Playing the long game: Building talent pools

By Adam Keable, Director

In today's dynamic business landscape, a smarter approach to your people strategy is essential. As the skills gap widens and labour shortages persist, revaluating your recruitment methods becomes crucial. Recruitment has been a reactive task for many of us, often thought about only when an employee resigns.

Depending on the size of your business, you may have to hire one to ten new employees per year. If you find yourself at the lower end of this spectrum, committing to a comprehensive people strategy might seem challenging due to perceived limited returns on investment. However, it has been observed that the best recruits often have some prior connection to the employer before the formal recruitment process begins. This raises the question: should you consider talent pools as a vital component of your people strategy?

A talent pool can vary from one organisation to another, but at its core, it represents a database of candidate profiles who have expressed interest in working for your company. This pool can include individuals who previously applied but were not the right fit, those with specialised expertise, individuals with more general skills, passive candidates (who are not actively seeking new opportunities), and former employees.

Let's delve into the benefits of establishing and nurturing a talent pool:

  • Attracting passive candidates: Passive candidates, who make up around 70% of the job market, can be challenging to reach. They are content in their current roles and are not actively seeking job changes. However, having a talent pool allows you to engage with these elusive candidates, expanding your potential candidate base significantly.
  • Observing real behaviours: Interacting with candidates before the formal hiring process enables you to witness their natural behaviours. Interviews can sometimes be a performance, but prior interactions provide insights into how candidates truly behave in real-world scenarios.
  • Reducing time to hire: Traditional recruitment processes can be time-consuming and prone to delays. With a talent pool of pre-qualified individuals, you can expedite the hiring process as some level of screening has already been completed.
  • Enhancing your employer brand: Engaging with potential candidates outside of formal interviews reflects positively on your company's image. Candidates appreciate the opportunity to interact with prospective employers in a non-interview setting, which can bolster an employer's brand.

Creating a sophisticated talent pool requires some key activities, irrespective of your organisation's size:

a. Database: Implement a system to record candidate interactions. This can range from a simple Excel file to a more advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Ensuring that you capture details of promising prospects is essential.

b. Digital engagement: Leverage digital platforms, including social media, to showcase your company as an employer of choice. This can lead potential candidates to a landing page or your LinkedIn account, initiating meaningful conversations.

c. Physical interactions: Face-to-face meetings significantly influence the recruitment process. Allocate time each month to meet individuals who express interest in working with your organization. A casual coffee chat can go a long way in building rapport.

d. Engaging with the future workforce: To address the intense talent competition, consider engaging with the graduate and junior-level talent pool. Speaking at colleges, universities, or local groups can establish your organisation as the preferred employer for upcoming graduates.

In conclusion, tailoring a talent pool to suit your unique needs and resources can have a transformative impact on your recruitment strategy. Reflect on your requirements and incorporate these activities into your approach to ensure you stay one step ahead in the competitive talent market.

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