HR Management··8 min read

Explained: What Is A Candidate Pipeline?

Candidate Pipeline

Organizations need an effective candidate pipeline to streamline their recruitment process, even when there's no urgent hiring need. So, how do you build a pipeline of candidates, and which pipeline strategy should you use? Let's dive into it.

Candidate Pipeline Definition

A candidate or talent pipeline is an on-demand group of prospective employees you rely on to fill future job openings at any level in your organization. Essentially, having the right candidate pipeline strategy allows organizations to have a proactive recruitment process instead of a reactive one. Typically, an organization can build a candidate pipeline using the following sources:

  • Internal workforce
  • Pool of former employees
  • Referrals
  • Online job portals
  • Schools and associations

A candidate pipeline is similar to a resume database because it helps organizations fill job openings more efficiently. However, a candidate pipeline is more effective than collecting people's resumes. That's because you have to interact more with the candidates in a talent pipeline framework. Additionally, building and maintaining a relationship with potential candidates offers a greater ROI.

How Do You Build A Pipeline Of Candidates?

Today, creating a talent pipeline of active and passive candidates has never been easier. Technology has made it easier to form connections and gather relevant data quickly and efficiently. Still, there's more to talent pipelining than this. Here's how to increase candidate pipeline size.

Perform Intelligent Assessments

Before building a talent pipeline, it's essential to perform an intelligent assessment of your organization's current and planned talent needs. Otherwise, you'll be spreading your resources thin by casting your net wide without pin-pointing your talent requirements.

Although assessing your current talent needs is more straightforward, you'll need to conduct more thorough research to determine future needs based on labor market trends in your industry. In addition, while it makes sense to focus on talent gaps in your organization, it's also best to consider your growth needs. That means developing new roles and looking for best-fit candidates that will help you expand operations and boost your bottom line.

Improve Your Employer Reputation

Working on your employer brand ensures that searching for suitable candidates is easier in an environment where there's intense competition for top talent. These days, candidates are more discerning about which companies to approach with their skill sets.

One of the most popular ways to improve employer reputation is to build a positive social media presence. This allows you to interact with prospective employees and create the right impression. Also, having the right culture is essential. Employees prefer working for companies with a good reputation, competitive benefits, and who value and appreciate their workers.

Hire Candidate Pipelining Services

Creating and maintaining a pipeline initially requires a considerable time investment. However, it's possible to cut down on your time and efforts by hiring candidate sourcing services. For instance, some vendors provide software that can help you increase your pipeline and streamline your candidate outreach communication.

This is better than buying ready-made pipelines, which are usually not the best fit for your organization's unique and specific needs. Remember that a candidate pipeline is more than a list of names. Your candidate pipeline should be dynamic and suited to your current and future talent needs.

What Is Candidate Pipeline Management?

Simply put, candidate pipeline management involves keeping prospective employees "warm." Since candidate pipelines are dynamic, it may also involve keeping track of your talent pipeline and making adjustments where necessary to ensure a healthy flow of candidates.

Communicate with your list of contacts.

It's important to keep your candidate pipeline updated on what's going on with your company and also provide any information that's relevant to their career goals. This keeps your company top of mind in candidates' minds. Therefore, prospective employees are more willing to give you first preference when they are actively searching for a job down the line.

Be honest and transparent.

Recruiters should avoid making uncertain promises about future positions as this can ruin relationships with prospective employees and impact your employer brand negatively. It's better to be honest and transparent about the hiring status of each role, so candidates know where they stand. That way, they can plan accordingly.

Generate pipeline reports.

Pipeline reports allow you to track each stage of your recruitment process and measure talent pipeline metrics. They include information like candidate details, hiring stage, and the size of your pipeline. Using a candidate pipeline template report will simplify your talent pipeline strategy, enabling you to manage your pipeline more effectively.

Benefits of Building and Maintaining A Candidate Pipeline

Easier and efficient recruitment process.

As mentioned, candidate pipeline creation and management takes some work initially, but it pays off by making the recruiting process easier and more efficient. That's because you have already established a relationship with the candidates. In most cases, the candidates have been partially vetted and screened, so the interviewing and onboarding will be quicker and smoother by the time you're ready to hire. This can be handy if you urgently need to fill out a position that requires a specialized skill set in a competitive job market.

Better quality of hire.

Having a candidate pipeline allows you to hire employees who are an excellent fit right from the start. That's because you're building relationships with potential employees and getting to know them earlier. So it's easier to assess if they match your company values and culture before both parties commit. Employees that fit into your company culture stay longer, and this helps to lower recruitment costs by reducing your turnover rate. Such employees are also more fulfilled in their role, which boosts productivity.

Creates a healthy flow of candidates.

The process of building and maintaining a talent pipeline is designed to help you develop relationships with prospective candidates. This is beneficial because it removes some of the stiffness and impersonality associated with the recruiting process. By interacting with potential candidates and keeping them "warm," you add a personal touch that helps build your company brand. As discussed, a positive employee brand attracts and retains top talent more efficiently.

Final Thoughts

With candidate pipelining, your recruitment process does not have to begin only when there's a vacancy. Instead of waiting on candidates to apply for jobs with your company, you can use a relationship-centric or people-centric approach to stay ahead in a competitive landscape. The results are worth it because you can successfully recruit quality candidates with great culture fit in the shortest time possible.


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