5 Strategies for Building Effective Talent Pools in a Competitive Market

Building Effective, Niche Talent Pools
Building Effective, Niche Talent Pools should be part of every recruitment strategy

So, your team have spent countless hours and resources recruiting into a role. You’ve had to go back out to market for a role you’ve had hundreds of applications for before.

You may begin to group your candidates together in your Applicant Tracking System – but, you can’t always dip into it and find an easy fill. Shouldn’t that be how talent pools work?

Shouldn’t I be able to fill roles quickly using candidates I’ve kept in my talent pools?

Despite popular belief – having a bunch of previous applicants or data-mined candidates does not always constitute a talent pool, let alone a fruitful one. Bear in mind, there are a lot of different factors that can contribute to either the success or failure of your talent pools.

For quite some time now, talent pools have allowed HR teams and recruiters alike the ability to recruit effectively and efficiently, without having to invest tonnes of resource into it. So, without a shadow of a doubt – if you aren’t leveraging the recruiting power of talent pools, they could be the most effective recruiting tactic you’re ignoring.

First things first – what are talent pools?

Talent pools are shortlists of candidates that aren’t currently being considered for a role by your organisation (they’re not technically applicants). They may be previous applicants that didn’t fit the role they applied for, or you may have found them via other means.

If you really think about it, the majority of the population could be your talent pool. Which, technically, is correct. However, it would be an impressive feat to be in consistent communication with that many people…

It’s important to remember that talent pools don’t always need to contain candidates that match up for current vacancies. Instead, they’ll be candidates that you want to keep an eye on for the future.

Therefore – effective talent pooling is an efficient way for recruiters to maintain a constant flow of candidates into your business.

But, what strategies can you and your team implement to begin building effective talent pools?

  • Engaging Unsuccessful Applicants

Just because a candidate wasn’t suitable for a role they applied for previously, doesn’t mean they aren’t suitable for your company at all. These candidates who have already shown significant interest in your company by applying are ideal for your talent pool. 

In the UK, each vacancy receives a tonne of applications. That leaves plenty of unsuccessful candidates that, if you’re not careful, might not show interest in working for you again. But, you’d like to think that at least a handful of candidates who aren’t suitable for the role they initially apply for might be relevant for your company in the future, right?

Think about it – all of these candidates have been assessed against your indicators and company values. So, you understand their competency and have already invested a significant amount of resource into them to find that out. Why not try and get the most out of them?

If you really want to begin building talent pools of previous candidates – it’s important to keep interview notes, interviewer feedback and information around why they weren’t hired for the role. All of this information is talent pool gold, because it helps you and your team decide who is truly relevant.

  • Careers Fairs & Events

Investing time and resource into recruitment events and careers fairs is a great way to build your employer brand, whilst attracting top talent to your company and familiarizing them with exactly who you are.

Events take a lot of planning, because there’s a lot going on. It can be hard to manage and nurture all of the candidates that register and attend. Usually, it’s a case of getting candidates to sign their details onto a spreadsheet, for them to be sent the occasional email blast with ‘Current Vacancies’ in hope of generating a few extra applications somewhere.

Talent pools are a far more effective way of tracking these candidates, and keeping tabs on them.

One of the most difficult things in recruitment is determining ROI. As hard as it may be to believe – talent pools make it easier to determine the return you see. How, you may ask?

A strong Applicant Tracking System is to recruitment, as Google Analytics is to marketing. It allows you to track where your visitors, or applicants, come from, and whether or not they end up applying. Through it, you can determine how successful each of your recruitment endeavours is.

If you already have a bunch of spreadsheets from events with hundreds of candidates’ details, it’s usually pretty simple to import them into your ATS to begin managing your talent pools more effectively.

  • Internal Talent Pools

Recruiting is both expensive AND challenging, especially if you’re looking to hire for more senior roles. So, being able to turn to a pool of internal candidates can be a big time and cost saver.

So, why are internal talent pools better than looking externally?

Well – your recruitment team will already have a strong understanding of candidates’ competencies, while the candidate already has an idea of the role and the requirements of working for the company. Also, you can be confident in the fact that your internal candidates will be a good cultural fit for your business.

Promote your open roles to your internal talent pools in a similar way to how you would for external candidates. More often than not, internal candidates can be dissuaded from showing real interest in a role when they’re forced to apply.

Adopting a similar marketing approach for internal candidates as you have for external candidates will result in far more internal applications, and more effective succession planning.

  • Company Leavers

When people leave your company – it’s often not forever. In fact, from the thousands of exit and retention interviews we’ve completed for our clients – more often than not, leavers would be interested in returning at some point down the line. So, what do we do for our clients when leavers tell us that?

Correct – we put them into a talent pool. But, how do we get them there?

Exit interviews are perfect for building a talent pool of previous employees who would consider re-employment with your company in the future. Conduct the interview with each of your leavers, and ask them whether or not they’d be interested in hearing about future opportunities. If they say ‘Yes’ – put them in your talent pool.

It’s a simple way of building talent pools of candidates who already know what it’s like to work for your company. That’s invaluable in recruitment.

  • Networking

Networking isn’t just something that should be left up to the sales team – it’s very much a powerful recruitment tool, too.

This method is, arguably, one of the most effective, because it often results in a lot of referrals. Which, according to RecruiterBox, means that you’re more likely to retain your new hires – with companies finding that referred employees are 23% less likely to quit than other hires.

Your brightest and best employees should proactively network and engage with talented employees in similar roles or with the desirable, transferable skills that are required to succeed in your industry.

 

To conclude – building effective and efficient talent pools is only one part of what constitutes a successful recruitment strategy. Alone, they won’t work as effectively. However, when combined with effective attraction strategies, consistent and appropriate engagement, and seamless onboarding – your talent pools should be concomitant, and basically fill themselves.

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