Talent Pools vs Talent Pipelines (And Why You Need Both)

Author Mike Marschke Date Nov 03 2020

You have likely heard these terms, talent pool and talent pipeline, used often and sometimes even interchangeably. But are they really the same? Below, we define and highlight the differences between talent pools and talent pipelines, and why they are both critical to your recruiting strategy.

A talent pool is the broad group of potential candidates in your hiring platform. This may include passive candidates, people who attended a career fair, engaged via Text to Apply or chatbot, candidates who were ultimately not chosen to fill a role and other sourcing methods. The one thing they all have in common is that they expressed interest in your company at some point, so this database of talent can be crucial to hiring workers fast. A talent pool can be segmented into multiple pools based on experiences, location, or qualifications. These segments are critical to keeping candidates warm and engaged through nurture programs that send company updates and relevant job openings based on their grouping.

The talent pipeline, on the other hand, consists of candidates who are qualified and ready to be considered for a job. A pipeline is great for roles within a business that tend to have high turnover rates so they can be backfilled quickly, especially during peak seasons. The ideal talent pipeline is a combination of proactive, external recruiting and sourcing as well as engaged, nurtured candidates pulled in from the relevant talent pools. Once hires are made, it’s critical to move the candidates that were ultimately not chosen into the appropriate talent pool for continued engagement until the next opportunity arises.

As we all know (or learned in 2020), recruiting is complex, riddled with twists and turns that require planning, agility, and resourcefulness. By incorporating talent pools and pipelines to feed into each other during the fluctuations that come with high-volume hiring, talent acquisition teams can fill and backfill roles faster during busy seasons and use these tools to continue sourcing and keep candidates engaged when operations slow down. Your biggest competitor isn’t other employers, it’s time–make sure you’re set up for success today as well as in the future.


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About the Author

Director, Strategic Programs

Mike Marschke

Mike Marschke is Fountain's Director of Product who has a passion for innovation and optimizing talent acquisition strategies, enhancing candidate experiences, and driving organizational growth.