What Is Talent Pooling? (With Benefits, How-To Guide and Tips)

Updated June 24, 2022

Understanding and tracking employee and candidate skills and qualifications can be useful when learning where to delegate certain tasks. Human resources departments often create talent pools to manage this information when hiring employees and fulfilling company duties. Learning about this process can help you understand the benefits and strategies behind pooling talent. In this article, we define talent pooling, share its key benefits, review how to develop a talent pool and offer tips to manage them.

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What is talent pooling?

Talent pooling is the process of collecting information on qualified candidates for potential positions. This means identifying what the skills and qualifications of people are and organizing them, often in a database, to understand how they might fulfill gaps in an organization. Different from creating talent pipelines, talent pooling means you already know these individuals have the qualifications needed for certain positions. Human resources departments might have their own talent pools, or recruiting agencies might manage these for other companies. There are two main types of talent pools:

  • Internal pools: Internal talent pools are groups of individuals who show the ability to take additional responsibilities and advance in their roles.

  • External pools: External pools are groups of qualified organizations outside of an organization. These are often candidates within a database that may have proven their qualifications or passed the initial screening.

Related: Developing a Talent Pipeline (With Steps)

Benefits of talent pooling

There are several benefits of talent pooling:

Motivating employees

Internal talent pools often come with training opportunities for high-performing employees. This can increase their motivation to perform better so they can feel confident in career advancement. They can also see that you invest in their success by helping to develop their skills and learn new responsibilities.

Improving hiring time

Hiring can take time for an organization, so having a selection of candidates ready can help you improve this standard of time. Pools often include previous employees, freelancers or previous, qualified applicants so, sometimes they might already have knowledge of your company. Along with lower hiring times, this can reduce onboarding times.

Related: How To Recruit Top Talent for Your Company

Lowering costs

Organizations might spend money hiring recruitment agencies or posting descriptions to various sites. With a talent pool, you can reduce these costs, sharing available opportunities as they arise. If you have a talent pool of freelancers, you can also spend less money on additional employee costs like onboarding or benefits.

How to develop a talent pool

Here are some steps you can follow when you develop a talent pool:

1. Learn organizational goals

Aligning your talent pool with overall organization goals is essential to ensure you include the right candidates. These can be concrete goals, like increasing sales where you might need to hire more sales professionals. You might also evaluate certain skill sets an organization hopes to improve. You might identify soft skills, like organizational or problem-solving skills or more technical skills, like expertise with particular software.

Related: 13 Recruiting Strategies To Help You Find the Best Candidates

2. Assess existing talent

Before pooling, you can identify what sort of talent your organization has. This might mean human resources departments working with management teams to identify the key strengths and competencies that each employee has. By identifying each employee's and department's skills, you can identify any gaps you might need to fill. Consider tracking this in a database where you can ensure an appropriate distribution of talent across departments or teams.

3. Establish training procedures

Training procedures are especially important for internal pools, as these help employees to develop their skills while managing their daily responsibilities. This can involve mentorship programs, peer reviews or management coaching that can prepare employees for more responsibilities. For external pools, this might mean ensuring candidates fulfill any company-specific needs, like submitting paperwork, for easy onboarding.

4. Manage your talent pools.

Managing your talent pools can be crucial to ensuring your candidates stay engaged and understand any expectations. With external pools, you might frequently contact them to let them know the status of positions and opportunities. Monitoring internal talent pools means you might assess the progress of employees within the pool to track their progress throughout their development.

Related: What Is Candidate-Centric Recruiting (Definition and Benefits)

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Tips for talent pooling

Here are some tips you can use when developing and managing your talent pools:

Leverage technology

Successful talent pooling can involve using the right technology to capture the necessary information about candidates. These can be basic databases where you can capture candidate names, qualifications and any supporting documentation. You might explore talent management software that can help you track the progress of employees and candidates as they develop their skills.

Related: 10 Best Places To Recruit Employees

Create clear expectations

Clear expectations help each candidate or employee in a pool understand the process. You might ensure that all employees understand their development goals and timelines that you can track and manage. For external pools, this can also include writing clear job descriptions and application processes for candidates to submit their applications for positions.

Request feedback

Part of engaging a talent pool involves requesting and receiving feedback. These might be informal check-ins where you ask current candidates if everything is clear or if there are parts in the process that you might improve. This shows these candidates that you want them to succeed and develop, whether they're internal or external candidates. You might consider questionnaires for after interviews to discuss how the process met candidates' expectations.

Provide feedback

Along with receiving feedback from people in the pool, giving feedback keeps the community engaged. For internal pools, it's important to provide honest, constructive feedback on their progress so they can develop their skills to fulfill certain duties. With external pools, feedback could include responses where you provide acceptances or rejections quickly so candidates understand how they might proceed.

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