We often speak about talent pools and how useful they are in recruitment, but does anyone utilise them?
In light of the current situation, my answer would be no. I recently spoke to a candidate who had applied for roles in the past with all of the big supermarkets, and I mean all of them. They had registered for job alerts and would apply to every alert they got.There was rarely a response, standard acknowledgement and nothing further. Then, Corona hit. Supermarkets went crazy. We need people, drop your CV’s in store, we will call you. Brilliant. The candidate did so, dropped CV’s into 6 local supermarkets on Saturday and got a call from one on Sunday. They went for an ‘interview’, it was just a document collection exercise and was invited to train that day. Brilliant, they got a job. The process was chaotic, but they needed people and the candidate needed a job. Everyone is a winner. And it’s not just the supermarkets who are struggling. Care companies need good staff more than ever, but for them, hiring and on-boarding is a much longer process.
Could We Have Responded Better?
The question is, could these supermarkets and other industries that are now thriving (desperate for staff) been better prepared for the current crisis? Let’s say, when the candidate had applied, their application was considered, documents collected and it was said as soon as we have a role we’ll be in touch. Putting them and others into this talent pool would have meant a simple call or email with the question are you available? I am not saying what these companies have been doing is wrong. Let’s be honest, who would’ve thought to prepare for a country lock-down? I just think there’s a lesson we could take from this whole situation. Don’t just talk about talent pools and being pro-active – utilise them.
Talent Pool Tips
Pool: The clue is in the name, put candidates into appropriate pools/buckets/jobs. When you are asking candidates to register for talent pools, have multiple pools they can apply to so they can be separated by the role they want and in specific locations. A good ATS will allow you to do this quickly and efficiently.
Tag/Label: Use a filing/labelling system to tag a skill against a candidate.
If you’ve interviewed the candidate and think they’d be great for a customer-facing role because they had excellent listening skills – label or tag that skill against them. Then when you search your talent pool for candidates in a particular area, with the listening tag attached they will be displayed. Again, your ATS should be able to help here.
Communicate: Keeping in constant communication with your talent pool is key. You’re effectively keeping them warm so as soon as you need them they are there. Send regular communication about new roles and general information about current events. An email to a supermarkets talent pool two weeks ago saying be on standby, we might need you with a click to confirm they are available would have saved a lot of time spent going through paper CV’s, not to mention the trees saved in printing them! Again, a good ATS will allow you to do this quickly and easily.
Search: If you have all of your candidates in the right pools, with their appropriate tags against them, you should easily be able to search for them by multiple parameters. Your ATS should then highlight the best-fit candidates.
Compliance: When a candidate applies to work for you, they should have to agree to your GDPR statement.
If you have a good ATS this should monitor the candidates GDPR compliance, send reminders and delete applicants if their details are no longer compliant with GDPR. Did the thousands who handed in their CV sign to agree to the GDPR statement? Is their data currently being held in breach of GDPR compliance?
ATS: It goes without saying, that all of this would be an administrative nightmare without some sort of system to manage things. I am sure any of the recruiters/admin staff in any of the big supermarkets will tell you they currently have paper coming from their ears and no idea where John’s National Insurance number is. Yes, you can use folders etc, but you cannot search them or keep candidate data compliant when you are dealing with 1000’s per day. Utilising an on-boarding area of an ATS to collate and store documents compliantly eliminates risk and allows recruiters to easily track and find data.
Talent pools are there to help you, there has never been a more apt time for them than now.
Let’s see what the future holds and if we can become more pro-active. COVID-19 has put immense pressure on us all. The positive is, there is a huge amount we can learn from this crisis.