Under the Microscope – Shared Talent Networks

Shared Talent Networks: Why This Technology Never Gained Traction in Talent Acquisition

Shared Talent Networks, part of Peer-to-Peer Recruitment, came onto the scene in 2016 with the debut of Stella.ai, followed by HireVisor, which has since shuttered. In 2017, Stella raised $10M. The idea of Shared Talent Networks sounds interesting and innovative, but in practice, these technology companies don’t seem to scale. Why? Let’s first understand how the technology works.

The idea is simple — allow a company to input silver-medal candidates and access other corporation’s silver-medal candidates in an efficient and scalable manner. In practice, it would look like this: Organization ABC received 200 applications for a role. They used video interviews and assessment screens to narrow down the pool to 30 candidates. Ten were selected for on-site interviews, and one was hired. Now, this is where a Shared Talent Network is supposed to shine.

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The employer, instead of telling the 9 shortlisted candidates “thanks, but no thanks,” places them into the Network along with interview notes and assessment results. ‘The premise is these particular candidates will get hired more quickly because they’ve been vetted by Organization ABC and deemed “silver medalists,’” explained Rory O’Doherty, TTL’s Director of Provider Advisory. Some networks go as far as to provide the referring company a cut of the hiring fee, in effect turning the TA department from a cost center to a profit center. Everyone wins, right? No.

Rory explains further:

There are serious network effects at play with this model. First, there’s no value in being the first company in the network because there aren’t enough job applicants to access. At the same time, there’s no value for candidates if there are only a handful of companies because there aren’t enough jobs to apply for. Both sides need to be plentiful.

Second, industries differ significantly in their hiring requirements and tend to hire people who have experience in a particular sector, so a Shared Talent Network would not provide the niche-factor that these employers are looking for. Likewise, career-driven applicants are hyper-specific in terms of industry and job types, which doesn’t bode well with a generalized Network.

Third, most hiring companies prefer to keep their star candidates in a “walled garden” for future opportunities. It’s assumed that the candidates who are placed into a shared talent network are often good and viable candidates, but not the creme-de-la-creme. 

Fourth, and not surprisingly, many employers are turned off by the idea of profiting from candidates who were not hired. If candidates were made aware of this detail, it is unclear what percentage would actually opt-in.


We appreciate the intention of Shared Talent Networks, but as the model stands now, we don’t see it being a valuable addition to the Talent Acquisition Tech Stack.