7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Building a Talent Pool

Building and nurturing a talent pool is one of the most effective ways to support a business’s long term growth plans. When managed well, this approach can help businesses hire top quality talent faster and more cheaply than a reactive recruitment model. However, despite its obvious benefits, many organisations struggle with making talent pooling a fit for purpose exercise. From technology constraints, to poor visibility of long-term hiring plans, there’s multiple reasons why this approach often fails.

Talent Pool Oasis HR Think Tank

Following several talent pooling Think Tanks, the most recent run with Genius Sports, we’ve prepared 7 ‘go-to questions’ for HR and Recruitment leaders to ponder before embarking on a talent pooling exercise…

1. Who do you want in your talent pool?

Firstly, what types of positions warrant talent pooling? There needs to be a clear business need for the initiative. Is it a time, cost, skills or a diversity issue? When you’ve knuckled down the ‘what’ you need to focus on the ‘who’. Really, targeted ‘members’ ought to be ‘star performers’ in their current roles or be deemed to have the potential to succeed in the area you have them earmarked for. Understanding what good likes like is key as it gives you a framework to opt people in and out of your communities.

2. How are you going to build trust with your community?

Building trust with your talent pools is essential. Only once that level of trust has been secured will you be able to influence them and effectively promote your business as an attractive place to work. This needs to be a combination of a strong employer brand and the right balance, tone and frequency of communication from the individual(s) managing the talent pools. The aim is to get candidates engaged before you need to make a hire!

In a world driven by reviews, it’s crucial to manage your employer’s online reputation and ensure you’re encouraging positive reviews from selected employees and candidates. A negative presence will impact trust levels enormously. Sites like Glassdoor can heavily influence the perception of a potential talent pool and therefore needs to be managed accordingly. 

3. How are you going to promote and populate your talent pool?

Now you know who you want, how are you going to get them?! Getting your line manager population onboard is a good place to start. They’re likely to have strong networks in your target areas and could be key for identifying these ‘star performers’. 

You also need to consider ways to enhance the visibility of your employer brand. Getting your Senior Leaders buy-in is likely to help with this. A tool like LinkedIn Elevate can help turbo-charge your key Leaders’ LinkedIn presences and help showcase why your business is an awesome place to work.

It’s also worth investigating other organisations that have strong networks in your targeted areas. Forming strategic alliances with the types of businesses who have existing relationships with these populations could prove beneficial. You also might want to consider a market-mapping provider to help with initial talent identification.

4. How are you going to drive engagement with your communities?

Once you start drawing in the talent; do not stop there, keep them engaged! You need to understand what kind of content, resources and interactions are going to benefit them. Don’t fall into the trap of being an arrogant recruiter that only shouts out to your talent pool because you’re hiring. If you’re inviting top talent to join your pool, it’s not about selling to them. It’s about adding value. Ask candidates what they want to hear about, don’t just guess.

When it comes to promoting job opportunities amongst your communities, think creatively about how you showcase them. Apps like Video My Job are great for creating engaging and professional videos that will help boost the exposure of your job opportunities online.

5. What are you going to call your talent pool?

Just because it’s a talent pool does not mean you have to call it that (externally, anyway). Many organisations find that this kind of labelling turns-off prospective candidates and could prevent them from joining your community. First, understand what you need to offer this group to secure their buy-in, then build a community around this offering. Engage with current employees when undertaking this research to help you identify the ‘persona’ of your targeted candidates.

6. What technology do you need in place?

One of the biggest challenges of successfully managing a talent pool or community is technology. What tools and infrastructure do you need in place to effectively manage the candidates’ experience, whilst ensuring the community is meeting your objectives? The chances are that you’re going to need a CRM. A CRM will provide a safe place to store members’ details and help with sharing relevant content, depending on the preferences of the individual. A nice feature offered by many CRMs is the ability to ‘score’ an individual’s engagement, based on how they interact with your content and brand online. This helps you understand who you most engaged members are; incredibly useful intel for recruitment functions when a vacancy arises!

7. How are you going to measure success?

How are you going to evidence the success of your talent pools and communities? Time to hire? Diversity of hire? Quality of hire? It’s also worth considering the volume and success of potential referrals from the community. This is another example of how you might want to capitalise on the group and measure ROI. These success measures are likely to be different for every organisation, as ultimately each business will begin with their own talent pooling objectives before embarking on such an exercise. 

Concluding thoughts…

Talent pooling can be a great tool when executed in the right way. But it’s easy to get wrong and can actually deter candidates from wanting to join your business. Build trust. Be relevant. Add value. And most of all, don’t expect quick-wins. This is about playing the long game and building relationships with quality candidates that you might want to hire in the future.


Blog updated: 28th February 2020 following Genius Sport Think Tank (23rd January 2020)

Blog originally posted: 8th December 2015

Chris Clark

Written by , Talent Resourcer

Contact Chris:
Linkedin Profile

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)