Building a Talent Community At Scale

As a recruiter, I’ve heard all about the importance of networking. Recruiters should be out socializing, handing out business cards, scheduling follow-up lunches, and building a network of professionals that can be called upon to fill future job openings. What if instead of building a network, recruiters built a talent community? What if our communities were comprised of small businesses, meetup groups, and local university students hungry for a taste of what thriving companies have to offer?

A stellar recruiter focuses on two things:

  • Reframing her role from hiring to relationship building

  • Building a community through authentic outreach

Reframing from hiring to relationship building

It all starts with the mindset of your recruiting team. The role of a recruiter is so much more than posting a job opening and culling through resumes. It’s about building deep relationships across a community of talent, which means you might have candidates in mind before you even have a role to fill!

Recruiters should be a resource, providing expertise around branding, building resumes, and putting one’s best foot forward in the interview process. Involvement with local college and university students is a fantastic way to give back to your talent community.

Adding the members of your community into Greenhouse as prospects is the best way to make sure you’re always in touch. At Carvana, my team also reaches out to members of our talent community just to check in! Through Greenhouse, we keep notes of conversations that remind us of the goals, life events, and successes of the members of our community. We also set follow-up reminders within Greenhouse, enabling us to be consistently in contact and to keep track of the topics covered in conversations.  

This activity feed should be a timeline of conversations and notes. It should tell a story of the relationship you’ve nurtured with your prospective candidate. If you think about your current network, how could you enhance those relationships with friends, colleagues, and local businesses? How will you build your talent community?

Building a community through authentic outreach

At Carvana, we thought carefully about how we wanted to build our community to stretch beyond our home turf in Phoenix and extend into the 33+ cities where we have a presence. In the end, it came down to connecting with people. Some of the ways we thought about doing this were through simple acts of service and opening our doors to passionate people.

You don’t have to have a crazy recruiting budget to connect with your community. At Carvana, we coined “Random Acts of Carvana” as a way of giving back through surprise acts of service. Whether we are taking over Starbucks and footing the bill for each customer’s coffee all morning, or buying up a store’s entire stock of pumpkins just to hand them out in a parking lot, these small surprises allow us to connect with people in a fun and memorable way.

You can also leverage your workspace as a way to invite people into your community, show them some love, and give them a taste of what your company is all about. At Carvana, we host tech meetups and grassroots organizations, like Hackernest, which have broadened our community of technical talent beyond measure. We supply comfort food, conversation, and a learning opportunity to our tech community month after month. Much like opening your home for a dinner party, we’re cultivating community with hospitality and good conversation.

Proactive recruiters know that successfully filling a new role starts long before there’s an opening. When done right, with the right intentions and the right tools, you can build a community of talent that will benefit your company for the long run!

Claire Priddy

Claire Priddy has been using Greenhouse to shape and and progress recruiting efforts since 2012. She loves leveraging technology and data in recruitment, but still prefers to build a pipeline through good, old-fashioned personal relationships. Claire is currently building the Engineering, IT, and Data Science teams at Carvana, an auto tech startup based out of Phoenix.

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