What Is A Talent Pool And How Do You Build One?

talent pool development

A talent pool can be the difference between a company that grows and a company that stagnates. Why? Because having competent employees is an essential element of corporate success. That’s why all companies try to attract the most qualified employees for every open position they advertise.

A way to help you do this is to take advantage of software-supported talent pools, offering targeted actions to strengthen the commitment of talent and their overall experiences. In this article, we will share what that means and how you can get started developing a stronger talent pool today.

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What Is a Talent Pool?

A talent pool is a database, built during the application process by a team of recruiters. Usually assisted by the help of an effective Applicant Tracking System (ATS), recruiters are able to tag potential candidates who would be a good fit for certain roles or within the organization, more generally.

Why Do You Need A Talent Pool?

Think of them as a ‘talent reserve’ for your organization. Every applicant has value of some kind, whether it is knowing who is a good fit for your organization, who isn’t, and who has potential down the road. When you build this pool of talent, it can make your recruitment and sourcing more streamlined and successful.

In addition to a company’s own employees who have special skills, this also includes profiles from a variety of different sources. These could include:

  • Second-choice applicants
  • Potential candidates from career fairs and social media
  • Employee recommendations
  • Qualified former employees

Specialized software solutions can help support you in professional profile management and will allow you to quickly access all the relevant information, when you need it, in order to fill a position or implement staff retention initiatives.

Talent Pool Examples: How Companies Benefit

As a rule, when it comes to the final selection phase you have to decide between two candidates who are equally qualified for the position.

This is a difficult situation and one in which intuition plays a decisive role. Without a talent pool, though, you would immediately lose your soon-to-be-second-choice candidate.

This also applies to unsolicited applications and other sources your business could otherwise draw on. However, if a talent pool is a standard part of your HR arsenal, you can benefit several times over. That’s because:

  • The recruitment process does not have to start from scratch every time
  • Your pool of talent optimizes preselection through existing information
  • Second-choice applicants from other selection processes can be quickly obtained if they are available and interested
  • Specialist departments can preselect using the available pool
  • The HR department’s job is made easier
  • The risk of selecting the wrong candidate drops
  • Recruitment costs are significantly reduced

So, it’s is all about preparation and potential. These are candidates who live within the system and have already been through the process, and you already have all of the information you need. It is as though the candidates have been pre-screened, and then some, which makes potentially hiring them even easier.

This could then include forgoing certain stages of the process, saving time, or not even having to invest the time and effort into advertising the job vacancy right out of the gate. All you have to do is dip your tool in your talent pool, and if successful, that may rule out time-consuming pre-selection processes altogether.

How Do Talent Pools Affect Employer Branding?

It’s important to remember that having a talent pool can even be a positive influence on your employer brand.

That’s because even though you are dealing with ‘passive candidates,’ regular communication is essential to maintaining the connection they ultimately feel to your company. You maintain touchpoints with them and continue to present yourself as an appealing brand where someone would want to work.

Using a thoughtful communication strategy, you can also convey the values that are important to your employer brand.

Overall, in order to benefit from these advantages in practice as well as in theory, a systematic approach to building up and segmenting your future talent pool is crucial.

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How Do You Build Talent Pools?

A thought-out talent pool will be able to offer a large number of interesting, talented individuals within a short period of time. This can even quickly exceed the number of actual employees in your company. Assuming a professional approach is taken, ‘quantity and quality’ is an appropriate maxim for the talent pool, which will become an important recruitment tool moving forward.

How Do You Source Talent Pools?

There are numerous ways to find suitably talented individuals, some of which are listed below:

  • Career fairs
  • Trade fairs offer contacts with professional experience
  • Universities – lectures or recruitment fairs appeal to future graduates
  • Second-choice applicants – don’t lose sight of these talented individuals
  • Recommendations from employees – did you know that every second referral leads to a new hire?
  • Former employees – keep track of good employees who leave the company
  • Apprentices, working students, and interns
  • Your company’s career website – update it actively
  • Your social media presence – use all channels available
  • Traditional job advertisements as well as online recruitment
  • Active sourcing

Many of these sources are well-suited to generating potential employees for the company. However, keep in mind that not every candidate you identify will be interested in making a change straight away, although their situation could change quickly.

