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Best Practices for Building Your Employee Talent Pool

Originally posted March 10, 2014 by Stephen Bruce on http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com

Building a recruitment strategy that can meet the ups and downs of everyday business in a volatile economy is a tough challenge. Ironically, the high rate of unemployment does not mean that the skills, education, and experience that your company needs are readily available.

To compound matters, you are not alone in your quest for the best employees.  Even companies who are not currently hiring are actively building their talent communities and their candidate pools in preparation for the possibility of future growth.

What Is Your Recruitment Strategy?

It is critical to understand your organization before seeking to add employees. In order to develop a comprehensive recruitment strategy, your company should explore the following:

  • Does the organization have a current recruitment strategy?  Is everyone familiar with it?  Is it working or does it need to change?
  • What are the industry trends, and more specifically, what are the organization’s competitors doing in regard to the identification, acquisition, and retention of key talent?
  • How can the company differentiate itself from its competitors when attempting to recruit talent?
  • What recruitment resources are available?  Is the company effectively utilizing all of them in pursuit of talent?
  • What capabilities will be required now and in the future to meet the company’s essential talent needs?
  • Has the company reviewed historical data with respect to seasonality and hiring volume?
  • Does the company have enough internal expertise to meet its recruitment needs?  If not, what resources and alternatives are available?

Developing a Talent Pool

The next important step in the recruitment and retention process is to explore what skills, education, and experience the company seeks.  Don’t rely on old job descriptions!  In fact, you might even want to develop a brand new job description based on what you perceive are the organization’s needs.


Businesses also need to try to determine their actual recruiting costs, factoring in all fixed, variable, hard, and soft expenses.  Keep in mind that a substantial investment in the recruitment process up front saves money in the end, as the goal is to recruit quality individuals who will stay with the company.

What are Your Recruitment Options?

Internal recruitment. An internal recruitment strategy is characterized by promoting employees from within an organization to fill open positions.  Examples of internal recruitment methods include:

  • Career opportunity postings
  • Recruitment newsletters
  • E-mail flashes
  • Employee referral programs
  • Training and apprenticeships/in-house development programs
  • Mentorships

Internal recruitment can be beneficial for a number of reasons.

  • It is often the quickest and most cost-effective way to recruit talent.
  • You do not have to “reinvent the wheel” with an internal recruit. This person will likely already understand your business model, your culture, and your processes before assuming the new position.  As a result, he or she will assimilate into the new position faster than an external candidate.  In fact, external candidates usually take longer to find, longer to train, and may not fully integrate into your culture after all of the training process.
  • It demonstrates to your employees that the company offers an opportunity to advance.
  • Thus it is an effective employee retention tool.

External recruitment. An external recruitment strategy means that the company will search the employee pool outside its own employees to fill positions.  Common methods of external recruitment include:

  • Newspaper ads
  • Job search websites
  • Job fairs
  • Recruiting apps such as Monster® and Indeed

External recruitment has many advantages.  Unlike internal recruits:

  • Outside employees may arrive with new ideas and energy.
  • New employees have probably not been exposed yet to your corporate culture.  This may be ideal if your company is expanding into new ventures or exploring a new business model.
  • An outside prospect may bring non-confidential information from his former employer that can be integrated into your best practices.
  • Continuously hiring from internal job pools may not contribute to your company’s diversity and may lead to scrutiny by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the equivalent state agency in terms of promoting a diverse workplace.