8 comments on “Take a Community First Approach to Engage Your Job Seeker Community – Part 1”

Take a Community First Approach to Engage Your Job Seeker Community – Part 1




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.

5 comments on “HR’s Evolution from Cost Center to Revenue Generator”

HR’s Evolution from Cost Center to Revenue Generator




By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

The role of HR and recruiting has done a complete 180 degree turn from where it once began. Many years ago, HR was born out of the need for companies to be in compliance, complete paperwork and develop processes and controls. This area of the business was seen as a necessary expense, and certainly not one that boosted the company’s bottom line. HR teams grew as business leaders realized that the organization was in need of essentials like an employee handbook, onboarding and orientation for our new hires and consistent interview processes. HR professionals spent years working as the administrative arm of the company, meeting the needs of the organization but not considering their revenue.
As we all know, however, things change as time goes by, and the human resources industry is a perfect example of just how that happens. We’ve gone from everyone hating us and misunderstanding us to business leaders prioritizing talent, and have earned our role in the executive ranks due to our specialty, which is the human capital that propels the success of companies.
Today, HR’s effect on the business extends far beyond the initial hire. Talent management leaders are responsible for many facets of the business that make a significant impact on the organization and its people.
Beyond talent acquisition
It is true that the HR department and recruiters are expected to be more innovative in their talent acquisition than ever before, but there is so much more to building a workforce than recruiting and onboarding. HR professionals are also expected to deliver when it comes to developing and engaging our current and future organizational talent. This means that we are constantly honing our talent acquisition strategy to bring in the best and brightest, as well as cultivating leaders within our own organizations. Today, we know that our jobs don’t just start when we receive an application and they don’t end after the employee’s first day. Our role is more long term than it has ever been before. We’ve gone from executives simply looking at recruitment costs to understanding how a long-term approach increases retention and saves a significant amount of money.
Leading the technology front
A relatively new aspect of HR that we are seeing is being tasked with selecting technologies to help us engage our workforces focused on the future of our company. From talent networks to interactive training and the many other areas of technology we cover, the decisions we make have a huge impact on our employees. The technology we choose for our candidates and employees help them engage and grow while also helping us do our jobs effectively and efficiently.
Focusing on the future
There may have been a time when HR was simply focused on the next hire or the next employee promotion, but we are no longer there. The ability of a company’s HR department to be forward focused is one of the most significant ways we bring value – real monetary value – to our organizations. As an industry, we’re future focused, data driven and developing talent strategies that compliment instead of compete with the business and market projections at our company. We’ve earned a seat at the table, which allows us to see and hear firsthand what the organization’s goals are and make sure ours help to accomplish what the company seeks to achieve. 

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.

5 comments on “5 Simple Ways to Grow Candidates to Your Talent Network”

5 Simple Ways to Grow Candidates to Your Talent Network


By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

If you’ve ever done any gardening, you understand that there’s much more to a plant producing flowers, fruit or vegetables than simply digging a hole in the ground and dropping in a handful of seeds. A good gardener recognizes that’s only the first step, and often the easiest. But when those first signs of growth come in, it’s clear that the work was worth the reward.
In the same way that a garden requires time, attention and a little nurturing, growing your talent network takes more than simply launching your community. It’s an ongoing effort to take candidates from passing by your career site to being invested in your talent network.
The benefit of having a talent network is the fully branded community of candidates that your company owns and manages. It puts you in control of engaging and building relationships with those candidates who choose to join your community. As you go about building and growing your network, it’s important to create an environment that welcomes them from the very beginning. Building this community starts with enticing candidates to join your community. Start with these five strategies and don’t be afraid to get creative.
Make social part of your strategy year round
You probably already know that social media provides a major opportunity for you to advertise job openings, but what you may not know is that there’s never a bad time to engage on social. Regardless of whether or not you have open positions, share your talent network via social media and invite and encourage others to join. This kind of proactive recruitment is how candidate pipelines are created.
Provide a visual
The majority of us are visual people, and social media has made people more accustomed to seeing rather than reading. Take advantage of this by creating a series of videos to talk about the benefits of joining your talent network and how it allows you and the job seeker to connect before the formal job opening ever happens.
Encourage your employees to share
Your employees can be your biggest brand ambassadors, so engage them in promoting your talent network among friends and peers. The majority of them are engaged in social networks, so you’re providing them a way to promote the company easily and quickly.
Share everywhere you can
Look around and think about your company’s HR and recruiting communications. From brochures to business cards to promo items, these are all places you can include your talent community’s link. Get the whole company in on it by adding it to all company signatures.
Host online events within your network
Make joining your talent network worth their while by hosting member-only events online. For instance, you could offer resume review or an ask-the-recruiter session. Get creative and help establish a reputation for being candidate focused in your community.
Read more about what a talent community can do for your company here.

