While those of you in the economic development field may often feel like your hands are tied when it comes to the politics dominating economic development policy, there are areas where you can take more control. One of the most important is getting the availability of skilled employees in sync with the increased needs of the business community. That’s where online talent pools come in.
Talent pools (also called talent networks) are similar to what we used to call the talent pipeline or bench. Only now, there are electronic options for collecting and maintaining endless amounts of data. Everything from candidates’ specific interests, skills sets and projects they’ve worked on to businesses’ detailed job placement needs and the types of individuals who fit best with their particular corporate cultures. Talent pools are not just a list of names and resumes. They are powerful communities that bring supply and demand together.
Economic developers who take the steps to create searchable workforce talent pools will free up time often spent on endless staffing issues and can focus instead on true economic development functions. Here are five benefits economic developers can gain from establishing online talent pools.
1. Get your message heard
When you develop an online talent pool, you are also creating a space where you can share your vision and ideals. You can distribute specific content through videos, webinars and meet-ups to increase the public’s knowledge of the importance of economic development and encourage like-minded people to connect and consider how they might fit into the economic development workforce. Regardless of your state, country or continent, your reach for new talent no longer has the limits of location. As people engage with you, you have the opportunity to show why your region is one of the top destinations for talented professionals.
2. Develop and strengthen your brand
Economic development teams and community businesses can work together to strengthen their brands through talent pools. Talent pools allow you to raise your profile among target audiences, increase recognition and unify the community behind consistent messages. This gives you a greater ability to engage candidates through branding and other more meaningful ways. You can also create unique communities for specific groups and use these to attract talent to cities and states, resulting in a more highly skilled workforce and stronger business and economic growth.
3. Attract (and retain) top talent
Talent pools are also a boon for potential job candidates. They will have direct access to a broad range of opportunities and can develop real relationships with companies over time. When talent pools are done right, candidates will get more feedback about the result of their expressed interest rather than just being a resume in a waste basket. Candidates can also have a living profile with things like video and a portfolio. And, they can remain in a talent community after being on-boarded and off-boarded. A talent pool provides a virtual location for past, current and potential candidates and employers to discuss opportunities, goals and interests, as well as to ask questions and get information about career-related and other topics. When you create a comfortable, informative and interesting environment for people, they will continue to come back as well as share that experience with friends and colleagues.
4. Attract new businesses
By demonstrating to businesses how you can partner with them to promote their brand, spread their message and enhance their workforce, you will add to the benefits of doing business in your region. This partnership could include online visibility into and analysis of the talent in the talent pools. It would be very inviting for new businesses to know that they can be part of an established workforce recruiting solution that provides a place for them to search, engage with, screen and video interview candidates. Talent pools are also a great source of information about the current needs and mindsets of a wide variety of groups and individuals.
5. Fill job vacancies much faster
As you know, it sometimes takes many months of recruiting to fill a single vacancy. When you’ve got a pipeline of skilled workers already prepared, however, those months will be whittled down substantially. With talent pools, you can create communities and categorize candidates according to experience, skills, level of capability, behavioral qualities, and specific types of workers that fit your needs, while also storing all of the applicant and candidate information (like profiles, resumes and portfolios) you amass over time. As you continue to grow, and keep in touch with, your talent pool, you will have many people to reach out to when new positions open up. A talent pool gives you access to a broader range of high-quality candidates and a large variety of methods for communicating, screening, interviewing, assessing and hiring candidates in a greatly reduced cycle time.