Recruitment Marketing professionals are increasingly focused on building personalized, meaningful connections with their target talent audiences, instead of casting a wide net to attract as many people as possible. Building a talent community is one way to achieve this more individualized approach.
Although the idea of building a talent community isn’t new, it’s certainly on the rise. According to Sprout Social, 40% of marketers view private communities as a top social trend to prioritize in 2020.
In addition, there’s room to improve the approach we’ve taken to talent community building. Today, most talent communities live on an organization’s careers site. Prospective talent clicks on the “join our talent community” button, fills out some information and then they may receive a job alert from time to time. Some Recruitment Marketing teams might send a careers newsletter or a branded email promoting new content personalized by role type.
While these efforts can be effective, there are opportunities to build even more meaningful talent communities that create real connections with prospective candidates. Scotiabank — a leading bank in the Americas — has been working on taking their talent community to the next level.
Last year, Scotiabank’s recruitment team set out to create a private LinkedIn group for current and prospective campus talent. The team’s initial goal was to hit 1,000 participants. One year later, the group has over 8,000 members and growing!
We spoke to Jordan Beresford, Enterprise Talent Marketing Program Manager at Scotiabank, to learn more about how their team built an engaged talent community on the LinkedIn platform.
Meet the expert
Jordan Beresford is an Enterprise Talent Marketing Program Manager at Scotiabank. Jordan supports the Canadian Banking, Wealth, Campus and Global Business Markets divisions, as well as the Awards and Indigenous Recruitment portfolios. Jordan is focused on creating marketing strategies and content to drive talent attraction for these groups.
Rally: Hi Jordan! Thanks for joining us. Last year Scotiabank launched a LinkedIn campus group. Can you share what led to the creation of this group?
Jordan: For sure. Well, to start, there’s lots of competition on social media, so it’s becoming more challenging to get your content in front of relevant audiences. We also wanted to be able to share more often than our corporate brand channels would allow. Campus recruitment operates on a very different cycle from regular recruitment, so it was important that we let the campus team post at times that made sense for them.
Additionally, students are a highly engaged audience, so we wanted a channel that could provide us with two-way communications. Also, from a reputation perspective, having a private group helps mitigate any risks that corporate social teams might be worried about.
The other great aspect of creating a LinkedIn group to build our talent community is that it allows students to connect and share with one another. These authentic connections are effective brand builders.
We also wanted to create a sense of exclusivity around our talent community. Being invited to join and participate in this group has helped us to create an allure around what it means to be a “Scotiabanker,” which ultimately helps our employer brand attractiveness.
Rally: That’s awesome! It sounds like there are a lot of benefits to building a talent community on LinkedIn. Today, the group has over 8,000 members. How did you build such a strong following?
Jordan: We have an awesome campus recruitment team that has really been going out and beating the drum hard about this group. A lot of our outreach has been from the campus team going out and actively encouraging students to join the group when they are on campus or conducting virtual sessions.
We also promoted the group internally with our existing intern and new grad base and encouraged them to post and share.
However, the key to creating an engaged community is to nail down your community’s value proposition; in other words, you need to answer the question “what’s in it for me if I join your community?”
The messaging we share with students says “join our group and you will have access to the campus recruitment team. You’ll have the chance to have your most burning questions answered in real-time, get exclusive access to content and the ability to network with students from other universities.”
Rally: You mentioned that one perk of joining the group is access to exclusive content. What type of content is shared in the group?
Jordan: Great question! We share tons of content. Sometimes it’s event promos ahead of their release on corporate brand channels. Recruiters also share adapted internal content — recently a team member shared photos and videos from our hackathon. We also share sneak peek day-in-the-life pictures, video content and open positions that are relevant to the audience.
Our talent community also helps us to source ideas for new content we should be creating based on the questions that are being asked repeatedly. This led us to create a campus advice blog that our talent community can refer to in order to get more information they might want to know about.
In the past, we’ve polled the group asking, “What do you want to learn more about from us?” and we received over 50 responses! Recently, students have been asking a lot of questions around what internships and new grad opportunities exist for the upcoming year and next summer, since it’s currently back-to-school time and internships and post-grad jobs are top of mind.
Rally: It’s great that you’ve got such an engaged group! Anecdotally, it sounds like your group has been a success, but how do you actually measure the results of a program like this?
Jordan: It’s all very new to us, but what’s helpful when it comes to measurements is to set goals for yourself so that way you can identify what metrics to track.
For example, since one of our goals is to drive qualified applicants, any time we put a piece of content in the group we always track URLs. We can then see what people are clicking on, what open reqs they’re applying to, and the quality of the candidates who are coming through.
Another goal is to build employer brand awareness by sharing content that’s resonating and that people want to engage with. To track this, we look at post views, clicks and year-over-year follower growth. We also look at metrics like engagement to get an understanding of the content that’s getting the most attention.
Something we have to start looking at is how we ensure our membership base stays relevant. Students won’t be students forever, so how do we transition them into a regular talent community when they graduate?
Rally: Before we sign-off, what advice would you give other practitioners who want to build a talent community, whether on LinkedIn or on their own?
Jordan: Building a talent community definitely takes time, effort and engagement. In addition to developing and sharing content on a regular basis, you also need to identify someone who can go in and reply to comments and posts on an ongoing basis (a community manager or management team of sorts). For example, our whole campus recruitment team has access to the talent community and can reply to comments and questions. We also have 2 employer brand specialists who develop and post Recruitment Marketing content in the group.
Beyond that, you also have to make sure that you’re consistently promoting the group in your Recruitment Marketing materials, on your careers site — wherever you can really — to ensure the community continues to grow.
In short, you need time, designated resources, engagement and a solid promotion strategy.
Rally: Thanks so much for sharing your insights and expertise Jordan!
We hope you enjoyed this conversation with Jordan and gained some inspiration and insights to create or nurture your own talent communities.
If you want to learn another interesting take on talent communities, take a look at our blog Micro Talent Networks: Go Small to Go Big on Talent Engagement.