concept of man being selected out of a talent pipeline

How to Build a Candidate Pipeline in 4 Steps

Proactively building a talent pipeline instead of waiting for a position to open up before seeking out a new hire has several benefits. Your hiring decision isn’t influenced by the pressure to find a candidate as soon as possible, and you don’t need to wait for applicants to seek you out. If you know how to build a talent pipeline to best fit the needs of your company, you’ll have a pool of qualified, eager prospects lined up for any position as soon as it becomes available. Follow these four steps to successfully build a candidate pipeline.


1. Create Targets

The first step toward building a pipeline of candidates is to determine what ideal talent looks like. Use current employees and company job descriptions to build candidate personas. How would you describe someone who fits well within your company’s environment? Should they work best in a fast-paced setting? Do you need employees who are personable and interact well with clients?

Then, take some time to think about what types of candidates you want to target the most aggressively. Namely, pick out the most frequently vacated and difficult-to-fill positions. Do these roles require someone who’s detail-oriented, or who focuses on the bigger picture? What specific technical skills are important?


2. Focus on Your Employer Brand

The next step in building a talent pipeline tailored to your business’s needs is creating a clear employer brand that allows potential future hires to decide whether or not they would be a good fit for your company. Advertise your culture and the type of work employees do in specific roles. This will allow candidates to filter themselves so only those who are genuinely interested in your organization make it into the pipeline.


candidate learning more about a company online


3. Identify Potential Talent

Once you know the type of candidate you plan to add to your pipeline and have geared your company’s image to attract those individuals, you can begin actively pursuing leads. Your recruiting pipeline strategy should use a variety of methods to uncover potential future hires to ensure that you find the best talent and have several options ready when the time comes to fill a new opening.

When considering how to build a candidate pipeline, it’s important to remember that you aren’t looking for someone to fill a currently open position. Therefore, you may need to try new ways to pinpoint professionals of interest than you have in the past.

The most cost-efficient method for building up pipeline of candidates is to consider your internal talent pool. Which current employees might be a good fit for positions that are likely to open up in the near future? For larger companies and/or a more in-depth analysis of your organization’s internal skill set, consider running a talent survey.

For identifying future external candidates, the easiest starting point is old records of candidates your organization considered hiring for various positions in the past but ultimately were not selected. Go through the files and determine who passed the initial resume screen and was granted an interview. Take note of their contact information so that you can reach out with one of the engagement strategies listed in the next section.

You might also do a resume search to identify passive job seekers who seem like they would be a good fit for your organization. The primary focus of this search when you first begin building a talent pipeline should be finding candidates who would be a strong match for your positions that are the most difficult to fill, and roles that experience the highest turnover.


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4. Engage Your Pipeline

Here are two ways to keep your talent pipeline engaged:

Email campaigns: Building a list of leads can be time consuming when it’s up to you to uncover them. Offering an e-newsletter subscription to those interested in the inner-workings of your organization allows potential candidates to come to you instead.

Advertise the newsletter on your company website and all social media profiles to catch the eye of those who already have an interest in your organization. Then, generate content to engage potential future employees, discussing new initiatives the company is taking on and what day-to-day life is like in different departments. Include content that will be useful to them as well, such as resume tips and interview advice. Make sure your recruiting pipeline strategy includes a plan for how often you send out your emails so you don’t flood inboxes and drive away your leads.

Host events: This method for how to build a talent pipeline has numerous benefits for both you and your potential candidates. Your leads have the opportunity to meet the organization’s employees and see how well they fit in with the company culture. Meanwhile, you have the chance to meet each individual in person without needing to wait until you need to begin the hiring process and hold a formal interview.


new hire happy at his new company


Building a pipeline of candidates allows employers to actively pursue the best talent in their sector without the limitations of looking only at current job seekers. It also minimizes the amount of time a position stands open, as you have a number of potential new hires ready the moment the need arises. While it takes work to maintain the pipeline and vet new candidates looking to join the pool of possible future employees, the outcome is worth the effort.

By Erin Coursey, iHire | February 26, 2018