Part 2: What size should your Talent Community be?

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Dec 28, 2016

This post is the second in a series on what a Live Talent Community is and how to use one to drive greater recruitment productivity, quality of hire, and candidate experience.


In the previous lesson, we covered what a Talent Community is, and why you should create one.

Today, we’ll cover how big your Talent Community needs to be to sustain 100% of your organisations ongoing hiring needs. Growing your Talent Community to optimal size is your primary objective.

First, I want to ask you two things;

1. Does your organisation currently have a database of past applicants?

2. How much do you currently use it for finding new talent?

I’m guessing if you’re reading this, the answer to the first question is yes, you do have a database of some form (even if it’s just an email inbox), and it may even be quite substantial if you’ve been advertising jobs for years. Many companies have past applicant databases of 50-100 times their current workforce size.

I’m also guessing the answer to the second question is you don’t use it very much at all?

Don’t worry, that’s normal.

Applicant databases are notoriously clunky to search, and the quality of data on people is poor or stale. You may be sending job alert emails to the database or attempting to engage subscribers with email marketing, but I am guessing the engagement rates (email open rates and responses), are low. All in all, a lot of work for little return, much easier to keep posting job ads right?

For a Talent Community to work, it needs to fix the above problems, by having fresh and rich (live) information on skills and availability of talent, willingly provided to you by those people in your Talent Community, and being able to communicate to them openly and easily, with fast responses.

Qualified, Interested, Available.

I want to park this line of thought for a later lesson though. For now, let’s just assume that you can in fact build your own Talent Community where talent data is fresh, and people engage with you when you need them to, without having an army of a hundred recruiters occupying a call centre you can see from the moon. This is the secret sauce we will reveal later.

The optimal size of your community is simple;

For companies mostly managing their own hiring: it’s about 25 x the number of hires you need to make in the next 12 months.


Because at any point in time, you’ll find about 1 to 2 in 10 people on your Talent Community are available to hire, or ready to consider a career change, so this gives you 3-5 candidates to shortlist immediately. These are people that you, or your colleagues, have already partially vetted. More on this in a later lesson.

Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, it varies.

For example, if your hiring is seasonal (like christmas casuals for example), you may want to increase the ratio. For other roles that are more niche (e.g. senior management or specialists) or for much shorter durations (contingent) workforce where you constantly re-hire the same people, you can reduce the ratio. But as a starting point, if you stick to the above suggestions, you’ll be able to optimise it as you begin to organise your community into talent pools around particular job families (more on this in a later lesson).

A smaller and optimal Talent Community of high-quality talent, with well-understood intentions and a relationship with you, is your businesses best competitive advantage and key to agility.

For now, that’s all!

So what’s your optimal Talent Community size? Feel free to double check your calculations with us here and ask any questions you may have.

In the next post we will help you set your Talent Community up for launch, and help you consider what your unique employee value proposition (EVP) is to entice people to click and join your Talent Community from all the wonderful avenues you can promote it.

Remember, if you have not yet claimed your free Talent Community in your company’s name, you can do it here.

If you don’t want to wait for the future posts, you can subscribe to the Talent Community Academy email series to receive this knowledge faster.

And be sure to download the guide to Getting Started with Live Talent Communities