Unlocking your internal talent pool

(from a presentation delivered at I Love Claims – New Generation conference in Manchester)

Most employers are making decisions about who to recruit based on just a quarter of the information available on a candidate.

According to Martin Goodwill, CEO of Great People Inside UK, the amount businesses find out about a potential employee before hiring them is so limited they would actually be better off flipping a coin.

Martin was speaking to delegates at ILC’s New Generation in Claims conference, which took place in Manchester.

He said, “Most of the information we use comes from CVs and you end up rejecting people based on the most spurious things,  like key words. Worse still, 56% of people admit to being economical with the truth on their CVs, so how much value is there on the CV in the first place?

“Then there are interviews. A lot of managers are not as good at this as they think they are. Think about the last time you interviewed someone who exceeded your expectations and the last time you interviewed someone who failed – what was the difference in process? Almost invariably there was no difference at all. It was just luck, and trusting to luck is not good enough for one of the most important (and expensive) business processes.

“It’s all about information and risk. But CV, interviews and even background checks only amount to 26% of the information you could have to make a decision. That means 74% is a risk. Flipping a coin would give you a better chance of getting it right.”


He said that part of the problem was that employers approach the recruitment process looking for aptitude, not attitude, at the outset.

They ask a single question: can the person do the job.

That means that not only do they not identify skills in the candidate that may be valuable further on in their careers with the company, but they could also employ a person who is not a good cultural fit.

He said, “Good recruiters do try to find out more about the person, but they are rewarded on the basis of bums on seats so we have to decide if that’s more important than long-term retention.”

Ultimately, he added, good retention is based on the information garnered during the recruitment process and employers do not find out enough about the people they hire and the skills they bring with them to make the most of their talents and unlock their internal talent pool.


At Great People Inside UK, psychometric tests provide a much deeper insight into the person, identifying not just existing skills, but interests, attitudes and potential. Further, these tests can be tailored to suit individual organisations, enabling them to measure what is most relevant to them.

That means when a new position becomes available, companies can set the criteria they want, measure their entire workforce against those skills at the touch of a button, and find out almost immediately if there is a good internal candidate or if they will have to look externally. And they can use top performers in their company as benchmarks and test candidates against their skills, not slightly “iffy” ‘Industry Standards’.

Furthermore, the tests are cross-departmental, meaning the best person to manage the sales team might be found in accounts.

Martin said, “A lot of internal recruiting is done in silos so we promote our best sales person to sales manager. But there are two words in that job title, and that person might not be a good manager. Then you’re stuck with a bad manager, plus you’ve lost your best salesperson. Maybe the better manager is not even in the sales department.”

He concluded, “It’s important to let the workforce know that when there is a vacancy they are being actively considered. Always recruiting from outside is not just expensive, it can also affect the morale of your existing employees and they could end up leaving if they don’t see much chance for career progression. That is a cost you need to measure.”

ILC’s New Generation event was held at etc.venues Manchester, backed by lead Sponsors Carpenters Group and Enterprise along with Ambassadors: Activate Group, Edam Group, Gemini ARC, Kennedys, S&G Response and Solera Audatex. 

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