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Recruitment and Selection Guide

Talent pools

While hiring managers are accustomed to advertising an individual vacancy, it may be more beneficial to choose a candidate from a talent pool. Establishing department-wide or sector-wide talent pools for common role types with generic transferable capabilities will improve the speed of appointment to vacancies and mobility arrangements within departments or agencies and across the sector. Specialist roles with specific technical knowledge and capabilities may still require individual advertising or alternatively additional assessment against those specific capabilities.

A talent pool is a group of suitable candidates (whether or not existing Public Service employees) who have been assessed against capabilities at certain levels. Agencies can search the talent pool for candidates who have the required set of capabilities at the required level for a particular role.

Using a talent pool enables you to source a candidate without advertising every time a vacancy occurs. You can either directly appoint from the pool without further assessment (for example, to fill a shorter term vacancy), or conduct a capability-based behavioural interview with one or more candidates from the pool to ensure a fit with organisational, team and role requirements (and/or additional assessment for agency, role specific or specialist requirements – this is recommended for longer term or ongoing vacancy). This considerably reduces the time and costs associated with advertising.

A talent pool can be established for a specific period of time but a person cannot be in a pool for longer than 12 months following the completion of the comparative assessment that was the basis for their inclusion in the pool. Talent pools will be created as a result of recruitment action at public service, department or agency level.

You don’t have to rely only on pools established across the NSW Public Service. Your agency or a group of agencies across government with common interests can also create pools. Both skills shortages and frequently recruited roles can be better managed by using talent pools. If it is difficult to find accountants or if you often need project officers, then you can create a pool and select from that pool as needed.

However, if you want to access an existing talent pool you should seek your human resources representative’s assistance.