Organizations today continue their struggle to find workers to fill open jobs. Current data confirms that there are about two open jobs (11 million) for every available candidate (5 million). The pandemic and subsequent changes in the job market and in candidate availability have forced companies to become very reactionary in their recruiting efforts. And while there are no quick fixes for this, by focusing efforts on creating, building, and sustaining your talent pool, you can improve your ability to fill current openings while having talent available for future staffing needs.
Talent pool defined
A talent pool is a group of candidates who either have — or may have — an interest in working for your company. They usually consist of both passive and active job seekers. They also include internal employees.
Talent pools are valuable recruiting and placement tools because they necessitate a proactive approach to filling job openings. Ideally, you are recruiting talent for future hiring needs, while getting to know them and introducing them to your organization before the need ever arises. As additional employees are needed, you will have a database of candidates to turn to before having to initiate a recruiting process to find new candidates.
Why develop a talent pool?
In today’s challenging and unpredictable job market, the more proactive teams win the race. While it’s impossible to know the exact needs for future talent, you can certainly forecast those needs based on past hiring patterns. Anticipating future hiring needs can help prevent talent shortages and can also provide additional benefits such as:
- Getting ahead of the company’s future talent needs. Markets are always evolving, which means it’s vital to stay one step ahead of future talent needs. Making talent pool development a priority allows you to keep a pulse on candidates that are available and whether the candidates in your network have the skills and experience to fill a particular position.
- Creating a reserve of high-quality talent. Without a dedicated talent pool, you must start the recruitment process each time there is a new opening. By having a bench of potential talent, you have access to a database of candidates that are already on the fast track to fill a position as well as be a good fit for the company.
- Improving hiring metrics. Talent pools, by definition, allow for a proactive approach to recruitment, instead of reacting to vacancies and spending for costly advertising and job boards. Of course, a talent pool won’t completely eliminate the need for these additional costs, but it does allow for improved efficiency, since you already have a database of candidates to immediately consider.
Growing and managing your talent pool
Once you have fully committed to developing a talent pool, it then becomes necessary to grow and manage that network.
An effective talent pool should also contain existing high-potential employees. You already know their capabilities and career aspirations. Also, internal candidates are more quickly and easily onboarded into a new role since they are already familiar with the company and its processes.
Current employees may need additional training and development to acquire the necessary skills to grow into more advanced positions or to make a lateral move into a new team or department. For this reason, the internal talent pool grooming must include identifying these employees and then providing them with exposure to the appropriate learning and development to fully prepare them.
Employee expectations have changed dramatically from just a few years ago. Compensation no longer is the single factor ruling the negotiating table. Candidates expect competitive benefits that extend beyond a paycheck. And it’s not as simple as including them in the company happy hour or adding a ping pong table. Top talent in today’s job market are looking for organizations willing to invest in their growth and that offer accessible resources for professional development.
Modernize the process
Once you have invested in creating and managing a talent pool, it is important to invest in one that is modern and efficient. Not only must it be simple enough for your recruitment team to use, but it should also be robust enough functionally to house all of the valuable information necessary. Outdated or inefficient software can make managing the network laborious and prone to error.
Re-engage past candidates
There are always candidates that don’t end up getting hired for any number of reasons. But those same people who made it through the interview process might still be a good fit at a different time and role. Since time and money have already been invested in these candidates, it is a shame to allow them to get away. Stay engaged with them by reaching out directly and through social media. Update them on future openings and continue to reach out to them.
Make it a priority
Once you have incorporated a talent pool into your company and hiring process, it must be sustained and invested in. It should be maintained just like any other important process that supports the expansion and growth of your company. Work with your recruitment team to constantly evaluate the process and make the necessary changes to constantly improve it.
The key is to make it a priority. Use it. Improve it. Make it a regular part of your daily and weekly routine. Incorporating talent pool development into your overall recruiting and people strategy is key to filling positions efficiently and building the workforce your company needs to accomplish its objectives. This is not a one-time project, however. It is a strategic, long-term approach, and it doesn’t deliver results overnight. You don’t build a talent pool in a day, or even in a quarter. But with the proper infrastructure and a steady commitment to sourcing and nurturing a wide range of candidates, this investment can yield dividends for any company.