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.

2 comments on “Talent Network, You Complete Me (Part 2 of 2)”

Talent Network, You Complete Me (Part 2 of 2)

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Earlier I wrote about an emerging trend impacting the HR world in a big way. Our industry is in the transition from managing silo activities into a more holistic, integrated approach to the entire lifecycle of talent management. The HR professional can no longer approach the role with a one-size-fits-all silo approach or an out of the box plug and play system.

To optimize a company’s talent system, successful HR professionals must design customized talent systems that weave each key area of the talent lifecycle. These key areas, according to a recent Bersin trend report are:

  • Attracting and Acquiring Talent,
  • Managing and Developing Talent,
  • Extending Talent and
  • Understanding and Planning Talent.

Technology provides amazing tools that focus on the first phase of a company’s lifecycle. As mentioned in my article previously, today’s talent growth hacker can benefit from a variety of apps and services like LinkedIn, Talent Networks and Glassdoor.

TalentCircles can provide a one-stop shop in managing the necessary information so that you can grow your talent pool. At first glance, it is obvious that having one portal that can bring together social media, email campaigns, online events, video interviews, chats and online content can save time and headaches when it comes to the hiring of new talent. Finding the right recruitment tools can seem like love at first sight.

You had me at hello.

However, smart HR professionals know that growing a company’s talent doesn’t stop at the recruitment phase. What we really need is something we can lean on and grow our entire talent life cycle with. Let’s put on our talent growth hacker hat together and let me share with you some special ways you can develop your talent network using TalentCircles.

Grow beyond the honeymoon phase.

TalentCircles provides a wide range of features that span across all key areas of a company’s talent system. Here are some of the features that will allow you to optimize your resources.

Candidate profiles provide up-to-date information from your talent’s social media profiles. Easily accessing this data can be just as useful once candidates enter the company’s talent pool too, providing HR with direct access to their entire company’s social networks.

Webinars are a great recruitment tool. They also provide long-term benefits in growing the talent pool internally by engaging with employees through training sessions. Scheduling and managing attendance for those mandatory sexual harassment videos just got a whole lot easier!

Recorded questionnaires and online interviews are special features that engage and capture candidates responses with a webcam. This could provide useful information in internal surveys and reviews as well as exit interviews.

Job post feature allows candidates to easily share jobs through their social networks. How about sharing the feed so that the internal talent pool can easily share the posted jobs to their social networks too?

Circles help manage, segment and target messages to the right group of candidates. This is an excellent way to create mentor and coaching programs based on subject matter or separate and segment contract labor. Frankly, this feature is TalentCircles sweet spot, hence the name…

There are endless capabilities this feature will allow to help you grow and manage your talent system. It is secure, comprehensive and so effective compared to company-wide contact management systems.

Show me the data.

Big data. The last but not least feature that TalentCircles provides is the ability to monitor the analytics and generate custom reports of your talent network. Plan ahead and know where future gaps and openings are before they happen. Compare performance and activities to better understand the areas of growth or weaknesses across multiple circles of talent. As any growth hacker would confess, the proof is in the data.

