Building a talent pool for your business

Recruitment strategies differ from business to business. Variable factors, such as the size or nature of your business means different ways of recruiting for many, and there should never be a one-size fits all approach when each business has different aims and objectives.

Regardless of whether you need to recruit staff in bulk, or if your recruitment comes on an ‘as and when’ basis, one thing you can do to make sure you are as prepared as possible is to create a talent pool.

Of course, if you are working with a good agency this is something they will be doing on your behalf, however there is nothing stopping you from making sure that when the time comes to recruit that next position you have a ready made group of select candidates to choose from.

In an ideal world, as soon as a vacancy crops up you will have the right person lined up straight away – you know, that candidate who is actively job hunting with very little notice period, who can slot straight in to ensure there is no lengthy period of down time. But we all know this is the dream scenario, and that perfect candidate is already in a role elsewhere and not immediately available – if on the market at all.

This is where the hard work of creating your talent pool pays off!

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What is a talent pool?

Think of fish swimming around in a pond. Different types of fish, across a wide range of age and experience levels, just waiting for you to cast your hook and fish them out. Yes, it’s a bit like that, but you need to make sure is your pool isn’t too big and there are no streams running off into the ocean.

Still with us? Ok, so let’s apply this to business. You’ve created a database of people who could effectively fill any of the current job roles within your business, who are there to call upon when you have a vacancy you need to fill. As you’ve already profiled them, you know they are the right type of people who could fit in seamlessly, reducing the cost and downtime of having to go out to market and recruit from scratch.

Who do you need to fill your talent pool with?

Every pond needs fish, and the fish need to be fed to make sure they’re ready when you are! There are a few good places to start:

  • Previous applicants
    • Remember that person you interviewed for the job last time round, who just missed out due to having slightly less experience than the person you set on? Well, they made a good impression on you, as did you and your organisation to them. You communicated well with them, gave them honest feedback about why they didn’t get the job and they’ve remained on your radar ever since.
  • CV databases
    • You’ve had a subscription to that online CV library you used when you last needed to fill a vacancy. The subscription has been ticking over nicely, however you haven’t given it much attention recently. Well, it sounds like it’s time to fire it up once again! Set alerts to be notified about potential candidates that could be suitable for your current roles, or even roles you are yet to create that might be needed in the future. When the right person spec comes your way, you’re ready to act and get there before someone else does.
  • Headhunting
    • Who are the movers and shakers in your industry? The one’s you’ve read about in that industry magazine or local business paper. Check them out, find out what experience they’ve got and what level they’re currently at. Make yourself known to them, connect with them on LinkedIn and keep drip feeding them information about your business. Then when an approach needs to be made, it’s not so out of the blue and you’re more likely to receive a warmer response.
  • Graduate schemes
    • Depending on the level of experience you require could lend itself to running a graduate recruitment scheme within your organisation. Where did your current or previous staff come from? Were they graduates, and since then have they progressed well within your company to become vital team players? Why not work with your local universities and colleges to offer work experience to under graduates to give them an early taste of the working environment? When the time comes to recruit someone full time, you could already have someone lined up.
  • Apprenticeships
    • In a similar way to graduate schemes, there are many local apprenticeship organisations working with young people, helping them to get prepared for work. This could prove to be a nice stream that could trickle into your talent pool. By working with the provider, they can direct the right people for your organisation, and once again you could ‘try before you buy’ by offering work experience to assess the suitability of potential candidates.
  • Networking
    • Everyone loves a good networking event, don’t they? A bit of time out of the office in a social setting with like-minded businesspeople could be an ideal setting to get to know your next potential recruit. You should never miss an opportunity to look for people that could help your business grow, but nurture the relationship and build it up on trust before you pop the question!
  • Social Media
    • But social media is just for fun and not work related, right? Not always. There are professional networking social media sites out there, like LinkedIn, that are built for B2B relationships. Remember that person you met at that networking event, or that person you read about in the business pages? Connect with them, invite them to follow your company page and engage with them. Then when the time is right to make your approach, they already know who you are and what your company is like. 

How do you make your approach?

Firstly, you need to keep your talent pool warm. We don’t mean turn up the heater until someone jumps out, but rather by keeping them up to date with what’s happening in your business by putting them on your newsletter list, or invite them to follow your company social media channels. You could even add them into recruitment specific mailing lists, just make sure you get their permission, so you don’t fall foul of any GDPR legislation.

Tell them they are the type of person your company looks to recruit and ask them if they are happy for you to contact them about any suitable vacancies as they arise. This can be very flattering to the candidate as it will make them feel wanted, and if you do things in a professional manner you will be creating a great impression of your organisation.

When the time is right to make an approach, contact them personally (avoid anything generic that looks like it has been sent to numerous people) and tell them why you think they would be suitable for the role. Ask them if they would like to have an informal chat about the role to see if they would like to put themselves forward for interview. This could increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Keeping your talent pool fresh

You should aim to review your talent pool every three months or so, and let the people in it know they are still on your radar. Don’t over do it by being too pushy or making contact every couple of weeks as this will smack of desperation and will put the candidate off. But if you strike the balance just right so both you and the candidate know where you stand with each other, you have already got the relationship off to a good start.

Make sure you only keep your top talent in your pool – those candidates that could make a real difference if they were employed by your company. The more fish there are, the more difficult it could be to catch the right one.

There’s no hard and fast rule about how many candidates should be on your radar, it depends entirely on who many people you need to recruit, at what level and how often. But what you can control is how much attention you can give to your pool. The more time you can spend on maintaining it, the easier it will be to pull someone out when you need to replace a member of staff or add further headcount to your team.

Is it that easy?

It all depends on how much time and resource you can put into developing and maintaining your talent pool. Like everything in business, you can do it yourself if you put your mind to it and give it the attention it deserves. But also, like in business, sometimes it’s better to outsource this to a professional organisation who can take away all the hassles of a DIY job.

That’s where a recruitment agency like Multitask Personnel comes in. We can work alongside you, as your in-house HR department, or as an extension to it – it’s entirely up to you. If you build up a good relationship with your recruiter, they can get a complete understanding of your business, it’s culture and recruitment plans.

We can help you keep your talent pool full of the right people, and keep them in the communication loop so that when the time is right to act your ideal candidates will be at the front of the queue. After all, this is what we do every day with our own talent pools. If you would like to see how we could add value to helping you build a talent pool of your own, our team of specialist recruiters would love to hear from you.

Just drop us a line on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk and we will be there with you every step of the way!