Stay in consistent contact with talented individuals in your talent pool. Thus way, you will be on hand at just the moment when a candidate decides to take on a new challenge. This can be achieved without too much effort by segmenting and automating certain processes.

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How Do You Segment Talent Pools?

Before using your talent pool for targeted communications, you need to segment it. Without doing so, you might lose track of a more extensive talent pool, even with software-supported automation.

Experts outline two basic approaches to segmentation:

  1. Job-oriented
  2. Talent-oriented

Job-oriented criteria include all segmentation characteristics based on the profiles of open positions. These include the location of the company, the type of department, or any specific qualification requirements.

Talent-oriented criteria refer to preferences expressed by the candidate. These include, for example, the desired position within the company or the level of entry within the organization.

You can, of course, also segment candidates according to both types of criteria.

Talent Pool Example: Segmenting In Action

The segmentation criteria listed below are the five most often featured by talent pools. However, you should always consider the individual circumstances of the company:


Regional segmentation is a basic differentiation criterion and can be carried out on a local or international level.

Professional Experience

Depending on the available positions, you can choose between various experience levels, from entry-level to professional.

Candidate Proximity

A former employee that you would like to win back or a working student will already be closer to your company than a candidate who has sent in an unsolicited application. The closer they are, the more knowledge of the company or the job the candidate will already have.

Training and Qualifications

Segment these precisely according to your objectives. This is important not only when making a selection for a vacant position, but also for communicating with the candidates in the talent pool.

Candidate Motivation

In addition to the external candidates, a talent pool also includes current company employees and supporters who recommend suitable candidates. This means that each candidate will have a different motivation. A differentiated approach is essential here, especially when communicating with them; a supporter expects a different form of communication than the second-choice candidate from a completed selection process.

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Building Connections When Building Talent Pools

Your talent pool is growing steadily thanks to the actions you’ve taken. In addition, you are now able to segment the talented individuals within it according to different criteria.

However, be sure to engage with the talent slumbering in your pool on a regular basis. Draw attention to yourself regularly. There are various ways of doing this:

  • Targeted job offers
  • Birthday greetings
  • Invitations to trade fairs or events
  • Feedback on your own recruitment process
  • Providing general information about the company

These are just a few suggestions on how to stay in regular contact with candidates.

The goal of this interaction is to keep reminding them that your company is an important employer, presenting yourself positively while doing so, and expressing your appreciation of the passive candidates.

At the same time, these regular points of contact create authentic insights into your company and convey enthusiasm for becoming part of it.

Why Company Engagement Is Often Inefficient

The approach to maintaining a professional talent pool described here will support your company on a long-term, successful, and forward-looking path.

However, the reality in many companies is a far cry from theory. Although many companies officially have talent pools, the applicant profiles within them are often dormant.

If this is the case, the company is wasting important opportunities, as the applicants themselves show a great deal of interest in these pools.

It is regrettable that they are so often disappointed by the unprofessional approach of many companies to talent pools, which can take the form of poor talent pool maintenance, incorrect segmentation, and a lack of communication. This was discovered in an extensive 360-degree survey carried out by Careerbuilder and the magazine Personalwirtschaft.

Forty-nine and a half percent of all applicants would use a company’s talent pool despite being rejected for a position.

But, and this is a big one: 73.2% of talent pool candidates interviewed had had bad experiences, while 30% had received completely unsuitable job offers, and 42.5% had not received any information about current vacancies.

Develop a differentiated communication strategy to connect with passive candidates and achieve the intelligent segmentation of your talent pool.

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