BatherAs it turns out, a “talent pool” is pretty similar to a swimming pool — you know, the one that you dreamed of putting in your backyard, the one you would swim all summer long, the one you would lounge around with a nice cool beverage.

And yet, here it is, the end of summer — and with work, kids, family outings, and other events claiming your time, you haven’t even dipped a single toe in the ol’ swimming pool since Easter.

Salesman will tell you that you need one, because everyone is doing it: “All the big companies have a talent pool — you need one too.”

Remember the movie Field of Dreams, and the voice that said over and over, “If you build it, they will come”? Well come they sure did — and the same goes for your recruitment talent pool. If you “build” one, they (applicants and potential candidates) will come.

But it’s not just about building a talent pool. What you do with that talent pool once it’s built — how you cultivate and develop it — also matters tremendously. Think swimming pool owners set their pools to “on” and forget them? No, they perform consistent maintenance, adding chemicals and checking water levels to ensure the swimming pool operates in the correct manner.

With that said, let’s take a look at a couple of very simple ways you can start building and cultivating a cost-effective talent pool that will give you a strong return on investment.

Look to LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a very valuable and comprehensive database of potential talent. Utilized and cultivated correctly, your LinkedIn network can provide you with a high level of return on investment. Those of us who use the free version with no recruiter seats can start by inviting and connecting with other professionals in their industries or the industries that they want to target.

Once you are connected, you can develop a following that will respect and respond to your presence by providing relevant and consistent thought-leadership content.

Years ago, when I was head of talent for a leading media company, I built such a following through my personal LinkedIn account of media professionals. When I needed to hire, I simply put out a status update and received an overwhelming response from great talent.  My time-to-hire dropped dramatically, as did time that my team and I had to invest in proactive searching.

Moreover, people/professionals from other companies and industries knew who I was and had a direct line of communication to me, which always works wonders when recruiting.

SwimmerFor those who have access to LinkedIn’s recruiter tools, know that these tools give you numerous ways to build pipelines through the creation of “projects.” Using the clipboard and saved searches tools can also be a way to create talent pools specific to your recruiting needs.

Make Use of Customer Relationship Management, or CRM

The keyword here is “relationship.” For example, I am in a relationship with my wife — we talk about things, we communicate, we keep each other updated, etc. There has to be a similar approach when it comes to potential candidates, whether they’re active, passive, semi-active, pro-passive, or whatever it is you call them. All too often, a talent pool is constructed and never cultivated. The candidates are left instead to drown in the pool with zero communication or engagement.

A good approach to cultivating your talent pool may be to implement a CRM. A CRM is defined as an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.

In the recruiting business – the last I checked — our current and future customers are applicants and job seekers. We can utilize CRM technology to remain in constant contact with them, provide them with updates and information, network with them, ask for referrals, etc. The more you cultivate your talent pool, the more fruit it will bear.

Make no mistake: even large companies that utilize large applicant tracking systems can add recruitment CRM tools in order to build talent pools.

All in all, the talent pool is a very valuable resource. If built and cultivated correctly, it can yield incredible results. Don’t be Joe or Jane Swimming Pool Owner, leaving your pool untouched for months or even years. Swim in it regularly, do the required maintenance, and add the required ingredients to keep the water fresh and clean. That way, when you need it, the pool be there for your enjoyment and make your life that much easier.

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