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The True Value of a Talent Community

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Published on Jun 6, 2012

As we've all been adopting web 2.0 and other social technologies, the real value we've gotten out of these tools is interactivity, said Ed Newman (@newmaed), blogger and chief analyst at Inside Talent Management Technology.
Unfortunately, the use of talent communities has not carried on this sentiment. In general, recruiters and hiring managers are not trying to have interactions. "We're using the technologies to post and pray where the real opportunities are getting to know people," said Newman.
Up until now, what Newman has seen is microsites being created to capture candidates' contact information in order to spam candidates with email blasts.
Newman argued that we should be looking at this differently. Instead of filling positions to be the goal, use the technologies to make contacts, get to know people, and have no goals filling a job. Let the goal be increasing the number of people who are actively exchanging value, whether company-to-peer or peer-to-peer. That's a true community, and unfortunately very few organizations are doing anything like that, said Newman.
Sounds great in concept, but then there's the CEO that will fire back, "Where's the ROI in that?"
Newman argued that the best hires are people you've had a relationship with for a long time. If you can truly hire people that you know then the quality goes through the roof.
When Newman was building his own company, he saw that anyone who he knew for at least a year and then hired all delivered "off the charts" performance. On the flip side, those people who he didn't know and went through the generic process of hiring, which takes a few months, resulted in maybe half of them being quality candidates.
Recruiting and hiring is timing, said Newman. You never know when you'll need to fill a position with what requirements. To be an effective recruiter, you have to have a population of individuals that you know. "The ROI comes from the quality of hire," Newman said.
Newman would like to see a brand new stat in recruiting. Instead of the common question of "How fast did you fill the job," Newman wants to know how many months did you know the person before the job was filled.
"If you focus too much on how many jobs do we fill from [a talent community] nobody's going to be committed to building the community," said Newman. "They're going to try to fill jobs and they don't spend time on individuals who are not ready now to be hired."

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