Five steps to build an effective talent pool

Jamie Sharp

Writer & Blogger

In today’s marketplace, employers are scrambling to find the top talent they need to fill roles in their organisations. There are over 1.2 million vacancies in the UK, and the number of job adverts hit a record high in 2022, suggesting companies are struggling to attract the talent they need to fill vacancies.

The pandemic has changed how we work, and the expectations of job seekers shifting dramatically have left businesses looking for new ways to recruit. Talent pools may well be part of the answer.

What are talent pools?

In its simplest terms, a talent pool is a database that contains relevant candidate information that is available to match against when vacancies arise. Additionally, it is an effective place to keep in touch with candidates who are at different stages of recruitment.

The candidates in your talent pool don’t need to be actively looking for a new role but, are interested in a change of position at some point in the future. Students who are contemplating the start of their careers over the coming months and may be considering your organisation for their first role.

Talent pools may also contain candidates who have been sourced externally, referred by a colleague or joined your talent pool through your inbound marketing efforts.

How and why are they being used inefficiently?

A new report by the Forum for In-House Recruitment Managers suggests that many firms that use talent pools are using them ineffectively.

As skills and talent shortages abound, the report found that while 73% of companies use talent pools, and 43% use them for internal and external candidates, they are not being used effectively.

Five steps to building an efficient talent pool

Talent pools are built using two different approaches – inbound or outbound recruitment strategies. Outbound is a more proactive approach, actively sourcing candidates, while inbound encourages candidates to join your talent pool willingly.

Here are five steps to build your talent pool.

1. Internal Talent

Your own organisation will have a number of high-potential employees whose capabilities you’re aware of, and ideally, you’ll understand their medium and long-term career aspirations. In addition, they will be far quicker to onboard as they are familiar with your organisation’s processes and policies and comfortable with your company culture.

Your current employees who are suitable for potential advancement or to move sideways to a different department may need additional training to make this move as seamless as possible. Having an active learning and development department with appropriate programs in place to help employees upskill is essential.

2. Improving your employer brand

To attract candidates to your talent pool, meeting their expectations with more than a reasonable compensation package is crucial.

To be an employer of choice today, you need to be known for providing enticing benefits that could include:

  • Hybrid working
  • Opportunity for ongoing learning and personal development funded by the employer
  • A culture that values growth and continuous learning
  • Career advancement opportunities

High-quality candidates expect the companies they work for to invest in their growth and professional development.

3. Sourcing Tools

Sourcing tools allow you to proactively search for candidates based on a variety of criteria. These could include:

  • Current or past roles
  • Their current company
  • Technical skills
  • Specialist qualifications
  • Experience they have gained working on specific types of projects or using certain software.

Some sourcing tools allow you to target active and passive candidates (not currently looking for a new role) to add to your talent pool. This could be very useful as LinkedIn’s Ultimate list of Hiring Statistics highlighted that only 30% of the global workforce is actively looking for a new role.

Additionally, nurturing passive candidates and building a relationship with them now could mean they approach your organisation first when they begin looking for a new role.

4. Recruitment Marketing and referrals

Recruitment marketing is a type of inbound marketing that attracts candidates to willingly join your talent pool because of the content you are producing on your blog or across your social media accounts.

As an example, your company blog may discuss exciting projects your company is working on and developments you are planning for the future. These blogs could attract candidates to your talent pool interested in the projects you have highlighted or who think your future plans sound exciting and would fit their skill set.

Referrals from existing employees or candidates who are already in your talent pool are a great way to increase the size and quality of your talent pool. Referred candidates are recognised as being high-quality employees who stay with a company for the long term and could be invaluable when you next need to recruit.

5. A diverse talent pool

Modern companies understand the benefits of diversity in their workforce and what it can add to their company culture, increased innovation and greater creativity.

Several studies have shown that a diverse workplace is a happy workplace and also a more efficient and productive one.

When building your talent pool, it is essential to ensure that the candidates you source come from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, genders and beliefs to ensure your company has the best talent from across the marketplace.


In a candidate-scarce market, having an efficient talent pool that is well-managed and the candidates nurtured is essential.

As shown above, there are many approaches to building a talent pool that will help keep you ahead of your recruitment needs and give you access to top talent whenever you need it.

If you need assistance developing an effective talent pool or with any recruitment needs, please call us on 01252 624 699 or email

Find out how our award-winning, on-demand recruitment solutions can reshape the way you meet your hiring needs.

Abbey House, Farnborough Road
Farnborough, GU14 7NA
T: +44 (0) 1252 624 699

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