You know it is special.

When you find that one technology platform that allows you to manage, monitor, analyze and report a variety of data points not only in the recruitment phase, but through the full lifecycle of your company’s talent network using one portal, you will fall in love.

Picture Source: Bersin by Deloitte, 2013

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

Photo Credit

2 comments on “Veterans Series: Veterans are social and connected: Conversation with Chris Norton”

Veterans Series: Veterans are social and connected: Conversation with Chris Norton



Learn more about best practices in recruiting veteran and military job seekers by joining a Talent Circles sponsored webinar on 2/13/14 at 9:00 PM PST. Click here to register & learn more. 


Conversation with  Marylene Delbourg-Delphis
It’s customary to pay tribute to Veterans and thank them for their services. There is far more for civilians to learn, though, from recruiters hiring Veterans. Many of them lead the way in our industry because of their deep understanding of what “candidate experience,” “candidate engagement,” or “candidate interaction” actually mean — and this because Veterans are just like millennials: they are fundamentally hyper-social and hyper-connected. Here is a my conversation with Chris Norton, a Logistics officer in the Army Reserve (18th year) with five years of actual duty time accrued since 9/11, formerly known as the AT&T’s “Military Guy,” who is now Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Defense Mobile Corporation.
A recent report shows that for service members after 9/11, entering the civilian workforce has been somewhat harder than for previous generations.

Chris Norton: That’s not an untrue statement at all. It’s a numbers game. Historically when you had a large standing military as a representative part of the population, odds were pretty good that you would run into somebody along the way in the hiring process who had also served. You didn’t need to jump through the hoops you do now to describe your service. The 9/11 service members account for about one half of one percent of the population. In terms of a minority population, you can’t get much smaller than that… So you’ve got a population out there that has a whole different language, an entirely different culture and has some hurdles when it comes to the transition as a result. So recognizing that factor and also recognizing that the last decade has stretched service members to the point where they have all these capabilities and skills and attributes, employers would be nuts not to want them! For example, AT&T had hired 3,600 veterans as of the end of October and they announced that their goal is 10,000 over the next five years.
So, how do you get Veterans?

Chris NortonIf you are going to launch or grow your Veterans’ program, you need to get somebody visible and make it personal and social. Service members do not understand transactional logic, but they understand interaction. The transactional nature of recruiting and staffing won’t work, particularly so for the military, because we have a mentor and relationship driven environment. The Military is kind of a bubble society, very close-knit. We all look out for each other. It’s our culture.
Chris Norton mentioned to me to a remarkable article written by Mike Stajura for Business Insider: What Vets Miss Most Is What Most Civilians Fear: A Regimented, Cohesive Network That Always Checks On You. In essence, what Veterans need is “a new mission, a new purpose, and a strong, supportive social network in which people [are] actually invested in one another’s well-being and success.”
Chris NortonSo if you can inject into the process the ability to connect people on an interactive level even if it’s not directly tied to the ATS side of the house, and allow people to develop some sort of relationship, that’s a real good thing when it comes to recruiting veterans. When you come across as a robot or won’t put your name down on it, then it gets discounted.
You go back to the Greeks and Romans about soldiering and the Military: the same stuff comes up. It’s amazing. I am reading a book by Bill Mauldin who was a cartoonist during the WWII. Every other page my arm hair is raising up because something is resonating with me 70 years later: observations about service members interacting with each other.
Where we really made inroads at AT&T is that we had personalized the program. I was just using the office-hour component of TalentCircles because that’s all I functionally needed. I would bring about 5 people and tell them what I do. “Dudes, loose the tie, loose the jacket. Just relax. We are going to talk here.” I set the playing field. We are like a couple of Joes sitting around a beer. “Let’s talk about you… What are the kinds of things you want to do…. What’s your background… ” And we have a honest talk … I literally go first in first out and tell them “You can drop when you are done or you can hang out and listen to the other conversations.”
And the result of engaging with candidates is committed employees….

