What is a Talent Pipeline?
To successfully attract and hire the right talent in the current landscape, you have to be proactive. Talent Pipelines are a crucial part of a more proactive talent acquisition strategy.
What does “Talent Pipeline” mean?
A Talent Pipeline is a collection of candidates that are engaged and can be contacted when relevant roles become available. It can include employees who are prospects for internal moves, along with external candidates who are partially or fully prequalified – ready to fill an opening.
Building a strong Talent Pipeline is crucial for businesses today. Instead of searching for candidates that fit an immediate need, talent pipelining requires you to build relationships with passive talent for future opportunities, and move faster when those roles open.
Developing a Talent Pipeline requires a shift from reactive to proactive recruiting. You’re not just thinking about filling open roles, you’re considering who your company will want and need in the future. It is a long-term strategy: it takes time to develop, but the benefits are worth it.
Talent Pipelines are particularly important for organizations that are always trying to hire in competitive talent markets (e.g. engineers, quantitative surveyors, nurses etc). Having warm, “ready-to-hire” candidates can make a huge difference.
Understanding Talent Pipelines, Talent Pools & Talent Communities
This is a system whereby you nurture interested candidates and actively build a relationship with them. Through consistent communication, you move candidates through a form of journey… towards the opportunity to work for you.
Talent Pools help with the categorization of candidates. Instead of mining one huge database for suitable candidates, pools let you effectively group talent by job type or location or other factors (e.g. “Engineers based in Austin”).
In a Talent Community, people interact with each other. Something like a LinkedIn or Facebook group, or a private Slack Channel.
So, for example, a Talent Acquisition specialist trying to fill a CMO position in London might start with a Talent Pool of all the marketers in London who have managed a team and have at least 20 years’ experience. Their Talent Pipeline would contain all of the qualified candidates they have spoken with in the past who are London-based or willing to relocate. They might tap into a Talent Community such as a Facebook group that consisted of marketing professionals in the London area.
The benefits of a Talent Pipeline
1. Hire better candidates
Building effective Talent Pipelines generally help companies recruit higher quality candidates.
With a longer-term approach, hiring targets are communicated well in advance, so recruiters have a clear idea of the volume and type of candidates that they need. They have time to focus on identifying the best possible candidates, not just opting for the first people they find, or someone who happens to be available.
2. Stop relying on serendipity
It’s rare that the perfect candidate is available right when you are hiring for their ideal job. This can be a deeply frustrating process for TA and for talent – and Talent Pipelines are a useful solution. You can either nurture exceptional candidates that aren’t quite in a position to move, or you can create “evergreen jobs” that are always open, so that you can hire the top candidate whenever they become available.
3. Engage passive candidates
Passive candidates are not actively looking for new opportunities and probably won’t see or engage with your job postings.
The bulk of the market is made up of passive talent (not active job seekers) so, if you want to compete for the best talent, it’s crucial that you engage them effectively.
Talent Pipelines let you and your team find and build relationships with these candidates, without promoting specific job openings. In time, you can introduce roles that could perhaps be a good fit and gauge the response – an effective way of engaging passive talent.
4. Overcome Employer Brand limitations
Many companies have underdeveloped employer brands, or work in less than favorable locations. When hiring “reactively”, this can be a massive problem. It takes a long time for Talent Acquisition specialists to sell candidates on the role or company, but there’s an immediate need and recruiters need to move fast.
By operating a pipeline model, the talent you are communicating with has had more time to understand your business and the good things about it, and you are not starting from zero in terms of reputation.
5. Meet diversity targets
Talent pooling and pipelining is one way that companies are trying to increase diversity.
As organizations struggle to find candidates that fit their diversity requirements, Talent Pipelines help them to identify diverse prospects and build a relationship with them, instead of just hoping that they’ll come across their job postings.
6. Improve the candidate experience
Using Talent Pipelines appropriately means embracing an entirely candidate-centric process. Instead of driving candidates to job postings and hoping that they’ll apply, organizations focus on building a strong relationship and engaging candidates on their terms. You can share personalized recommendations and stories that will keep those leads warm until you are able to hire them.
In turn, a candidate that has had a great experience before joining a company is more likely to stay at the company or indeed recommend others, helping with talent planning for the future.