The Definitive Guide to Talent Pool Management

Are you swimming in good candidates without the right position for them? Do you want to dive into recruitment best practices that will improve candidate quality? Then it’s time to optimise your talent pool management.

So what’s a talent pool?

Your talent pool is a compilation of contacts who have previously applied to or expressed interest in your company that may become valuable candidates in the future. It represents the pool of people you can draw from to fill open positions and bring that talent into your company.

Talent pools are a byproduct of your recruiting efforts, the result of recruitment ads, brand awareness campaigns and so on. Essentially, it’s your database of candidates with skills that can benefit your company — even if you don’t currently have a vacancy that matches their skill-set.

The importance of management

Well-managed talent pools are invaluable for recruiters. Talent pool management means keeping tabs on your candidates, making sure they’re engaged with your brand, sorting those contacts into skill categories and reaching out to relevant candidates with upcoming positions.

Without proper talent pool management, recruitment plans are incomplete. You put in so much effort to build your brand and attract people; make sure you’re capitalising on the result of those efforts.

How do I manage it?

Managing your talent pool is a simple concept that’s hard to execute without the right tools. You can have a robust field of potential applicants, but if you don’t nourish that field properly, it won’t live up to its potential.

Manual systems

Traditional talent pool management happens manually, with Excel sheets or filing cabinets. Your HR department might have a collection of folders with various labels and resumes tucked away inside or endless email lists of prospects for different company branches and positions.

This system has obvious flaws: it’s slow, cumbersome and ineffective. Folders may be organised, but you can’t quickly search them based on keywords you’re looking for; Excel sheets can be sprawling and hard to sift through; email lists need to be manually updated and maintained — not to mention that all of these systems imply poor data security practices.

Even when you have an effective manual system for categorisation, you still need to find the time to identify candidates each time a job opens up, so prioritise talent pool management and make the best use of the tools you have.

For many seasoned recruiters, talent pool management is a lovely but unrealistic idea. The vast majority of HR managers will agree that talent pool management greatly improves candidate quality and speeds up recruitment — but with a manual system in place, it’s too resource-heavy: they know they should manage their talent pool but simply haven’t been able to.

Applicant tracking systems (ATS)

Applicant tracking systems target the same goals, but automate key processes and dramatically improve search capabilities. In fact, without an ATS, it’s near-impossible to manage your talent pool effectively. Many recruiters don’t realise the potential of a talent pool until they’ve leveraged the power of an ATS.

An ATS categorises your contacts by skill set, key attribute, location or recruiter notes, fuelling your recruitment pipeline. It consolidates all candidate resources and metrics into one searchable database that records all contact with each applicant. It also ensures that your applicant data is fully protected and GDPR-compliant. After all, folders scattered on your desk are far less secure than a database equipped with the latest protection.

With an ATS, you can engage in direct sourcing and essentially become your own recruiting agency: you’ll be able to draw on a rich field of potential candidates and search for people by the metrics of an upcoming opening. Candidates won’t slip through the cracks. Every promising individual you’ve heard from is saved and categorised for that perfect opportunity.

If a talent pool is a field of applicants, an ATS is the farm machinery that enables you to reap the benefits of that field. It harvests the massive potential of your talent pool, helping you save on advertising costs or recruitment agency fees, reduce your time-to-hire and source high-quality candidates — right from your own database.

To learn more about how an ATS can unlock the potential of your talent pool, check out our free eBook: The Pocket Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems.

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