In a section in Oracle’s eBook, The HR Marketer’s Guide to Talent Acquisition, the authors explore the power of networks as new ways to manage a contingent workforce and visualize employee engagement. 

They recognize that companies are (or should be) abandoning traditional ways of recruiting because it’s simply no longer the best way to acquire exceptional talent. 

With the growing value, size, and importance of the contingent workforce, employee and alumni networks are becoming vital to broader HR strategies and talent acquisition.

Key Factors To Acquiring Top Talent

Contributor Mervyn Dinnen, who is an Independent HR and Talent Analyst, points out how most HR departments have not evolved alongside new workplace challenges. These include skills gaps, work satisfaction, and changing demands from top talent. 

Employees have choices; practicing long-standing interview and selection processes will no longer bring in exceptional talent. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Stop focusing on a candidate’s background and career trajectory and look for someone who is right for the role and a good fit for the company.
  2. Company perks and a good salary alone are not enough. Offer outstanding employee experiences and help to achieve their personal goals.
  3. From your first engagement with the candidate all the way to development and progression, ensure you build a robust talent journey.

The Growing Power Of Networks

Advances in HR technology have created powerful new opportunities to identify, reach and select the very best talent. For example, there are now platforms that allow for deep dives into different aspects of HR analytics and can power large networks with ease. 

Mervyn uses the example of a business that abandoned traditional recruitment strategies in favor of networks, including those of existing employees. That business now fills 75% of their vacancies through these networks. 

A network grows organically as people join or leave, creating ever more connections as they move through the revolving door. At the same time, social technology allows us to know more about those connections, increases the opportunities for referrals, and identifies top talent.

The Power Of Networks Cuts Both Ways

HR teams have excellent visibility of the talent in their networks and can track and engage with them in a myriad of ways. However, that talent also has 24/7 access to your business. They can get a feel of what it’s like to work for your business and engage with your business, gaining insights into you as an employer. 

HR teams should use their alumni networks to learn more about potential candidates while making and maintaining lifelong relationships. At the same time, they also have to be transparent about what the company really has to offer.


It’s true that people are changing jobs more frequently, putting strain on traditional HR practices. An effectively managed alumni network can make lemonade from lemons by acting as a pool of skilled talent from which recruiters can draw.

Don’t view that person’s last day working for you as the end of his or her relationship with your business. Instead, see it as a new phase in both of your professional journeys. 

Sign up for early access to the upcoming release of The Alumni Advantage. The book provides an end-to-end understanding of how organizations are recognizing and leveraging their former employees, authored by James Sinclair, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of EnterpriseAlumni.