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Does the problem with talent communities start with the word ‘talent’?


Talent show

Imagine for a moment you are looking for a job. How would YOU refer to yourself to other people in your networks, friends, recruiters and companies etc. A job seeker, a [insert job title] looking for work, a [insert job title] looking for a new opportunity, returning to work, candidate, an applicant maybe? 

Have you ever referred to yourself as talent? [aside from as a descriptor on your CV/Resume – a talented …….. looking for a new opportunity etc] 

What do you YOU think of, when people talk about talent? I don’t know about you, but to me (thanks to TV) it immediately conjures up images of X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, and all the other awful reality TV show programmes with people seeking their 15 minutes of fame.

From a recruiters perspective, there is only one word that is used to describe their target audience (no, not that one…. ), and that is a candidate. Now they may segment it to describe ‘passive’ and ‘active’ candidates (whatever that means now in the social media world), but that is pretty much as descriptive as they get. Hardly a mention of talent what so ever!

So, neither party use the word ‘talent’. So who does? HR Managers, CEO’s, The Board? The media? 

  • If you wanted to make it a formal description, then the Oxford English Dictionary describe talent as people possessing a natural aptitude or skill. 
  • If you wanted an informal description then it describes talent as people regarded as sexually attractive or as prospective sexual partners e.g. on saturday nights people go looking for new talent.

So then we come onto the phrase Talent Communities.

Bearing in mind what I have already said above, what then, do people (the candidate/jobseeker etc) think when they see the phrase, ‘Join our talent community’  or ‘Be part of our talent community’ ? (or words to that effect)
What do you think it means to them? A way to find a new job now or in the near future? Too simplistic?

Then what about the owners of ‘talent communities’ – companies, recruiters etc. What does it mean to them? A pool of candidates/jobseekers that are potentially interested in some of your jobs? Again, too simplistic?

Is it the word ‘talent’ that is muddying the waters here, or are we all just not being honest with the reality of what ‘talent communities’ really are?

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