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You’re Swimming in the Wrong Talent Pool

July 30, 2020

When you were a kid, have you ever envied the people swimming in 2-meter-deep pools? Or maybe you don’t know how to swim, so you’re stuck in the shallow areas. Imagine how much more you can do if you can access all ends of the pool, or to be specific, the talent pool.

Great talent is hard to source. They're called unicorns for a reason. Millions of companies are constantly looking to recruit the best of the best - those with the strategic minds and executional power that can also prove to be the right culture fit.

How does your company measure up when competing within the industry? It’s especially difficult if you’re operating in a city where the talent pool is small, and some larger players dominate. But there is a solution to recruiting top talents because the talent pool is much larger than you may think.

The talent pool is as large as all the water on earth because talent can be recruited across the world. You’re missing out on the best talent if you don’t source outside your typical pool of candidates. Here’s why, and how to get them.

Why You Should Source Outside of Your Pool

Traits of the Intelligent

The intelligent don’t often follow the rules of the game. They’re not the conventional type and are often unique in their ways. They may not be the type who prefer or who can even show up to an office 9-to-5 for five days a week, or go through the usual route to success. 


Although there are still very skilled people who are within your talent pool, according to many studies, there are certain traits of the intelligent that points towards unconventionality, oddness and rebellion. You have to source beyond the usual corporate talent pool to discover the gems of the industry. Here are some odd characteristics of intelligent people that points towards the need to source outside your usual confines.

  • Niche Knowledge: They are usually not renaissances, where they have a broad range of skills and knowledge. Those who graduate on top of their class are shown to achieve moderate success since radical success requires a specialised focus. Specialised people tend to be hidden in their fields, so it'll be harder to network with them as an outsider.
  • Perfectionistic: They are constantly changing and improving themselves, and are forward thinkers. They strive to be great, and won't just settle with "good enough". Thus, these people may focus too narrowly on their goals while showing no interest in other tasks.
  • Assertive: They know what they want and are not afraid to go for it. They know how to say “no”, placing a high priority on their time and energy. Hence, they may not be the type to always network and attend excessively drawn-out job interviews.

Individuals with unique talents are all very different, so there is no one way of sourcing them. But if you want smart and creative employees, better find a more innovative way to source them out too. Smart people don’t always fit in neat boxes, so don't be surprised when they're not within your usual talent pools. 

The Importance of Diversity

We’re all from different cultures and backgrounds, and our experiences shape our overall view of the world. To better understand how your product is going to sell, how it can be marketed, or just how to think innovatively relies on the different ideas and perspectives from your employees. So sourcing outside of your usual pool is important in recruiting a diverse set of employees

Diversity benefits leadership teams as well as employees. (Source: World Economic Forum)

Diversity can broaden your reach in the industry because employees from different places have their understanding of the region's customers and markets. Not only that, but they may also add a new language as a tool to reach more people internationally.Harvard Business Review found that diverse teams solve problems faster than cognitively similar people. By bringing diverse solutions to the table, there will be better decision-making, problem-solving and higher employee engagement when all employees feel included.

What are the Chances?

This is simple maths. Which situation gives you a higher chance of recruiting talent? 

     A) Recruiting within a small city

     B) Worldwide with many possibilities

Recruiting internationally can widen the talent pool, so you can benefit from talent that are unreachable if only sourced locally.

But How?

Unconventional Interview Methods

Oxbridge is famous for its unpredictable interview questions for their prospective students. Here are just some of the questions they ask to source out the best of the best:

  • If you could invent a new musical instrument, what kind of sound would it make?
  • What exactly do you think is involved in blaming someone?
  • Why do human beings have two eyes?
  • (And the self-questioning question) Should interviews be used for selection?

Find unique ways of interviewing or discovering new talent. The recruitment of spies to the CIA or MI6 involves a series of tests and puzzles to weed out unsuitable candidates. You don’t have to put out fifty obstacle courses for people to pass, but to recruit beyond your typical pool of candidates, you have to go out of your way to present them with challenges and make them think on their feet. With that, you can truly test out people's cognitive thinking and response to unforeseen situations, aiding you in selecting the top talent.

You should tailor interview methods to your company identity, like this creative IKEA interview scenario. (Source: Bright Side)

Sourcing Internationally through WFA (Work from Anywhere)

As mentioned, diversity and perspective are vital to a business. What better way to increase your chances and gain perspective than to recruit globally? To make recruiting internationally work, allowing people to work from anywhere kills two birds with one stone. Employees can be sourced anywhere and they can also benefit from job flexibility. Job flexibility (whether in location or time) is becoming more important, especially during the current pandemic. There are benefits to both the employees and the employers: for employees, many reported that it’ll boost morale and increase their job satisfaction. Employers can benefit from cost savings without the need for long-term offices since employees would be scattered across the globe. Job flexibility will improve the recruitment and retainment of young talent too since 77% of millennials are in support of having a flexible schedule.

When your company can work from anywhere, the office can suit your tasks and schedules, instead of the other way around. You don’t have to be stuck in one office, where you’re likely unmotivated and bored. The point of flexibility is to ease the stress of your current work, allowing people to work wherever while saving commute time and money too. Working from anywhere doesn’t exempt you from having an office, because there is such thing as a flex space.

Aesthetically pleasing, serviced, no hassle... Many would take flex spaces over traditional spaces anyday. (Source: The Executive Centre, Two Chinachem Central)

Flex spaces allow you to work from anywhere while enjoying the perks of an office. If you’re travelling to recruit various talent, meeting rooms and café tables can be booked there. If you’re an employee working for an overseas company but want an office, you can book a space in your local area that also provides a secure connection for confidential work. With the development of flex spaces, working from anywhere and remotely is no longer an issue.

Successful WFA Companies

1. Basecamp

Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson wrote a book on remote work, called “Remote: Office Not Required”. It explains the benefits of remote work and working from anywhere. They pointed out the distractions and consequent unproductivity that comes with working in a traditional office. Basecamp is essentially a company that helps your team with remote working, so of course, they implemented their measures to the company. During summer months, employees get to enjoy a three-day weekend too. The founders believe that it'll encourage employees to work intelligently and creatively, doubling up as an employee perk that can increase job satisfaction as well.

2. Appirio

This technology consulting company came up with the "Virtuous Cycle", stating that empowered and happy employees can lead to a better work environment. 65% of Appirio employees work remotely and have flexible schedules too. The company further supports remote work by offering reimbursements for home office expenses.

3. Automattic

Founded by the minds behind WordPress and WooCommerce, Automattic has over 715 employees working remotely across 61 countries. The founder, Matt Mullenweg, believes that remote working has helped them achieve many successes.

“This has been amazing for the company in that we can attract and retain the best talent without them having to be in New York or San Francisco or one of the traditional tech centers.”

Automattic's remote employee map. (Source: Slack)

They have way fewer employees compared to tech giants like Facebook, but they pointed out the reason for their efficiency lies in their ability to work from anywhere. By not embracing flexible work arrangements and remote working, you're missing out on all the possible talent you could have already recruited.

Widen Your Talent Pool With BOOQED

We're not a talent recruiting service, but we can make working from anywhere happen. Whether it's hot desks, coworking spaces, meeting rooms, or cafe tables, we give you the option to work from anywhere, anytime. With our app, you can book spaces instantly within Hong Kong, Singapore, Shenzhen and Shanghai.

Download our awesome app now! Available in Android and iOS.