What is a Talent Pool?

In simplest terms, a talent pool is a database of potential job candidates. The workers included in the database are typically both highly qualified and have previously expressed interest, in some form, of joining your organisation.

Talent pools allow organisations to cultivate relationships with workers whose skills and expertise align with company competencies and values. A proper talent pool database contains information about each candidate, including their skills, potential roles they could fill, how well they fit within the corporate culture, and so forth. This way, you do not have the start the recruiting process from scratch for each opening. Instead, whenever a position opens in your organisation, you already have a pool of highly-qualified candidates who are already familiar with and interested in your organisation, to recruit from.

Talent Pool Vs Talent Pipeline

Talent pools differ from talent pipelines. a talent pipeline consists of candidates that have already been deemed qualified for particular positions. A talent pool is a broader group of candidates that have not gone through the full vetting process required to enter the talent pipeline.

Ultimately, talent pools are the most effective method for recruiting. The building, maintaining and nurturing a high-quality talent pool is a vital long-term strategy for ensuring your organisation is able to satisfy both its short and long-term employment needs.

The Importance of Planning Before You Build

Now that you understand what a talent pool is and how it works, you may be tempted to jump right into building your own. However, if you’re truly after an effective talent pool, one that will consistently provide your organisation with high-quality candidates for an extended period, you need to ensure that the construction of your pool aligns with your organisation’s values and employment needs. You also need to put in place feedback mechanisms that will enable you to measure the quality and effectiveness of your pool.

Building Your Talent Pool

Building a talent pool actually begins with planning. Here are four steps on how to do so.

  1. Review organisational strategies: you should already have detailed your organisational strategies as part of regular business. It is important to review it and make sure everyone involved with building the talent pool understands those strategies. Once everyone is on the same page, you should identify the competencies and skills required in potential candidates to enact those strategies and accomplish related goals. Strategies will surely change as your business grows. When that happens, you need to reassess your desired skills and competencies. The goal, in the end, is to always fill your pool with candidates that meet the needs of your organisation.
  2. Assess your in-house talent to identify needs: once your team is aligned along the lines of organisational strategy, review how adequately your current employees meet those strategies. The gaps between in house competencies and organisational strategy equal key areas to target growing your talent pool. The employees who best align with long-term organisational goals are persons to cultivate for future leadership positions and promotion.
  3. Create strategies to close the gaps in-house: in addition to looking externally for competencies that address the needs of your organisational strategy, you should also implement strategies--management training, peer-to-peer feedback, formal mentoring-- to help close the gap internally. A combination of internal training and external recruiting is a good habit for a healthy talent pool.
  4. Monitor progress, track results with recruiting metrics, and adjust as needed: talent pools must be constantly monitored. The utility of talent pools relies entirely on how well the pool satisfies organisational needs. You need constant coordination between the two. As your organisational needs and strategy change, your talent pool must adapt with it. Therefore, you need reliable mechanisms to measure the “health” of your talent pool.

How Do You Build a Talent Pool?

Once you’ve aligned your talent pool team with broader organisational needs and strategies, you’re ready to start building your pool.

Sourcing varies widely across organisation and industry and includes internal and external. For example, organisations might sourse directly from specific universities that specialise in relevant degrees or are located near their offices.

Sourcing also includes keeping track of strong applicants who performed well in previous interviews but ultimately were not hired. Those applicants might prove to be desirable candidates in future searches. It is important to note, however, that for this method of sourcing to prove fruitful in the long run, organisations must ensure that all interviewees and applicants have positive experiences interviewing with your company. If not, those applicants are far less likely to respond to inquiries about future positions.

Other external sourcing locations include alumni associations, LinkedIn contacts, prior employees, employee referrals and contingent workers.

Internal talent pools should identify existing employees who show potential for advancement in an organisation. They might also include employees who are in the process of acquiring additional skills or degrees that will qualify them for more senior positions.

Furthermore, social media campaigns and your own company website are important sites of building your talent pool. Your social media campaigns should consistently advertise your organisation, build your employee, and showcase your organisational culture. In addition, the landing page on your career site should include an invitation for workers to upload their resumes and join your talent pool.