A Deep Dive into the Talent Pool (Including 6 Cool Examples)

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When times are tough, you’ve got to be smart. In terms of recruitment, that means building and maintaining a talent pool. In today’s largely candidate-driven market you can’t afford losing out on top talent simply because you currently don’t have a role that fits.

So rather than falling out of touch, try to stay in touch and keep them interested instead. Via a talent pool, for example.

In this article, we’ll dive (pun intended) into the wonderful world of talent pools; what is a talent pool, why do you need to have one, how do you maintain a talent pool and, last, but certainly not least, we take a look at 6 cool talent pool examples.

What’s in?

What is a talent pool?
The benefits of a talent pool
How to maintain a talent pool
6 Cool talent pool examples
Wrapping up


What is a talent pool?

A talent pool is a database that holds the profiles of all the people that are
interested in your organization. Roughly speaking, there are two types of people in a talent pool:

  • those who haven’t applied yet, but may want to do so in the future and that want to follow the company in the meantime;
  • those who already applied before but didn’t get the job, for example, because they didn’t have the right expertise for that particular role but did match the company culture.

The benefits of a talent pool

Let’s take a look at ‘the why’ of a talent pool. What are the benefits of having one? The most obvious advantages are related to recruitment, but there also is an Employer Branding element worth mentioning.

A safety net

Whenever you see yourself faced with an unexpected, sudden departure, having a talent pool can save you. It’s the first place you can look for qualified candidates and if you get lucky, you won’t need to launch a full (often long and painful) recruitment process.

As an added bonus, if you do find a suited candidate in your talent pool, this will have a positive impact on both your time to hire and cost per hire.

Access to passive candidates

Passive candidates are a bit like a love interest that plays hard to get. They tend to be happy in their current job and company and give you a polite but firm ‘not interested’ when you try to get acquainted.

A talent pool is a great way to a passive candidate’s heart. It gives them the possibility to follow your company and stay up to date on the latest news, relevant content and vacancies, but without them feeling pressured.

And there is an added bonus again; if they like your company enough, they’ll have no problem sharing their contact details with you.

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A talent pool can help with passive candidates

With 73% of people being passive a talent pool can be a great
way to turn some of those passive seekers into active candidates.
Image source.

Strategic workforce planning

Anyone doing strategic workforce planning, long-term recruitment or succession planning should include a well-maintained talent pool in their strategy.

After all, each of these strategies is about making sure you’ve got the right number of people, with the right skills, at the right place at the right time.

If you’ve got a talent pool filled with qualified talents at your disposal, you can take their profiles into account when making your (long-term) planning.

Employer Brand

Via the content that you share with the people in your talent pool, you can give them a taste of your employer brand and what it is your company is about as an employer. As such, a talent pool is a great way to get them even more excited about your organization.

How to maintain a talent pool

Just like you need to maintain (and clean!) an actual pool, you need to maintain your talent pool too. Having a talent pool is one thing, but keeping people interested to perhaps one day join your company is another. A few tips:

  • Regularly browse through your talent pool. This is to help you make a habit of regularly checking your talent pool so that the day you’ve got a position opening up you’ll turn to your talent pool first, as a reflex.
  • Don’t forget about former employees. Unless someone leaves after a big disagreement or some sort of drama, employees might come back one day. Perhaps they felt like they couldn’t progress anymore within your organization right now, but that doesn’t mean that the timing can’t be right again sometime in the future. In other words: keep former employees in your talent pool.
  • Add internal talent. Sometimes the best solutions are right in front of you. In this case in the form of your current employees. A big advantage of having them in your talent pool is that you already know these people. You know what they’re capable of and that they fit in your organizational culture.
  • Fill difficult positions. Another advantage of having internal talent in your talent pool is that you won’t forget about them when you need to fill senior roles, positions that are usually not that easy to recruit for.
  • Engage with personalized content. In terms of keeping candidates interested, this one is important. If you identify what stage the candidates in your talent pool are in (ready to be hired, not ready yet just browsing, etc.), you can adapt the content you send them, for example with the use of talent pipeline software.Someone who is ‘cold’ is likely to be less interested in actual vacancies, for example, but maybe keen on receiving content that can help them with their career. 

I recently wrote an extensive article about building and maintaining a talent pool you can find more tips there.   

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6 Cool talent pool examples

Right, onto the fun part now! Let’s take a look at some cool examples of companies that just got it right when it comes to building a talent pool.

1. Spotify

Spotify has a talent pool dedicated to students which is a great way to get in touch with people before they enter the job market. Students interested in hearing about new job opportunities and student events near them can ‘join the band.’

And they even take things one step further at Spotify.

Younger students, those who are still in primary school or high school, who are passionate about coding and curious about the Spotify platform are encouraged to check out the Spotify for Developers site. Clever!

Spotify join the band

At Spotify, students can join the band (i.e. the company’s talent pool).

2. McKinsey

McKinsey has a very interesting take on the talent pool when it comes to their former employees. The McKinsey Alumni Center is a platform to help the firm’s global network of former consultants to remain engaged with (of course) the company, its knowledge and each other. A great way to keep former employees engaged with the organization and to ensure they think back fondly of the company (and perhaps one day come back).

McKinsey alumni center

McKinsey does a great job of staying in touch with its former employees –
and leveraging the power of that global network.

3. Trivago

Trivago is the company that, in my opinion, does the best job by far in terms of their talent pool. Their entire recruitment approach is a bit different with a strong emphasis on what people would like to do rather than only their previous work experience. They explain everything in a short video.

Trivago talent pool

Trivago has a video that shows how its talent pool can help candidates land their dream job.

4. Sodexo

Many companies have a ‘Join our Talent Community’ button somewhere at the bottom of their careers page. Once you click on it, you’re usually asked to fill in details such as your name and email address.

What I like about Sodexo’s ‘Join our talent community’ is that it gives you some info about what you’ll get from signing up: insider knowledge, job opportunities, and local hiring events.

Granted, that’s still rather general but as a candidate, at least you know more or less what you’re signing up for and that it will be more than just receiving the latest vacancies.

Sodexo talent pool page

Sodexo tells people what they can expect from signing up to their talent pool in terms of content.

5. PwC

Another company that does a rather good job is PwC. The multinational professional services company immediately makes a distinction between entry-level candidates and experienced profiles. From a content and potential job opportunities perspective that makes things easier for the company and more interesting for the candidates.

PwC talent pool page

PwC creates sub-talent pools right from the start.


6. Mercedes

Speaking of clever, German carmaker Mercedes understands the power of (employee) referrals and added a cool little feature for people in their talent network: they can share job opportunities with family and friends through social media or email.

Of course, candidates also receive relevant communications and updates from the organization and alerts with new job opportunities that match their interests. 

Mercedes talent pool

Mercedes makes it easy for people in its talent pool to share job opportunities. 

Wrapping up

That’s it for our deep dive into the talent pool. It wasn’t easy to find good talent pool examples for this article so please, if you come across one, or if your organization has one, do share them with us in the comment section below. Your input is much appreciated!

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