What Can You Learn From Talking To Your Talent Pool?

Building a talent pool, particularly during times where you’re unable to recruit, has countless advantages to your business. It can help you to find top talent, reduce recruitment costs and even speed up the time to hire when roles become available.

Building a talent pool of head-hunted candidates, referred candidates, direct applicants and individuals who have shown interest in working for you can change your recruitment process significantly. By having top candidates at your fingertips, you can improve the quality of hires, and find individuals that will help give your business a competitive edge with the skills and knowledge to help you succeed.

However, there is one advantage of talent pools that is often overlooked.

Without rushing to hire and fill vacancies, you can build a strong relationship with candidates. They can take the time to truly understand your business, what makes it unique and what makes you a great employer; building their dedication and loyalty to you before they’re even offered employment. But, by engaging in conversations with candidates, your recruiters or HR team will also learn a huge amount from them. The insider knowledge that your talent pool can provide could be the secret to business success in a post-coronavirus world and help you become an employer of choice for top talent.

So, what exactly can you learn from your talent pool, and how can you use it to your advantage?

Insider knowledge of competitors


It’s likely that your potential candidates are currently working for businesses similar to yours, and even for your biggest competitors. By engaging these individuals in conversation, you can gain an insight into competing businesses from a source that knows them inside and out. You can get an understanding of their business structure; how teams are managed and how many people make up the teams as well as the specific job roles and salaries that are on offer.

Understanding how the competition works will help you to plan for your own business. Whether you’re planning to expand, introduce new departments and services or looking for a more effective way of working, recognising how your competition works will give you an advantage. Knowing job titles and functionalities will help you to craft better job descriptions that can attract relevant talent. Your roles will be easy to search for and match candidate expectations creating a better candidate experience.

It can also help you to organise your workforce structurally and gain a better idea of when individuals are ready to progress. Plus, knowing the standard salary for your industry will help you to offer competitive compensation to the best talent.

Industry knowledge and feelings

The people you are thinking of hiring are, more often than not, the real experts in your industry. They understand the ins and outs of working in a business such as yours and can see the industry from a worker’s perspective. Rather than HR experts or seniors, these individuals carry out the work every day and know the industry like no one else. Use them to gain a better understanding of how workers truly feel, why they want to work in your industry and what they don’t like. Understanding the attitudes of workers will help you to refine your employee value proposition as you’ll appreciate any industry-specific needs and requirements. Using their insider knowledge, you may even be able to gain an understanding of any adjustments you need to make to keep up with the changing face of your market and any skills you should be looking out for when hiring or planning for expansion.

Culture and benefits 

Asking potential candidates about the culture of their current workplace will provide valuable insight that will help you to attract new candidates. You will never truly understand a company culture until you work there; after all, anyone can claim they’re relaxed and flexible. Knowing what candidates like about their current working environment and what they don’t will help you to create an appealing company culture yourself and enhance your employee value proposition.

 It could be that candidates are leaving their current job because of issues around culture such as; flexible working, they want a more social working environment or even have problems being micromanaged. If you can identify the points that are driving people to leave their jobs, as an employer, you can ensure that your company culture and working environment does the opposite. This will position you as a great place to work in contrast to others in your industry.

External perceptions of the business

One of the most valuable pieces of insight you can gain from your talent pool is how external sources see your business. If you can understand how your business is seen by potential candidates and even the general public, you’ll be able to identify necessary changes that will improve your reputation and help you to become an employer of choice.

If people have a negative perception of your business, you need to know why. This knowledge will help you to transform opinions through recruitment marketing campaigns and refining your employer brand. Similarly, if people have a positive view of the business, you can emphasise these qualities to reach a broader market through a tailored recruitment marketing campaign.

Having recruiters build a relationship with candidates and gain honest insights from them will encourage more reliable results than asking current employees who won’t want to offend. Honest opinions that truly reflect public perceptions of you will be the only way to improve your reputation as an employer.

What you can offer that other employers can’t

Talking to your talent pool will also help you to understand what’s unique about your business and what makes you a viable choice as an employer. You may offer certain benefits or flexible working options that you didn’t realise made you unique in your industry and an attractive proposition to potential candidates. Things that you may see as standard within your company could help to set you apart from the competition when it comes to attracting top talent, so don’t take your benefits and quirks for granted.

If you find a sweet spot and decide you can offer something unique to future employees, make sure you’re vocal about it. If you’re offering extended parental leave, wellbeing programmes or tuition reimbursement (to name but a few), letting potential candidates know could be the deciding factor in whether they apply for a job with you or not. Shouting about your unique offerings could determine whether you beat competitors in the war for the best talent.

Building a talent pool can have huge advantages when it comes to the recruitment process but also when it comes to building your employer brand and employee value proposition. Building and maintaining a relationship with candidates could help to inform your offerings to employees and company culture as well as provide valuable insight into your competing organisations.

If you need help building a talent pool for when you’re ready to recruit, our experts are on hand. Whether you’d like to raise brand awareness with a recruitment marketing campaign, initiate an employee referral programme or even directly source candidates, we have the experience to help build and nurture your talent pool for when you’re ready to hire.