Chris NortonVeterans are great employees especially for the type of work that happens to be the growing part of AT&T’s business. They are building the network out like gangbusters. They have entry point positions but people move pretty fast through the food chain. Veterans work independently, can learn new processes, new languages, new cultures, new systems — things that are all part of the basic training in the military. These are people who have already proven they can do it. Retention beyond two years for veterans is considerably higher — high enough to turn heads within any business.

7 comments on “How "seasoned" do you like them?”

How "seasoned" do you like them?

I remember the first time I heard the word “seasoned”, I wasn’t quite sure why you would say that about a person. My immediate thought was that too much seasoning is not necessarily palatable and aging seasoning is often rancid. Back then, I did not know that “seasoned” had also meant “fit for use” or “acclimatized, accustomed” for centuries. Did I feel much more comfortable with the word? Not really…      
  • Seasoned people may be fit for immediate use. They are relevant if the employees that we are looking for are to be simple cogs in a corporate machine or if the task they are assigned is completely defined with no room for change. Yet, do all the positions we have to “fill” follow this exact pattern? Chances are that they don’t — unless an entire company is outsourcing-ready. So we may want to look for people not too ideally “fit for use,” but instead, those who are ready to learn, are fit for future use and fit for new purposes.

  • Seasoned people may be a great asset if the goal is to always conduct business as usual, i.e. where everything must be done in an ordinary way. Yet, what happens when decisions are to be made because something extraordinary happens? How fast or well do they react? How effective can they become if you need to “rewire the way you work to succeed in the consumer revolution.” In other words, give them Brian Solis’s great book “The End of Business As Usual,” and quiz them about what they think of it before you hire them if your company is competitive and/or on a growth path! 

Yes, we all must be “seasoned” to some extent, but “seasoned” recruiters may be the ones who are capable of deconditioning themselves continuously in order to better read who people are behind the screens of clichés and optimally serve an unremittingly changing business environment.

3 comments on “Talent is Fluid”

Talent is Fluid


If Talent is a measurement, it is also fluid as there is no real start and stop to the candidate hiring process. While the recruiting process begins when you post for the position, job seekers do not begin searching and sourcing for positions at the same time.  This is why talent is a fluid process and by creating doorways into engagement with those interested parties through a talent network, you can create a more fluid recruitment and talent process for everyone involved. 
Talent Management is defined as the “ongoing process of analyzing, developing, and effectively utilizing talent to meet business needs.” The most important part of this definition is that it is the ongoing process. Even before you post a job online you’ve already started the process. Cultivating job requirements, defining specific duties, and creating a strategy on when and where to post the job are all parts of the actual recruitment strategy. Most companies take job applications prior to opening a specific job to have an ongoing candidate resource pool.
This process should be looked at as an ongoing cycle rather than the isolated event of posting a job online. This is even more crucial when your company relies on networking and employee referral efforts that have historically resulted in hiring a higher quality of candidates. Talent acquisition starts before you post your first job. In order to higher quality candidates you must start networking and engaging in potential recruits to build a talent pool.
Creating a more fluid talent pool is essential in an economy on the rise. Finding and recruiting top talent is the #1 priority of all recruiters and hr professionals. The quality of talent is a reflection of how well the HR department tracks, trains, and recruits. If recruiters are looking to keep top talent and increase the performance of their workforce, it’s essential to understand that talent is measured beyond the traditional concept and that in order to be successful you must always be recruiting and networking with top talent.
Is your talent fluid? What are you doing to keep it more fluid in your workplace?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs


4 comments on “Say Goodbye to Post and Pray Hiring. Build a Network.”

Say Goodbye to Post and Pray Hiring. Build a Network.



