Creating a talent pipeline as part of your recruitment strategy can help your company find the right person for your vacant jobs, who will bring new skills and add to your company culture.
Building a talent pipeline requires a proactive approach where you identify, engage and nurture prospective talent over time. This can help you save time when it comes to hiring, save on recruitment costs, and ultimately help you hire the best talent.
What is a talent pipeline?
A talent pipeline is a pool of candidates you’ve engaged with and vetted in the past who may be suitable for future positions you may need to fill.
Creating a talent pipeline is a proactive approach to human resource management. It aims to ensure that when you need to hire, you have a list of suitable people to turn to – helping you fill positions faster and with top talent.
Why should you build a talent pipeline?
There are many benefits to building a talent pipeline. Here are 4 of them:
Speed up hiring time
It takes time for you to successfully hire new staff — often up to several months. This can have implications for business productivity and the ability of teams to meet project goals.
By having a talent pipeline, you can quickly reach out to prospective candidates you’ve engaged with and vetted, reducing hiring time.
Save costs on hiring new staff
Advertising vacancies and paying recruiters to help you find the top talent can be expensive.
If you have a talent pool, you can reach out to them and may be able to avoid the costs of hiring more recruiters or paying to advertise positions.
And by hiring staff who you know are well suited to the role and add to your company culture, you’re more likely to retain them and avoid the costs of having to re-advertise a position due to a bad hire.
Enhance the hiring process for new talent
When you build a talent pipeline, you typically nurture and engage with candidates, which provides a more positive and friendly experience for these prospective employees.
Candidates with good hiring experience are more likely to look favorably at your company, which can have better hiring outcomes. And by engaging candidates on an ongoing basis, they’re more likely to be better informed about your company and goals, to ask questions, and to engage on their own terms.
Hire the best talent
If you’re trying to fill a position quickly, you may feel pressure to make a hasty hiring decision which may not work out well. But if you cultivate a talent pipeline, you have time to review and vet prospective candidates, get to know them, and engage with them over time.
This allows you to ensure that your talent pool is well suited to the company, its culture and mission, and that they have the skills you’re looking for.
How to build a talent pipeline in 8 steps
Now that we know the what and the why, here are 8 steps for building (and maintaining) a successful talent pipeline:
1. Identify your long-term talent needs and goals
It’s good to first identify your long-term talent needs as a company and figure out your future goals. That will help you figure out what types of skills you want to attract and how you plan to grow your company.
Considerations to factor into your strategy include:
Where you’ll be based or located in the future (and whether you’ll transition to fully remote work or not) and whether any big changes are planned, like mergers or partnerships.
Once you’ve mapped your talent goals, you’ll be able to hire more strategically.
2. Develop a recruitment strategy
After analyzing and planning your future growth strategy as a company, you can then develop a recruitment strategy.
Part of your recruitment strategy should include your talent pipeline strategy and how you plan to develop a pool of potential candidates.
Your candidate sourcing strategy aimed at populating your pipeline should look at ways to effectively source top talent. This may include:
- referrals from existing staff
- sourcing via social media networks
- finding new talent through active networking
- searching through recruitment databases
3. Reach out to potential pipeline candidates
The next step is to make contact and reach out to potential candidates.
You won’t be inviting them to apply for open positions at this stage. You will be engaging them and having conversations to establish a new relationship. Some of these candidates may be people who previously applied for positions, and some may be existing employees.
4. Track top talent in your sector
Your HR team may wish to track top talent in your particular sector, to create a list of potential pipeline candidates with impressive skills and experience that may suit your company in the future.
Now is a good time to contact, network with, and have informal conversations with some of these people to get the connection going.
5. Create a database of pipeline contacts
Keeping an organized and centralized list of prospective pipeline contacts is important. In this database, keep their resumes and other relevant data so you can prioritize them and categorize them by positions they may be a good fit for.
6. Engage and nurture pipeline candidates
This is a critical step. It’s essential to nurture your pipeline contacts to ensure they stay engaged.
But, you’ll need to have a light touch when keeping in contact. You don’t want to put them off with too frequent communications.
7. Develop your talent on an ongoing basis
Even if you have successfully hired people from your talent pipeline, you may want to help them access training and professional development opportunities. That’s because it can help you to retain top talent and help you hire from within in the future.
Training and professional development can also help your teams to build any skills that may be missing. And offering opportunities for professional development is also an attractive benefit for any prospective candidates.
8. Measure the effectiveness of your talent pipeline process (and adjust accordingly)
Once people from a talent pipeline have been hired, you may not think about how effective their work is.
It’s very beneficial to evaluate the effectiveness of your talent pipeline processes to see where you can improve. It also helps you monitor and measure your success, proactively enhancing and adapting your talent strategy.
Why I wrote this:
Finding the right candidates for current and future roles is challenging. That’s why a talent strategy that supports your long-term business goals helps you fill roles faster (with people with the skills you’re looking for). Ongig’s mission is to help you create effective and inclusive job descriptions that fit into your talent pipeline strategy.
This is a guest post from Andy Stofferis. Andy is an experienced digital nomad. He has been working from abroad for the last 8 years. Andy runs a blog about digital nomadism and remote work: www.andysto.com. This is where he shares his tips and techniques with remote company leaders, remote workers, and digital nomads.