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7 Steps to Build a Candidate Pool For Successful Hiring

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

The 7 steps to building a strong candidate pool
The 7 steps to building a strong candidate pool

As a recruiter, one of the worst nightmares is receiving an inbox flooded with hundreds of applications for a single vacancy while being pressed for time. However, it is possible to prevent this scenario from occurring by valuing candidate pools at every stage of the hiring process. Before delving into this strategy, it's essential to understand the different job pool definitions.

Recruitment pool definitions

As a recruiter, it's crucial to maintain three main hiring pools. However, without an applicant tracking system, it becomes almost impossible to keep track of them. With an Applicant Tracking System, you can guarantee access to the cream of the crop when it comes to potential candidates for any new job openings.

1. Applicant Pool

The first recruitment pool is an applicant pool, which refers to the total number of applicants you receive for each job post. Every application must be screened to assess suitability, then either declined or moved to a short-list. If the application volume is high, creating a long list for reevaluation may be necessary to come up with a shortlist.

2. Candidate Pool

A candidate pool is an additional resource for recruitment that includes a list of applicants who satisfy the job criteria and are added to the shortlist. Their details are stored in your ATS, and they are invited for a phone screening interview. If promising candidates are not selected for a particular position, they are moved to a talent pool for potential opportunities in the future.

3. Talent Pool

A talent pool refers to a collection of candidates possessing the skills and expertise your company typically requires but currently lacks suitable openings. To maintain candidate interest in your organization, engaging actively with individuals in the talent pool is crucial. Additionally, long-term members of this pool could potentially serve as a valuable source of referrals for future positions. As a recruiter, it's essential to recognize the potential benefits of maintaining a robust talent pool.

The pool of candidates = Funnel

Viewing your pool of applicants as a funnel is essential to optimize your recruitment efforts. Each applicant must be evaluated and moved through the system properly to avoid losing potential talent. Don’t let the people you want to attract fall through the cracks and disappear forever. Just because they don’t fit the current role doesn’t mean they won’t be perfect for another.

By working your pool of candidates well, you’ll have quick access to people who are already familiar with your employer brand and interested in working for your organization. This reduces the risk of hiring and can lower your cost per hire. Remember to maintain relationships with past candidates, even if they weren’t a good fit for a previous role. They could be a great fit for future positions or provide valuable referrals.

Here are seven ways to build and maintain your talent pool:

1. Craft quality job posts:

Write job advertisements that will attract suitable candidates. It would be best to have a clear and detailed job description, especially once the interview begins. But to attract qualified candidates, your advertising copy must also be on point. Vague wording and brief job requirements may lead to a large applicant pool for you to screen through. While many applicants may not meet the specific job criteria, it's crucial not to disregard any application. To identify the top candidates, reviewing every submission thoroughly is essential.

You have to read every application to find the best candidates. Ensure to include information about your company culture, list non-negotiable criteria, and highlight the benefits of working for your company in the job post.

Are you looking to attract the best talent for your job openings? Make your job posts stand out by tailoring them to the specific role you're looking to fill. With augmented writing technology, you can ensure that every job post is crafted precisely, helping capture suitable candidates' attention. Don't settle for subpar applicants - let augmented writing technology help you find the perfect fit for your team!

2. Streamline the application process

Even if your job ad is well-written and attracts suitable candidates, if the application process is complicated or time-consuming, potential applicants may abandon the process altogether. In today's fast-paced world, people expect quick and easy results. Therefore, you should regularly review and streamline your application process to make it user-friendly. Have a colleague apply for your jobs and provide feedback on any areas that need improvement.

3. Add screening questions

Including screening questions in your job application process can help you quickly weed out candidates who don't meet your requirements. When crafting your screening questions, be sure to consider the specific skills and experience that are essential for the job. This will help you ensure that you're only considering genuinely qualified candidates for the position.

You can also take advantage of online assessments offered by job portals like Indeed. These assessments can help This approach can save you time and effort in the grand scheme and narrows your candidate pool by evaluating candidates' skills and knowledge in specific areas.

By including screening questions and assessments in your application process, you'll have a smaller, more qualified pool of applicants to review. In the grand scheme, this approach can save you time and effort, as you won't need to spend much time sifting through unqualified candidates.

4. Acknowledge every application

To ensure that candidates stay engaged and well-informed throughout the application process, you must acknowledge each application you receive. A practical approach is leveraging ATS to send an automated email response to every applicant, expressing appreciation for their submission and outlining the next steps. By implementing this strategy, candidates can rest assured that their application has been received and clearly understand what to expect moving forward. Additionally, integrating a chatbot with your ATS can help address frequently asked questions and save time while keeping applicants actively engaged.

5. Stay in touch during the interview process

Maintain communication during the interview process to keep candidates engaged. Don't let the process drag on without updates, as candidates may lose interest or accept another offer. For instance, if you have an interview scheduled in two weeks, don't wait until then to contact the candidate. Regular updates show the candidate that you're interested in meeting them and save you time in the long run.

6. Delete/Remove the job post

Removing a job post once you have a good shortlist is a good practice. People apply in the hope of being selected for an interview, and if you're in the final stages of negotiations with a candidate, it's unlikely that you'll interview new applicants. Keeping a job post live longer than necessary could damage your employer brand. However, if you have not found the right candidate, keep the job post live and continue your search until you've found the best person.

7. Emphasize candidate experience

Always prioritize the candidate experience! While you may have an immediate need to fill a job, building a talent pool requires a long-term perspective. Even if you're looking to make a perfect hire right now, there will be more roles to fill in the future. Many of today's applicants could be tomorrow's ideal employees but in different positions. Remember that the candidate experience starts long before you post a job vacancy.

Prioritizing the candidate experience is crucial for building and maintaining a strong talent pool. It demonstrates that you value and care about potential employees, which can leave a positive impression and attract quality candidates. Acknowledging every application, providing timely updates, and offering a smooth application process are all ways to show that you care. When candidates feel valued, they are more likely to view your organization as an employer of choice, which can improve your employer brand and attract more quality candidates. On the other hand, if candidates feel ignored or mistreated, it can lead to negative reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, which can damage your reputation and make it harder to attract top talent.


HireTalent is a free applicant tracking system (ATS) that can help businesses create an optimized candidate pool for their hiring needs. With its user-friendly interface, HireTalent allows employers to manage applications and screen candidates easily.

One of the critical features of HireTalent is its ability to automatically screen resumes and applications using AI-powered algorithms. This can help employers quickly identify the most qualified candidates for a given role, saving time and streamlining the hiring process.

In addition, HireTalent also offers tools for creating customized interview workflows, scheduling interviews, and communicating with candidates. These features are designed to help businesses build a strong candidate pool and make the hiring process more efficient and effective.


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