Creating an Effective Candidate Pool


Your company needs to hire. Bill in purchasing knows someone who is looking. Not exactly the right fit, but Bill can vouch for him, after all, they have “ hung out” several times. After a cursory interview Bill’s friend is hired.

Hopefully you have never worked for a company where you experienced this scenario.

Hiring from a narrow candidate pool is extremely risky. Occasionally it will work; however, more times than not, this leads to an expensive mishire.

Please understand, there is nothing wrong with the inclusion of Bill’s friend in the interview process. The problem is in the single data point. In an effectively managed recruiting plan, a multi-person candidate pool is needed for the sake of comparison.

Finding multiple candidates is especially hard in a market like the one we have today. When unemployment is low, recruiting is difficult. But in order to hire exceptional people and stay competitive, a strong organization must work to create an effective candidate pool.

Strategies for Building a Talent Pool

When starting a pool, it is essential for the hiring team to cast as wide a net as possible. Once you have a large enough group of potential candidates, the organization should strategically and ethically funnel through the candidates based on technical skills and competencies. The ideal is to arrive at 3 candidates, all equally qualified for the role at roughly the same salary, but with different strengths and weaknesses.

Creating an Effective Candidate Pool

It takes massive time, energy and resources to effectively bring together a pool of candidates. However, the pay-off is immense, as it allows the hiring team to compare apples to apples. Further, it raises the odds that the new hire will be successful.

To create a strong candidate pool, the hiring team must be resourceful. Tools can include job boards, a strong referral program, social-media, and networking events. Direct recruiting is also an excellent way to increase a candidate pool. At the risk of sounding self-serving, a good recruiting firm can bring tremendous value here.

So, in conclusion, creating a candidate pool is essential in managing a strategic recruiting plan. By filtering through a group of candidates, your goal is to find three strong finalists – matching corporate culture, technical skills and salary.

Who knows, perhaps Bill’s friend is the perfect candidate? By strategically building an effective candidate pool, you will be sure of your decision.


Dan Erling -- author of
MATCH – A Systematic, Sane Process for Hiring the Right Person Every Time, has spent 20 years analyzing thousands of hires to create a best practices approach to hiring. The MATCH process has 90% hiring success rate. Today’s hiring market demands the rigor and thought contained in this process focused approach to hiring and retention.

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