How to Build an Effective Talent Pool?

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April 25, 2020

What is a talent pool?
A talent pool is a database of candidate profiles interested in working for your organization, consisting of a mix of people who have applied before and were not selected, people with specific expertise - or people with a more generalist profile, including passive candidates and former employees.

Why should one build a talent pool?
The process of recruiting is empowered with a strong talent pool. With an upwards rise in cost per hire and time taken to fill a role, it makes strategic sense to employ a solid starting point while sourcing before launching a full recruitment campaign.
A talent pool is handy when it comes to an unexpected departure from one of your employees, with not enough time to secure sourcing on an immediate basis.

There are several benefits of maintaining a rich pool of potential candidates to tap into has several benefits:

Readymade database of qualified candidates

When organised well, a talent pool is a great source for qualified candidates.
For roles that requires specific expertise, several applications from viable candidates will be received when advertised.
In the event of hiring for a similar profile some time later, having access to those previous applied can certainly ease your recruitment process.
This depends greatly on how good the candidate experience was, so that they are encouraged to keep in touch and to apply again in the future.

67% of large companies & 56% of medium-sized business on a global basis have difficulty filling roles, making a rich talent pool necessary for ease in recruiting - Manpower Group

Passive candidates with details and contact info

Passive candidates are those who are already employed & happy with their jobs and not actively looking for new opportunities.
However, with the rise of social media it has become easy for recruiters to make the first move and connect with these candidates, most of whom are likely to be still interested in useful and relevant content that could help them with their careers.
Secondly, they are in contact with others looking for a job, so they can share the same in their network, a good prospect for recruiters.

Part of a long-term recruiting strategy

Human Resources is responsible for the creation of a long-term recruiting strategy (or succession plan), which makes building and maintaining a talent pool indispensable. It prepares hiring managers to anticipate the positions and profiles that will need future attention & lays out a plan to tackle periodic hiring.

A study by Robert Walter says 55% of employers face increased difficulty in meeting deadlines & client expectations due to talent resource shortages.

How does one build and maintain a talent pool?

So we have seen why it is essential to maintain a talent pool, now we need to understand how to go about it. Here are a few ways to get started.

1. Add your sourced candidates

One of the most straightforward ways to create a database of candidates encountered in the sourcing process. Promising candidates with potential but who don't fit any of your current open roles can be added to the talent pool.
To keep them interested, it falls to the hiring department to engage regularly with them. For instance you can keep them updated on industry news, latest tech developments at your company, or invite them to events organised by your organisation etc.

2. Build a dedicated landing page

In some cases it happens that candidates show interest in your company but there isn't a role for them currently; in such cases presenting them with an option to get notified is a solution.
For example building an appealing talent community landing page for candidates to learn more about opportunities in different departments to interest them. Sign them up for news that interests them, with regards to the company and the job role of their interest.

Asking your potential candidates about their interests straight away will help you deliver the right content to the right people and attract the best talent.

3. Re-engage unsuccessful candidates

Re-engaging with candidates who have applied before but didn't cut it is another simple way of populating your talent pool.
This is effective only when companies have provided them with a great candidate experience, which includes positive behaviour during recruitment. Remember to:
• Keep candidates updated about the process & next steps
• Maintain timeliness and the schedule provided
• Answer candidate questions as soon as possible
• Give people feedback about how they did, if they ask, mention why they didn't get the job
• Be honest about what candidates can expect from the job and the company
When recruiters follow these basics, it is an incentive for unsuccessful candidates to stay in touch and be part of your talent pool.

4. Engage students and fresh graduates

One of the best resources for a future workforce are students and soon-to-be graduates. It works in two ways as they can make themselves available for temporary or part time gigs, and creates an awareness for when they finally graduate. They are also more prone to work in a company familiar to them, and creates a good brand recall.
Alumni are also a great way to find similarly viable candidates, and a good source for potential candidates.

5. Include internal talent

Easy to overlook, but internal placement is a strong option when you start hiring. They come with the advantage of being familiar with the workforce, culture, policies and you can judge their skills from a stronger POV.
It is wise to first advertise any job opening internally, especially for senior roles.

6. Former employees are viable resources

Often times previous employees can leave for circumstance not under their control, but they're interested in future opportunities in the organisation. One way to find out is in the exit interview: include questions along the lines of: 'Would you consider coming back if the right opportunity presented itself?' or 'What would be a decisive factor for you to return to working for us?'
Based on their answers, you'll be able to categorize them for a specific part of your talent pool, keep them informed with relevant content and connect with them when a relevant role opens.

7. Keep a steady watch on your talent pool

Recruiters need to make it a habit of browsing through the talent pool on a regular basis to familiarize yourself with the kind of talent you've got in the talent pool. This helps you get to the right group of candidates faster when you need to fill a vacancy.
In addition you will be able to identify what talent is missing and needs to be brought to your talent database.

What are the ways to contact your talent pool?

Some of the ways to keep in contact with the members of your talent pool are:
• Newsletter - a regular update on available openings, personalised
• Social Media - LinkedIn
• Instagram & Twitter

Social media is a great way to show students and graduates what it's like to work for your company and what in particular you have in store for them. Think (summer) internships, graduate programs, part-time contracts, job shadowing, chats with your CEO, etc.
Getting your student and graduate 'offering' right also has a tremendous benefit for you as an organization; an internship or graduate program is a great way to spot talent and see who might be a good fit for your company later on.
Until then, you can fill your talent pool with them and keep them engaged with content relevant for those who are just starting their careers.

In Summation
Finding the right people is hard enough without support from a well maintained talent pool.
As much as possible, try to personalize the content you share with the candidates in your talent pool - keep in mind that students want different information than former employees or people on parental leave.
If you want to start building and maintaining a talent pool, following the 9 ways listed in this article should get you good results!