Talent pool: what it is and how to build one

Talent pool

As a recruiter, you already know how competitive the labour market is in 2023. Businesses are desperate to secure the best talent in the market, and recruiters everywhere are upping their game to offer the best possible recruitment strategy and solutions to achieve that goal. A strong understanding of talent pools can be a significant advantage in the current recruitment market. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a talent pool?

A talent pool is basically a database with job candidates who have the potential to fill the company’s short and long-term hiring needs; the pool contains both existing and current candidates for open positions and potential future candidates. The individuals in the talent pool are typically:

  • Highly qualified with relevant skills and;
  • Interested in working for the business (which, if the business already has a strong employer brand, means that these candidates will also have aligned values.)

The talent pool lets the business build relationships with these desirable candidates. By maintaining this active pool of engaged, interested, and qualified candidates, the business can fast-track recruitment for every role that comes open by engaging with this ready pool of motivated and suitable individuals. When the business has a new role to recruit for, they have the possibility to engage with its existing talent pool to fill it.

How does a talent pool work?

A good, comprehensive talent pool will contain detailed information about each listed candidate, including:

  • Their identified skillsets
  • Possible roles they could match to
  • The assessment of the likeliness to fit into the organisational culture
  • Their availability or position within any existing recruitment process for a certain role.

Each business will use its own platforms and information criteria to build a talent pool that works for its unique needs. Many will use commercial software packages and integrate them within their business to quickly take advantage of best-practice technologies.

What makes a good talent pool

A good talent pool will be populated with candidates who are well-positioned to work for the business in terms of their skills and values – and who have shown interest in doing so. It will also have other features, such as the ability to match potential candidates with new roles and identify the strongest applicants already in the talent pool. A good pool will flag up good-fit candidates when a new role is available, making it faster for recruiters to engage with the most relevant individuals in the database.

How is a talent pool different from a talent pipeline?

A talent pipeline comprises candidates who have already been assessed as being qualified for defined job positions. A talent pool comprises a bigger group of pre-vetted candidates who haven’t entered the talent pipeline yet.

The importance of having a good pool of talent

An effective talent pool will yield excellent results, such as:

  • Reducing the time to hire
  • Engaging qualified candidates with the right skill sets
  • Maintaining effective talent pipelines
  • Optimising the recruitment process so that it works as quickly and smoothly as possible

Essentially, it will help businesses achieve strong results for three primary recruiting metrics: time to hire, quality of hire and cost to hire.

How to build a talent pool

Before building a talent pool, it’s important to spend time crafting a talent pool strategy that will guide your development and management efforts.

Both in- and outbound recruitment strategies can be used to develop strategies. One of the most common methods is to use sourcing tools, searching the web using specific keywords to find great candidates and their public profiles. Another method is to find referred candidates (and research shows that referred employees tend to have a better retention rate).

Inbound recruitment is also valuable. With this approach, the business uses recruitment marketing methods (such as content marketing) to attract candidates to join the talent pool.

Using an ATS to build and maintain a talent pool

Building a talent pool takes strategic thought, time and effort. With an ATS system, the process can become faster and more effective. For example, some ATS systems will integrate with talent database software to provide an end-to-end solution, and others will offer integrated talent database functionality for a single-point solution.

ATS functionalities let businesses track the progress of those talent pool candidates who are progressing to the talent pipeline and applying to a specific role. Together, these systems let recruiters and hiring managers access the data-driven recruitment they need to get better, faster, and less costly recruitment outcomes for the business.

Another important aspect to consider when building a talent pool is compliance with regulatory and data protection laws. Make sure that your chosen ATS is fully GDPR compliant:

Keep your talent pool database up to date, GDPR-compliant, and full of the information you need to find the right talent.

  • Automatically anonymise talent pool data that passes the consent period to ensure total regulatory compliance.
  • Teamdash can automatically request consent renewal and supports bulk emailing to simplify compliance.
  • Create custom filters to simplify browsing and searching for specific candidate profiles.
What is a talent pool?

Tips for getting the most from a talent pool

Every business will have its own recruitment processes, but these tips can help all recruiters and hiring managers get the best possible outcomes from their talent pools:

  • Use a good recruitment software rather than attempting to build something in-house. These systems are built with the latest best practices in mind, are highly adaptable, easy to integrate with existing business systems and easy to use, customise and integrate with existing recruitment processes.
  • Focus on company culture when you do outreach within your talent pool – seeking to identify candidates that really align with the company values and culture rather than simply having the necessary functional skills. (Strong cultural fit means better retention!)
  • When using outbound recruitment to drive candidates to your talent pool, focus on niche job boards for quality rather than quantity.
  • Test candidates when they sign up to keep the highest quality talent pool. Use automated skills testing tools and create benchmarking tests for your talent pool, bespoke to your business.
  • Carry out reference checks for each application to your talent pool if you have the resources and time. This maintains the integrity and accuracy of your talent pool and could be as simple as cross-referencing an application with a LinkedIn profile.
  • Cleanse the database regularly using automated pre-cleanse emails that ask candidates to resubmit interest or update their profile. This keeps the talent pool relevant, current and high-quality.

In conclusion

Talent pools are the most effective tool for modern recruiting. Those businesses that can build a good talent pool, maintain and nurture the candidates within it will enjoy faster recruitment with better hire outcomes.

Find out more

Teamdash is a powerful ATS software, packed with features that improve the recruitment process, such as interview scheduling, asynchronous video interviews, and social media recruitment tools. Contact us to find out more about how Teamdash can benefit your business recruitment.

Next up

Recruitment plan: Create a winning plan for your company

Read more
Recruitment plan