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5 Steps to Successful Talent Pooling
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5 Steps to Successful Talent Pooling

Written by Darren Timmins

Darren is a Co-founder of Animate Search and Talent Management industry elder (sadly). Living in Barcelona and working across Europe he is inspired by the different challenges the diverse region brings up every day for his clients.If you have a Talent Management challenge and need some advice feel free to reach out on


We’re talking Talent Pooling this week, because:

  • The world is smaller than ever
  • You’ve never had more competitors for talent

In challenging and fast-paced industries, your rivals for the talent aren’t just in the same country, they’re all over the globe, so it pays to think more strategically about recruitment.
Talent pooling ensures you’re in the consideration set and puts you at the front of the queue for the very best talent, an important place to be in any industry, especially the ones we specialise in.

Increased control and productivity
Being reactive is an outdated recruitment model and can pose a serious business risk in today’s competitive market. Talent pooling makes you proactive, ensuring you have the best chance of hiring the best people. It’s reverse recruitment (we’ll come onto that in a minute).
By engaging the market ahead of your need, you not only take control of how you hire and the quality of that hire, but you also regain control of your HR department. Talent pooling can transform HR into a more productive business function with time to support employees and innovate for the business, rather than spending 8+ hours a day fire fighting.

The business benefits of good talent pooling:

  • It reduces your time to hire – meaning less downtime and reducing risk
  • It reduces costs – cost of downtime and also shown to reduce salary demands
  • It builds a brand – creating relationships as part of your employer branding strategy
  • It allows for agility – if you need someone, they’re ready and if you want to go in a new direction, you can get the people you need sooner
  • It supports growth – helps you be quicker than the competition, with the right candidates involved to reach your goals sooner
  • It improves retainment – like any stakeholder, the stronger the relationship and the more they’re bought-in, the longer you’ll work together, whatever happens

Reverse recruitment – 5 steps to successful Talent Pooling
At animate, we take Talent Pooling to the next level for our clients, giving them a smart approach to recruitment that can actually help shape business decisions. It’s reverse recruitment, instead of making business decisions in isolation of talent and then finding if there’s a candidate available to make it happen, talent pooling can help advise business decisions and directions.

1 – Establish your employer brand
This is so important, you can’t go to market pitching your business as a great place to work if you don’t know why it’s great or what great looks like. Candidates will see through the lack of consistency and it’ll undermine your whole recruitment strategy. You need to understand your values and what the best candidates are looking for. Start by getting brand buy-in from your existing employees, then go to market and build relationships on a foundation of excitement and engagement, it’s how we do it for our clients.

2 – What do you want to achieve?
Remember, this is a completely different way of looking at recruitment. You’re not reacting to a departure and need to fill a position pronto, you’re looking to see who’s out there to help you achieve your goals quicker and better. Or even more exciting, you’re looking to see who’s out there that can help shape your goals and keep you ahead.
So think about what you want to do, then go and speak to the people who can help you do it. I’m excited for you, just thinking about it!

3 – Start the conversation
Talent Pooling isn’t speed dating, it’s not about speaking to as many people as possible and building a little black book. It’s about building relationships over a strategic time-period that are real, it’s about selling the ambition of your business and matching your environment to the desires of the very best talent. We call this ‘headhunting passive candidates’ and we sell your company as a prospective next step in their career.
At this stage we are not pitching an active role (this comes later), just the benefits of your company and why they should be interested in hearing about future opportunities. That’s why, prior to this, it’s so important to build the employer brand and employer value proposition so you’re ready to sell to the candidates. Again, it’s how we do it at animate.

4 – Categorise the candidates
If you’re being smart about Talent Pooling, then it’s not enough to approach and engage, you also need to see data to inform you where to invest more, or less, time for the right result. Before we sell a role to a candidate, we categorise the talent in terms of suitability to the company, using the groups Lake, Pool and Pond. (See what we did there?) Each one has a specific communications strategy to maximise engagement and minimise employer brand damage.

Lake – Least suitable and least active in looking for a new role.
Pool – This group of people are more suitable than the Lake group and are showing signs that they would move for the right role.
Pond – Very suitable candidates and highly desirable for our clients.

Make sure you get the comms strategy right for each one, if you don’t – you risk pissing people off with spam or losing their interest, both will damage your employer brand.
Your content plan needs serious thought, for each category consider a timeline and sequence for your touch points. Make them relevant and mix up the mediums, some can be direct contact, some can be in their sphere of influence, and make your plan flexible enough to accommodate messages designed for an individual.

5 – Make the offer
Once you have an active role you can then approach all candidates in the pool in the most appropriate way depending on their category. And because they are far more engaged than cold candidates, you should speed up the process, have fewer barriers and importantly – salary will not be the deciding factor in their motivations to join you.
Even better, they’re usually better prepared to hit the ground running thanks to the talent pooling process, meaning a faster ROI and increased productivity.
In a 5-point nutshell, that’s how we keep our clients ahead of the competition by engaging the best talent on and off the market. So when the role comes, it’s as good as filled. If you’re not talent pooling, use this as a guide and if you need support with, or have any questions about, your recruitment strategy, get in touch.

Written by Darren Timmins

Darren is a Co-founder of Animate Search and Talent Management industry elder (sadly). Living in Barcelona and working across Europe he is inspired by the different challenges the diverse region brings up every day for his clients.If you have a Talent Management challenge and need some advice feel free to reach out on