Building a talent pool isn’t just about gathering as many people as possible who could do a job. It is about handpicking the perfect people who can do their job amazingly. Not only that, but typically they will all, in your mind, be able to work as a cohesive team.
It is a long-term strategy for filling roles that you don’t even have yet. Gathering the highest quality people, in advance and really getting to know them. In case you are under any illusions, people are the drivers behind any business, and to quote Matt Redhawk “With careful attention to detail and planning, you can succeed in a competitive environment”. And that is always what you should be striving for when looking to hire new people.
Consider your talent pool like your freezer. You fill your freezer for the meals you are going to create in the future. Your talent pool is brimming with skills that you want to have in reserve for the moment the need arises.
So now imagine having a job opening and rather than having to go through 500 applications, knowing there are only 2 people that would match the role and the culture in your company – and that is being generous. You can skip the hard work, the algorithms and the costs associated with hiring the right people and simply talk to people you already know.
Think about how often a recruitment company will have to put serious man-hours in to find people who match the role you have available. You’re going to put those hours instead – but sporadically (and for free). If you have people who have previously reached out to you for work, or that you know through other people, then start a conversation. And while an online conversation is pleasant, offer to take them for a meal or coffee to talk more in person.
Open applications will allow people to give you their details for use at a later time, with no obligation to reach out to them immediately. You can make this more attractive by laying everything out there. What your team is about, the work you do, and what you’re looking for beyond just the skills to do the job.
You can also talk to your own staff. Employee referrals can give you access to people that you might not ordinarily have found with a simple search.
And, when you really want to up the ante – put a call out on LinkedIn and leverage some technology for a while.
This is key to keeping your talent pool fresh and active. You need to review and refine it continually. Keep them engaged and interested in what you and your company are doing. This is a lot about being personal, getting them to sign up to company news, and invite them to networking events. Make your content match your audience – and deliver it flawlessly, and directly.
Try not to see people as just a means to filling a role, but rather as influential contributors to the future of your company. You might find that you find a person you want to hire, and will never have a role to fit them – and that can be when try magic happens.