Talent pipelines are probably the least understood yet most important element of a truly proactive recruiting strategy. In order to understand pipelines and how they can speed time to hire and increase your ability to optimize and scale your recruiting, we have to start with a look at the old recruiting approach.
You see, recruiting has traditionally been reactive: A requisition is opened, recruiters get notified by the ATS, and the process of identifying and qualifying candidates begins. Where do those candidates come from? They come from your talent pools:
- Job boards
- Social networks
- Recruiting agencies
- Past applicants
- Sourcing searches
- Open web
- Resume databases
- ATS applicants
A suitable candidate is either attracted to the job via career sites, social networks, agencies or job boards, or sourced from one of the many databases available (ATS, third party databases, open web). Then, once the job is filled, the whole process begins again. The only capability that’s being built is the ability to find a needle in a haystack.
In the meantime, recruiters across your company interact with candidates every day. In many organizations, these candidates are not captured and shared in any way. They either make the first cut for an open position or they don’t.
Talent Pipelines to the Rescue
Now think about recruiting from a proactive standpoint. Start with the end in mind. Identify which types of jobs you know you will need to hire for in the next 18 to 24 months. Then break your positions down into families of similar jobs. Some job families may be specialized and difficult to hire and some may be high turnover, high volume positions that you always seem to be recruiting for.
By identifying what jobs you know you will need in advance, you begin the process of developing pipelines. Now that you’ve identified broadly which positions you will need to fill, recruiters have a place to put candidates they interact with if they don’t fit the immediate job they are trying to fill.
You also have a way to retroactively organize all the candidates who have applied for past jobs, have opted into a talent network, are listed in a .csv file somewhere, or are sitting in a recruiter's email box.
Here’s where Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tools come into play. A good CRM will let you centralize candidatesfrom all your channels and sources and organize them into talent pipelines. Your recruiters have a place to put the profiles of candidates they interact with. With this proactive model, pipelining and qualifying becomes as important as hiring.
With formal pipelines that map to your key job families, you can then fill these pipelines, and over time, grow them to a size that will meet your projected hiring demand.
Hiring From Talent Pipelines
The goal is build a large and growing talent pool and turn it into your primary hiring source. Pipelines give you a means to proactively decrease your time-to-hire. If you need to hire 30 sales associates in the next 6 months, but your sales associate pipeline is small, you can search for candidates to fill that pipeline in advance of need.
Now, when you open a position, you can instantly tap your existing pipeline for candidates. No more pushing jobs out to job boards, career sites, and social networks and waiting for candidates. With a large talent pool and well-defined and stocked pipelines, you have instant access to candidates you’ve curated for future need.
This kind of approach maximizes your recruiting budget by reducing the need to advertise jobs. It increases your time-to-hire by allowing you to proactively build pipelines in advance and create a ready pool of potential applicants to instantly tap into when a requisition is opened. And it can increase quality of hire because potential candidates get curated around your job families. This is much more effective at reducing unqualified applicants typically associated with broader job distribution through boards and social networks.
The fact is that the old, reactive method of recruiting becomes less and less effective each year. With high job demand and low candidate supply, recruiting organizations need to get good at building relationships with passive candidates who are already employed.
Talent pools and pipelines are key strategies for making this transition.