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Talent pools are the backbone of recruitment. Everybody who is even remotely working with recruitment knows how important they are and knows why they are so important.

Talent pools are pools of potential candidates who might be interesting for your company. If you are not yet convinced about their importance, just read this article. So today I will be addressing talent pools. In this blog I will be discussing the difference between ‘warm’ and ‘cold’ talent pools, how your company can build their own talent pools, and how you should nurture them.

Warm versus cold

The difference between ‘warm’ and ‘cold’ talent pools is actually related to the excitement of, and level of engagement with, the candidates within it. Simply put, the candidates who are thoroughly engaged with your company and are very excited about your company, compose your ‘warm’ talent pool. Over time, if not nurtured correctly (more on this later), this engagement and excitement cools down and wears off, turning your ‘warm’ talent pools into ‘cold’ talent pools.

Another point regarding ‘cold’ talent pools is that these can also consist of candidates who you have sourced, but not yet reached out to. It is important to note that there are not just two sides of either ‘warm’ or ‘cold’, but there are various degrees on how ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ a talent pool is.

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Building your own talent pools

Identifying the different groups

Talent pools differ in size and form, but they all have one thing in common: they are made up of four groups of candidates:

  1. Sourced candidates
  2. Employee referrals
  3. Candidates which you did not end up hiring (read more about their importance here)
  4. Regular applicants

It is important to note the differences between these groups as you should communicate differently with each group. The communication towards a newly sourced candidate has a different tone of voice then towards a candidate who has already been acquainted with your company for a while. This identification is most important for the first couple of times that you interact with a candidate. After that, all candidates more or less become the same type of candidate in your talent pool. Furthermore, it does not really matter that the different groups have different ways of entering the talent pool, they often end up in the different mixes in the different pools.

These groups and who are in them differ for each company. Try and find out what defines your target groups. What interests them? Do they have any particular lifestyle, hobbies or interests? What kind of websites do they often visit? This is important to know because this gives direction to where or how you market your company to them when reaching out.

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Reaching out

So now that you have identified the different groups, it is time to reach out to them. As discussed, each form of reaching out is specific to each identified group.

You most likely reach out to sourced candidates via direct messaging. This can be either via LinkedIn, Email or perhaps even a telephone number. Unfortunately, experience teaches us that the chances of success are quite low and the only way of increasing them is via a good pitch. So, try and work on your pitch, let others proof-read it and get in touch with the marketing department if your tone of voice is correct. After that, it is a matter of trial and error and see what works best.

Employee referrals are one of the most sought-after ways of reaching out. That is because it is quite easy to get in touch with somebody via a referral. Just mentioning the name of the person who referred the candidate almost already certainly sparks, at the very least, a reply. There are also problems with referred employees, however. Read more about that here.

Candidates which you did not end up hiring for prior vacancies are quite important, but there is also not a lot to say on how to approach them. That’s because of the fact that it is very much dependent on how the previous process with the candidate went. If everything was smooth sailing, then there should be no problem to re-initiate the contact by blatantly reaching out. If, however, the previous process was a bit rocky, then you should alter the tone of your messaging accordingly or not reach out altogether.

Regular applicants are most drawn in by the marketing of your company, by what your message is and how you promote your company. Here it becomes very important to identify who your applicants are and what they like. Based upon that you know where to market your brand, e.g. specific events, specific social media websites, or even stores, restaurants, supermarkets etcetera.

The tone of communication for all groups is based on the position, ranging from informal for low-entry positions to very formal for C-level positions.

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Labelling

After the identification of the different candidates is complete, we need to label them in order to sort them later on. Just as a filing cabinet, labelling is mostly useful to quickly find what you are looking for. When you start to label candidates in whichever recruitment system you are using, it is important to make clear rules on which labels you use to avoid a rapid proliferation of useless labels. Just think about the filing cabinet; you need labels that make sense and provide clarity. Good examples of labels include:

  • Specific hard & soft skills
  • Cultural fit
  • How good the candidate was on a scale of 1 to 5
  • If the candidate is open to other positions in the company
  • Candidate wants to receive newsletters

Bad examples of labels include:

  • Had a good talk (too vague)
  • Is interested in the company (that is the candidate hopefully always)
  • Any labels that include a date (date stamps are often impossible to filter)
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Nurturing

Now that you have your talent pool ready and properly labelled, it is time to nurture your candidates and to try and keep them as ‘warm’ as possible. You can do this via a messaging campaign towards the candidates in question. These messages can include everything from newsletters, new vacancies, holiday wishes, or just a general ‘how are you doing?’. By keeping the candidates in the talent pool up to date with the latest developments in your company, you keep their excitement and engagement warm as well.

The idea is that it is easier to reach out to candidates if they are up to date with the developments within your company, and who knows; they might reach out to you when something interesting passes by! Now as with all forms of communication, you can either go for personalized messaging or standardized messaging. To improve your candidate experience, however, I would opt for a combination of the two: personalized standardization (read more on that here). Furthermore, I would argue for close cooperation with your marketing department to set up these campaigns, as they themselves already have experience with marketing campaigns.

In conclusion

Talent pools ultimate place to find your new superstar. To create a talent pool, you need to identify who your candidates are and based upon that reach out to them in appropriate way. Order your talent pool in the right way with the right labels, and last, but definitely not least, be sure to properly nurture candidate pools to keep them ‘warm’ and prevent them from going ‘cold’. Even if you have a good candidate, but not the right vacancy now, you never know when a new opening arises and he or she might be your new superstar.

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