the right people in your prospective talent pool when you need them. One of the best ways to engage candidates and build relationships with them is to provide them with a talent community. If you haven’t started one, now is the time to do so.

What is a talent community?

When someone visits your career site and is invited to sign up to receive communications from your company, they are being invited into your talent community. This lets you track potentially interested candidates and provide opportunities for them to learn more about your company. It also keeps your employment brand front and center so that when candidates are ready, they will apply to a job. (Just to be clear, this is not a social community, such as brands’ customer community where there is interaction between customers and brand agents.) A talent community allows candidates to receive digital information from your employment brand regularly. Ideally, this information doesn’t just promote job openings; it shows candidates that they could have a great career with your company.

How do you build a talent community?

Here are four steps to building a powerful, engaging candidate community that inspires people to want to work for you.

Determine the business goals your candidate community supports. What is your company looking to gain from a candidate community? More traffic to your career site? An increase in applicants? Better quality candidates? Once you determine the business goals, establish metrics to track those goals, measure the community’s success and see where you need to make adjustments.

Always keep the candidate experience top of mind. Your community should be easy to join and the sign-up offer should be prominent on every page of your career site, in the application process and in email signatures from recruiters. Keep it simple: Name and email. Next, how your candidate community will benefit candidates. A candidate won’t join if they don’t have a compelling reason to do so. What can you offer them that will help them get to know your company’s culture, learn more about the career paths available to them, and set your company apart as a great place to work? Explain these benefits through your career site and/or candidate communication.

Build a socially connected (but not annoying) community. You want to keep information flowing regularly by determining what type of information candidates want to hear from your company and planning to provide it. Don’t be annoying by flooding them with too much “marketing”-type content. You want candidates to perceive you as helpful and genuinely interested in their success. If you make it all about you and how great it is to work at your brand without giving them a vision for how they will thrive with you, candidates will be turned off and unsubscribe. Also, identify how you’ll distribute different types of information: social media, email, newsletters, holiday postcards, etc. Remember, your goal is to build a sense of relationship between candidates and your employment brand.

Don’t overlook passive candidates. Every community has what are called “lurkers” – people who are listening and watching, but prefer not to interact. These are your passive candidates. Some of them may be top talent who are feeling out what your brand is all about. Keep these people engaged by becoming their career advocates. Provide thought leadership, tips on how to advance their careers, stories of career paths in your company, individual success stories of current employees, company perks, culture videos – all of these paint a picture of what it is like to work for your company and even more importantly, why it’s better to work for you than anyone else.

Follow these four steps and you’ll be off to building an outstanding candidate community that attracts top talent, keeps them interested and inspires them to apply!

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