Talent Circles

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

5 Ways to Create Communities of Influence in Candidate Engagement

We all want to surround ourselves with people we know, like, and trust especially when it comes to work.  That’s why when a new CEO or President is named to an organization; it’s common to have him/her hire a new team of trusted advisors and executive staff.  Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s new CEO is currently making staffing and hiring changes in her senior ranks with the addition of her new CMO, General Council, and EVP of HR in the last week. 

Communities of Influence Benefit Candidate Engagement

These communities of influence are important for recruitment, retention, and candidate engagement for all levels of an organization, and it is important that Mayer chooses her team wisely.  Managers from all levels of an organization use this approach except that the team quickly become stagnate or filled with group think.  Because while we want to work with people we know, like, and trust, often times these are people who share our same beliefs about business and work making creativity, innovation, and new products almost impossible.  So how do we engage top talent that pushes us to do better through our networks and communities of influence? 

Simple, we hire those that make us uncomfortable.  Change is hard but getting others to believe and change themselves is even harder.  That’s why I’ve always been of the opinion to hire those that drive me nuts.  They rub me the wrong way and open me up to new ideas, suggestions, and ways to improve our team or business.  If we strictly hire based on past relationships and our communities of influence, we miss out on opportunities to elevate our performance and ourselves.  I might not like that approach in the short term because these individuals drive me nuts, but in the long term they make me a much better leader and manager than I ever was or could have been without the diversity of thought and action from my team. 

  • ·      Hire Those That Challenge Us.  As I mentioned earlier, different points of view make us well rounded and expand our horizons.  Avoid group think and hire for skill not solely based on the person you like the best. 
  • ·      Develop Streams of Conversation.  Mayer has a long-standing relationship with these individuals and knows their history.  She can draw on their experiences having sat back and watched their professional careers develop.  By developing streams of conversation with the long term in mind, you will always have qualified members within your talent community to choose from. 
  • ·      Mentor Others.  People want to be connected with those that can help them.  Develop a reputation for mentoring and providing sound advice to those within your industry, and people will find you making your community of influence stronger and broader than ever before.
  • ·      Embrace Change.  There is one thing in this life that is always constant and that is change.  Constantly build your networks, relationships, and contacts focusing on life-long learning.  Doing this will open you to new opportunities and relationships simply because you are open. 
  • ·      Provide Value.  The most sought after candidates have choices just like Mayer’s new team.  Whether you provide value to them and your community through mentoring programs, blogs, or helping them with their professional development, find out how you can provide value in a way that fits your professional goals, aspirations, and schedule.  Even taking an hour a week to schedule phone calls or meet for coffee is a start.  Providing value doesn’t have to take hours when it’s focused and genuine. 

Growing Your Personal Talent Network & Employer Brand

Building communities of influence to fill future roles can seem risky, but through your interactions including candidate engagement you are setting an example and helping future business generations grow and learn.  These interactions help to elevate your company’s employer brand as well as your own making your own personal talent network and individual employer brand stronger than ever before.  

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs


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