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How to Build a Strong Talent Pipeline

If you start hiring after your team members leave or when a position has just opened in your company, it can be detrimental to your business. Why? Because it can be really expensive and time-consuming to restart your hiring efforts after you haven’t used them for a while. What you need to do to avoid this potential pitfall is to build a strong talent pipeline.
Daniel Zacharias

Erick Cardenas

January 3, 2024
build a strong talent pipeline

What is a talent pipeline?

A talent pipeline is a powerful business asset. One that can help you address today’s hiring challenges.

It’s not just a database of potential job candidates that you’ve collected. It’s a group of applicants who have already gone through the vetting process and are ready to fill a position at your company as soon as it becomes vacant.

A talent pipeline consists of people whose skills and competencies match your company’s talent needs and values. These can be internal team members who are ready to advance through promotion or external candidates who have proven their eligibility, such as finalists in some previous recruitment processes.

Talent pipeline vs. talent pool

A talent pipeline is similar to a talent pool, but there’s an important difference between the two.

A talent pool encompasses a group of potential candidates who may or may not be a good fit for your company. These candidates have to be thoroughly processed and screened before they enter the talent pipeline.

On the other hand, the talent pipeline includes candidates who are already considered fully qualified for a specific role in the company. This means you have already developed a relationship with them and are keeping them engaged and interested in current or future opportunities.

How to build a strong talent pipeline?

A recruiter or hiring team builds a strong talent pipeline by developing an active candidate-centric relationship with skilled, experienced individuals. You can achieve this by following several steps.

Analyze your company’s talent needs and long-term goals

To build a reliable talent pipeline, you need to act proactively. Start by analyzing your company’s existing talent, skills gaps, and long-term goals. Also, focus on the desired direction of your company, such as possible company growth, new mergers or acquisitions, key team members approaching retirement or location changes.

The goal is to anticipate possible future needs and employee turnover before they occur. You know your company best and you know which changes might impact your hiring needs.

Identify the sources for your talent pipeline

Once you have an idea of who you’ll need, as well as your recruiting plan, it’s time to fill your talent pipeline.

Identify gold mines of information about potential candidates. These include social media channels, referral programs, job boards, industry events, networking events, candidate databases, and your existing team members eligible for promotion or transfer.

Create a candidate persona – a fictional team member with ideal qualifications. This will help you quickly shortlist the highest-quality candidates, as you can compare them with that persona.

Build a talent pipeline strategy

Building a strong talent pipeline isn’t a one-time effort. It’s a continuous process and requires a carefully planned recruiting strategy.

Your HR team should regularly search and identify the most suitable candidates for your talent pipeline. The recruiters should constantly assess the candidates, make contacts, schedule interviews, and devise their recruiting approach. They should also keep an eye on current team members for potential future roles.

It’s a good idea to invest in hiring tools and make life easier for your recruiters. A good ATS, as well as recruitment and marketing software can help streamline the recruiting process, improve communication and manage contacts in the talent pipeline.

Develop and maintain a relationship with candidates

Once you’ve established communication, you should develop and maintain a relationship with your pipeline candidates.

When building a talent pipeline, you don’t approach candidates with a job offer. Instead, focus on developing open and honest communication to build trust. You want to nurture the contacts until a position in your company becomes open.

Use the interaction to know your candidates better. Try to find out their own goals, experiences, and plans for the future. This can also provide insight into how interested they are in working with you.

Maintain regular communication with your talent pipeline candidates. However, this doesn’t mean overloading them with phone calls or emails. Keep it balanced and natural. You can nurture the relationship through personalized communication, social media outreach, company information and news, industry-related content, or invitations to company events.

This way you can let them know that you are considering them for your company. Also, you keep them interested and possibly ready to join your company when the opportunity arises.

Enhance your employer brand

Having a striking employer brand is vital to building a strong talent pipeline and your business in general. It helps you attract the best talent and establish your company’s credibility.

Present your story, mission and values on social media and other channels. Promote your achievements. Create a compelling employee value proposition to draw and motivate candidates to work for you.

Make an effort to understand how your team members feel about working in your company. Take their feedback and opinions seriously and act on them. Encourage them to share their experiences and reviews on sites such as Glassdoor. Satisfied team members will further strengthen your brand.

Invest in training

Building and maintaining a healthy talent pipeline takes a lot of time. So does the onboarding process, when new hires learn about the job, receive training, and familiarize themselves with the team.

Fortunately, you can prepare your candidates for their future roles while they are still in the talent pipeline and save yourself a ton of time. Offer them training opportunities, invitations to staff events, or a mentoring program.

When positions open up, your candidates will be better prepared to take on their roles.

Why is the talent pipeline important?

Since this hiring strategy implies having a dynamic set of screened and pre-qualified candidates, a talent pipeline can be a game-changing element of your business, bringing numerous benefits.

These include:

  • Decreased time for candidate searches.
  • Reduced hiring costs.
  • Increased number of well-suited applicants.
  • Better talent quality.
  • Excellent candidate experience.
  • Improved company diversity of experiences and knowledge.
  • Better workforce planning.
  • More effective hiring process.
  • Stronger employer brand overall.

With a strong and developed talent pipeline, no search for talent starts from scratch. It allows you to know your candidates very well and thus avoid bad hiring decisions made in haste. Also, this candidate-centric nurturing relationship improves the candidate experience, leading to increased offer acceptance rates and a stronger employer brand.

This powerful recruiting strategy allows you to stay one step ahead of the competition and gives your company a significant competitive advantage.

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