Woman shaking hands with candidate from her talent pipeline

5 Places to Find Candidates When You’re Building A Talent Pipeline

Building a talent pipeline is a long-term solution for faster recruiting and better hires. If you’ve already started working on your talent pipeline strategy, you know how important it is to focus on year-round recruiting and candidate nurturing. That way, when the time comes to hire, you have a network of potential applicants to tap into.

But where can you find people to fill your pipeline, especially when you don’t have an active job posting? Knowing how to source candidates before you’re ready to hire is key to saving time recruiting in the future. Here are five places you can find candidates as you’re building a talent pipeline:


1. Your list of disqualified applicants

While this may seem counterintuitive, the people who you didn’t hire could be a great source for your talent pipeline. After all, you can usually only pick one person for the job, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t other great applicants. If you had qualified runner-up candidates, or “silver medalists,” add them to your talent pipeline and maintain your relationship with them. The next time a similar job pops up – even if it’s a year or two down the line – they may very well be interested in applying.

You may also come across job applicants who aren’t a great fit for the job they applied to but could be a strong candidate for another department or role. Make sure you’re pipelining these candidates as well and tapping them when a job that matches their skills becomes available.


Recruiter calling candidate from her network about a new job opening


2. Your network

Successful recruiters use their network as an integral part of their talent pipeline strategy – that’s because it doesn’t require much extra work. Keep in touch with former colleagues, people you meet at conferences and industry events, and your contacts on LinkedIn. Plenty of people are passively job searching or open to new opportunities that match their interests. If you continue to engage your network – even if it’s just a quick check-in, email, or post – it will be easier to reach out to them when you’re looking to fill a role they’re suited for in the future.


3. Branding efforts

Even if you’re not hiring, you can still engage with potential candidates via social media, your careers page, and company profiles on job boards. Promoting your employer brand through these channels is an effective way to educate job seekers on what your company has to offer, keep candidates up to date on company news, and capture contact information from people who are interested in working for your organization.

For example, many employers put a form on their career page for people who would like to stay informed about job openings. You can also create a company page on recruiting platforms or job boards. At iHire, we help employers promote their brand and attract talent with company profiles.


Recruiter searching for resumes on a candidate database


4. Resume databases

Talent pipeline strategy is all about being proactive, so it’s never too early to start gathering resumes. Look for a database with searchable resumes from active and passive job seekers, so you can find candidates who may be looking for a job in the future (not just those who need a job now). Once you’re ready to hire, you’ll have a list of qualified candidates to reach out to and invite to apply.


5. Employee referrals

Don’t underestimate the power of an employee referral program when it comes to building a talent pipeline. Incentivizing your staff to recommend people from their network helps you attract passive candidates (who are more willing to respond to a friend than a recruiter) and collect a pile of resumes without doing any legwork.

If you receive a qualified referral when you don’t have a job posted, make sure to engage them right away and take note of their interests, skills, and experience. That way, when you’re ready to hire, you’ll know which referrals to send an application to.


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Building a talent pipeline takes time, but it doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow these tips on how to source candidates. You can use proactive methods like resume searching and branding efforts, or you can find candidates more passively through old job posting responses, your existing network, and your employee referral program. Just keep in mind that you’ll widen your audience if you’re using multiple channels.

Next, check out our tips on how to keep your candidate network engaged (the second piece to an effective talent pipeline strategy).

by: Sarah Ballow
May 06, 2020