• http://www.CollegeRecruiter.com/weblog Steven Rothberg

    Thank you, Marvin, for a thoughtful and thought provoking article.

    I’ve long questioned the use of the term “talent community” to describe what is essentially a database of resumes with communication taking place from recruiter-to-candidate, not candidate-to-recruiter, and not candidate-to-candidate. I understand that buzz is created around those who provide talent community services but buzz is far from reality. As a friend of mine from Texas says, many of these solutions are all hat and no cattle.

  • http://www.recruitinginferno.com Steve Levy

    Marvin…nice job. Th engineer in me has been educated – and via experience as well – to know that structure begets function. The process of building, managing, and stewarding a talent community is time-consuming – and there aren’t any shortcuts. As Rotherberg noted, the buzz is far from the the reality.

    I tweeted yesterday that merely saying you’re a Purple Squirrel hunter means absolutely nothing other than you’re long on marketing; it’s far better to say you actually know Purple Squirrels, can call them and they’ll actually speak with you. Even more, if you really have a talent community work crowing about, the Purple Squirrels seek YOU out.

    Right now, the phrase “Talent Community” carries as much weight as “Human Resources Business Partner”…

  • http://www.superrecruiter.wordpress.com Michael Goldberg

    You can call it what you want but it boils down to two words …sourcing and pipelining. Talent communities is about engagement which is not mentioned until the last paragraph of the post and listed under Web 3.0. if you aren’t engaging the communities you establish at the current time then you are already behind the curve. There are quite a few great tools out there that was not mentioned including Avature (www.avature.net)which is light years ahead of most companies mentioned above and have some of the major companies on their client list.

    Forget buzzwords -> source-recruit-engage-repeat cycle and you will be successful.

  • Robert Dromgoole

    Marvin, then by your definition, isn’t ERE a talent community? It’s a collection of content read by recruiters, written by recruiters, and we comment etc. On the side bar are some jobs we glance at, but we’re drawn to the content and people, right?

    Isn’t LinkedIn moving in this direction with Channels?


    Granted its early. But can I see the march toward the niche very quickly like you type about.

  • Keith Halperin

    Thanks, Marvin. Very thorough and informative. I look forward to joining you, Matt Hendrickson (http://www.linkedin.com/in/founder), and our Moderator Sarah White (http://www.linkedin.com/in/imsosarah) discussing this Tuesday 5/14 at ERE’s Recruiting Innovation Summit in San Francisco. I may have a slightly different and mildly contrarian perspective on this topic.



  • Robert Dromgoole

    Diversity of thought is a great thing.

  • http://jeremyrobertstx.com Jeremy Roberts, SPHR

    I wish I could be there… this is one of my favorite topics to debate 🙂

  • Robert Dromgoole

    Keith, do you mind commenting on your differences for the ERE community? Perhaps you should pen a quick blog for Todd?

  • http://www.talentcommunity.net Marvin Smith

    Steven; one of my favorite statements is “big hat, no cattle.” I find it describes a number of situations I find myself in. While I agree that databases are not communities, we do tend to expand definitions to be inclusive of similar things.

  • http://www.talentcommunity.net Marvin Smith

    Steve: it is nice to know other people look for purple squirrels. I must agree that building community is time consuming and may the chief reason that it has taken so long for folks to build communities of talent. Talent networks creation and management can be mostly automated; thus their popularity. As more data is shared around communities of talent where interested prospects do indeed reach out to you, then talent communities will move from the early adopter phase and “cross the chasm” into wider acceptance.

  • http://www.talentcommunity.net Marvin Smith

    Michael, thank you for your comment. Yes, there are other solutions that I did not mention (and I have heard from some of them). My article was not intended to be exhaustive but rather to discuss platforms that I am most familiar. Those platforms discussed are ones that fit into my story and experience in building communities of talent.

  • http://www.talentcommunity.net Marvin Smith

    Rob: thanks for your thoughtful question. Yes, ERE is a community and could function as a community of talent for someone looking for talent acquisition prospects. ERE’s has proved over time to be a trusted citizen of the recruiting community and its purpose for community is serving this segment with products and services. But perhaps the difference be a community of talent and ERE (or LinkedIn for that matter) is that their goal is not to bring together a segment of talent for the purpose of making the organization top of mind when a person is seeking a job change. But a very workable metaphor.

    In my opinion, LinkedIn Channels is still a Web 1.0 approach as opposed to Web 2.0 or Web 3.0. As I wrote on your great ERE post this morning– “If you look at some recent work of Richard Millington (author of Buzzing Communities): he suggests that gaining influence consists of be an expert, be likable and reciprocate. And the most important lesson of the social media revolution is to be social; being able to reciprocate might be the real test for LinkedIn channels. Right now, LinkedIn experts and authors are focusing on broadcasting content into the channels and not engaging their audiences in conversation (like we are doing on ERE).” Make sense?

  • http://www.talentcommunity.net Marvin Smith

    Keith, I am looking forward to our conversation. And as a follower of your writing over the years, I do appreciate that we have a difference of opinion. I think the different perspective will be great–that is how we learn. Like you, I spend time as a serial contract recruiter, so we may have some common areas of experience to compare. See you on Tuesday.

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Jeremy: There *might or might not be live webcasting and/or provision for tweeting/emailing questions from remote viewers.
    I can’t speak to that, though…

    @ Robert: Thanks. No spoilers here, but I have sent in a new article which mentions TCs and other topics in re: their use by recruiters.

    @ Marvin: Thank you.



    *If we don’t, that’s something to work toward, tech-oriented ERE Conference Organizers!

  • http://www.socialrecruitingreport.com Jason Webster

    Thanks for a thought-provoking article Marvin. One area that seems to be missed completely by employers with talent networks is listening. Most of the communication is one-way, and most of it is about jobs.

    An employer who treats a talent network as a one-way jobs communication should expect below-average to standard engagement levels. It’s a transactional approach to recruiting. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. The expectations should just be in line with the approach.

    Those employers who are able to listen and interact will open the door to improving processes, and enhancing their brand overall.

  • http://www.talentcommunity.net Marvin Smith

    Jason: Well stated. Most enterprise sized companies have moved to social listening to see how their brand is doing in the respective markets. That said, listening is under valued.

    I appreciate your comment about a talent network not being a bad thing. The numbers still amaze me with respect to a talent network; in spite of being one way, the ongoing job alert prompting seems destine to become the leading source of hire with organizations that have a recruitment marketing platform.

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Jason: “One area that seems to be missed completely by employers with talent networks is listening.”
    You are quite correct. In a high-un(der)employment job market, if a company isn’t an “Employer of Choice” (EOC), it doesn’t have to listen to anybody except perhaps “the Fabulous 5%” people and some other-in-demand-skills folks. If it is an EOC, the company doesn’t have to listen to anybody but the politically well-connected “Fab 5”, etc. It comes down to power: if you have power (and hiring companies do), you don’t really have to listen to anybody you don’t want to who doesn’t have power, and the vast majority of applicants (and employees) DON’T.

    No Cheers,

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  • http://www.bravenewtalent.com Master Burnett

    Marvin you did a great job at capturing the evolution of this space and few in the world have been as close to it as you, so your insight is very beneficial.

    What few people realize is that Communities, like brands exist all around the organization whether you leverage them or not. Some communities are online, some are offline. Some are brand centric, some are support centric, but the vast majority are topical in nature. Communities of practice and communities of knowledge exist both inside and outside an organizations walls.

    Today conversations by talented professionals about an organization, its work, its people, its customers, etc. are happening. Historically those conversations have been incredibly fragmented, limiting their discovery/reach and minimizing their potential impact. Recruiters have long looked at such discussions as excellent sourcing channels.

    Next generation talent communities are not about building yet another database of talent to broadcast generic employment centric messaging to, they are about UNITING all of the fragmented populations and conversations that already exist around an organization in a way that produces more holistic visibility into the talent ecosystem.

    The workforce of today is different than the workforce of 20 years ago, and the workforce of tomorrow will be even more different than that of today. Twenty years ago the composition of your workforce was pretty simple to characterize, but today it is an ever evolving mix of employees, contractors, consultants, outsourced service providers, alternative labor types, and hard to classify stakeholders that execute work on your behalf. Our communications and admin systems were not designed to support that diversity. Communities have evolved in nature when the environment presented challenges far beyond the scope of any one individual to solve.

    Today’s modern organizations are complex communities with really crappy infrastructure. Talent communities are a new breed of infrastructure designed to support the real organization. They are not solely sourcing or recruiting solutions, communications or marketing solutions, training or workforce development solutions, collaboration or productivity enhancement solutions, but rather all of them in one.

    Today’s leading CRM platforms offer far greater functionality than their historical predecessors, but they do little to impact the talent experience, provide real-time insight into talent populations or more importantly LEVERAGE the natural community behavior that already envelopes an organization.

  • http://www.talentcommunity.net Marvin Smith

    @Master Thanks for the great post. I really appreciate the reminder that communities exist (and have existed) for centuries. It is recent years that we are attempting to colonize talent for talent acquisition strategies. Talent communities take advantage of natural affinities and build on them in order that organizations can be part of the talent career discussion.

    I really liked your description of uniting the fragmented conversation. Great job.

  • http://jubalince.com Jubal Ince

    Great write up Marvin, and excellent conversation from everyone.

    As a Talent Community Manager, I view my target segments of the overall talent pool as my communities, and CRM/social/etc. as engagement methods. For example, there’s an existing community of Mobile developers out there, and I manage my relationship/presence with that community via some/all of the channels Marvin describes.

    On a related note, my team is growing, so if you are looking, check out this video: http://www.linkedin.com/nhome/updates?topic=5738665674989924352

  • http://about.me/allison.kruse Allison Kruse

    @Jason Webster – I totally agree with you. In a true community, members speak and listen. I have not seen one true Talent Community out there. I’d call them Talent Networks, but not true communities. So many companies set up a CRM, upload people to it(or, if they are more advanced, also provide the option for candidates to join) and then spit out job postings (which may or may not be relevant) at their members. This is not a community.

    @Marvin – Overall, great article, though I have a slightly different definition of community. Thank you for sharing.

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