By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Talent communities provide a unique value to recruiters and candidates. They give both the opportunity to get to know each other without taking the plunge. Essentially, talent communities make relationship building easier and provide more opportunities for interaction than any other type of platform. It’s perfect for building relationships with job seekers for the long term.
Recruiters can invite potential candidates to join your company-branded community, then both parties can get to know one another. When the time is right, both the candidate and recruiter will decide if they want to make things more official and consider each other as an employer or an employee. It’s one of the most powerful tools a recruiter has, but not all talent communities are the same. The formats, platforms, services and functionality can differ greatly, so it’s important to understand the product and find what’s right for your company and candidates.
Here are my must-haves when it comes to a stellar talent community:
Focuses on engagement
Relationships are a two-way street with conversation that flows both ways. If I wanted to sign up for a simple jobs broadcast, I would do so in the form of a simple text or email service. What I’m looking for in a talent community is something that supports and even encourages two-way conversations, because those conversations can lead to so much more.
Multiple mediums
Just like social networks, talent communities come in all shapes and sizes. I want a talent community that takes on many different shapes, giving me the ability to engage using chat, email, video, blog posts and document sharing. It’s all about choosing a platform that supports all the mediums and methods that work for you.
Candidate notes
Within a talent community, members might spend months engaging and interacting with an employer before the time is right and they want to get serious about working at my company. I want a place to record notes, information and details of those interactions, activities and engagements. Your talent community needs to operate like a CRM as most recruiters are working on many different job openings at a time and need a centralized place to keep it all straight.
Custom experiences for candidates
An employment brand is absolutely invaluable, so my talent network has to be a branded environment that my team and I can customize to meet our functionality needs and fit our brand. When candidates visit or join a talent community, there should be no recognition that it’s segmented from the company’s careers page, other than the functionality.
Provide analytics and reporting
My talent network needs to provide analytics and reporting that tell a story. It must go beyond the standard number of members and look at activity, engagement, visitors and potentially, how interested in my company are the people in my talent pool.


Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

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