Community Hiring is Broken
Introducing the Community Industry's Talent Collective
I’ve been sharing over the past few weeks that I’ve been experimenting with something new to help companies who are hiring for community connect with quality candidates.
Today I’m launching that project: David’s Talent Collective (beta)
Before I share how it will work, I want to talk a little bit about the state of hiring in the community industry, and why I chose this as my first experiment since taking sabbatical.
Hiring for community is broken.
I’ve spoken to dozens of community professionals who recently did a job search and they all describe a process that’s inefficient and exhausting.
First, companies use the word “community” to describe everything these days. Many “community” jobs are actually social media marketing or customer support roles.
Even when they are focused on true community, it’s very difficult to suss out how legitimate their investment is. Community professionals have all had an experience working at a company that undervalued and misunderstood what they do.
Candidates will spend a ton of time and energy interviewing with companies just to find that the company doesn’t actually value community. Or worse, they take the job and find out later.
It’s broken for hiring managers too.
The last time I hired for community we received *hundreds* of applications from people who have no actual experience building community.
It’s one of those roles that everyone thinks they can do. Filtering through the noise to find quality community talent takes hours and hours of work before you even start interviewing.
A lot of companies are also hiring a community lead for the first time and they don’t know exactly what to look for.
You have to find someone with both experience AND passion for the topic. It’s not like engineering where any developer can work on any product. Community pros will spend a large part of their workweek interacting with humans and talking about the topic the community is gathering around. They have to actually care.
With so much frustration on both sides, there has to be a better way.
How Talent Collectives Can Solve Community Hiring
For years companies have been reaching out to me to ask if I know of any candidates that would be a good fit for their community roles and candidates have reached out to ask if I know of any great jobs out there.
I would do my best to make those connections. But I didn’t have an efficient system. Spreadsheets would only get me so far.
Then, earlier this year, I learned about a new tool called Pallet that would allow me to host what they called a “Talent Collective”. I knew I found my solution.
Here’s how it works:
Candidates apply to the collective. I look at their background to ensure that they have legitimate community experience.
Every two weeks, there will be a “drop” of new candidates to all of the hiring managers who are a part of the collective.
Companies can message candidates directly through the platform and candidates choose to accept or decline the conversation request. The ball is always in the candidate’s court.
And that’s it! You can take the conversation offline. Optionally, you can update me on how the conversations went and if it led to an interview or getting hired.
One thing I love about Pallet is that candidates can stay totally anonymous, or hide themselves from specific companies (like their current employer), so they can feel safe exploring new roles.
Candidates can also specify their preferred roles, industries, locations, and company size.
I curate both sides of the collective, so there will only be companies who are legitimately investing in community.
Companies will be asked to share salary ranges for their roles, as well as why they’re investing in community and who community will report to.
It’s such a huge improvement on the hiring process, I can’t believe it’s taken this long for someone to build it.
Other creators have launched Talent Collectives like Lenny for product leaders and Ridd for designers. Now community professionals have one too!
Ready to Hire your Next Community Lead?
I just did the first drop today!
There are now 40+ candidates in the collective from companies like OnDeck, Shopify, Rally, Microsoft, Course Hero… it’s an incredible group.
Companies like Notion, Prenda, Sphere, and Geneva are already using the collective to hire, and some of the top community-driven companies I know are going to be joining in the next few weeks as roles open up.
As soon as you join, you’ll get access to all of the candidates currently in the collective, as well as all future drops.
Hiring managers pay monthly for access ($199) but I’m offering a free trial for subscribers of this newsletter. Click below and use the code “betatesters” to get the first month free (you can cancel any time).
Candidates who are looking for their next community gig can always apply for free here.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve been testing this out for a few weeks now and a few common questions have been coming up, so I’ll address them here!
Where are candidates and jobs based?
Most candidates are based in the U.S. and Europe, but there are candidates based all over the world. Most of the jobs, so far, are based in the U.S. and Europe.
Can we join as a company if we don’t have a job description yet?
Yes! You can join the collective now and start interacting with candidates before you have a full job description ready. The process is just a little different to sign up, so reply to this email and I’ll shoot you the details.
Can we still connect with candidates if we cancel our subscription?
Any time you connect with a candidate, you can take that conversation over to email and stay connected. Once you cancel, you’ll no longer be able to message candidates through Pallet and you won’t get access to future drops.
What does a “legitimate investment” in community mean?
Here are three things I look for:
There's buy-in from C-level down
The community team is properly compensated and funded
The company takes a long-term view on building authentic communities, internally and externally
I’m really excited for this beta test. I think it can become the go-to place to hire for community and remove a lot of the frustrations we’ve all been feeling from the process of hiring for community.
Two ways you can help:
If you know anyone hiring or looking, forward them this email
Send me your feedback - and hold no punches! This is a beta and all feedback will help me validate that this is actually going to work.
I’ll keep you all updated on how this experiment goes in the coming weeks.
Until then, happy hiring!