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Sourcing talent: The best methods for filling your talent pool

Taylor Cotter
Taylor Cotter

Taylor was an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Workable. She wrote about the millennial workplace and hiring best practices.

Posting jobs on job boards, getting employee referrals and working with recruiters can only get you so far. For a sustainable approach to sourcing candidates and recruiting at your growing company, it’s crucial to begin to grow your talent pool.

What is a talent pool?

A talent pool is the database of potential candidates that could end up working at your company down the line. Every time you open a new role, you should think of it as a fishing expedition. Some of the people you land will be hired now, some of them will go to your talent pool for future jobs. With every hire, you can begin to see increasing returns as you add more and more qualified people to your talent pool.

Beyond traditional job posting, there are creative ways to reach out to prospective candidates and start to develop their profiles as potential new hires. Use an applicant tracking system to organize these candidates and contact them to start building a long-term relationship. Use these outbound tactics, tools and hacks to gauge the potential field of candidates in your industry and location:

(To source EU candidates, please refer to guidance on collecting candidate information as per the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.)

Finding candidate email addresses

If you’re sourcing talent for a higher-level or technical position, many of your candidates will have presences on LinkedIn and GitHub. These are great resources for seeing into a candidate’s work history, technical know-how, and if they’re looking for work. However, it’s rarely the best way to contact a candidate. Finding email addresses can be done more manually: through someone’s profile, using the popular structure of their company email (often first initial, last name, or first name and last name), or reaching out to them via social media.

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Using Boolean search to find candidates

Identifying and sourcing talent with specific overlapping skills is critical to building the team you want. When searching for candidates in Google and other search engines, consider using Boolean search logic to identify the intersections of qualities that are appealing to you. Boolean search can save you time by identifying qualified candidates on LinkedIn and beyond to add to your pool right off the bat.

Some simple Boolean tactics for talent sourcing include:

  • If you’re sourcing candidates with two different skills, like developer with managerial skills, use the AND qualifier.
  • If you’re sourcing talent that possesses a variety of skills, try using the OR qualifier.
  • To eliminate candidates from your talent pipeline instantly based on a skill or previous job, use NOT.

Workable’s Boolean search cheat sheets provide sample search strings to recruit experienced candidates. Need more details on boolean search? Download our free sourcing guide.

Fill your talent pool from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Although LinkedIn an obvious path for candidate sourcing, it’s not the only one. You can identify candidates on non-professional social media accounts like Twitter (including Twitter search), Instagram and Facebook, but there are also ways to search other public sites to find candidates who fall squarely into your potential talent pool. Search with these tips from Sourcing Hacks to source talent in your industry who you can then follow up with through other social media.

(For EU candidates, please refer to this guidance on using social media for recruiting under GDPR.)

Engage your local industry to find passive candidates

Your best bet for developing your sourcing strategy for your talent pool is to engage them on a personal and genuine level. Talent pool management and improvement can come from conversations with potential applicants, candidates you chose not to hire for other positions, and previous relationships. Accept invitations for as many conversations as you can, it’s a sign that you’re hiring, looking and deepening your talent pool. Great ways to meet these passive candidates include industry-specific events. For example, Workable hosts the Workable Ideas series, where we aim to showcase progressive thinking in HR and recruitment from our community. These events are a great opportunity to fill your talent pipeline with potential hires in the area who are already familiar with your company and product.

Engage these relationships early and often, and keep a record of them in your applicant tracking system.

Using an ATS to manage your talent pool

An applicant tracking system shouldn’t be a repository for old resumes – it should be a system where you can nurture your talent pool through the application and interview process.

Features available in Workable for filling your talent pool include:

  • Tagging candidates is a great way to improve the way your team recruits and stays organized. The tagging feature in Workable allows you to label, organize and search candidates using #hashtags. When you click a tag on a candidate’s profile, Workable will search for all available candidates at that stage in the position pipeline who have been tagged with the same word. You can use these tags, and other strategies, to measure your talent pipeline over time.
  • Using the candidate database as you review candidate profiles with your team, add tags for future reference and use the candidate evaluation feature to add a rating and a comment for each candidate. Once your team determines the schema that works best for you, you can use the functionality of the candidate database search and find the right candidates from your pool of applicants, fast.
  • Create internal jobs to hold future hires. Jobs for internal use only are not visible on job boards or careers pages. But, they have all the applicant tracking features available (eg, comments, emails, event schedules, moving candidates through the pipeline) and can accept candidates via manual upload or the job mailbox. By creating these internal jobs, you can easily organize your candidates based on their future fit at your company, and use all the Workable features to continue to engage them as they become applicants.
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