Prepare for every eventuality with a dip in the Talent Pool!

Now that the “Welcome” blog has been posted and the purpose of this blog is clear, let’s jump right into our first topic: “talent pools”. And let’s start with the most basic question: “What is a talent pool?” A talent pool is a pool consisting of unsolicited applications, and/or applicants whose applications were processed for a prior job opening, but were not hired. You can opt to make your talent pool visible on your company’s homepage, or keep it confidential for internal use only. The first route is recommended if you’re part of an organization that’s growing rapidly and/or frequently hires specialists on a project-by-project basis, whereas the second scenario is advisable for small companies, companies whose business is specialized to the point where the candidate pool is so exclusive that it’s best addressed internally, and the CIA :-). But regardless of which category your firm falls into, talent pools are very important recruiting tools. In fact, companies that don’t have a talent pool in place to cover their future talent needs find themselves exposed to everything from minor disruptions to major disasters when key employees leave.

From a functional point of view, a talent pool can reduce the time you spend on the hiring process. Having an existing body of unsolicited applications to sort through, or a list of candidates who weren’t right for one position but might be right for another, can save considerable time, money and internal resources. We’d even go so far to say that if your firm is able to create and maintain a deep talent pool, you may never need to post external “help wanted” advertisements again. Rather, you can just directly contact one or more potential candidates in your talent pool, or email them the position description and trust them to apply if they find it relevant.

Depending on your company’s line of business, it may also make sense to maintain more than one Talent Pool. For example, if you run a painting company, you can probably do with one talent pool – but if you’re a building contractor, you’ll want to develop separate pools for carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc.  This system makes it a lot easier to quickly and efficiently target a new candidate(s) for a job, as opposed to having to sift through a mountain of unsorted applications and resumes in order to find the person you need. Taking it a step further, you could also ask your potential candidates a series of screening questions as a means of identifying their specific strengths. For example, Dave the software developer might have a wealth of experience with Java, but not with Ruby on Rails.

Consider this post as a “talent pool framework” which can be customized based on your industry, staffing needs and internal structure. We hope we’ve made it clear that creating a talent pool is a huge boon to any company’s recruiting efforts – but just what shape your talent pool takes is purely up to you!

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