Talent Pools: Here’s What You Need to Know

Looking for a way to find more qualified candidates faster? The secret involves building and nurturing talent pools. Rather than starting candidate pipelines from scratch every time you open a new role, you can speed up the process by reaching out to your existing talent pool or network. Nurturing this group of prospective candidates, alumni and other promising people on an ongoing basis allows you to accelerate your hiring process. Let’s explore what that could look like for you.

What Are Talent Pools?

Talent pools (also often called talent communities), are networks of prospective employees identified as promising candidates to be nurtured for existing or future jobs. They’re a key recruiting tactic in today’s market and, when properly leveraged, can directly impact the efficacy of any recruiting process to help make the best hires, faster. Talent pools allow you to organize and segment anyone who has ever engaged with your brand so that instead of starting from scratch with each role you open, you can surface the best candidate for your job when you need to.

What Are Some Common Types of Talent Pools?

You can create and segment talent pools in whatever way makes the most sense for your company and the types of roles you’re hiring for, but here are some common types of talent pools.

  • Former Candidates

These are candidates you’ve spoken with who were strong but didn’t work out for whatever reason. They may include “silver medalist” candidates who made it to the final interview stages but didn’t get offers or candidates who were promising but maybe needed to develop a specific skill or two before they’d be the right fit.

  • Cold Outreach

These are passive candidates you’ve reached out to who could be enticed to have a conversation about current or future job opportunities at your company. This pool can include anyone who responds to your outreach and indicates some level of interest.

  • Opportunistic

These are candidates with promising skill sets who’ve expressed some form of interest in your company – at an event, over coffee, through an email, via a referrer, etc. – but aren’t a fit for a particular role today.

  • College Recruitment

These are students at career fairs or other related events who can be developed for future internships or full-time roles.

  • Alumni

This pool includes anyone who has ever worked for your company, including interns, volunteers, part-time employees and freelancers in addition to former full-time employees.

Why Are Talent Pools Important?

“The majority of employers cut off their conversations with candidates the moment they reject them for a role, and many job seekers find this ‘black hole’ of unresponsiveness frustrating,” writes Greenhouse’s Portfolio Manager, New Products, Jennifer Ho. The talent pool approach allows you to continue the conversation beyond a single interview process. This is important because someone who isn’t a fit for your team today could be a superstar on your team tomorrow.

The right tool, like a great Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tool, can help you seamlessly transition prospects in pools into candidates for jobs as conversations between talent and hiring teams evolve. Greenhouse’s Recruiting Manager Ariana Moon writes, “Not only can you surface great people relevant to your current and future roles, but you can also send them the right communication at every step of the prospect funnel. In this way, a CRM allows you to leverage your most valuable asset: the talent you already know.”

It’s not just about the prospects themselves, either – people who’ve had a positive experience with a company are much more likely to refer their friends to open roles. Candidates who’ve had a positive experience are 80% more likely to apply again and twice as likely to recommend the hiring organization, according to IBM’s “The far-reaching impact of candidate experience” report.

The talent pool/CRM combination ensures that you’re sending the right message to the right people at the right time, accelerating your hiring process and helping you connect qualified people to your open roles. What’s not to love about that?


Want to do a deeper dive into how a CRM can help you accelerate hiring while nurturing talent pools? Download our eBook, How a Talent CRM Will Help You Win at Hiring.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Talent Operations