One of the most beloved movies of all time, It’s A Wonderful Life, is a favorite of every cable station during the holidays. This heartwarming story of a Guardian Angel earning its wings is also one of the greatest movies about careers in the history of Hollywood. The story revolves around George Bailey, who has dreams of doing big things in his career, with hopes of “lassoing the moon.” He reaches his goal eventually, but not in the way he dreamt it would happen. No, George never leaves his home town of Bedford Falls, but over the years he builds a talent network that helps him overcome career hurdles and results in him becoming at the climax of the film, “The richest man in town!”
Unfortunately, over the years, we’ve been seduced by Talent Communities or Social Recruiting programs that didn’t quite deliver. Social Recruiting, with effort can be effective, but companies mostly use Social Recruiting by establishing company pages at LinkedIn, for example, attracting as many “followers” as possible. These large fan pages may indicate some level of interest, but they’re more a repository of names and not great for meaningful exchanges that cultivate a talented person who is not looking for a job. As George demonstrates, it’s the quality of interactions he has over the course of his career that earns him all his riches.
Social Recruiting can be labor intensive. A company that builds a Fan Page with a promise of interaction for all comers (like on Facebook), finds it impossible to stop the constant flow of chatter that is needed. The time and money spent for this purpose is breathtaking, but the Return On Investment has been called into question, and rightfully so. AI and automation is beginning to help, but these activities probably should be considered marketing programs versus network pipelining activity. To be successful, a talent network requires a more structured engagement approach that cultivates people of interest and provides an “employment focus” with justified expectations.
Talent Network Difference
The promise of talent networks to provide a more efficient employment process can be huge, with recruiting time spent, talent quality, hiring costs and “time to hire” metrics drastically altered from what we have all come to expect over the last 40 years. By maintaining a specific network goal, a company has a real opportunity to attract workers like George Bailey who aren’t looking for a new job, but are focused on taking on greater challenges instead. The elusive “other 50%” of the workforce, that have been difficult to attract with employment advertising and referrals, can be cultivated with a talent network.
Targeted Pipelines, Rosters and Short Lists
The broader recruitment marketing focus is to increase the exposure of the Employment Value Proposition or Branding on an industry wide pool of talent. Sourcing and interacting with that “now interested” pool of talent, and tracking their interests and motivations in smaller targeted talent pipelines, rosters, and short lists is the key. A company can get the most out of a talent pipeline by segmenting them into numerous functional areas of need. In this way, a recruiting organization can tailor their message to a more targeted group, and the size of the company wide network can be pared down to a more manageable level for interaction and engagement with the various division or team based hiring authorities.
Obviously, it makes sense to create pipelines for roles within a company that experience a high degree of turnover or that come open several times during the year. With this in place, a “renewable recruiting” program for these jobs can be created, saving time and money.
Taking lessons from a fictional character like George Bailey may not always be a good recipe for success, but the desire for career consumers to want an upwardly mobile work life at a job they love should not be left to fiction. For the past 40 years we have screened out nine out of ten workers for every req we filled, mostly with little to no explanation except, “you weren’t good enough,” and workers haven’t appreciated it. With talent networks, we have the opportunity to eliminate decades of neglect and change the way our work force views their career so that bells are heard jingling throughout the economy and talent shortages of angels in heaven are a thing of the past.