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Surefire Tips for Building a Talent Pipeline That's Effective

Amanda Price
7 min read

The process of finding, vetting, and bringing new people into your company can use up a lot of resources: time, human resources, and money. If there are holes in your organization because you're waiting to find the right candidates to fill those positions, your daily operations may begin to suffer.

But building a talent pipeline is an excellent way to maintain a steady flow of job candidates without any interruptions in service. If your company can organize one and stick to it, you may never have to worry about filling an open position again.


What Is a Talent Pipeline?

A talent pipeline is a repository of candidates who might be great hires for your company when a spot opens up. These candidates may have previously applied for a position with your company but didn't get the job. However, they're still strong candidates that have been previously qualified and are prepared to take on the job when it becomes available.

Today, many companies develop talent pipelines because of the many advantages they can provide. Creating a strong talent pipeline isn't as difficult as you might think — and it can make your hiring process faster and easier.


What Is the Difference Between a Talent Pool and a Talent Pipeline?

A talent pool is often confused with a talent pipeline. The concepts are similar, and they’re both valuable elements of a robust recruitment process. However, there’s one key difference: a candidate's suitability to move on to the next stage in the hiring process. 

Talent pools are broader than talent pipelines because they contain candidates who haven’t been fully vetted. Think of it like a funnel with candidates in your talent pool being filtered into your talent pipeline after a vetting process. Candidates in your talent pipeline are qualified and ready to be considered for roles within your company, and having these candidates makes your time to fill new roles much shorter.


How To Source Talent for Your Talent Pipeline

Talent sourcing is a big part of finding the people you need to fill your talent pipeline. You can do talent sourcing in several ways, and we’ve outlined three of the most popular tactics used below.

Passive Candidates

Passive candidates aren’t active job seekers: They’re currently employed and not actively looking for new jobs. However, they may be open to working with your company — with the right offer. Because passive candidates aren’t currently seeking new opportunities, they can stay in your talent pipeline, and you can easily connect with them again later.

Internal Employees

You may have existing employees who have shown their talent and potential. These internal employees may be ready for the next step. You could opt to promote them rather than hire from outside once a position is open.

Internal hiring brings its fair share of challenges, such as nepotism and team tensions. One of the keys to making internal hiring work is to lay ground rules and make the hiring process as fair and transparent as possible. It also helps to ease candidates into roles you’re considering hiring them for. For instance, instead of immediately putting a talented employee into a managerial position, you could assign that person with projects to gauge readiness and skill.

Work With Recruiters

You can work with recruiters, or talent acquisition consultants, to find potential candidates for your talent pipeline. 

There are three key things you want to have in place when working with recruiters. First, the recruiters you work with should understand your business’ priorities, vision, and goals. Second, these recruiters should also have a proven track record of matching quality candidates with the best positions. Finally, clear and consistent communication should be a natural part of how these recruiters do business with you.


A Step-By-Step Guide To Developing a Talent Pipeline

An effective talent pipeline has qualified candidates who can fill existing and upcoming vacancies. But filling your pipeline with talent that’s ready to go depends on your talent pipeline strategy — a strategy guided by the four steps described below.

You can learn more about building an effective tech talent pipeline by reading our article How To Develop A Tech Talent Pipeline.

1. Figure Out What Kind of People and Positions You Want

You want your company to be filled with people who emulate your brand’s values, love what they do, and are willing to work with your team to help your business succeed. Think about your existing employees who fit that description and use them as inspiration for your candidate persona.

Before we dive into candidate personas in more detail, let’s look at another element that significantly contributes to making these personas effective — hiring managers. These are the people who directly know the needs of their teams and the positions necessary to fill the gaps. Pairing their perspectives with the qualities you’re looking for in new hires makes it easier to create effective candidate personas.

Identify candidate personas

A candidate persona is a representation of your ideal candidate. It’s similar to a buyer persona, except for the descriptions used. With a candidate persona, you’re looking specifically at:

  • Role(s) being filled
  • Experience required
  • Educational background
  • Salary range
  • Online spaces frequently visited
  • Interests
  • Skills
  • Personal identifiers

Each persona is your guide for selecting the best candidates for your talent pipeline.

2. Find Reputable Talent Sources From Which To Draw Candidates

You can find great talent via multiple sources — talent communities, networking sessions, in-person events, virtual meetups, and even on a casual night out with friends. The key here is to vet each talent source to ensure the recruiters or candidates you meet there will be worth your time and effort. For instance, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a software engineer at a marketing meetup event.

