On hot summer days growing up I loved to go over to my Aunt’s house to swim. When I would arrive at the pool, the first thing I would do would be to pull up the thermometer to see the measured temperature of the water. If the water was too cold you didn’t want to get in! When we talk about talent pools I often wonder if candidates knew the same would they ever get in? More often than not we attract talent only to leave them out in the cold. We spend our recruiting dollars on expensive job postings, resume searches on job boards, and even recruiting vendors, creating broad talent pools that are quickly forgotten about once the hire is made. Do we really believe that only one outstanding candidate applied to the job?

Businesses have the opportunity to shift from tactical and reactive recruiting to strategic and proactive recruiting when designing optimal talent pools for the future. National Commission for Math and Science research shows that 60% of the jobs in the 21st century require skills possessed by 20% of the workforce. If this is the case, companies can’t afford or expect talent to just flock to them through a simple job posting. Attracting and recruiting great talent will require out-of-the-box solutions that engage the talent in micro-communities. This is where organizations often fail in recruiting.

When we design talent pools to understand job competencies in relation to the workforce capabilities, we have a way to measure talent in the talent pool. Is there a high-potential pool comprised of a smaller workforce who are considered to have sufficient potential to become high performers and senior managers in the future? Do current talent pools consist of existing employees and new recruits ready for a career path? Are we keeping the talent pool “warm” with meaningful dialogue for future opportunities?

Micro-communities are an effective and important way to reach the talent who are already interested in your organization. By creating on-going communication concerning the organization’s business, industry insights, and career development opportunities, we will also lessen recruitment time and reduce overall cost-per-hire all while recruiting the best talent.

When thinking about developing talent pool micro-communities we should think about creating niche websites, online networking groups, email subscriptions, and blogs along with social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote these communities. Google Hangouts can provide a live interaction and forum, giving face-to-face time with the organization and talent (Facebook Live is now coming on scene as another major player in this arena). Podcasts are another opportunity to interview top leaders, share expertise within the business, and experiences with top talent on the outside.

So, are your candidates jumping into a cold pool or a warm pool that is deep with ongoing dialogue and opportunity?


Do you regularly assess your talent pools? What measurements are you using to assess the viability of your talent pools? How are you engaging top talent in your workforce planning? Leave a comment!

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