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How to: Create a Talent Community Around Stories

We hear a lot about talent communities here at Stories Inc. Yet, we don’t often see them utilized in the most efficient way by companies . A talent community is rife with opportunity to tell your brand story to a captive audience, and remain an excellent way to build and nurture a pool of potential candidates.

A talent community is more than a list of prospective candidates or people interested in your company. Each person who signs up for your community is interested in the work you do, the values you hold, and insights into the life of an employee. Some people join the community with the hopes that they may one day be an employee there, and others are just curious to learn more. Regardless of the motivation, this is a company’s chance to connect with an engaged group of people who could become potential candidates.

What is a Talent Community?

Let’s start with the basics, a talent community is an opt-in email or newsletter service, which provides updates on what is happening at the company, life at the company, and career advice for a potential candidate.

These people are reaching out for more information, so… give them more.

Creating a talent community starts with rejection

Sometimes there are great candidates that could be excellent employees for the company, but don’t exactly fit what your company needs right now. It might feel like the traditional ‘it’s not you, it’s me (the position)’ conversation. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of the relationship.

Now that you built a talent community, all of those potential employees, who are usually just cast away, have a place to go and stay connected. At the very least, reaching out with the option to stay in touch is more human than an automated rejection. 

Next stop in creating a talent community: Careers Page

Southwest Careers’ page is lined up in an ideal reading timeline. As a reader scrolls down the page, it starts with purpose, mission and values, then on to Glassdoor reviews and employee statements, continuing to benefits, flowing into ‘Why Southwest’, and then job categories. For those who make it to the very end of the page and still want to hear more, Southwest invites readers to join their Talent Community.

A great career page shows who the company is, not tells. A great career page features pictures and stories of real employees. Even better, it features the faces of those real employees. It is this content that makes people who are researching companies interested in your specific company. Being able to put a face, to a name, to a story, makes it easier to connect with that person.

When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

We have said it before, and we are saying it again; our brains are wired to remember stories. And listening to a story activates more of the brain so the information is retained better.

Employees’ stories will stick in the listener’s mind, and your employer brand will be stuck in there, too. If the person really is a good fit, then they will want to hear more. Some of the best talent communities aligned the sign up process with the company stories and information next to it, even if it’s just the link to the next page.

This keeps the flow of information going. It is easier for the candidate to find the talent community when it is the next step in the reading process. Look at the General Electric example below, as the reader views pictures and the ‘Who We Are’ section, they also see the call-to-action to join the talent community!

So, your stories, content and personality caught a community of interested potential candidates.

Why is this important for employer branding?

You can further engage.

These are people who want to know if they could fit into the company culture. A talent community offers the two-way street to answer questions, or have current employees update for more personalized engagement.

Use engagement as feedback data.

If given the right content, the people who opt-in for the community are going to be more willing to engage and interact. Compare the views, comments, and clicks of this opt-in audience to those of the general website. You can also base content on the common questions and challenges that the community is asking.

Showcasing company values weeds out unfit candidates.

These people are interested in a career with your company. But, if they signed up for the talent community, they might not be ready. Showing further transparency into the company, means they are more likely to stick around longer, if they ever do get a job.

Builds Employer Brand.

Well, really all of the above work together to help build an employer brand. The messaging promoted to your talent community should reflect and amplify the culture and values within the company.

A talent community fosters a relationship with current employees and interested people. Regardless of whether the interested people turn into applicants, this direct communication and transparency is important for building an employer brand. It nurtures potential candidates, engages and encourages current employees to talk about the work environment, and gives depth on both sides of a job posting or resume.

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