Businessman Carrying Heavy Boxes OutdoorsTalent communities, like many of the other social media phenomena, exploded on to the scene a few years back and promised to set the recruitment world alight. Now, they didn’t quite do that, and, for now at least, talent communities are continuing to generate a lot of noise, but I feel they are still in search of their true voice in the talent management process.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been as excited as the next person by the potential of talent communities; this employer branded, social media hosted community of talent is brought together to form a thriving, engaging and responsive resource pool which the owner, (the employer), can groom, prime and mine for talent as they see fit.

Despite the excitement however, talent communities do not appear to have matched the effectiveness of the more traditional sources of hire. But, to be honest, that has been OK for quite awhile. Talent communities have been young, cool and entrepreneurial, which means they are the right environment for recruiters and HR to simply fiddle, try things out and just see what works and what doesn’t work without recriminations. This is the justifiable price of breaking new ground.

And during this stage in a talent community’s life span, the signs of success are simple, accommodating and threefold:

  1. Is it easy to use and an engaging environment?
  2. Is it attracting relevant talent to your business?
  3. Is it growing?

But, at some stage in the life cycle of a talent community it needs to mature; we need to be much clearer and more uncompromising on the success signs of a talent community.

Talent communities must soon start to come down from the experimental clouds and take up their rightful place alongside all the other sources of hire within a business. This means talent communities can no longer have the protection of being, well, “an experimental social media initiative.” They are now one of the company’s bona fide potential sources of hire and they now need to be assessed against the same criteria that all hiring methods are judged against, which are time, cost and quality of hire.

So, at the point that your talent community moves from experimental/building phase into delivery phase, (and it must move into this phase) it needs to be judged against the more traditional hiring method success criteria of cost, speed and quality of hire. And below I have elaborated on these three further signs that your talent community is delivering.

1. The cost-per-hire is in line with other hiring methods. There are direct and indirect costs associated with talent communities, as with any method of hiring. And if your cost-per-hire is comparable to that of your other hiring methods, then the talent community is arguably proving financially viable, assuming it is delivering similar outcomes.

2. Time-to-hire matches or exceeds other channels. Talent communities are supposed to provide employers with this well of talent from which they can extract talent as and when needed. So, if it’s proving to be slower to extract talent from your talent community, than from other channels, one must question what value it is adding to the hiring process.

3. Quality-of-hire is comparing well to other channels. Latest research shows that quality-of-hire is becoming one of the key hiring success criteria. So, if your talent community is delivering recruits that perform to the same or better standards than other hiring methods, this is a strong sign that your talent community is delivering.

Good luck with developing your talent community!



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