Recruiting BuzzwordsIn Part 1 of this series we took on some of the most popular buzzwords in today’s recruitment technology marketplace in Analytics & Big Data, Mobile Recruiting and Social Recruiting.

In Part 2, we discussed Candidate Experience, Employment Brand and Employee Referrals.

In today’s post, we’ll be looking at the final 3 buzzwords that you will hear in the vendor hall at the conferences you go to learn and what they are really all about.


Talent Network & Talent Community

What it is: During the conference season, you’ll hear a lot about Talent Communities and building them to help cultivate on-demand talent.  But in many cases, the “communities” being talked about aren’t communities at all but very useful “Talent Networks”.

So let’s define Talent Networks vs. Talent Communities:

Talent Networks are a collection of targeted talent pipelines that your organization can engage with and cultivate over time. Communication is only between the employer and candidate.

Talent Communities are communities formed around a company’s employment brand due to common interest within their field of expertise.  Content can be shared to encourage conversation and provide value by any member of the community (employer, candidate, etc.).  Communication can occur not only between employer and candidate but between candidates as well.

In both cases, organizations are looking to better engage and develop candidates for future talent needs.  However, the approach, technology and skill-sets needed for support these efforts is much different.

Technology Considerations:  When you look to build a Talent Network and

  • Are we building a Talent Network or Talent Community?: To the point above, you really need to figure out what you want and what’s the most effective for your organization.  To be honest, most organizations that are looking for Talent Communities are really looking for Talent Networks (which are typically more effective for organizations just starting with these concepts).  They have a vision of targeted talent pipelines that enable their team to better engage through email and SMS and move them over pre-determined statuses to match candidates with jobs.  I suggest you read the article below on the difference between the two.
  • What’s your engagement strategy? For either to be effective, you need to think about the messaging you send to candidates through email and SMS.  That means thinking of the different touchpoints, timing and content in these messages as it will differ based on the status of these candidates (i.e. initial communication, follow-up, requests for new information, newsletter framework, etc.) Content create will also be an important consideration here.
  • What can you automate?  In terms of building Talent Networks, the providers you choose can help you automate specific tasks as well as engagement with candidate in your process.  Obviously, not everything should be automated but it’s about what technology can help you intelligently automate and where it makes sense to do so in your process.
  • How do you measure success? In the end, your Talent Network initiatives are only as good as the performance vs. your other initiatives.  Your job distribution, sourcing and Career Site initiatives should help you build your Talent Network and in the end, your Talent Network should help you ween off some of these initiatives in being a performance driver for your recruiting strategy in terms of qualified candidates and hires.  And in addition to your bottom line performance analytics, you need to also be measuring time to fill and cost per hire as a Talent Network strategy is meant to help in both these areas.

Supporting Articles:  These articles should help in better understanding the candidate experience:

Candidate Relationship Management (CRM)

What it is: CRM has been around for a while now but many organizations are just now leveraging this technology to better capture and engage with candidates.  While CRM systems have been popularized by Sales and Marketing, for recruiting there are CRM’s built specifically for the needs of talent acquisition organizations.

A Recruitment CRM will help in all of the following areas:

  • Sourcing and Capture of candidates whether from online sources, documents such as spreadsheets or Talent Network form opt-in.
  • Process workflows for better organization, status, pipelining and engagement with candidate contacts.
  • Mobile capture and engagement for events such as Career Fairs and networking events.
  • Robust categorization and tagging of candidates into targeted groups and disciplines.
  • Easy ways to capture more information on candidates through social profiles and simple automated form campaigns.
  • Measurement of sourcer and recruiter activity in the system as well as key performance metrics for converting contacts into qualified candidates and hires.

Basically, it will be the environment where you will house and engage with all of your pre-applicant and silver medalist contacts until they are a fit for a position in your ATS.

Technology Considerations:  When you look at CRM technologies for recruiting it’s important to note the following:

