talent pool

How to source a wider talent pool for your recruitment agency

Sarah Linney
7 Sep
Reading time: 6 minutes
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A wide and diverse talent pool has never been more crucial, as many job markets see critical candidate shortages due to the ripple effects of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Even when we have a strong job market, sourcing talent and building a reliable and extensive talent pool can be a significant challenge for recruitment agencies and recruiters. 

In today’s climate, failing to source a wider talent pool and nurturing the candidates within it is simply not a viable option for most recruitment agencies. 

If you’re struggling to expand your talent pool, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Read on to learn strategies to efficiently source skilled candidates for your talent pool.

Tap new lead pipelines for your talent pool

Whether leads barely trickle in or you just don’t get quality candidates, it’s time to consider new sources. That sounds easy enough, but it’s not always simple. Sourcing talent from new places could be the refresh you need and open new doors, so explore these options below: 

  • Job and career fairs are excellent places to tap new, qualified talent (many are now being hosted virtually post-COVID-19 so look up what options are available in your market). They can be especially effective if you can demonstrate your success at placing other talent or showcase some of your clients’ current needs.
  • Get social. While it seems like a corporate-centric route, social media sites have a lot to offer, especially LinkedIn. It’s a great way to spread the word about what you do and set your firm apart from other recruiting agencies. Even if you already have a LinkedIn profile, make sure you use it properly, we compiled an ultimate guide to making the most of your LinkedIn profile so check it out now. 
  • Explore underutilised or historically excluded groups like professionals with disabilities or professionals with transferable skills from other services or areas like first responders.

Diversifying your sources and candidates is crucial. Choosing one avenue for sourcing talent isn’t sufficient to produce real results. Find a balance of digital and face-to-face hiring practices to reach as many qualified candidates as possible. Furthermore, if a platform doesn’t lead to quality candidates, drop it and try something different.

Initiate efficient hiring practices

Have you ever reached out to an applicant only to find out they already signed on elsewhere? Somebody beat you to the punch, and that doesn’t feel great. Staying on top of applications may seem daunting, and it could be downright challenging if you’re short on time and juggling too many other tasks. 

Moving fast on applicants ensures you get the pick of the litter. In today’s economy, you can’t afford to delay and miss out on the ideal candidates for your recruitment agency. If you’re struggling to keep up with your applicant pool, you may need to take a look at your processes and build better efficiencies. 

  • How many steps do you currently use for sourcing talent? Reevaluate to see if you can cut one or two.
  • Where do you get leads? Maybe you have better outlets at your disposal.
  • How many people review an applicant before you make a call? Consider trimming the list or setting short deadlines for review. A 24-hour to 48-hour turnaround is generally ideal for each step.
  • Stay on top of your talent pool and applicants with recruitment software designed to streamline the process. The best systems have built-in templates to streamline your steps and opportunities for all recruiters to easily search their existing talent pool or database.
  • Interviewing candidates and deciphering how they could fit into a client’s role isn’t easy. Train your teams and provide ongoing coaching to ensure they’re selecting the right candidates from your talent pool and not wasting the time of candidates or clients. 

If you’re a solo or small agency, you’ve got your work cut out for yourself. It’s even more critical that you streamline the hiring process and automate as many steps as possible so that you can move faster through applications. This will allow you to feed quality candidates back into your talent pool as warm prospects if they don’t work out for current roles, freeing them up for upcoming opportunities.

Encourage professional development across your talent pool

It’s wonderful to find that unicorn candidate that possesses everything you want and need for a client. However, they’re not going to be knocking on your door. Instead of waiting by the phone for that unicorn applicant to call you, why not create your own?

Create incentives for your existing talent to expand their skill set. Establish a culture of learning within your agency so they can encourage candidates to develop new and existing skills. 

Not only does this approach enhance your current team, but it will also do wonders for your reputation. Who wouldn’t want to work with an agency that promotes ongoing learning and skill-building?

Host networking events

You can attend job and career fairs and post on social media, but there’s something to be said for hosting your own event. Networking events are excellent opportunities for sourcing talent, but they also offer so much more. 

Think about it. Setting up a networking event, like a happy hour, allows you to bring multiple parties together in one space (if COVID-19 restrictions allow in your area). There is far less pressure in a less formal setting, so you may pick up things you would otherwise miss.

  • Casual networking events can help you gauge those intangible qualities that you may not capture in a formal interview.
  • You can meet and greet more people in a short time.
  • Many people don’t arrive at these events alone, which means one potential candidate who sees your event could bring a few friends.
  • Assign some of your team to connect with stragglers and wallflowers floating along the outskirts. You never know where you might find a hidden gem!
  • Make check-in easy, but capture all necessary contact information.

As a bonus, you can potentially expand your list of clients and candidates at the same time. Don’t forget to follow up with everyone after the fact!

Final thoughts on expanding your talent pool

Sourcing talent isn’t easy, especially for smaller recruitment agencies who have fewer people hitting the phones. It’s important to streamline your processes, explore new leads and leverage as many tools as possible to make your job easier. Choosing a multifaceted approach is the best way for recruitment agencies to discover and retain talent.

To find out more about sourcing quality talent, download our free eBook: The ultimate guide to sourcing talent in 2021 and beyond…

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