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The Importance of Talent Pooling

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The behaviours and expectations of candidates are constantly changing and with a wealth of job vacancies available at the click of a button, more often than not candidates will apply for multiple roles at the same time. And for each application, whether they're successful or not, they want to move quickly and have very little time for slow and archaic recruitment processes.

So, imagine how much your organisation would stand out from the crowd if you proactively approach a candidate, rather than waiting for them to find your opportunities?

The truth of the matter is, if you’re on the back foot and always relying on reactive hiring, you’re likely to be losing out on the best talent. Creating a talent pool of people you know could be a great fit for your business and are happy to hear from you about suitable vacancies, makes those initial conversations much easier to come by. It also means you'll always be able to connect with the right candidates, without having to go through long and gruelling recruitment journeys.

In this blog, will dive into talent pooling, what it is, some of its benefits and best practice approaches.

What is a talent pool? 

A talent pool is a database of potential candidates who have previously shown an interest in joining your organisation. When managed well, it becomes a goldmine of information for anyone recruiting into the business. It prevents hiring teams from having to start from scratch with every new hire, by providing access to the details that will enable them to proactively reach out to suitable candidates. A good talent pool will include a variety of details about each individual, including: 

  • How they are known by the company
  • What roles they are ideally looking for in the future
  • What their key strengths are
  • Where they are currently working  
  • How they are perceived in terms of their suitability and fit

So, what are the benefits of talent pooling?

Talent pooling is critical to hiring quality, diverse talent, faster. You can add suitable talent to your database and engage with them even if a role isn’t currently available. So, when a role does come up, you’ve got great candidates to call on instantly.

Here are five key reasons why you should be adding talent pooling to your hiring strategy: 

1. A live database of qualified candidates

It’s important to emphasise the value of ‘live’ talent pools. Because they are ‘live’, candidates’ profiles are up-to-date with skills, availability, and experience. Not only does this improve productivity, but it also reduces the need for manual admin, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your role.

2. A better candidate experience

Talent pooling improves the candidate experience by removing the need for rejection. Adding candidates to a talent pool, rather than rejecting them on the basis of a specific job opportunity, ensures they are aware you're not saying "you're not right for our business" but rather, "you're not the best fit for this role, at this time." Similarly, contacting a candidate after promising to keep their details on file can be hugely motivating and have a positive impact on their perception of your brand as an employer.

3. Improved diversity and inclusion

Talent pooling encourages diversity across the workforce with the proven ability to attract anyone regardless of gender, race, and other diversity groups. It disrupts the traditional method of applying for a specific role with specific criteria, and allows for a larger proportion of diverse candidates to be considered.

4. Reduced time to hire

With a well-managed talent pool, you will hit the ground running with every new hire. Forget having to rely solely on the traditional approach of working your way through applications to identify suitable candidates and, instead, find the right talent in your talent pool and approach them directly. Talent pooling candidates will allow you to not only reduce the number of applicants rejected but also reduce the time to hire with fewer applicants to review and engage with.

5. Decreased cost per hire

Proactive hiring reduces the cost per hire by giving you direct access to a community of willing and interested candidates, instead of having to put money behind ads and other recruitment marketing tactics, and waiting for applicants to come to you. By starting the recruitment process you know has the skills and experience you are looking, you are also less likely to fall victim to the costs of a bad hire.

6. Access to potential passive candidates

Passive candidates are often see as the unicorn hire - they are good at what they do, happy and successful in their current role, but open to new opportunities. A compliant talent pool will only ever consist of those who have provided consent to be contacted about roles with your company, meaning they might not be actively on the hunt at the time you reach out to them but they will be familiar with you and could be open to a new opportunity.

Build and manage your talent pool

What are some talent pooling best practices?

Building a talent pool is one thing, maintaining it to ensure you are aware of the people in it, have an accurate understanding of the roles they're interested in and can be confident in the value they would offer, is another.

Here are a few tips for maintaining your talent pool: 

  • Make your data easy to access and review - throwing candidate details into a spreadsheet does not create a valuable talent pool. In these instances, finding the people you want to reach out to is only possible if you already know who you're looking for. Utilise a platform that will enable you to find the talent you need, based on multiple metrics, such as their roles of interest or how they are perceived by others.
  • Make it possible to find boomerang hires - talent pools are the perfect place to record details of potential boomerang hires, those who have previously worked for you, left on good terms and may be interested in returning in the future.
  • Consider all touchpoints when deciding who to add - don't stop at people who have applied for roles in the past, consider also those who are indirectly applicable, such as reference providers. The likelihood is that anyone providing a reference for one of your candidates also works in the same industry and, given they are providing a reference, they could be a good fit for more senior roles that are notoriously difficult to fill. Add a question to the end of your reference check to ask if they're interested in being added to your talent pool, and there you have another consenting contact.
  • Create signposts - make it as simple as possible for anyone in your business who is using your talent pool to help with their hiring, to find the people they're after. Ensure you have relevant signposts to represent the different categories of talent, making it possible to spot suitable contacts at a glance.
  • Maintain engagement with talent - although compliant talent pooling will ensure you only record the details of those who are happy to be contacted in the future, that's not to say they're going to be waiting with bated breath for your call! Maintaining personalised engagement with talent is key to ensuring you stay front of mind.
  • Share relevant updates and content - as well as maintaining some informal and personalised contact with great talent, it can also help to keep them up to speed with updates from the company and relevant content you have produced about the business and markets it operates in. This will not only help to create a positive employer brand but will also ensure potential future candidates are across any developments that would help them in their job if they were to join.

In summary

Being able to hire with confidence and speed is important in any market but it becomes critical when the power of choice is very much in candidates' hands. Talent pools enable hiring teams to proactively get in front of engaged candidates and, as hiring remotely continues to be a challenge facing many recruitment teams, anything that supports exposure to great talent is invaluable. In order to make talent pooling a success, organisations must continually follow three simple steps: 

  • Update - ensuring your database is continually updated with potential hiring prospects is critical to creating the most diverse range of talent options for hirers.
  • Maintain - by simply adding new people to the database, it is likely to quickly become irrelevant and outdated. It's important to see your talent pool as an ever-evolving source of information, and ensure that it is "live" and up to date.
  • Utilise - it may sound obvious, but a talent pool will only add value if it's used! Make yours simple to use and update and then create a process for everyone responsible for hiring at your organisation to follow.

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