The Changing Face of Recruitment 

Back in the olden days of recruiting hiring and recruiting was simple; a now hiring sign was simply posted on your door.  In the 2000’s we used job boards where we were told if we build it they will come.  In the present day, there are thousands of job boards and employment experts vying for the online attention, relationship, and application of the perfect candidate.  They are in competition with you, the employer.  Employees have options. 
The rules of changed.  Say goodbye to your post and pray recruiting strategy.  Build a network, foster relationships, and go where the candidates are. Just like we have a buyer’s market, we are in a job seekers market. With the right experience a job seeker will be able to pick and choose the company they want to work for. As the unemployment rate continues to steadily decrease over 150,000 jobs are being added on a monthly basis. Recruiters are looking for ways to build a candidate pool that exceeds that of their competition.

Talent Networks Bring Job Search Buyers & Sellers Together  

In order to establish a presence with job seekers, recruiters are looking to network, engage, and become more familiar with candidates instead of posting and praying that they will fill needed positions. A talent community or network brings the ‘buyer and seller’ together (job seeker is the buyer and recruiter is the seller).  In a talent community the job seeker doesn’t have to go around each and every major social network to stalk a recruiter. No longer will the job seeker have to wonder if the recruiter will accept their invite to connect on Linkedin or follow them on Twitter. Instead the recruiters are all following kind and placing themselves at the forefront of a talent community.
Talent Communities offer a sense of ownership and professionalism outside Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. The goals between these three social media giants are all different and each has their place in networking, but talent networks or communities go one step further. When you join a talent community you have one goal in mind. If you’re a job seeker, you want a job and if you’re a recruiter you want to recruit the best possible talent. In this sense no longer do recruiters need to post and pray and hope a candidate shows up.
Talent communities create a mutual benefit relationship for job seekers and recruiters because everything that is needed is in one place. Every so often job seekers will find a recruiter for their dream company and then stalk them. We all know it happens and I am sure you’ve done it in the past either as a passive or active job seeker. With the creation of a talent community there is no longer the need to passively connect with recruiters all over the web. Connecting with them in the community gives you the ability to network with them outside of your other personal profiles.
What are your thoughts on talent networks? As a job seeker would you visit one to gain more time with a recruiter of a specific company? 
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs



1 comment on “Six Predictions in HR, Recruiting & Your Workplace in 2013”

Six Predictions in HR, Recruiting & Your Workplace in 2013


2013 HR and Recruiting Predictions 


Over the past few years Human Resources, particularly recruiting has slowly become socialized and professionals are reaching out to contacts in ways never even thought of 10-15 years ago. As I spend time working with vendors who develop provide the technologies for HR and recruiting while also working directly with practitioners every day, I see some exciting shifts emerge. These 6 trends in 2013 that operational managers and HR professionals must look out for in the coming year.

  • Telecommuting will continue to grow. The lucrative idea of working from home will become an even bigger reality for the workforce in 2013. Employers continue to look for ways to not only cut cost, but also improve employee health and retention. Allowing for flexible work schedules and telecommuting has shown to increase employee moral. This trend will be on the forefront in order to source the best talent. 
  • Video interviewing will increase. In order to find the perfect source of talent, HR professionals will begin recruiting and scouring the entire country looking for the perfect fit. In most cases it won’t be feasible both financially and realistically for a candidate half way across the country to come in for a formal interview, so most HR departments will be doing video interviewing. With this becoming a more popular trend, compliance issues are sure to rise. 

  • Recruiting talent will be more local.  Meaning that as the economy improves, companies will and should begin evaluating individual local employment markets to draft hiring strategies that are specific to the local economy of the city you are hiring for.  Post and pray recruiting is no more as companies focus more on long term recruitment strategies and building talent networks.  

  • HR will become more data centric. The trend in tracking, compiling, and analyzing data will be overrun in the Human Resources department in 2013. Metrics and measurement for HR will be more important than ever before.  In order to become a successful HR department you must learn to benchmark and hire the right candidate the first time around. It’ll be crucial for HR managers to sync employee data across multiple systems. This trend will be one of the bigger focuses on HR as companies get bigger and rely more on third-party systems for compliance, analytics, and hiring automation.

