Part I – What is a Curated Talent Pool and How to Build One

It takes a multi-pronged approach to sourcing talent in today’s sprawling and segmented workforce management environment. Relying on outside sources like staffing agencies alone is simply not enough. That’s why the most successful workforce management operations are developing their own enterprise talent pools to add another productive sourcing channel to their mix of acquisition strategies. Here’s what you need to know about developing an enterprise talent pool for your operation.

First, let us define what a talent pool is and how it adds value to your overall workforce management strategy. A properly curated talent pool is a database of potential job candidates that have the potential to meet an organization’s immediate and long-term needs. However, all talent pools are not curated. In a curated talent pool, clients can find and select individuals based on a certain set of criteria. The curated talent pool contains information about each prospect, including the person’s skills, roles they could fill, interests, availability and whether they are a cultural fit. Most importantly, candidates in this talent pool have either been previously engaged by the company or are “prescreened” so that they are ready on demand.

The benefits of developing the curated pool are many. Foremost, the curated pool enables continued reuse of “proven” talent which helps reduce the time involved in sourcing and qualifying appropriate candidates. Equally important, this strategy significantly expands access to talent beyond resources sourced by staffing agencies and is particularly effective at filling the short-term bounded engagements that staffing agencies are not typically interested in filling.

The sources of talent that commonly reside in a curated talent pool include known commodities. These workers can be past employees, including those used by other divisions of your company. They may also include past contingent workers, retirees, interns, workers identified through an employee referral program and previous applicants who deserve a second look. Other sources of talent beyond those already known to the organization are often found through social media sites (including industry- and skill-specific platforms), white labeled pages on job boards, affiliations with professional associations, academic institutions and community groups or resumes gathered at job fairs and networking events.

Building Your Curated Talent Pool
First, devise the strategy. Forecast your organization’s demand for talent down to the skill level. Because workforce gaps are quantified in any forecast, talent pooling strategies can be put in place well ahead of time. Give priority to repeatable and hard to fill positions. Next, decide on where to source the resources whether that is from among the “proven” sources or others as detailed above.

Then, set to work defining your engagement model and determining how to leverage the technologies at your disposal to support the effort. This can include FMS systems, direct sourcing modules offered by a VMS and even publicly accessible talent clouds. The challenge in this step is to establish a platform that scales to meet changing volume needs. (Look to upcoming posts here on how to leverage the available technology options fully).

With these steps in place, take steps to integrate the curated talent pool into overall existing talent access channels within your operation. Make sure to focus on articulating processes that enable hiring managers to simultaneously consider agency contractors, freelancers, etc. But remain aware of the fact that technologies are not the driver of success in achieving an effective curated talent pool. Curated talent pools are technology enabled, but not technology driven.

To learn more about best practices in developing a curated talent pools, be sure to read Part II of this.