A recurrent challenge for HR departments is finding and retaining the best people to fill business critical roles in the organisation. When a  key employee leaves, or a new post is created, this can lead to a frenzy of activity in defining role and person specifications, advertising the post, the evaluation of multiple applicants and ultimtely the process of integrating the new member of staff into the organisation. Even when this process is complete doubts may remain. “Did we find the best candidate?”. “Are they going to fit into the company culture?”, “Are they going to stay – or will we need to repeat this proceedure?” Generally speaking, this process is reactive and often completed against competing commitments. Given the pace of change, uncertainties in external/internal contexts and demand for talent, there is a need to approach future requirements in a strategic and proactive manner.


Gone are the days when the range of skills required was often more limited and predictable. Employees would learn the skills the organisation required through a process of mentoring or on-the-job training and would be ready to move up to more senior roles as their careers progressed. Management would have identified who could step-up, and individual employees would be aware that more senior roles would become available to them and might be less tempted to look elsewhere for promotion.

Establishing a Talent Pool has several benefits:

  • Better placed to meet strategic and business needs in a planned and proactive manner ensuring that staff possess the right skills, competencies, and profiles.
  • Greater transparency of recruitment decision making
  • Time and cost efficient in completing recruitment assignments
  • Enables staff to take on new and challenging opportunities
  • Opens up lateral career paths across specialisations which helps to broaden perspectives
  • Greater engagement of staff with the organisation’s goals and objectives – ‘a stake in the fortunes of the organisation’
  • Helps to build and sustain a diverse workforce
  • Recognises managers who empower, nurture and promote talent

Filling your Pool

Where do we find these potential future candidates?

Existing employees. They understand your organisation and its culture. In addition to the benefits indicated above maintaining a talent pool can also help with staff retention particularly in ‘hard to fill’/business critical roles.

If you don’t think you can adequately fill your pool with existing staff could you extend it with outsiders?  Some possibilities might be:

  • Previous strong applicants – They have already shown interest in working for your organisation. Have their circumstances changed so they have become a better match for you, or have your business needs changed to make their skills more relevant?
  • Previous employees – they are already aware of your company. Did they leave for a better offer elsewhere? Can they bring in ideas and information from outside of the organisation?
  • Key employees of competitors? – Do you know who they are? Is it worth getting in touch?
  • Networking and business social networks – Were you impressed by someone at a conference? Is someone demonstrating their skills and knowledge online? – might they be a good fit for the pool?

If you want to learn more about creating a talent pool or improving your existing recruitment strategies, please get in touch. ODRL can help you assess and build development strategies for your employees using a range of face-to-face and online assessments, and through the development of Assessment Centres. To discuss this please call.