5 Step Strategy for Building a Robust Talent Pipeline

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According to SHRM’s 2022 report , the average cost-to-hire in the US is around $4,700. So if you’re hiring for a job that has a $60,000 salary, then you could end up spending more than $180,000 alone to fill that role.  

Because of how expensive the increasingly competitive recruiting landscape is becoming, modern-day recruiters have to shift from a reactive approach towards a proactive talent acquisition strategy.

With so much at stake, recruiters and hiring managers need to adopt a proactive approach that will help keep the hiring costs in check while filling the empty positions within the organization faster. This is where the role of building a pipeline of talent comes into play.

What Is a Talent Pipeline?

A talent pipeline is a pool of passive candidates you engage with to fill future roles at your company. Building a talent pipeline requires developing and nurturing long-term relationships with this pool of potential hires with qualities that align with your organization’s current and future talent requirements. 

Talent pipeline management streamlines the hiring process, saving you from reinventing the wheel for every hiring decision, but also resulting in reduced time to hire and leads to better quality candidates.

Focusing on proactive recruiting is reportedly a priority for modern-day recruiters today. According to one report , aggressive recruiting was a major priority for 82% of recruiters. Building a talent pipeline becomes more crucial if you are hiring in competitive talent markets such as software development or healthcare. 

Why Is a Talent Pipeline Important?

The importance of the talent pipeline is that it can help your company find a good stream of candidates that you know are already qualified. When you have a pipeline of talent, you won’t need to spend time posting on job boards and sourcing candidates.

You can just pull candidates who are already qualified and interested in your company and hire them for the position. This will improve your time-to-hire, which will ultimately reduce your hiring cost as well.

What Is a Healthy Talent Pipeline?

A healthy talent pipeline is a collection of candidates that your company has already identified as being qualified for positions at your company. These candidates have the skills that you would need to be successful at your company, and you should have enough candidates to pull from when you have a new job opening.

You’ll know that you have a healthy talent pipeline when you have a decent supply of qualified candidates and don’t need to start sourcing or posting on job boards to find a new candidate.

One way you can calculate it is through your pipeline conversion rate. For example, if you recommend ten candidates from your pipeline, and the hiring manager hires eight of them, then you have a conversion rate of 80%. The higher this rate is, the healthier your pipeline will be.

To ensure that you maintain that healthy talent pipeline, you should take time each month or so to review all of your candidates and their qualifications. You might need to update the list with other new candidates that you find as well. You also need to be engaging with these candidates through job fairs, outreach, or events.

How to Build a Pipeline of Talent

Step 1. Identify Recruitment Needs

An understanding of your company’s strategic direction is essential before you embark upon the task of building a talent pipeline. While identifying the recruitment needs, you need to consider the roles that are crucial for meeting the business goals – both current and future ones. 

Include your future growth plans when identifying recruitment needs. Are you looking to expand your business in the coming years? If so, what will that entail? Will the expansion create new levels within the hierarchy, or will additional roles be made at the existing levels?

Will your hiring efforts be concentrated in one geographical location, or do you need to diversify your hiring ? This step requires extensive brainstorming and cross-departmental interactions. However, the more time you spend in the planning stage, the better will be the outcomes. 

Here is what you should focus on to identify recruitment needs for your organization and start building a talent pipeline. 

  • Conduct an internal needs assessment to consider what skills may be needed to support organizational growth. 
  • Conduct a what-if analysis to determine the course of action if any employee leaves and prioritize roles that have maximum impact in case of employee turnover.
  • Analyze future needs to understand where you should prioritize the hiring efforts. 
  • Identify areas of high turnover that need to be planned for when building a talent pipeline.
  • Build talent personas for every role you target, so make it easy to shortlist the best talent. 
  • Define performance standards for high-impact roles and communicate them to recruiters and hiring managers. 

Step 2. Attract the Right Talent 

A proactive approach towards recruiting involves developing a candidate sourcing strategy that focuses on attracting the right talent. Most of the candidates today are passive job seekers. This means that most job seekers today are not actively looking for new opportunities, nor are they listed on the standard recruitment portals and databases. 

