What is talent pipeline? A talent pipeline is a group of passive candidates you’ve engaged who can fill future roles in your company. Building a talent pipeline has one great benefit: it saves you time you’d spend on sourcing candidates, decreasing your overall time-to-hire.
Here’s how to build your talent pipeline strategies and foster relationships with passive candidates:
3 Steps of building a talent pipeline
Step 1: Plan ahead
Planning is an important part of your talent pipeline strategy. Here are a few steps to include in this phase:
- Start with employer branding. Companies with a good reputation as employers have a headstart in engaging passive candidates. Here are three ways to build your employer brand:
- Get buy-in from stakeholders. Present the benefits of building talent pipelines to executives and clarify the resources you will need to start (e.g. funds to attend recruitment events.) Encourage all employees to refer people for open roles. And meet with managers to discuss their future hiring needs.
- Determine what kind of roles need a pipeline. Having a pipeline makes sense for roles that have high turnover rates (e.g. sales roles.) These positions open frequently and usually require candidates with a specific skillset. Talent pipelines are also useful for hard-to-fill roles that translate into high revenue loss while vacant (e.g. executive roles.) Pipelines help you fill those roles as quickly as possible.
- Consider the balance of internal and external candidates. Hiring from external pipelines helps you enhance company culture, hire for diversity and close organizational skills gaps. But, having a good succession plan in place is also useful to fill roles faster and retain employees. Consult HR to determine which roles could be filled from within.
Step 2: Find passive candidates
Qualified candidates are everywhere, from social media to your internal talent database. Here are some effective sourcing techniques to find and assess candidates for your pipeline:
|Sourcing technique||How to get the most value|
|Run Boolean searches|
|Meet candidates in-person during events (e.g. product events, seminars, conference booths)|
|Use social media recruiting|
|Peruse portfolio sites (e.g. Behance and Dribbble)|
|Search through your Applicant Tracking System (ATS)|
(To source EU candidates, please refer to guidance on using social media for recruiting and collecting candidate information as per the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.)
Step 3: Engage candidates
Sourcing candidates for positions that aren’t open yet is tricky. Here are some tips to address this challenge and engage qualified candidates:
- Be honest. In your first contact, let candidates know that you don’t have an immediate opening, but you’re likely to be hiring soon. Say that your company is always looking for talented people and you’d like a few minutes of their time to discuss. Customize a template to send an effective first email.
- Respect their time. Ensure candidates are the ones to drive your communication. Ask them what medium they’d prefer to communicate by (e.g. phone, email or Skype.) Also, ask them what they are currently working on. If they’re in the middle of a big project, let them defer your discussion for when they are more flexible.
- Show genuine interest. Focus your conversations on candidates’ career aspirations. Use People Search to do some research beforehand so you can better navigate these discussions. Explore their motivations (e.g. ask what they like about their current role) and encourage them to ask you about your company. This will help you determine whether they would be a good fit. It will also help you personalize your pitch to them by addressing their long-term goals.
- Let candidates determine how they want to stay in touch. Discuss what the candidate would prefer. Ideas include scheduling regular check-ins, inviting them to events or sharing good content with them. Invite them to reach out to you anytime. Ultimately, let the candidate stay connected with you in a way they feel comfortable with.
Build viable talent pipelines with People Search. Find and qualify candidates anywhere online, and reach out with a truly personalized email. People Search is available as a Chrome extension. Try it free.