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Recap - Next Gen Recruiting: Building a Talent Pool Inventory

On 2nd August 2018, we held our first HR Meetup "Next Gen Recruiting: How to build a Talent Pool". About 40 attendees (thank you for joining us!) made this first event a roaring success for us, a trend we hope to continue with our future events. The evening featured 3 esteemed speakers, Lasse Konrad from Härting Rechtsanwälte, Dr. Konstanze Reith, Head of Employer Branding at Axel Springer SE, and Oliver Zauritz, Talent Acquisition Partner at DKB Codefactory.

The speakers explored the topic of hiring, particularly through a Talent Pool from various different perspectives. As a lawyer, Lasse focused on data privacy and the recent changes in the GDPR regulations in Germany, while Konstanze and Oliver discussed the opportunities and challenges that come with with establishing a Talent Pool.

What is a Talent anyway?

Oliver kicked off his presentation by defining the meaning of "talent" in the context of Human Resources. Historically, the definition of talent has changed over the centuries-- it was used to describe a person with power and ability, which later became related to the skills one embodies. In our century a "talent" is much closer aligned to someone who is constantly adapting and developing a set of skills and traits that are not necessarily foreseeable by the talent itself, nor by other parties. Opportunities to learn, develop and change who and what we are, are plenty and we approach crossroads frequently. This leads to more individual opportunities, but also to uncertainty and is somewhat reflected in more frequent job changes and shorter tenures at companies. For recruiters the challenge then becomes to find talents that match a position in the moment, while anticipating future company needs. In the context of a talent pool this can be a blessing and a curse.

The "right" talents in a pool can reduce the time to hire, but how can you ensure that the talent is still right, say, one year later? Perhaps this is the reason why only 42% of the Top 1000 companies in Germany have implemented a Talent Pool as part of their recruiting strategy.

Identifying sources for Talent Pools is equally tricky. Social Media activities, career websites, active sourcing and marketing fairs or networking events, tend to be good quality sources but also end up needing a lot of resources. On the other hand, career or professional fairs and job-ads provide a large quantity of applicants of rather average quality but at a higher price tag. The middle ground for talent pool acquisition seem to be company alumni, referrals and "second best" applicants - those who you would have loved to hire, but another superstar came along and stole the show instead.

Data - Data - Data

As Lasse pointed out in his talk about data protection - active consent is needed in order to keep talent data. This begs the question: Why would a talent want to keep in touch, if he just got denied a job at your firm, or just left? Ask and find out! While a CV is a must-have, it doesn't provide enough information on a talent's motivation, needs or what they want their next job to be like, but this information eventually has more value than the CV itself. Oliver emphasized - a title doesn't explain much about the work the candidate does, because actual tasks and skill requirements may vary from organization to organization, or even department to department. The same "title" can mean a whole different set of required skills in another company.

No matter what you want to collect, eventually the candidates need to willfully provide you with the data to match them with opportunities within your firm.

...and Content

A requirement in this case, is obviously constant communication, but how do you communicate with the talents? How do you know what resonates, keeps them engaged and attracts them? Konstanze looked at the employer branding aspect of managing a Talent Pool and highlighted the importance of having engaging content. Talents in your pool function as gatekeepers, multipliers and influencers. You might not hire directly through the talent pool, but your network of advocates might just share a job post, because they think you are doing interesting things. A good communication strategy is needed and great content needs to be provided.

Axel Springer is a large media house, so the skills are available in-house, and media and its distribution comes naturally to the company. Recruitment processes are standardized and optimized, which makes a talent pool is easier (albeit, still difficult) to establish. Smaller companies might find it harder to establish the processes and guidelines to constantly create engaging content, in addition to having the financial capacity and human resources to distribute their content to an audience that is receptive to their messages.

At Wantedly, Inc we offer you a platform to showcase your company, teams and culture(s), along with available positions. We also ensure that we reach our target audience while we assist you in creating stories, videos or other content that communicate a message authentic to your company, as seen in the Axel Springer video above.

It is established that your talent pool needs frequent content, but how do you provide it? For small companies a useful solution might be to let everyone just share their thoughts. Not only necessarily always related to work, but also about the coffee they like, the things they do to relax, a cool app or a snippet of code they found to be helpful. While not directly related to their work, communicating this information to alumni, talents or even co-workers might spark discussions and increase engagement. Studies have also shown that engaging employees in the content creation process creates a greater sense of belonging and increases tenure.

Talent Pool and Data Protection

If you can solve the problem of "why do I join a talent pool?" you have may have solved the greatest challenge that comes with the GDPR regulations - consent. The GDPR requires companies to collect consent from users for any kind of private data. Once acquired, companies can do with the data whatever they have stated in their terms unless, of course, it is illegal.

Almost all data in the application process can be considered private and should be transfered encrypted, deletable by applicant request, or automatically deleted after a certain amount of time as it can be expected that the purpose expired. Purpose limitation is one of the largest challenges when setting up a Talent Pool to recruit. The current consensus (or lack thereof), based on previous German laws, is that companies can keep the data for upto 12-24 months, before having to ask for consent again. This is the case if the talent is purely reactive. Once the talent has applied within that timeframe, consent has been obtained again. Should the candidate decide to ask to be deleted and withdraws thereby consent, the company has to do so, unless legal reasons (pending trial for example) require it to keep the data until - again - the purpose has been met.

The fact that the period of 12-24 months is too short, is problematic to the concept of a talent pool. It is unlikely that a former employee or second best hire who just got a job elsewhere, is going to join a job opening within 12 months. The exceptions to the data retention rule are social networks or providers like Wantedly. A user that has signed up for a career plattform can be expected to be interested in career advice, information about jobs and company news. As a results building a talent pool on top of a platform like Wantedly might just be a solution for companies looking to build a talent pool.

Is a Talent Pool for you?

As always, it depends. Axel Springer is a well-established company, with sophisticated processes and plenty of tools and a employer branding department - but even here the question is, how to engage talents, what content resonates and how to ensure profiles are updated. Smaller companies might have less of an issue with the complexity of the organization, but may however still lack the ability of content creation. And of course, GDPR requirements are always looming over any initiative. Overall, the uncertainty of whether a talent pool development will yield return is quite high.

As a third party provider, we try to solve the legal issues, help to streamline the content creation, and distribution processes. Wantedly will release the very feature that brought you to this article in September. It allows you and your colleagues - to create content for and with your company, track the engagement you create and link this directly to job posts - thus creating the metrics you need in order to measure whether the content is relevant to talents you want to attract and keep in touch with. We will follow this up with more product releases over the year and provide you with a powerful employer branding and recruiting solutions with which you can run a talent pool, job board, and execute several parts of your active sourcing activities.

If you wish to be one of early bird users, shoot us an email - we are happy to show you how it all works!

Here are the links to the presentations and pictures.

Presentation Konstanze Reith & Oliver Zauritz on Talent Pool and Employer Branding

Presentation Lasse Konrad on Talent Pool and Data Privacy

Event Pictures (more to come) by Kanlayanee (Mindy) Vichaidit


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