How Does a Talent Pool Work?
by YOSS Community Writer, on October 30, 2019 at 4:19 PM
If your business uses contingent workers, or if you'd like it to, you should have a talent pool. Using one allows your procurement efforts to be proactive rather than reactive. Instead of waiting until you need a particular worker, you will develop relationships with freelancers and others so that when a new project needs to be staffed, it can be filled quickly with known candidates.
At its most basic, a freelance talent pool is a database. In some cases, it’s as simple as a spreadsheet with a list of people, their skills, and contact information. The fact that it is a database doesn't matter as much as the way that it is used. A talent pool is the focus of your entire procurement system. We'll discuss this below.
Five Reasons to Use a Talent Pool
There are many ways to fulfill your staffing needs, but a talent pool is considered one of the best for five reasons:
- Always open to new talent: it can be heartbreaking to turn-down an exceptional candidate just because you have no position for them at the time. A talent pool allows you to foster a relationship that will hopefully lead to a later working relationship.
- Staff new projects quickly: the process of going through hundreds of resumes after a project has started greatly slows things down. With a well-maintained talent pool, you can quickly find a handful of great candidates who could start in a matter of days rather than the weeks it normally takes to hire someone using the traditional approach.
- Better long-term planning: by knowing the kind of talent you have at your disposal, you can improve the way you plan for and grow your business.
- Build more relationships: the long-term relationships necessary to maintain a talent pool will keep your business on the minds of candidates. As a result, they are more likely to be able to work with you on short notice and may even send you other candidates to add to your talent pool.
- Find customers: depending on your business, your talent pool relationships can lead to customers by building your brand among the people in your talent pool.
The Talent Pool Process
As you can see from our discussion above, strong relationships are critical to an effective talent pool. That starts with the building of the talent pool itself. Your business needs to reach out to talent in every possible way: freelancer websites, talent agencies, employment applications, and so on.
This process never stops. You are always adding to your talent pool. You look for people with better skills, people with new skills, people who are available for specific situations like on-call workers. There is no "slow season" for a procurement department that uses a talent pool.
Finding people is only part of the job. After a talent pool is working well, more time will be spent maintaining and improving relationships with these candidates. A talent pool without strong relationships is just a glorified Rolodex.
There are some easy ways to maintain relationships. For example, you can send out articles that your company has created that would interest candidates. There are many other things you could send as well. If your company brings in interesting speakers to speak to your employees, you could invite appropriate people from your talent pool. Above all, however, send out notices for new jobs.
There also needs to be personal outreach. On the most basic level, you need to update the following data:
- Contact information
- Availability and status
- Skills and work focus
But more than that, you need to make the people in your talent pool feel as if they are, in some sense, part of your company. That can be done via email and the occasional phone call, but you don't want to overdo it. The people in your talent pool are almost certainly busy and you don't want them thinking that being in your talent pool is more work than it's worth.
One of the challenges of managing contingent workers is keeping morale high and providing a sense of community. This is a lot easier if your talent pool sees itself as a community. There are a number of ways this can be done.
One way to do this is to use social media. For example, you could start a LinkedIn Group specifically for your talent pool. You could do the same thing on Facebook. It's best to stick with platforms that people already use. A Slack group would work in principle, but it's unlikely that many people would go out of their way to check in with it.
There are plenty of other ways to build community online but don't forget about real-life events. We already mentioned company lectures as a way to draw in people. There are lots of similar events you could hold. You could, for example, have a talent pool meet-up. Or you could invite some or all members of your talent pool to company events like the holiday party.
All this effort of building and maintaining relationships is ultimately about work—for you and for the candidates in your talent pool. The hiring is the easy part of the process because the work is done in advance.
Most companies use some kind of tailored database system to store their talent pool. So if your company has decided to improve its website ranking, all you need to do is enter SEO specialist into the computer and you have all the candidates with that skill. Instead of being unknowns, these are the people with whom you have existing—perhaps even long-term—relationships.
You can then reach out to those who are the best fit and determine their availability. In general, you'll have someone available to start working on the project immediately, which keeps you far ahead of where you'd be with traditional hiring practices.
Roughly 90% of companies use contingent workers. To make the best use of them, you really need a talent pool. They require a lot of work up-front, but they more than pay off by providing your business with almost instant access to the skills you need.
If you are looking to fill or build your talent pool, connect with YOSS. At YOSS, we represent the very best pre-vetted freelancers in the world. We only engage with the top 1 percent of talent. So whether you are looking to fill a particular position or to shore up your talent pool, we can help.
Our mission is to make agile staffing easy for companies like yours so see how YOSS can help you manage or add to your workforce below with YOSS Talent Pools.