The Talent Scout Episode 59: How to build an effective talent pool
3 minutes | Posted 11 May, 2021

Talent pooling is somewhat of a buzzword in the world of recruitment. When we talk about talent pooling, what we’re talking about is maintaining relationships with the best, but ultimately unsuccessful, people who apply for your roles and using that relationship to leverage them into a future more suitable opening. The most notable benefit is that your time to hire gets reduced as well as your overall recruitment costs. However, despite these benefits, I often hear recruiters referring to talent pooling as a project that they’re hoping to one day get to but just aren’t there yet. The reason for this is that talent pooling can be a relatively large undertaking, especially if you’re going to do it well.

Find a home for your talent pool

The first step towards effective talent pooling is to establish where you’re going to store your talent pool. Technically this can be done with an excel sheet and a Gmail account but if you’re going to get this right you really need to utilize an applicant tracking system. However you decide to store your talent, make sure it’s easily accessible and searchable by your talent team and hiring managers. Again, if you’re using an applicant tracking system, you can link your talent pool to your careers page. This way, great candidates who can’t see a current open role within your organization that matches their skill set can still express their interest in your organization and add themselves to your talent pool.

Engage with your talent pool

Engagement is equally key when it comes to talent pooling. If you drop candidates within your talent pool and they don’t hear from you again until you’re asking them to apply for a role 6 months later, don’t be surprised when they aren’t jumping for joy and immediately applying. Most additions to your talent pool are highly engaged with your organization at the point that they are added to your pool. They’re interested in who you are and are eager to be part of the team. You need to maintain that engagement between the point of adding the individual to your talent pool and the point where your new role becomes available. The easiest way to do this is to develop a monthly newsletter about your organization. This newsletter should definitely lean on the cultural side of your organization as well as talking about achievements your people have made in the month and celebrating them. If you have any current open roles include the links to them in the newsletter as well. Do all that you can to make individuals within your talent pool feel a little bit exclusive and privileged to be part of your talent pool.

Maintain a healthy talent pool

It’s also important to treat your talent pool as a living talent pool. This means that you need to keep reviewing it and ensuring it is fit for purpose. If you’re only ever adding people to your talent pool and not removing those that are hired or who are no longer a good fit for your organization, you’re going to end up with a bloated talent pool that’s unusable. It’s certainly important to keep adding to your talent pool or talent communities so that they continue to grow but it’s equally important to periodically make sure that everyone within your talent pool is a good fit for your organization. Organizations change and grow, today’s top priority may be a distant memory by tomorrow, and with that change once ideal candidates may no longer be a good fit. Keep your talent pool healthy so that it continues to be a useful tool within your recruitment process.

Talent pooling is a tricky recruitment skill to get right. It takes time and work to build healthy talent communities that your organization can draw upon. The benefits make that time hugely worthwhile. An effective talent pool, managed by the right technology, can and will reduce your time to hire as well as the money you spend on overall candidate attraction.

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