Rather than waiting for them to apply for the open positions, the sourcing strategy needs to outline the best avenues for connecting with qualified talent. The best route for interacting with passive candidates is through employer branding. 

Companies with a good reputation as employers, ones who are renowned for their company culture and employee support, do much better when engaging passive talent. Here are some of the ways you can build your employer brand and attract talent. 

  • Focus on creating a compelling careers page. Your company’s career page can be an avenue to communicate your company’s culture, values, and opportunities that the external candidates would have once they get selected. 
  • Work on employee development. Your employees can work as your biggest cheerleaders when creating an employer brand organically. Employee experiences shared through personal blogs or social networking sites can go a long way in creating a compelling brand image in front of potential hires.
  • Pay attention to the candidate experience. Every candidate’s interaction with the company is a touchpoint for employer branding. Suppose a candidate has a good experience during the interview process. In that case, it increases their chances of joining the company at a later date. It also promotes positive word of mouth, which creates a stronger employer brand. 

Step 3. Source Qualified Candidates for Your Talent Pipeline

Choosing the right candidates for your successful talent pipeline needs a good mix of internal and external sourcing. External hiring is excellent for filling internal skill gaps, improving diversity in the company, and building a great company culture. However, it would be best if you considered internal hiring when building your company’s talent pipeline as well. 

Having a succession plan in place helps fill up vacant roles faster and goes a long way in improving employee satisfaction and retention. Being aware of internal growth opportunities also encourages better performance. 

Your company’s applicant tracking software can also be a goldmine when sourcing candidates to fill your talent pipeline. Every corporate job listing online receives 250 applications  on average. While some of these hold no value, some promising candidates may get overshadowed by their counterparts who get selected. These candidates are the ones you need to be targeting when building talent pipelines. 

For external sourcing, there are several avenues that you can choose from. Ensure that you outline the performance expectations and not merely the tasks for every role you plan to build the talent pipeline for. These include:

  • Social sourcing
  • LinkedIn
  • Networking events
  • Campus recruitment
  • Recruiting databases
  • Referrals

Step 4. Nurture Talent

When building a talent pipeline, you are sourcing candidates for positions that aren’t even open yet. The focus needs to be on relationship building. The talent you source to fill your pipeline needs to be engaged with and nurtured until the position opens up. Here is what you need to do to ensure nurturing of your talent pipeline 

  • Be candid in your conversations. Be upfront with the candidates and let them know that you are contacting them for a future position. Communicate that your organization is always on the lookout for promising candidates, and thus you would like to have some of their time. 
  • Give control over to the candidate and respect their time. Instead of bombarding them with unsolicited phone calls or emails, ask them how often they would like to connect and their preferred communication medium. Personalization is the key to engaging quality talent for your pipeline. 
  • Nurture the relationship over time. Add candidates to your social networks and keep them engaged and informed about company happenings. Make sure that you stay visible and accessible if candidates have any questions.

Step 5. Monitor Pipeline and Measure Success

It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of the talent pipeline model to identify possible shortcomings and areas of improvement in the future. Set KPIs to assess what strategy works best and track talent pipeline metrics. For example, the strength of the employer brand you are creating can be measured by the number of inbound applications received through your website’s career page. 

You can also have the candidates fill out feedback questionnaires and surveys to figure out the overall effectiveness of your talent pipeline management strategy. However, make sure that these feedback sessions are brief, engaging, and do not take too much time. 

Start Building Your Talent Pipeline Today

Building and nurturing a talent pipeline may seem like a daunting task upfront. However, the long-term benefits of a talent pipeline far outweigh the efforts you need to put in. Leveraging advanced technology to automate job matching and find specialized talent can accelerate the building of your talent pipeline. 

To know more about how Recruiter.com’s on-demand recruiters and sourcing capabilities can help you streamline recruitment for your company, contact us today 


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By Recruiter.com