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Maximise Talent Pool ROI with Effective CRM Strategy

In the ever-evolving world of human resources, attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent remains a constant essential for organisational success. With 77% of employers globally reporting difficulty attracting the talent they need, leading companies are going to great lengths to invest in new technologies (such as Candidate Relationship Management software) and re-orient their recruiting practices from reactive to proactive. 

Early attempts at this new proactive recruitment strategy put emphasis on the creation of Talent Pools or ‘evergreen requisitions’. Serving as reservoirs to organise and find candidates, the goal was to have a ready made shortlist when a position was created, thereby reducing time to hire. 

Today, we know that merely creating Talent Pools isn't sufficient. To truly maximise the potential of Talent Pools, and put yourself in the top 15% of hiring companies, organisations need to implement effective CRM strategies

What is CRM?

When we talk about CRM, it's essential to break down its components so you can best understand what it actually means.

  • "Candidate" refers to the target, not customers like in Sales CRM. Candidates are sourced directly from across the web or allowed to join a Talent Community.

  • "Relationship" emphasises the need to engage with candidates actively. Without a deliberate strategy to learn about candidates' career goals, aspirations, and readiness to discuss opportunities, CRM falls short. 

  • "Management" involves systems or processes to attract, engage, and personalise interactions at scale.

Where did it come from?

In the early days of talent technology, companies started to adopt ATS’s (Applicant Tracking System) to manage their recruitment digitally, improving process consistency and visibility compared to managing paper resumes in your in-tray or a spreadsheet. Around 2005, in order to address the shortcomings of these tracking systems, CRMs were born as a kind of hybrid recruitment and engagement system, leveraging the learnings of marketing-based CRM tools such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud. 

The cool kids jumped on board and CRMs became a ‘must have’ part of the Tech Stack. A gold rush followed and by 2015 just about every ATS had rolled out their own CRM module. Some of the original CRMs worked backwards developing their own ATS capabilities to become an all-in-one solution. Other CRMs remained as a stand-alone solution, instead opting to focus on what made them best of breed and bolting-in to an existing ATS.

There is a considerable list of pros and cons for both all-in-one and stand-alone solutions that we would need to cover in a future post to do justice.

Today around 75% of large enterprise organisations own a CRM (stand-alone or all-in-one) but just 25% are satisfied with their current CRM provider - a statistic which unfortunately does not surprise us. We’ve long been bearish in our predictions for CRMs to land a knockout punch, showing mass market adoption and ROI. 

Talent Pool and CRM best practice

Here are our 7 top tips for getting started with Talent Pooling and CRM.

1.Get the right tools

Many recruiting tech platforms claim to offer CRM capability. From our years of experience reviewing and implementing CRM we know some of those claims to be a stretch. So what should you look for in a CRM platform? The answer of course will vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve, your maturity and budget. Stock capabilities to look for would include;

  • External sourcing capability or extensive integration catalogue

  • Highly configurable data capture for profile building

  • Powerful search and database segmentation

  • AI and workflow automation

  • Supports complex drip campaigns (Email, SMS, WhatsApp)

  • Self service, high brand fidelity landing page creation

  • Reporting & Analytics

Pro tips:

  • Buying a CRM requires a significant financial investment. Don’t get it wrong - contact Talent Tech Solutions. We’ll simplify and de-risk the buying and implementing process. 

  • Read our blog “Re/designing your Talent Tech Stack” for more top tips

2.CRM Strategy

‘Doing’ CRM isn't about buying software; it's about creating a comprehensive strategy designed to build and maintain authentic relationships with candidates at scale. It serves as a vehicle to translate your Employer Brand/EVP into actionable engagement.


A talent pool needs a dedicated owner, typically a recruiter or sourcer, who is responsible for maintaining its quality and engagement levels. Without an owner, Talent Pools can become stagnant, leading to candidate black holes where individuals remain unengaged and unresponsive.

Pro tip: 

  • A dedicated sourcer may be able to source for and curate authentic relationships with talent in around 10 Talent Pools at a time. An end-to-end recruiter who is part time on sourcing and CRM is likely able to handle 2-3 Talent Pools. 

4.Strategic selection

It's essential to prioritise which roles to include in Talent Pools due to resource limitations. Start with fewer than 10 critical positions that are frequently hired for, challenging to fill, or crucial for business continuity.

Pro tip: 

  • Avoid the common mistake of thinking you can successfully build engaged and qualified Talent Pools for every job in the organisation. Start small with a small selection of Talent Pools. Use these to refine your strategy then scale up. 


Engaging with candidates is vital for the success of Talent Pools. If candidates show no interest or responsiveness to your attempts to introduce positions or don’t respond to your outreach  they should be exited from the pool to maintain its relevance and quality.

Pro tips:

  • Over time build a profile on your Talent to understand their individual preferences for frequency of contact, engagement channel (email, SMS, phone call, meeting etc), interests (social and professional) and motivations. 

  • Use this intelligence to create a sequence of personalised and timely contacts. 

  • Engagement is two-way. Give the candidate the ability to contact you to share updates or schedule a catch up.

  • Leverage AI and automation where possible to help with the heavy lifting.


Regardless if your methodology is to source and screen candidates before adding them to a Talent Pool, or you simply allow candidates to join a Talent Pool via sign up page, you need to ensure your Talent Pools are populated with quality candidates. 

Pro tips: 

  • The Talent Pool ‘owner’ is responsible (and should be measured) on the % of Talent Pooled candidates who have been proactively qualified as “suitable”. 

  • Screening or qualification meetings are also a great way to kick start the relationship and build out the candidate profile. 

7.Bench Strength

Set a target bench strength for each talent pool, representing the number of qualified and engaged candidates. When the actual number drops below this threshold, it's a signal to proactively source and replenish the pool.

Pro tip:

  • For a good Bench Strength calculation, estimate the number of hires you will need from a Talent Pool per year (i.e.: I need 10 hires), then calculate your conversion ratios to understand how many candidates need to be shortlisted to generate 1 hire (i.e.: 8 shortlist candidates = 1 hire). Finally, multiply the candidate conversion ratio by estimated hires (10 x 8 = 80). Thus, 80 candidates is your required Bench Strength for this particular talent pool. 


Maximising Talent Pools through effective CRM strategy is essential for modern HR professionals striving to attract and retain top talent. By assigning ownership, prioritising roles, and implementing robust CRM tools, organisations can build and maintain high-quality Talent Pools that serve as valuable resources for future hiring needs. At Talent Tech Solutions, we're committed to supporting HR professionals in their talent acquisition journey by providing innovative solutions and expert guidance. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you maximise the potential of your Talent Pools and achieve your recruitment goals.

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