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Enough of this global talent pool talk already!


Not a single day passes by of late without hearing the dreaded words ‘global talent pool’, but what does that phrase actually mean in practice, if anything at all?

Consider a typical recruiting scenario. You’re looking for a mid-career engineer for a specific location. There is no relocation package on offer so straight away it would be fair to assume that 99 times out of a hundred your likely candidate is going to come from a 30 or 40 mile radius of wherever the business is situated. Not from Bolivia, or Singapore, or Outer Mongolia, but from the same state/county that the business has offices in. It would also be safe to assume that within that radius, which has straightaway made the vast majority of your ‘talent pool’ irrelevant, only a percentage of geographically qualified Engineers would be active on social networks. And, even if they were, would they be going there to reveal everything about their career/wanting to wax lyrical about engineering all day?

No. They are far more likely to be connecting with family and friends and talking about fishing trips or what they saw on tv last night or posting up a video about a cat singing to the national anthem. So why oh why do people keep going on about having a global talent pool? Boasting about having 400 million people in your pool is of no tangible benefit to the business in one location where 399,999,995 people can’t possibly commute to or are unqualified for. And what about the remaining five? Sure they may live in the immediate area, but what are the chances they will have the profile, skills and experience you are looking for? The percentages, given social network usage as a total of the population is relatively small, are tiny, thus the likelihood remote.

I’m sorry, but I remain sceptical about how these talent pools (there it goes again) can be anything more than a mish mash of people from all walks of life, of all ages, all of who use social networks for different reasons, with recruitment being probably low on the list of those reasons. And even if you do by chance find one or two people who roughly meet your criteria, what about the ones you’re missing out on? The majority of career minded people who don’t spend their days waffling on Facebook or wherever?

Recruitment to me is about targetting. It’s about going where the biggest numbers of the type of person you’re after inhabit. There may well be a top notch Engineer on a social network who lives in Korea but that’s no good to you if you’re in Idaho, hence the word ‘global’ is redundant. It’s actually a small pool of local social network users who may possibly have what you’re looking for, but likely won’t.

Please someone tell me I am not going mad. The numbers don’t add up once the wow factor wears off and you start thinking about how many of these million upon million of people out there are actually relevant to you, the recruiter, and what numbers social networks actually reach in terms of the percentage of all engineers in a certain location with XYZ skills when compared to a job board.

In short, it just doesn’t add up to me, but I am prepared to be enlightened.

About the Author

r9Alasdair Muray | Freelance Writer |

Freelance copywriter Alasdair Murray has been involved in recruitment advertising/marketing for over 20 years. Initially a media sales executive with the national and regional press, he then worked at various advertising agencies as an account handler where he looked after a wide range of commercial and not for profit sector recruitment accounts, reaching Account Director level. He set up his own copywriting business in 2001 and nowadays writes ads, press releases, web content, articles, mailers etc. for a variety of direct clients and recruiters, as well as organisations outside of the recruitment sphere.