By Jessica Miller-Merrell
If you think about anything lasting, enjoyable or worthwhile in your life, from your work to fun vacations to your favorite hobby, it probably involves other people. Whatever the activity or pastime that comes to mind, I’ll almost bet that what you really got out of it was community. Whether it’s family and friends that you’ve developed deep relationships with, co-workers that encourage you, maybe a fitness buddy that pushes you, people make our lives better.
Community is a powerful thing, both in our personal lives and in our jobs as recruiters. Gathering with people who are like-minded or with whom you have something in common is comforting, encouraging and helpful. In recruiting, we can use this reality to our advantage by creating community among job seekers and recruiters.
Recruiting and Selection Taking a Community Garden Approach
Think about your candidate community like a community garden. The goal is not just to produce a great crop but to network, build relationships and to learn as well as grow together. This is the basis of the future of recruiting and selection. This is the power to engaging your job seeker community.
The power of community
The community first approach is powerful and worth focusing on. The perfect example of just how powerful a community can be in the virtual world is Reddit’s very vibrant, passionate and eclectic group of members who, for better or for worse, are engaged and involved in the organization. These members care so much about the online community that they drive the success of or can even create conflict in the organization. As individuals, they are simply people sitting at a computer feeling passionate about particular issues that shape the company, but united, they have the power to actually guide the company’s decisions. That’s what you call a powerful community.
As recruiters, we’d be well served to think about how to take a community first approach in our own recruitment and candidate attraction strategies. Imagine a community of job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers that is proactive, involved and responsive. It could save your team time and help develop deeper connections than ever before. Of course community is important, but in recruiting what’s even more important is what that sense of community creates, such as a tie to your organization, a desire to be a part of it and a connection that makes the job acceptance decision an easy one.
How community happens
The key to a great community is to give your members a reason to be there. You can do this by providing a service, platform or resources that are truly unique. This could mean simply being available and responsive in answering candidate questions. Trust me when I say that even this could make your organization stand out. You can also provide resources that help candidates understand your company using a talent network like TalentCircles.
However, I believe there’s an enormous opportunity to foster community beyond showing candidates what your company does and stands for, so consider carving out a bit of time and developing ways you can also help their overall job search. Candidates want information, resources and most important options. You could do this by providing resume and cover letter templates, salary negotiation tips, ongoing engagement and best practices for reaching out to a recruiter for an interview with your company, as well as other companies. It might seem risky to help them in this way but the reality is that they are going to get those resources somewhere, so you might as well be the place they go.
You’re not only showing them you’re invested in their success but also enabling them to be proactive, which ultimately aids you in your search and benefits you in your recruitment and selection efforts.
Be sure to check out part 2 of our community job seeker series.
TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.