  • HR will become more social. This is almost a “Duh?” type statement. Human Resources will no longer put all their weight in a resume submitted to them, but will scour the Internet to find anything and everything about potential employees. Checking everything from your tweets to what shows up on your LinkedIn profile. As privacy changes are being eliminated from the most popular networks, no one is safe. With everyone online is it safe to say the resume is almost dead? We’ll let you answer that question.

  • Beginning of the Crowdsourced Review: As the workplace becomes more social it’s only natural that the employee review does as well. Managers spend one hour a year out of the 2,040 hours employees work to give them feedback that is suppose to last the entire year. As GenY enters the workforce in full swing that amount of time isn’t going to be enough. Crowdsourcing the employee review will create a more dynamic workplace that encourages open feedback and better employee engagement. 

Talent Retention and Sourcing Most Important 


As 2013 is already up in full swing there are trends and new technologies already coming out that HR and recruiting practitioners must stay on top of in order to create an environment that pleases great talent. In order to source the best talent you must be able to make sacrifices in areas that you would never have imagined. What are some trends you see in 2013? Do you agree with the above? Why or Why not?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs


2 comments on “The War for Talent is Local”

The War for Talent is Local



A lot of discussion has emerged concerned the skills gaps and impending labor shortage, but nothing resonated with me until now.  A couple weeks ago, I was sitting at a local HR and recruiting board meeting for the OKC Metro Employer Council when the idea hit me like a brick wall.   I had the equivalent of a recruiting epiphany as I listened in on other board members conversations and challenges.  I realized the war for talent is local. 

OKC vs. Yuma:  A Tale of Two Different Candidate Marketplaces  

Listed as the third strongest metro economy in the US by Bloomberg in 2012, Oklahoma City has been insulated from most of the country’s economic downturn.  This city and community is currently the place I call home.  The local economy is going strong, and our metro area’s unemployment rate is ridiculously low at 4.9%.   It’s hard as heck to recruit here which is something I heard over and over again at our board meeting.  Quality job seekers have their pick often from multiple offers making your job as a recruiter extremely competitive.  That’s in stark contrast to Yuma, Arizona’s, unemployment rate, which stands at 29.8%. 
The markets are completely different; yet I can almost guarantee your company’s recruitment strategy in these two different cities is exactly the same.  Imagine courting a candidate in Oklahoma City versus Yuma and presenting them with what is your best offer.  In Yuma, that candidate accepts your offer immediately while the Oklahoma City candidate stalls not even returning your call. That’s because recruiting and the war for talent is local. 

Recruiting Gets Specific.  The War for Talent is Local

As recruiters, business leaders, and HR professionals we are faced with a challenge especially when managing multiple position requisitions and competing for talent in Oklahoma City versus Yuma.  Our hiring and recruitment strategies should differ because the local market and the candidates in which you pull from are very, very unique.  As a recruiter you have an obligation to research your local candidate marketplace to get a sense of what recruitment strategy would work for you. You are spending your precious time in Oklahoma City posting and praying to a candidate ecosystem and economy that dictates a different recruitment strategy altogether.
In these uber competitive local marketplaces like Oklahoma City, Omaha, and the Dallas Metroplex, building a talent pipeline is the best way to help elevate the stresses of a competitive candidate marketplace due to a robust economy. 

How to Build a Talent Pipeline

Recruiting is local and building a relationship matters.  When it comes to building a recruitment strategy even to fill a single position in a metropolitan area like Oklahoma City, the devil is in the details. And those details in extremely competitive markets in Oklahoma City require you to build and develop a talent pipeline 6 months, 12 months, and 3 months before you even begin looking to fill an open position there. 
This starts with creating a conversation and an opportunity starting with a talent network of eligible, qualified, and interested candidates before the need for a specific position arises.  Because a relationship is built on time, reputation, and trust and a talent network affords you these things.     
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs