Unfortunately, the use of talent communities has not carried this same value. In general, recruiters and hiring managers have used talent communities to scope out candidates instead of to get to know people, says Newman. He has seen microsites created just so employers and recruiters can capture candidates’ contact information and send them email blasts.
Newman argues that we should be looking at this differently. Instead of only focusing on filling positions, we need to use talent communities to make contacts, get to know people, and not make filling a job the primary agenda. Let the goal be to increase the number of people who are actively exchanging value, whether company-to-peer or peer-to-peer. That’s a true community, but very few organizations are doing anything like that, says Newman.
Sounds great in concept, but there’s always the CEO that will fire back, “Where’s the ROI in that?”
Newman argues that the best hires are people you’ve had a relationship with for a long time. If you can truly hire people that you know, the quality of your employees goes through the roof.
When Newman was building his own company, he saw that anyone he knew for at least a year, then hired, all delivered “off-the-charts” performance. On the flip side, those people he didn’t know and went through the generic process of hiring, which takes a few months, resulted in maybe half of them being quality candidates.
Recruiting and hiring is all about timing, says Newman. You never know when you’ll need to fill a position, and with which requirements. To be an effective recruiter, you have to have a population of individuals that you know. “The ROI comes from the quality of hire,” Newman says.
Newman would like to see a brand new stat in recruiting. Instead of the common question, “How fast did you fill the job?” he wants to know how many months you knew the person before the job was filled.
“If you focus too much on how many jobs do we fill from [a talent community], nobody’s going to be committed to building the community,” says Newman. “They’re going to be trying to fill jobs and they don’t spend time on individuals who are not ready now to be hired.”