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Public Sector Talent Pooling

The public sector is in a war for talent.

Public sector departments and agencies, whether it be federal, state or local council, are increasingly coming up against unique problems when hiring. We all know that the private sector is working hard on brand appeal, can typically offer more in wages and employment packages and in the main offer a greater degree of flexibility. Not forgetting the baby boomers are nearing retirement and there are a lot of big boots to fill.

And remember, today’s candidates are digitally savvy, looking for a candidate experience in line with the buying and social media experiences they experience every day and have little, if no, patience for a recruitment process of yesteryear.

But the public sector CAN compete. AND it’s not expensive, a big cultural shift or requires much training.

The truth be told terms like ‘citizen-centric services’ and ‘customer first innovation’ are all the buzz, but what about hiring the right people, at the right time, with the right skills to enable all this?

Let’s go downstream first.

Let’s talk talent pooling

Talent pooling refers to a place or database where recruiters and HR Managers keep all of their top job candidates. According to TalentLyft:

A talent pool is a database of candidates profiles interested in working for your company. It is a group of suitable candidates who have expressed interest in you as their employer. Talent pools consist of candidates that have applied for your open job positions, but also sourced, referred candidates, silver medallists and other candidates that have willingly joined your talent network (for example, in an inbound way). Recruiters and HR Managers use talent pools as a reserve of interesting talent they can turn to when they need to fill a certain position.

Here in sunny Sydney, NSW Government has done a great job in using static recruitment pools (also known as a talent pool), which is a group of candidates who have undergone a rigorous assessment process and have satisfied the pre-established standards for a role or type of role. But with thousands of jobs per annum to recruit, a lot of roles need to be hired in the old reactive way.

Live talent pools exist where candidates’ profiles are up-to-date with their skills, availability and experience. This significantly improves the productivity of internal public sector recruiting teams, reduces the need for manual administration and reduces the need to sift through the many many (many!) CV’s received via job boards.

Talent pooling means a better candidate experience with minimized applicant rejection – key in taking on the private sector

The public sector can now move to put the candidate experience at the heart of the recruitment process, humanizing what can be a stressful time for candidates. How so? Well, it eliminates the need for rejection.

Putting candidates who fit a specific role type that may become vacant in the future, into a talent pool, rather than rejecting them on a specific job ad, is an empowering experience for candidates.

Not only does a positive candidate experience build authentic, long-lasting relationships between employer and employee, but it also does wonders for your organization’s reputation. 39% of job seekers said they would stop using a company’s product or service after a bad candidate experience, not an option for government… therefore they build a bad perception which impacts their engagement with you for citizen service delivery.

Talent pooling encourages diversity and increases inclusion

Here in Australia, there is still a large employment gap between Indigenous and other Australians. All levels of Australian Government are signed up to improve employment figures within the public sector and increase indigenous employment. But it’s not an easy challenge to overcome. I would make the case that talent pooling via talent community platforms encourages diversity across the workforce with the proven ability to attract anyone regardless of gender, race, and other diversity groups. Because talent pooling disrupts the traditional method of applying for a specific role with specific criteria, it encourages a larger proportion of diverse candidates to apply, eliminating their fear of not matching all the job requirements.

Time to hire will be reduced – better spending of citizen money

In the last seven years, time to hire new staff has more than doubled from 28 days to 68 days. Talent pooling candidates will allow you to not only reduce the number of applicants rejected but also reduce the time to hire with fewer applicants to review and engage with.

Reduces the cost of hire – better spending of citizen money, the sequel

Proactive hiring reduces the cost of hire by giving you direct access to a talent community and talent pool of willing and interested candidates, instead of having to wait for applicants to respond to a job application. But talking specifics I have reviewed CEB now Gartner, AHRI and HBR research and found some interesting statistics;

  • Job boards: $300 – Cost to advertise the role

Cost per hire:

  • $5,700 In recruitment team’s time
  • $34,000 in company productivity loss
  • 48 per hire: People rejected from company

As a public servant though you won’t be first, so fear not. Over in Western Australia, the WA Country Health Service is already on the journey. You can learn more from the WA Government website here.

Please do comment, share or advocate as you see appropriate. In the public sector we’re still recruiting for yesterday’s world. But this can change, and quickly.



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