What is a talent pool? According to one Internet definition:
“A talent pool is a database of everyone that has ever applied to a recruiter’s jobs, regardless of relevance. It facilitates one-sided communication.”
However, we believe it is more constructive to view talent pools as:
“targeted groups of available internal and external candidates who have been pre-screened, pre-assessed and are available to work.”
How do I develop and manage a talent pool?
Building and managing an effective talent pool starts with these steps:
1. Create a process that forecasts the need for talent
Each industry and company will have different priorities that will affect the process, but the end goal is the same; match the right candidate with the right opportunity at the right time.
Talent analytics professional Josh Bersin defines the goal as:
“A process during which organizations consider different variables that affect the future supply and demand for talent, such as strategic plans (e.g., expansion into new geographical regions or new product lines) and limitations on access to qualified talent (e.g., number of engineers graduating annually). Talent forecasting is much more than a simple headcount analysis.”
Talent pools are vital in driving and maintaining momentum in business. Talent forecasting is the roadmap.
2. Use practices that foster future talent pool development
As in any fluid activity, create dynamic and flexible practices that support adaptation and evolution.
Human resources expert Stephen Bruce says:
“The next important step in the recruitment and retention process is to explore what skills, education and experience the company seeks. Don’t rely on old job descriptions! In fact, you might even want to develop a brand new job description based on what you perceive are the organization’s needs.”
Outdated or inaccurate job descriptions create a mismatch between past needs (when the job description was written) and current or future needs. The talent pool needs to reflect skillsets needed in the future.
3. Revisit previous applicants
Qualified applicants who reached the last round of interviews should remain in the talent pool. They have shown an interest in the company and have been assessed for suitability throughout the interview process.
According to HR thought-leader Dr. John Sullivan, it can vary by company or position, but each corporate job opening receives an average of 250 resumes. Take a moment to consider that of the 249 applicants that did not make the cut, there are potentially dozens that have the appropriate skills and fit for another position within the company.
One critical step in re-considering applicants (who near the final stages of the hiring process) is to provide them with constructive details on why they didn’t get hired. If the time comes for them to be considered again, they would have the constructive feedback to help them increase their employability.
4. Assess current candidates
Just as there is the potential for previous applicants to fill current roles, the pool of current applicants may be fill current and future roles. Talent forecasting allows recruiters to open up opportunities for current candidates in future roles. Both parties can plan for the transition, minimizing the gap in talent acquisition.
Recruitment technology specialist Michael Macking says:
“Anyone who has expressed interest in working for your company would be a prime member for your talent community. This also includes job seekers who applied for an open position but weren’t the right fit or applicants that may be the right fit for an open position in the future. Existing employees looking for internal opportunities are also great additions to your talent pool.”
Again, these candidates have shown an interest in the company and have been assessed for suitability throughout the interview process.
5. Look internally
In most cases, sourcing and recruitment gets more difficult, more costly and more time consuming as the position level increases. Internal talent pools are high value as they reduce resource needs on all levels.
Leaders in talent management, Successfactors, believe in pools:
”A critical element of a successful talent management program is the generation of ‘talent pools’ within a company—a reliable and consistent internal source of talent and a valuable piece of the succession planning process. The development of skilled talent pools makes it easier to develop desirable skill sets in a broader group of employees, resulting in higher performance across all levels and functions. By cultivating talent pools internally you are ensuring that you will have experienced and trained employees prepared to assume leadership roles as they become available.”
External hires have been reported to be 61% more likely to be fired from a new job than an internal candidate. This can be because the internal candidate is already part of the company culture and they have familiarity with the position.
6. Use a platform to create a community
There are many social media platforms that can support a community – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or a company career page is good places to start. Invite people who know the corporate culture and have an investment in the success of the company to share articles, and information about the company. Current, past and retired employees, recruiters, HR professionals and job candidates could be the core target community.
Kes Thygese, co-founder of RolePoint, says to Mashable:
“Your talent will want exclusive, behind-the-scenes information about your organization, spotlighting employees and company culture. Send updates via an e-newsletter, or provide information on career advancement in the form of blog posts, webinars, videos, or other shareable online content. Hold contests or invite members to contribute opinions on certain topics and compile quotes into a blog post. Connecting on social media sites is also a great way to keep talent communities engaged.
Dominique Rodgers from Reputation Capital Media says:
“Social media platforms are a great way to extend your recruiting message’s reach and make contact with a more diverse mix of candidates. In addition to general sites such as Facebook and Twitter, many industries have their own group chats or meetups. This can be a great way to reach a diverse pool of applicants within a specific market…”
Building a give and take community is the objective – engagement, education, calls-to-action and content relevancy the key ingredients.
Talent pools help companies’ access to better quality candidates when it matters most, not when it’s too late
Ultimately, to build an effective talent pool, companies need to broaden their traditional mindsets to include a wider range of candidates and ways to engage with these candidates.
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