Make Your Community About The Topic, Not The Brand

August 25, 2014Comments Off on Make Your Community About The Topic, Not The Brand

Zappos recently dropped their jobs board in favour of a talent community. 

Jobs will no longer be advertised. Jobs seekers join and participate in the community. They will interact and learn directly from employees.

Zappos will hire people from the community when jobs become available. 

If we excuse the terrible platform (no interaction is possible at the moment), there are some logical problems with talent communities like this. 

1) People don't look for a job until they need one. It's an event, not an interest.

2) Current employers won't be happy with employees interacting in another company's talent community (a few might even join their competitor's communities). This will be a big risk.

3) Too many places to participate. If everyone has a talent community, a job-seeker will have to participate in several communities to establish and build a reputation.

4) No evidence of better employees. There's no evidence that hiring from a talent community leads to better employees than hiring through other channels. 

5) People are joining to get a job. Once they either get a job (elsewhere) or realize their odds of getting a job are low, they will leave. Their only reason for participating is attached to getting a job – and there aren't enough jobs to go round.

A better approach isn't to build a talent community for the brand. It's to build an exclusive community for the topic or create something like StackOverflow. 

StackOverflow is a community for people to resolve questions about the topic. People can build up a reputation by answering and helping other people. It doesn't limit the number of members to those solely interested in the company. Everyone can participate without fears of their boss finding out.

When it comes time to hire someone, recruiting someone with a high StackOverflow score probably works well. 

What's the downside? Other companies might recruit from the same place. What's the upside? That will send even more prospective job seekers to your community.

On October 29th to 30th, the world's top 250 community professionals are going to SPRINT in San Francisco. Will you be one of them?

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