Also, remember that referrals are often the best talent source, especially referrals from existing (or even previous) employees. Set up a referral system that keeps fresh talent sources in your pipeline. You can even sweeten the deal by offering rewards for referrals so you can attract the best future talent that’s the right cultural fit.

3. Look For High-Potential Candidates and Actively Engage With Them

Your hiring team needs to nurture candidates in your talent pipeline. Candidates shouldn’t only hear from you when there’s a job opportunity; rather, create a talent community for your organization that includes community events and frequent communication through newsletters and other media. This helps potential candidates build relationships with your company and keeps your company top of mind when you have open roles.

4. Adjust Your Pipeline Along With Your Talent Needs

You work in a dynamic organization. As your organization strives to remain relevant and committed to meeting customers’ needs, things are constantly changing and evolving. This also means that your talent pipeline strategy will move with the ebbs and flows of your organization. It should be flexible enough to accommodate these changes and strong enough to withstand the risks of an ever-changing labor market.


The Benefits of a Talent Pipeline

There are now more job openings than people to fill them. In the U.S., there are 5 million more job openings than unemployed people. The Great Resignation has contributed to this labor shortage, but there’s also a lack of skilled talent in many industries — like manufacturing and tech. In this current climate, it’s important to have a consistent stream of job candidates you can draw from to fill positions quickly so your organization doesn’t suffer. 

Let's look at just a few of the benefits that building talent pipelines can offer.

Centralizes Your Best Candidates

Data for all your best candidates is kept in one place. If you’ve built a talent community that allows you to communicate with these potential candidates regularly, you’ll have passive talent ready to meet your hiring needs. You won’t have to scramble to put together job postings, comb through several resumes, and spend weeks going through a series of tedious interviews.

Lets You Fill in Gaps Effectively

The talent pipeline also allows you to see what type of talent is entering the workforce at the moment so that you can plan to bring them aboard when the time is right. If you can hire the perfect person at the ideal time, you won’t have to start your recruitment from scratch each time.

Maintains a Steady Flow of Candidates

Your organization could lose out if your hiring process depends solely on job postings on job boards and social media. A talent pipeline helps you proactively connect to high-quality candidates with the competencies, skills, and culture fit to contribute to your company’s growth. This way, you’ll have access to candidates exactly when you need them.

Reduces the Cost of Job Postings

Job postings can be costly, with some starting at $300 for a post lasting for 30 days. Talent pipelines either reduce or eliminate the need for job postings because you already have access to candidates who are right for the job. Not only will you save money, but time, too: You won’t have to sift out the best candidates from the numerous unqualified people who apply. Talent pipeline candidates are prequalified, so it's just a matter of picking the best fit for the job at the time.

Helps You Thoroughly Vet Candidates

Remember that a talent pipeline begins with a talent pool, and the difference between them is that a talent pipeline only includes candidates who are vetted from the talent pool. Your vetting process will help you have a group of people who are likely to fit well with your company culture and have the best skill sets to help your company meet its goals.

Improves the Candidate Experience

If your hiring team takes the time to provide a great candidate experience, it suggests that your company is a great place to work. Further, employees who have a negative onboarding experience are up to twice as likely to start looking for other opportunities in the near future. Nurturing candidates in your talent pipeline helps make the onboarding process seamless, and can help retention rates as well as improve your overall employer brand. 

Candidates will also likely already know a lot about the organization’s values and culture. This means the onboarding process can focus more on training new hires in what they need to thrive rather than on things they would already know about the organization.


Other Ways To Bring Top Talent to Your Doorstep

Naturally, you want to recruit the best talent possible for your pipeline. One way to fill the pipeline even more easily is to work with a professional recruiting agency.

Recruiting agencies have access to many different professionals and executives that could be an ideal fit in your company when there is a position available. Working with them to curate the best talent will reduce your team's workload, and it can be a good way to ensure that you continually have talent ready and waiting to work with your company.


Build a Successful Talent Pipeline With Hunt Club

Filling vacancies is a key function for HR professionals, and it’s a function that can become quite overwhelming if the hiring process depends on finding new candidates each time. A vibrant talent pipeline helps you recruit strategically so you proactively meet the labor demands of your company. You’ll save time and money while nurturing high-quality candidates to contribute to the company’s growth. 

HuntClub is here to help you find your next hire. Let us help you source, qualify, and hire for you so you can spend more time working on growing your business.

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