section one

What is applicant pool?

Lead consultant at Test Partnership, Ben Schwencke, explains what is applicant pool.

0:51 Quickly understand applicant pools.

An applicant pool is the total number of applicants that have formally applied for a specific job post. This includes candidates who have yet to be short-listed, candidates in the middle of the recruitment process, and those at the final stages. As a minimum, applicant pools should be at least as large as the number of open vacancies for that role, and indeed should be considerably larger. When applicant pools are small and candidate attraction is difficult, employing organisations often outsource candidate attraction to recruitment consultants, RPOs, or employer marketing companies.

From an employee selection and assessment perspective, the larger the applicant pool the better.

Candidate potential is a normally distributed variable, and thus the larger the applicant pool, the greater the number of high-potential applicants. Often, small organisations will struggle to attract large applicant pools, often resulting in mediocre candidates. Larger and more prestigious organisations however, attract very large applicant pools, allowing them to select the cream of the crop.