Building Talent Pools: The What, Why, How and Hacks

Rohit Srivastav
July 21, 2022

70% of candidates didn't apply for a job last year. That means every time a new role opens up, recruiters need to source, convince, and convert new candidates. The process becomes much more efficient comparatively if the company maintains a highly engaged talent pool of good-fit candidates.

In a perfect world, we’d all have a well-thought-out, long-term recruiting strategy. But as much as possible, we should try to create a plan that details the types of roles that you want to fill and the positions/personas you will focus on for them. Of course, this is not always possible in most cases due to several internal and external factors. Therefore, it is important to build and maintain a talent pool no matter what the situation may be so it gives us an idea about the roles we are hiring for and the ones that you need to really pay attention to!

What is a talent pool?

As far as the recruitment function goes, a talent pool is a database of prospective candidates that have the potential to fill up the roles that open in an organization in the near or long term future. The database should contain contact and profile information of candidates

The talent pool can be a mix of multiple segments of candidates. Candidates who were sourced but never hired, candidates whose timing wasn't right, candidates who are a great fit but have never been touched. One way to understand this is - the term “talent pool” needs to be focused on the word “pool”: like a swimming pool which is big enough to accommodate almost everyone, so too a talent pool should be big enough to accommodate nearly everyone in the industry!

Why do you need Talent Pools?

The ROI on the effort of maintaining a talent pool is pretty lopsided. If you've managed to build a well-defined and engaged talent pool over some time, the benefits could be:

  • Every opening wouldn't need sourcing from scratch.
  • All silver medallists can be expedited with an offer if the fit is perfect.
  • Specialist departments can preselect using the available pool.
  • Hiring managers can help in building a best-fit top-of-funnel on their own.
  • Recruiters' happiness index increases dramatically (no data to prove this yet, but we have a hunch).

How to build a talent pool

I would assume that if you have read so far, you're as convinced as us that building a talent pool has great ROI. Now the question arises - how do you build a talent pool for your organization. Let us expand on those methods:

ICP based Sourcing

Even today, most sourcing begins after an opening is decided. A role opens and the recruiters start foraging through LinkedIn, GitHub, and multiple job boards. Instead, you should have an ICP based sourcing. All through the year, as a recruiter, if you look at a profile that fits your ICP definitions (skills and experience), you need to add them to a talent pool and engage with them. The goal is to build a pipeline of candidates that will make filling future roles easier.

Internal Talent Pools

There are a bunch of folks looking to transition into something new or something else. IJPs or Internal Job Postings are a lagging indicator of the trend. Most folks pounce upon their next role outside of their current employer - a big loss for the company. 

Building an internal talent pool begins with exploring the career aspirations of employees and mapping them with the skill gap of the company. A series of upskilling and training programs can nurture the talent into the gaps - resulting in an absolute win-win. 

Further Reading: If you're looking for a detailed framework, the guide by SHRM on building internal talent pools is a pretty useful one. 

Re-engaging the Silver Medallists

I personally don't like the 'silver medallist' term as much. However, it encapsulates a very potent talent pool. Silver medallists are the folks whom you would have hired, if only you had another opening. Or they would have taken the offer if only the timing was right. There are a lot of these 'if-only' candidates lying in our ATSs and spreadsheets. Engaging them with contextual messages and insightful content will help you nurture that relationship, making it continual rather than transactional.

Further reading: 5 Ways to Stay in Touch With Your ‘Silver Medal’ Candidates

Employee Alumni Network

When someone joins a company and they believe in the mission, believe in their cause, they work weekends, crazy deadlines, and one fine day decided to leave. That doesn't mean they stopped believing the company. That they wouldn't want to rejoin at a later stage. The Employee Alumni become the biggest advocates of your company culture. Keeping them engaged, making them feel belonged, and re-hiring them makes absolute sense.

Further Reading: Why should you maintain your employee alumni network - Forbes.

Kula Circles - Your secret talent pool

This one's exclusive for Kula customers only. Your entire company gets on Kula, your employees connect their LinkedIn networks to Circles, you mine the network for the best-fit candidates, introductions happen in clicks.

Access to all the connections that your entire company has and a way to get an intro to any one of them, without the endless email threads and Slack reminders - an unmatched talent pool with best-fit candidates and warm intro opportunities.

The (un-intended) effect of Talent Pools

Maintaining a talent pool requires getting in constant touch with passive candidates. A constant, non-obtrusive communication needs a thoughtful strategy. It needs contextual, meaningful, continuous engagement with the candidates. As a result, you remain at their top-of-mind as an employer with positive experiences attached to your name. Hence, building your employer brand at a personalized level.

Have you built a talent pool that proved to be your unfair advantage? Do you think we missed something? We cherish opinions at Kula. Find us on LinkedIn and let us know what you think.

Rohit Srivastav
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