Find out how you can better develop inner resources — and be ready to tap external talent when you need it

Approximately one-half of business leaders who responded to a recent global survey on succession planning admitted that their organizations did not have a solid pipeline of candidates who would be considered “ready now” to assume critical leadership roles.

Only 32 percent said their organizations were doing a good job in cultivating leaders.

Creating a robust external talent pool can help you prepare to quickly hire new employees to fill key positions. Similarly, a strong internal talent pool can help strengthen employee retention and reduce training and acclimation time once a position opens up.

For overloaded HR departments, though, determining where to start can be a struggle.

If your company’s succession plan is missing a strong external or internal talent component — and you’re looking for effective, fast ways to remedy the situation — the following tips can help you institute and oversee a successful internal and external talent pool program.

Maximizing potential internal candidates

Establish internal talent pools

Not only will you save the expense and often damaging delays that can occur when you need to suddenly search for candidates, an internal talent pool may help you find a more permanent staffing choice. Outside hires, according to Recruiter, are reportedly 61 percent more likely to be let go from a new job than an internal candidate, who brings experience and training to the role.

Strengthen candidate skill sets from within

Develop future company leaders — while, at the same time, expressing that you feel the employee is valuable and helping to boost employee satisfaction and retention rates — by investing in quality training for current employees who may be candidates for higher positions in the future. InformationWeek suggests polling employees at various times to find out what topics they’d like further education in; subsequent training opportunities can also be billed as employee rewards for strong service.

Make changes if your current workforce won’t adequately support your future goals

Your talent pipelines should be based on your business strategy—whether that involves focusing on sales, manufacturing or other elements or other elements that will help you grow your business. That type of structure will help you more accurately identify key roles you may need to eventually fill—and the emerging internal talent who will be able to fill them. If your current employee base lacks strong candidates for future leadership roles, it may be time to reconsider your current hiring methods.

Solve Your Most Critical Internal and External Talent Pool Issues - Talent IntelligenceHandling external talent

Track down rising stars

Industry magazines and websites can help you find players who are “creating a stir within your sector,” according to, which also suggests using conferences, professional associations and other industry events as recruiting opportunities to find external talent hires who can blossom within your organization.

Consider previous applicants

Recruiter recommends circling back to re-examine qualified applicants who may not have made it past the last interview round as potential external talent pool options. Their experience may be better suited for another position; or they may have gained additional skills since you last spoke.

And take copious notes during future interviews

If you haven’t been faithfully cataloging your conversations with nearly hired candidates, it’s time to start. A recent Fast Company article suggested employers ask candidates why they’re interested in talking with a recruiter or company representative and what they like best about their job to gauge their interest in an open position. An expanded line of questioning can also help you estimate their interest — and relevance — for future openings, if you ask the right questions and record details from each interview.

Many organizations employ a blend of both internal and external talent pool-building philosophies to prepare for the future. Some may focus on one more than the other, depending on their current staffing situation and anticipated requirements.

External and internal talent pool resources may change over time, in the same way an organization’s staffing forecast may change. To ensure they’ve prepared as much as possible to fill key future openings, companies should institute a system that helps them constantly review and assess their projected needs.

A thorough, carefully enacted talent pool review procedure may not always ensure a company will have the ideal candidate in mind — however, chances are, it can help the organization react much faster when a position is unexpectedly vacated. Consider using these three tips to create a stronger talent pipelining program.