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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: What do recruiters need to know and do in order to build effective, valuable talent communities and get the most out of them? Share your tips and tricks with our readers!


Kyra1. Make Your Community Voluntary

We started a talent community in January of 2015 to communicate with potential and passive job candidates via a new monthly email newsletter. We now have more than 5,000 members in it. Some companies automatically enroll members in these communities, but we wanted to make it an opt-in, voluntary choice. While the number of members won’t be as high with this method, the benefit is enrolling people who really want to engage with your company and brand.

Kyra Mancine, Oldcastle

Kristen2. Outline Your Employee Personas

HR is becoming more and more like marketing, and the most important thing HR professionals need to do to build valuable talent communities is identify their employee personas.

An employee persona is similar to a buyer persona in marketing. It’s a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal employee for a given role. These personas help you understand your candidates better and make it easier for you to tailor your approach to engaging with them. Think of them as detailed portraits of the people you wish you could attract. We know that A-level talent typically isn’t looking for a job because they’re doing great where they are. To attract them, you have to build relationships. To build a relationship with someone, you have to get to know them.

According to our research, 75 percent of HR professionals are already creating ideal candidate profiles when recruiting. The employee persona takes that process a couple of steps further by adding things like demographics, personality, what keeps them up at night, and why they wouldn’t work for you. Having this information allows HR to better understand where to find the right people and what types of information and conversation will get them to pay attention.

Kristen Harcourt, The McQuaig Institute

Matt3. Prioritize the Candidate’s Needs

Helping a candidate may mean taking the time and effort to listen and then pointing them toward another role if it’s a better fit. This also might mean introducing candidates to other companies, even if you lose them for your company!

This strengthens the talent community, builds your network, and is a good practice. It will reduce the number of times where you squeeze a candidate into a role that isn’t the best fit. It’s right for the applicant, but also for
you. The applicant will be grateful for your genuine assistance, and that makes them likely to refer other qualified candidates your way. You also build relationships with other companies and hiring leaders, who will in return point other candidates your way.

Matt Cholerton, Hito Labs

Bill4. Be Memorable

A successful pipeline will naturally happen when you brand your desk as an expert stop for staffing for X. If you are memorable, constantly involved in networking, and staying at the forefront of that professional market, your pipeline will evolve with you and your desk.

Start by establishing yourself as the expert recruiter in X field. When you’re viewed as the expert recruiter in that market segment, your discussions and advice will be respected, your sale of the job to the candidate will carry more weight, and you will more easily win referrals of new talent.

You should also stay in touch with your candidates. It’s great that you’ve networked with new talent, but what good does that do when you’re not remembered? You need to be memorable. A huge aspect of becoming memorable is tied to continuing to get your name out in front of the talent. Ask them what is going on in their professional worlds. Don’t talk to them only when you need a referral. Talk to them to keep your pulse on their professional status and what they are seeing in the market. Continue to regularly align with their goals and react with matches on a job search you might be handling.

Bill Kasko, Frontline Source Group

Dan5. Treat Your Talent Community Like a Tech Tool

The tool is the pool! If you can’t do anything with the pool, then it’s useless. You want to be able to search in it, add to it, delete from it, communicate using it, and automate as much as you can with it.

More advanced automation can be achieved if your tool allows you to segment your database with saved searches. This would allow you to specify the criteria for the pool and have it automatically update itself whenever a relevant candidate is added to your database.

Dan Kirkland, TribePad

Kathryn6. Stay Proactive

We have built our community by pipelining, meaning talking with CFOs and other finance leaders who work in private equity-backed middle-market companies across the United States. We don’t just wait until we are starting a search to identify potential candidates – we proactively work on reaching our goal of meeting every private equity-backed middle-market company CFO.

We use a number of tools and databases to identify the people we want to know. We reach out to people, and we get to know them through several touchpoints within our firm. We meet on video and stay in touch with them using several methods – a monthly email communication, our March Madness pool, events in various locations, and information on opportunities we are working on.

Kathryn Kehoe, CMF Associates

Arun7. Take a ‘Total Workforce Management’ Approach

More than a third of the total workforce is considered contingent, contract, or independent, and Ardent Partners predicts that this pool will make up nearly half of the workforce in the next few years. The most successful companies have found a way to create an optimal blend of full-time employees and external workers, drawing on the strengths of each to balance their organizations’ needs. To best manage this talent, companies must take a “total workforce management” approach, viewing their workers holistically instead of in silos.

Recently, we’ve seen a new tactic within this strategy emerge called “direct sourcing,” where internal recruiters act as alternative suppliers for external labor. Several SAP Fieldglass customers now leverage the resources and capabilities of their own internal recruiting teams to source both traditional employees and contingent workers. Doing so creates new opportunities for cost savings, greatly lowering the cost per hire, and allows companies to strategically reduce their supply bases. Recruiters then have access to and can cultivate relationships with new talent pools, the members of which may be open to working in either contingent or full-time capacities in the future.

Arun Srinivasan, SAP Fieldglass


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