How Talent Pool Hiring Can Reshape Recruitment for Your Organization

Drew Whitehurst | June 7, 2024

When a candidate browses job openings on your organization’s website, do they see an option to submit their resume and application for future roles?

When you decline an applicant who is, overall, super strong and a great culture fit, but also just slightly outpaced by another applicant—what happens to that person in your system? Do you retain their information somewhere and flag them for future consideration?

When you open a new role, do you have a database of already screened candidates ready for browsing to help accelerate your speed-to-hire?

If you answered “no” to those questions, you aren’t building as strong a talent pool as you could.


What are Applicant Pools and Pool Hiring?

A talent pool is an existing, steady database of qualified candidates you can go to first whenever you need to fill an open role. Rather than putting out a job posting and waiting for applicants to find it ad hoc, pool hiring enables you to hold onto the information of many candidates, screen them, and contact them as needed when a vacancy occurs.

Building a hiring pool—also known as an applicant pool or candidate pool—does take some ongoing effort, but it has big benefits, too. Namely, it can expand your reach for new talent by broadening your options beyond limited checklists based on geography or timelines, creating referral networks for your recruiters, and reducing slowdowns caused by very low or very high application rates.

It’s also becoming more common for modern recruiters. The popularity and viability of remote work, openness to skills-based hiring (as opposed to experience-based hiring), and stiff competition for talent have all made talent pool hiring a great strategy for hiring managers and their HR partners.


How Does a Hiring Pool Work?

Taking this approach requires building a talent pool of candidates who are willing to be considered for new roles as they come up, rather than applying for individual openings one by one.

Some companies build a candidate pool by having a generic role posted on their careers site. The posting might be tagged for all departments, a permanent link on the top of your opening page, or set to appear automatically regardless of filters. However you engineer it, it’s essentially an ongoing job description that invites applicants to submit their information for future consideration.

Other options for building your talent pool could include campus recruiting, or enabling candidates to opt in for future consideration in addition to being considered for a specific role for which they’re applying.

No matter how you acquire these candidates, they’re housed in your application tracking system and at hand for searching at any time.

Using candidate pools in this way can help reduce recruiting costs, accelerate time-to-hire, and improve the candidate experience with more bespoke, tailored communications. It can also help you tap into talent that might otherwise be hard to find, including passive job seekers and applicants from outside of your industry (but with transferrable skills that will help them hit the ground running), and reach high-demand talent like new graduates with high-appeal opportunities before anyone else.


Real-world Examples of Talent Pool Hiring

A great example of pool hiring comes from the public sector. Federal agencies not only recruit from existing talent pools—they also share those applicant pools amongst themselves. This enables agencies to reach talented candidates with greater ease and also improves the candidate experience because their applications can reach beyond a single agency or opportunity.

It also helps smaller, lesser-known agencies connect with qualified applicants who have applied to larger agencies, but whose skills might make them a great fit for an opportunity with less word-of-mouth marketing to help source candidates.

An enlightening report McKinsey published two years ago also remains insightful for companies looking to tap into non-traditional talent pools: gig workers, caregivers, and other job seekers who are out of the market but looking for a way in, students and part-time workers looking to grow, and more opportunistic workers who are more invested in happening on the right fit than aggressively searching for their next opportunity.

Companies in many sectors are successfully reaching out to talented folks like these by inviting them into lower-pressure, ongoing talent pools. From there, their resumes can be picked up at any time a potentially suitable role opens, and recruiters can reach out to set up interviews.


Integrating HR Tech for Enhanced Pool Hiring

Another reason this model of recruiting is so helpful in today’s landscape is the current state of HR technology. Recruiting software is well suited to help companies build talent pools, retain strong applicants for future outreach, and screen a pool of candidates in a way that’s neither rushed nor expensive.

One such technology is video interviewing software. It can help recruiters by:

  • Enabling on-demand, one-way interviews for initial screenings. This largely automates that first screening for new, qualified applicants, but without stressing recruiters’ schedules. The recordings can easily be stored for future reference, which means the hiring manager can tap back into them as roles open.
  • Facilitating remote interviews for advanced candidates. Interviewing applicants remotely can help save company resources by minimizing the travel needed for interviewing, reducing the time spent on the screening process, and still gathering holistic assessments of applicants. I can also improve access to a wider distribution of candidates and accelerate interview timelines by simplifying scheduling.

Speaking of scheduling, dedicated interview scheduling software is also an essential tool for building your talent pool. It helps avoid scheduling conflicts, enhances the candidate (and recruiter, and interviewer) experience by creating more efficient communication, and enables everyone to book interviews at the most convenient times possible.

Other HR tech solutions you should consider include:

  • Applicant tracking systems (ATS) that securely store candidate information for future reference across your organization.
  • AI-powered candidate matching and predictive analytics for talent acquisition, which can help you pinpoint the best possible fits for new roles as quickly as possible.
  • Ethical, AI-enabled recruiting automation that helps minimize your time spent on administrative tasks without relegating real people’s applications to a robot’s review.

Building the right toolkit, and maximizing your tech investments where possible, can help you build and leverage a sophisticated talent pool faster than you think.


Best Practices and Tips for Successful Pool Hiring

Once you have the foundation for a candidate pool laid out, and your first applicants in the system, it’s essential not to leave that group to stagnate between openings.

Build a plan to nurture that pool of candidates with ongoing engagement. You want to foster relationships with potential hires, encourage and reward employee referrals that will help build your talent pool, and make sure these leads stay warm even when open roles aren’t immediately available.

Some tactics for nurturing your talent pool could include:

  • An email drip campaign. With their permission, periodically sending company news, employee spotlights, and other relevant stories to your candidates’ inboxes can help you stay top of mind even if they’re only passively looking for a new role.
  • Connecting hiring managers with your pool of candidates first for contract-based opportunities. Even if your applicants are most interested in full-time work, should a hiring manager ask you to open up part-time or contract-based roles, it couldn’t hurt to gauge interest in your existing talent pool first.
  • Leaning into your social media strategy. Social platforms are a great place to tell your employer brand story; stay connected with your marketing team to ensure your pool of potential applicants is considered an important part of your audience on these apps!
  • Encouraging employee referrals. Come up with a good rewards program for employees who submit referrals for open roles as well as your ongoing talent pool. If applicants are connected to members of your team, they’ll feel more engaged with the company, too.

And, of course, don’t forget to track the success of your talent pool over time—and adjust your approach as needed.

Are new hires frequently coming from this pool of candidates? What does engagement look like from passive applicants? Can you gather feedback from both sides of the experience: candidate and hiring manager? Regularly engaging in these evaluations and experimenting with new tactics can help your talent pool stay engaged and useful quarter over quarter.


Start Filling Your Talent Pool

As the landscape of recruiting continues on a remote-enabled, dynamic, and high-demand trajectory, including pool hiring in your strategy can be an essential way to stay ahead and keep your talent pipeline full.

Now is the time to embrace the digital age of recruitment and dive head-first into this tactic. Software like interviewstream can help you do it by facilitating video-enabled recruiting techniques, remote and on-demand video interviewing (and scheduling), and positive candidate experiences that can make or break your ability to onboard the very best talent.

Finding top talent begins with an efficient hiring process. From refining your interviews to connecting with the right candidates, interviewstream is designed to streamline your recruitment efforts.

Reach out to our team today to see how interviewstream can help take your hiring process to the next level.

About The Author

Drew Whitehurst is the Director of Marketing at interviewstream. He's been with the company since 2014 working in client services and marketing. He is an analytical thinker, coffee enthusiast, and hobbyist at heart.


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