Today’s talent pools are akin to what staffing firms used to call “the bench” or a pipeline of specific skill sets you wanted to keep active for your coming needs.

A bench method of maintaining a talent source was effective for both the candidate and the end user to manage to peak needs for specialized skills. Meanwhile, the staffing firm had to find creative ways to keep those candidates working when there were dips in the need. This was especially difficult during the holidays and worse when the recession hit and companies limited their contractor spend. Pipelining certain skill sets was pretty effective, too, until social media took the world by storm and candidates no longer needed a staffing firm to help them find opportunities for their specialized skill sets. The idea with both options was creating talent pools for staffing firms to specialize and place qualified candidates faster than their neighboring firm. Today, talent pools are being looked at in different ways.

While talent pools are effective for candidates, they are much more effective for the hiring manager and/or company at large. By maintaining your own records of who has worked on what projects within your company and for whom, you have a  sourcing tool you can use prior to seeking additional help from your program office, MSP or outside suppliers. Many of the platforms that support the management and curation of talent pools enable you to see when a worker is completing a project to give you a better idea of when you might want to start a new project.

These platforms also enable your contractors to see what other projects and opportunities are available within the company. If the talent pools are managed by a third-party freelancer management system/human cloud platform provider, the contractor may even see other projects that are open outside his or her own current client engagement. This is something staffing firms have been trying to implement for years. The more they are able to keep the relationship with an existing contractor, the lower their acquisition costs are to recruit and place a new candidate in the next opportunity.

If your program office manages your contingent labor program — whether it is insourced or outsourced to an MSP — it behooves you to get familiar with the companies and technologies that provide these services and learn how to incorporate them into your program. Technology will continue to offer ways to make the talent acquisition process more efficient, the real challenge is opening up to finding ways to knit together the new technology with the old people, and move your program to the next generation. Council and corporate members of Staffing Industry analysts, check out the latest reports on the human cloud, there is more to it than online staffing.