If you’re like many people in the world of talent acquisition, you probably feel like you’re running on a treadmill most of the time.  A req comes in, you post/inmail/call to fill it, and move on to the next.  Each day you’ve got to put one foot in front of the other in order to keep pace, or risk falling off.

An idea came along a few years ago around building communities of talent so source from.  Typically these take the form of a following on Twitter/LinkedIn, or an email list serve.

Why haven’t these worked?

While we’ve all heard about how recruiting is becoming marketing, the reality is that most of us aren’t marketers yet.  One implication of this is that we don’t really know how to create content that’s engaging and interesting.

For most companies that have a talent community, the messaging that goes out to their followers is in the form of job alert blasts.  “There is a new opening in sales that’s not very relevant for you!”  “There’s a customer service job that just opened up which you probably don’t care about.”   Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t use quotations here, but you get the idea.

Even more targeted job blasts aren’t effective.  Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes.  I followed you on LinkedIn, or signed up for your talent community, because I thought your company was interesting.  I read some press you had, or my friend told me about you.  But, I wasn’t ready to apply.  My resume wasn’t up to date.  I actually like my job.  In the future though, things may be different.

This person who’s thinking about their future, who had an initial attraction to your company, they are an amazing person to keep warm.  But, they don’t want to hear about job openings (for the most part).  They know where to find those.  They want something more interesting.

The more effective way to keep candidates warm

Think about a major purchase you’re thinking of making in the next 6-12 months.  Let’s say it’s a new car.  You’re interested in five different brands, so you sign up for the local dealerships’ email lists.

Four of those dealers send you emails that include the make of the car, and the price.  Ok, we knew that already.  But, one of those dealerships sends you an interesting video about how their car performs when off roading.  The next month, they have a blog post from a recent customer talking about the amazing customer service they received when one of the tail lights got smashed in an accident.  We now have a connection to this dealership.  They’ve built trust, and actually increased the attraction we initially felt towards them.

Do you see the parallel?  The company who sends out interesting information to their talent communities is going to build mind share in the people who engage with their content.  This mind share allows you to effectively source from this pool when you get a new req in.  It means a higher response rate to emails.  It means easier first conversations.  And, it means better interviews from people who know your company.  The recruiter who is now a marketer wins.

What content do candidates want?

What job seekers are looking for isn’t too dissimilar to what you’d want to know before you applied for your next job: What skills will I get, what’s the day to day like, how’s the culture unique, how should I prep for interviews?  Of course, there are many role specific questions too: what’s the tech stack, what was your last sales process like, how do you run customer discovery interviews?

No offense, but candidates want to hear the answers to these questions directly from employees.  They speak their language, are more credible than a marketer/recruiter, and employees know all the details from actually doing the job.

Advice on how to get going

If you have a talent community already, then start getting some interesting content from your team to share.  You can literally do this with an iPhone for starters.  And, don’t stop at email.  This information is great for social too!

You should be able to get in depth information about what content candidates are engaging with in order to understand who the warmest leads are in your pipeline.  Now, when that new req comes in, you can quickly pull up a list of people who know your company, like your content, and are most likely ready to have that conversation about what’s next in their careers.

Good luck.

philstrazzullaPhil Strazzulla is the CEO of NextWave hire, a software solution that builds your employer brand through authentic employee stories that live in your careers page, social media, and more.