Building a Talent Pool

A talent pool is a group of potential candidates that have been sourced to fill future open positions. According to Christopher Lee, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources for the Virginia Community College System and former Chief Human Resources Officer at various universities, Lee defined a talent pool as a network of qualified candidates, employees and alumni who are actively interested in your organization, and with whom you engage in productive two-way communication over time to build a deep bench, develop a robust talent pipeline and groom internal staff for new opportunities. Simply put: Talent pools are resources that can be used to an organization’s advantage.

Recruitment agencies and employers make use of talent pools to streamline the sourcing and hiring process. Whether or not you are actively hiring, talent pools serve as a reserve for qualified candidates.  This reserve can be dipped into when you are faced with filling open positions.  What does a talent pool consist of?  Internal candidates with the required requisite skills, external candidates in a defined labor market, external candidates in other states willing to relocate, talent that is willing and able but may have a skills gap. Many organizations train their employees to impart needed skills. Recruiting guru, Lou Adler has said many times hire for talent, train for skill. Soft skills such as drive, determination, tenacity, a customer service attitude cannot be taught but excel skills can be.  Instead of taking three months to find a candidate that meets an exact list of skills, hire the best candidate and give them training. You will have a very thankful employee and have saved time and money. By widening your talent pool, and being willing to train, you will include typically overlooked groups of talent pool such as older or retired workers or veterans with transferable skills.

A good way to keep track of your talent pool is through an ATS or Applicant Tracking System. There is a plethora of systems available in the marketplace that offer various capabilities and price points. The best systems offer full functionality for a recruiter, ease of use, allow keyword searching, delineate the hires against open requisitions, connect to social media and provide reports that can be customized for analysis.  Some systems also track internal employees and their skill sets so as new openings arise, internal candidates (employees) can be matched with those job openings.  Using an ATS will set your organization apart from other companies by offering a clear and distinctive career path for internal employees. It will also help you with your retention rate since employees look for advancement within their own organizations before seeking employment elsewhere.  According to ICMS a leading Applicant Tracking Company, standardizing your recruiting can reduce time to fill by 25% and cost per hire by 30%.

Talent will be hard to find with the current unemployment rate - the lowest it has been in 17 years. You will have lots of competition with other organizations to attract and hire the best talent. You will need to think outside the box in your hiring practices. The National Unemployment Rate is currently at 4.1 percent (through November 2017). Approximately 228,000 jobs were created in November 2017, and the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth increased in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.  When PwC released its 20th CEO survey this year, 77% of corporate leaders agreed skills shortages pose a threat to growth. At the same time, more than half said they planned to add new hires who will all need integration into their new roles.

How can you win the war for talent? Be a company that everyone wants to work for. Meet the candidate’s emotional needs. Several high-level needs include Safety, Success, Power, Respect, and Value. Employ Emotional Intelligence skills to impact how employees feel about their employer, their job and their work.  Making your employees feel good is not always about money. Having a talent pool and retaining employees will increase profits by reducing advertising costs and promoting your company as an employer of choice. In studies done on the Best Companies to work for reveal that these organizations invest in professional development as a top priority. A quote from a DHL employee who was asked why DHL was a great place to work said: “What makes DHL different, and a great place to work, is its focus on people. Here, we have abundant learning and development opportunities, from training, coaching, job attachment, best-practice sharing, to internal promotion. I always receive feedback from my superiors and am inspired to do my best work.” To quote a popular CEO Mark Zuckerberg, regarding talent, “It’s not enough to have purpose yourself you have to create a sense of purpose for others”

This article was provided by Gail Levin.  To learn more on Gail click here.  Thank you!