Community management as a recruitment tool
The practice of creating online communities of current and past employees around an organisation is becoming popular. These communities can give people a real experience of what it means to be part of an organisation. For hiring managers, they can be an ideal forum for recruiting quality talent.
A lot of IT companies have online communities which include employees, consultants, independent professionals as well as customers. Members of these communities collaborate on topics and answer questions relating to the company and its products. Job opportunities are often posted to these groups.
Members often enjoy the challenge of answering questions and participating in discussions around hot topics. The satisfaction of helping and connecting with others can build a sense of camaraderie within the community. According to a recent article by Richard Millington founder of The Pillar Summit, people who are prepared to spend their spare time helping others, sharing knowledge and learning new techniques are very desirable targets for recruitment.
As well as forums for seeking advice, these online communities provide opportunities for recruiters to spot the best and brightest talent that’s available. The most knowledgeable and qualified members will consistently offer the best advice, comments and solutions to problems and topics raised.
It is relatively easy for hiring managers to build a profile of potential job candidates and their connections, advises Millington. They can also gain plenty of insight into how potential candidates treat others and how they approach problems and work with others to find solutions.
“Online communities can also assist in keeping abreast of the latest industry trends, opinions and gossip”, says Millington. “You may even be able to identify what drives individuals in terms of motivation, what people look for in certain job specs and what top pros in your sector think of your company and the people that work there”.
Building your community
These online communities do take time and effort to develop. Whether it’s via a website, LinkedIn, Facebook or whatever, you need to make it as easy as possible for potential applicants to engage with you .
Quality not quantity is the name of the game. Commence your community with baby steps. Encourage existing employees to join and proactively invite others that you know will participate. Regular and consistent activity is required in posting relevant content, generating and participating in discussions, providing feedback, etc.
Focus on the needs of the members you bring on board. It might take some time before people get involved, but once they do they well help maintain the momentum of the community.
As well as building communities based around your company brand, you can build or participate in communities focusing on professions you are looking to recruit. So, if you are a software company, rather than building communities based purely on the company, you might look at setting up a community targeting software engineers.
Your online communities give you the opportunity to clearly and consistently demonstrate your company’s brand, message and mission with every interaction. Building relationships and presence in external communities can greatly increase the number of people who become aware of your brand; see your job postings and visit your web pages.
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