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Public Service Commission

Using an agency talent pool

Agency talent pools give you immediate access to candidates who have been through a comparative assessment process. We encourage you to use talent pools as an early approach to filling roles. This helps you cut down on time and cost to hire and to avoid putting candidates through unnecessary processes.

Advertising requirements

You do not need to advertise before filling a role from a talent pool. Your HR/recruitment team can confirm that the recruitment process used to set up the talent pool involved external advertising.

Assessment requirements

As candidates have generally been through comparative assessment, there is no need to complete further assessments. We suggest doing an informal interview with candidates. This does not require a formal panel; it can be as simple as an informal discussion between the manager and candidate to determine their suitability and fit for the role being filled.

If the requirements for the role are slightly different to those in the role description used to set up the talent pool, consider assessing focus capabilities, knowledge and experience that have not already been assessed.

Searching for candidates

Agencies can decide whether to review all candidates in a talent pool or make a direct approach to one or more candidates before making an offer. Where you have a large pool of candidates we recommend developing a shortlist of people who you determine are best suited to the role and the needs of your agency. When reviewing candidate information, consider the factors that distinguish this role from other roles. Also consider ways to build diversity in your team to reflect the diversity of the NSW community.

Talent pools can be used to fill an identified or targeted role. Candidates need to agree to be considered for these types of roles and consent to the use of their demographic information for this purpose. If there is more than one candidate from the diversity group in the talent pool, you need to consider who will be best suited to the role and the needs of the agency.

Managing candidate availability

Candidates can remain in a talent pool until the expiry date (up to 18 months), unless they opt out. Candidates can be considered for other roles even if they have accepted an offer of employment or started a new role. You should take steps to ensure that these candidates are not contacted unnecessarily, either by limiting further offers of employment to employee-initiated requests, or asking if they wish to be considered for other roles while they are still in the talent pool. By doing this, you can be confident that the candidates you are considering are still seeking employment.

Sharing talent pool candidates with other agencies

Agencies can decide to give other agencies access to their talent pool. While candidates may have consented to their personal information being shared within the agency that set up the talent pool, they may not wish this information to be passed on. If you set up the talent pool, you should seek consent before sharing personal information further.

Capabilities for the talent pool role

Where the capability level of a small number (usually one or two) of focus capabilities for the role are at a higher level than those in the role description used to set up the talent pool, consider the extent of difference before using the talent pool. If the gap between capability levels is not too large, consider doing a capability-based assessment to assess those focus capabilities.

We recommend considering other options for filling the role if:

  • the capability level for several focus capabilities is higher than those in the role description used to set up the talent pool
  • there is substantial difference in the focus capability level(s) between the roles (e.g. Adept versus Highly Advanced).

Where the capability level of a small number (one or two) of the focus capabilities for the role is lower than those in the role description used to set up the talent pool, you can use the talent pool.

Filling a role at a different grade

We strongly advise against using a talent pool to fill a role at a higher grade, because the capability requirements of the higher graded role would be different, and candidates will not have been assessed against these higher levels.

We also strongly recommend against using a talent pool to fill a role at a lower grade as this could negatively impact the candidate experience by offering roles at a lower level than what they have applied for. Candidates could also become disengaged if they are placed in a lower level role that does not make full use of their capabilities.

Using talent pools to fill roles at a different grade can create inequity for individuals who miss out on the opportunity to apply for an advertised role.

Other options

If you cannot find a suitable candidate in your agency’s talent pool, you can consider alternative ways of filling your role including:

  • finding out if there is a NSW Public Service talent pool relevant to your role
  • exploring options for mobility, including as a development opportunity
  • running a new recruitment process.