In Part 1 of our series on talent communities, we looked at the necessity and advantage of talent communities, and the resources needed to develop and execute them successfully. Now we examine why talent communities fail and what we can do to correct that.

Consider yourself a prospective candidate. How many times have you joined a talent community or signed up to learn more about a company and got nothing more than job alerts?

The fact is, this happens often, and it’s just one reason that talent communities fail. Let’s look at more.


Six reasons why talent communities fail

The goal of a talent community is to build relationships with future employees. That can’t happen when the following situations exist:

  • There is no communication or content strategy plan.
  • Talent Acquisition and Marketing Communications are not partnering from day one on developing relevant content and imagery to support the communication / content strategy plan.
  • Prospects receive no relevant content after registration is complete to help them better understand the organizational culture and employer brand.
  • Job alerts are the only content provided post-registration. There is no education or relationship-driven content.
  • There is no engagement between the community members and the sponsoring organization. All communication, such as it is, is one way.
  • Prospects slip into a single folder in a CRM and are never reviewed against current openings.


How do I fix this?

Let’s go back to the resources needed to launch and manage a successful talent community. Before the registration page is built, category folders are opened and invitations are sent, you must build an intentional, structured partnership between Talent Acquisition and Marketing Communications. This partnership allows for quick decision making and approvals on messaging content and marketing collateral that may be shared to the talent community.

Second, prepare invitations, newsletters or other content for the first three rounds of communication prior to launching the talent community. Think of content creation the way television producers do: when the first network show of the season airs, eight episodes have already been filmed. As those air, the next series of eight is being worked on. The same logic applies to the communication strategy for your talent community.


Find your talent

Next is the mechanism for identifying your talent. There are many methods to reach a population of talent, including:

  • Lead generation (cold call and formal invitation)
  • Social media
  • Direct competitor lead generation and invitation
  • Live events
  • Referrals
  • Existing applicants in your ATS

It’s not necessary to choose all of these outreach methods. Your decision depends on the scope and audience you want to invite into your talent community. Know your target demographic and the audience you want to reach.  We recommend lower volumes and higher quality, and thus emphasizing conversation, referrals and direct competitors.

Many talent acquisition leaders are grappling with failing talent communities. If you follow these key recommendations, you will be back on the right track before you know it.

Remember, one of the purposes of a talent community is to fast track your star prospects to hire. These prospects are no longer cold; they are warm and hungry. If you find the perfect fit and the candidate now really understands the heart of your business and culture, make sure the prospect goes from application to hire faster than the Road Runner can outwit Wile E. Coyote.

For more ideas about operating a successful talent community and creating a memorable candidate experience, visit the IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization web site.

TAO Webpage


“How to Run a Successful Talent Community” is a three-part blog series about the design, development and execution of successful talent communities. In part three, we’ll examine how to properly execute a talent community, including setting goals and gathering metrics for success, and how to communicate the value of a talent community within your organization.

Strategic Sourcing Executive

Keith McIlvaine

Recruitment Sourcing Executive

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