Talent War - The secret invite-only channel for that next role

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 12 July 2022
Source: Grzegorz Walczak via Unsplash

Recruiters and job seekers have discovered a new channel for finding talent or a new role.

Slack, which became popular as an internal chat platform during pandemic lockdowns, is emerging as a way to seek out talent. 

Slack Connect, unlike the traditional Slack chats used for internal company communication, is formulated around external networking. 

Launched in 2020, more than 100,000 organisations, including 77% of Fortune 100 companies, are using Slack Connect channels to communicate with external partners, customers and clients.

However, these invite-only Slack channels are also providing job opportunities at faster rates than traditional job-application methods, some claim.

Zoe Goodhardt, client lead TAG Direct, told AdNews: “From what I've seen this year, the 'talent' wants to be courted. They want to be wanted. 

“At the risk of sounding 'old' back in my day, you were thrilled when you received a job offer. Now candidates are much more switched on, and savvy when it comes to their desires for a new role.”

In an attempt to be recruitment savvy, Goodhardt started to research hiring opportunities on Slack.

“Honestly, it's not going that well through Slack,” said Goodhardt.

“Perhaps I need to be in more channels?

“From what I've seen from the recruitment style Slack channels, is that it needs to be really organised with different channels serving different functions. 

“For example, one is for jobs and one is more introductions, which creates an unclouded experience, and you can get what came for.

“In 2022, it's hard to know what to lead with in an introduction about a role. Is it salary? Is it flexibility? Is the client cohort? 

“Particularly since people's views on working from home, and working from the office are so polarising. Often I find leading with culture, and team are the winning combination, after all, that's what matters that most.”

However, as technology recruitment agency NewyTechPeople found, even though Slack Connect is relatively unknown to most, the foundations of trust and commitment is essential to the success of networking programs.

In the wake of the pandemic, NewyTechPeople were unable to connect with the community through meetups and events, so they found online communities a valuable asset for engagement. Two years on and the company has an extremely successful Slack Connect channel.

“Slack has proven to be one of the strongest platforms for tech communities to gather, if you know where to find them,” James MacDonald, director, NewyTechPeople // RemoteTechPeople told AdNews.

“There is a talent shortage in technical roles, and the traditional methods of attracting talent have become increasingly less effective. 

“The number and quality of candidates willing to engage on traditional platforms such as Job Boards and LinkedIn are both falling. 

“We’ve had success recruiting through Slack, though there are some significant differences with how to engage an audience. 

“For Slack outreach to be effective, it’s important that the recruiters add value to the community through providing value or generally contributing to discussions rather than just being there to headhunt. 

“We’ve worked hard to engage with the people that form part of the communities on Slack to form relationships that go beyond just posting job opportunities and DMing people about jobs.

“Our key to success is engaging with the community to become a genuine part of the group rather than someone just advertising jobs. A good recruiter or talent acquisition professional should be able to add value to conversations relevant to the community they are joining. 

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity to learn from the experts on the platform and stay ahead of the latest trends in the industry. 

“Once you’ve gained the respect of the community it is much easier to share opportunities that are relevant to the group and it’s more likely you get a positive response.

“We’ve also had ‘job board’ specific channels created which are opt-in for community members so they are choosing whether to see the opportunities or not. 

“We don’t message people directly on Slack - it’s important to us that we’re available to help technology professionals in those spaces when they’re ready, without messaging them unprompted.

“We’ve had a range of successful connections come from our engagement with the Slack community. Posting jobs and being visible to the members also helps us create greater brand awareness too.”

While workplace and industry forums also exist on Reddit, Fishbowl and Discord, those users tend to post anonymously, instead Slack Connect members use their real names and workplaces.

Slack Connect is not limited to the existing workforce as fresh graduates are also using the platform to get their foot in the door.

Nathan Lee, a third-year bachelor of commerce student at the University of Melbourne, started Slack Connect group, Stint, with two friends.

“Often when we think about building connections, we think of the usual social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, etc, but with Slack, you’re really able to curate an intimate community of like-minded professionals with shared interests and a common goal,” Lee told AdNews.

“It’s a really great tool for facilitating deeper connections. 

“I had never really realised the potential of Slack beyond its use as an internal communication channel - however, this all changed when I was invited to join Earlywork - a Slack community that curates tech and startup-based roles and resources for young people in Australia and New Zealand. 

“Being a part of this community I quickly understood the support it provided to so many young people interested in startups. This support wasn’t just in terms of resources, but also that people-to-people connection, which is just as, if not more, valuable. 

“So I started Stint which is essentially an online platform dedicated to helping international students build a career here in Australia. 

“We found that the logistics of creating the Slack community itself was relatively straightforward. 

“The difficult part was tailoring the community to fit the needs of the people we’re servicing, ie. international students. This took time and many different iterations. 

“We surveyed and interviewed over 100 international students in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues they were facing, and ensure that Stint was addressing their specific pain points.

“The next hurdle that we faced was conversion rates. We were aware that the total addressable market for Stint was huge. This year alone, 440,000 international students came to Australia in pursuit of receiving a quality education and eventually joining the workforce and building a life here. 

“However, not only was reaching a large proportion of our TAM difficult, but we also found that converting this reach into international students actually joining our Slack community to be even more challenging. 

“Despite the talent shortage in Australia, the job-hunting journey for international students remains an extremely isolating and often disempowering one. 

“The journey for them to find a job is still stressful and full of disappointments, with these struggles amplified by factors outside of their control. 

“We now have a rapidly growing community of over 165 people, through which international students are able to network with one another, industry mentors, recruiters and hiring managers across Australia. 

“Our impact was instant, as we helped Bruce, an international student from Vietnam, land a job at an Australian start-up, by connecting him with one of the founders - a former international student himself, through our Slack community. 

“The founder of this start-up reached out to commend our work. He said: 'Fantastic work team! As someone who moved to Australia myself, I can only attest to the power of community'.

“We’ve also received a lot of positive feedback from our Slack community members, which is a really encouraging sign that we’re heading in the right direction, for example a member told said: 'awesome, because [we] are helping a lot of people who sometimes don't even know where to ask for help'.

“We firmly believe in the values of diversity and inclusion and will continue to empower the hundreds of thousands of international students to build the career and life that they deserve.”

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