  • Is it standalone? When looking for a CRM it’s important to understand standalone CRM vs. CRM as part of a larger technology such as a Recruitment Marketing Platform.  This will determine how effective your CRM integrates with other solutions such as job distribution, Career Sites, ATS and others.  It will also help you gauge the future cost of pre-applicant technology you need to recruit effectively.  Most organizations don’t stop at a CRM but look to add solutions around it as well.
  • Does it automate Talent Network capture? This goes along with the first question but how well does the CRM hook into your recruitment marketing strategy to leverage your job ad posting and Career Site to automatically capture and pipeline candidates in your CRM.  You are spending money to attract these candidates and having a CRM that can capture candidate information organically in the apply flow is something that is integral to getting more out of your investment.
  • Does it enable robust process flows? No matter if you are sourcing candidates, uploading data files or leveraging Talent Network candidates, you’ll want to think through the unique candidate development process your organization will take each candidate through.  This will help your organization and team better manage candidates and get them ready to match to jobs as they open up.  Your CRM needs to be able to support your unique process and situation.
  • Does it track team activity? For any CRM, you’ll want to be able to measure sourcer and recruiter activity within the system.  A CRM should be able to provide you team wide reports on how your team is using the system and their performance in developing quality candidates for open job positions.
  • Can performance analytics be integrated next to other initiatives?  In the end, you need to be able to track your CRM efforts next to everything else you do including job boards, niche sites, SEO, social and mobile recruiting efforts.  That means measuring the CRM the same way as these initiatives in terms of qualified candidates and hires produced.

Supporting Articles:  These articles should help in better understanding the candidate experience:

Recruitment Marketing Platform

What it is: A Recruitment Marketing Platform is a single integration solution that helps organizations to execute and measure a Total Recruitment Marketing Strategy.

Basically, it is a single Platform that brings together what are often times disparate technology solutions including all of the following:

  • Global Job Distribution
  • CRM
  • Talent Networks
  • Career Sites (SEO, Mobile, Social)
  • Mobile
  • Social
  • Employee Referrals
  • Centralized Analytics across all these initiatives

A true Recruitment Marketing Platform will include all of these solutions and integrate with any ATS to provide a full view into the performance of your recruitment strategy.

Technology Considerations:  There are a lot of solutions that will claim to be a Recruitment Marketing Platform (RMP) and/or offer all the solutions above in a single technology.  I recommend you drill down into these key areas to ensure it’s a true RMP:

  • Has the solution been built organically (i.e. built off the same code base?)  This is a huge deal especially for accurate analytics. A RMP should be an organically built with integration in mind between solutions.  In many cases, platforms are built by purchasing or merging disparate solutions.  The problem here is that these solutions are often times built off different code bases and measure data in different ways.  This leads to disjointed data and integration between solutions.  So it’s important to understand how the Platform was built with the preference being organically.
  • How does it integrate with existing systems? In many cases, the ATS is the big system that your recruiting organization needs to be integrated with any recruiting technology.  I’d ask about the key integration touchpoints including:
    • Data and analytics
    • Source Code Tracking
    • Bi-directional Contact Data Transfer
    • Apply Process Flow (Traditional and Mobile)
    • Job Data Pull (in posting jobs)
  • Do it provide centralized analytics?  This is two part for a reason.  You should make sure that the data is available across all your intiatives including job boards, niche sites, CRM, Career Site, SEO, employee referrals.  You should be able to see the results of each side by side in your dashboards and reports.
  • How much of the data is captured in system? It’s important to understand where the data comes from.  Do they actually execute and capture data for each campaign?  Or are they relying on 3rd parties to provide them with data and provide just a dashboard solution?  This is integral to the integrity and accuracy of your data in accordance with the organically built question above.  You’d much rather the data capture by the same metrics in the same way across initiatives than trust 4 or 5 data sources to all report accurately and close to the same way.  You will also want to go into how the RMP brings in data from the ATS which is one system your recruiting solutions should ensure they are passing the right sources into and be able to report on.
  • What’s the history of product innovation? What’s the roadmap? These two questions get to the heart of where the technology has been and where it’s going.  It’s important to understand the level of innovation the product has gone through and where it’s going.  This is especially crucial with RMP’s as they will need to evolve as new trends and technology needs emerge in the future.  And there’s nothing worse than a product that doesn’t improve after you purchased it.

Supporting Articles:  These articles should help in better understanding the candidate experience:

Talk to Other Conference Goers

This goes without saying but as you talk to vendors, ask them which of their customers are also at the event.  More than likely, they will be happy to help you make an introduction (and if they are not, that’s a warning sign.)

Also, ask other conference attendees what technologies they use and if any of them are sponsoring the event.  These conversations will immediately tip you off on the vendors other organizations like dealing with and the ones you might want to avoid.


Good Luck at your Recruiting Conferences

I hope these articles help frame for you some of the most important technology trends happening in the recruiting and talent acquisition space and give you some insight when you have conversations at conferences.

SmashFly will be at a number of conferences coming up and I hope to see you there.  If so, I’d be happy to talk through any of the trends.

Here’s our conference schedule as of today.


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