A talent community is an online, opt-in pool of prospective employment candidates. The primary difference between a talent community and a traditional applicant pool is the level of engagement between candidates and hiring managers, combined with pre-screening processes to ensure only qualified members gain entry. Components of a talent community directly relate to the community's intended purpose. Such components might include profile pages, discussion forums, informational presentations, regular email updates regarding candidacy, blogs and other community-building features.
An employer or recruiting firm, through the use of a talent network or community, is better able to judge both hard and soft skills to place the best candidates in the right positions. By using online screening tools, questionnaires, and other mechanisms, potential candidates display more information regarding fitness for various positions than would typically display in a resume. Candidate-focused community tools such as user contributed wikis, discussion forums, and blogs allow candidates to monitor open positions within a company or organization, as well as form bonds with other candidates and human resource personnel.
Online talent community development often uses social recruiting or advertising through social media outlets to gain the attention of candidates. Entry into a talent community typically starts with an employment website, either for direct employment with a particular company or for a recruiting agency. Prospective candidates for the community complete assessments, skill set tests, personality profiles, and personal interests surveys to help employers gain a more holistic understanding of each candidate. In some cases, these pre-screening tools filter out candidates unlikely to be suitable for placement due to lack of knowledge or skills, conflicting work philosophies, or other disqualifying results.
The complexity of a talent community varies, depending on the specific goals of the community host. For example, a recruiting agency benefits from allowing more interaction and personalization of the talent community environment by candidates. Allowing personal profile pages, links to published works, pictures, and portfolio samples are just a few talent community enhancements a recruiting agency can employ to highlight and showcase the various skill sets, interpersonal skills, and work philosophies of its community members.
The benefits of talent communities extend to both employer and prospective employee. A member of a talent community has the ability to withdraw participation if or when another job offer is made. Likewise, a candidate still hoping for employment through a talent community host can keep contact information, educational achievements, and professional status up to date, as well as monitor for additional opportunities. When hiring personnel are ready to fill positions, selecting the right candidate is easier, since members are pre-screened, offer extensive additional information, and display the most current contact information or employment status.