Talent NetworksThe interesting thing about technologies — cloud computing is a good example — is that while they profoundly change the way we live our lives and operate day-to-day, nobody, outside of extreme technophiles, understands not only why these emerging tools are important, but also why the average consumer should care.

The ultimate test of any technology today is its transparency. Does it provide a positive user experience predicated instinct and intuition? Consumer technology, as a rule, is designed to operate in the background, enabling efficiencies and empowering users in significant, yet silent, ways. The more one has to think about the technology, the more it calls attention to itself, the greater challenges it faces in gaining user adoption and, consequently, mainstream success. User experience is the fundamental differentiator between a Mac and a mainframe, between 8 MM film and digital video.

When it comes to the social technologies in the talent acquisition tool box, the goals, and associated best practices, shift from creating transparency to increasing visibility. This is, after all, the entire point of engagement and employer branding. Getting top candidates to notice your company, the culture and available careers creates the competitive advantage in the war for talent.

Build Relationships Through Talent Networks

Companies should, in effect, employ a similar transparent network for current and soon-to-be employees through technologies. This also requires fundamentally rethinking many of the tenets of HR Technology as a whole. Applicant tracking systems are designed to drive applications, not to mention operational and reporting efficacy, by making the process as streamlined and intuitive as possible for both recruiter and applicant — how well they succeed is a different matter.

The most meaningful metrics here are tactical (days to fill, number of applicants, etc.), but for most organizations in this market, finding applicants quickly isn’t the challenge. While efficient technology is a plus, it’s not leading recruiters to their end goal — finding the best candidates. Who, as we know, have the kind of marketable skills that mean they probably aren’t actively looking. That’s where talent networks come in. In the new world of work, it’s not about selling jobs anymore — it’s about building relationships.

The Career Concierge

The transactional tools of driving applications and developing databases are giving way to strategic initiatives that transform recruiters — traditionally gatekeepers — into career concierges. Or, as they’re more commonly referred: brand ambassadors.

Talent networks have traditionally been called bucket reqs or candidate pipelines, but these concepts are quickly drowning because these relationships exist in private — on the phone or over e-mail, with everything tracked in a closed system: “Just calling to check in and see how everything’s going.” This one-on-one interaction can (and should) be scaled, and translated, into meaningful interactions that give insight and add value not only to the candidate who’s “right now,” but those who will be “right” in the future, showing the process and filling in the traditional black holes of transparent technology.

Of course, building talent networks takes time. But here’s the good news: they’re organic, and if managed properly, are self-sustaining, with the community of candidates driving the dialogue about what it’s like to work at your company — and why they might want to work there. And while that drives affinity, loyalty, and ultimately, increased applications and referrals for an employer, it also gives the recruiter a recruiter visibility into that most nebulous — but most important — consideration of all: organizational fit. And that’s something no applicant tracking system can determine.

Originally Published on the Human Capitalist


By Matt Charney

Matt serves as Chief Content Officer and Global Thought Leadership Head for Allegis Global Solutions and is a partner for RecruitingDaily the industry leading online publication for Recruiting and HR Tech. With a unique background that includes HR, blogging and social media, Matt Charney is a key influencer in recruiting and a self-described “kick-butt marketing and communications professional.”