6 steps to building a strong talent pipeline

Hiring talent happens for a number of reasons, however, more often than not businesses have a reactive approach to recruiting talent.

Maybe you’ve received a round of funding, have a new product or tech to take to market, have more customers to deliver to or perhaps you simply need to replace an outgoing employee.

Whatever the reason, being able to tap into your talent pipeline or “pool” of qualified candidates that are suitable for existing or future positions is hugely beneficial.

More than simply providing structure to your recruitment process, creating a solid talent pipeline strategy that’s specifically tailored to your business will help you to:

  • Engage and hire better candidates
  • Reduce your time-to-hire
  • Hire more cost-effectively
  • Improve the candidate’s experience

So, how can you create a strong talent pipeline?


1. Define the long-term goals and needs of your company

Before building your recruitment plan, it’s important to understand the direction your company is headed and what that means in terms of the positions that need filling now and in the future.

Consider whether you plan to:

  • Grow significantly as a business. As yourself what this looks like over the next one, two, or five years?
  • Open offices in new locations
  • Expand or restructure certain departments or areas of the business.
  • Make any potential major changes in the future, such as acquisitions or mergers

At the same time, think about the potential ‘what ifs’ to determine what would happen if key employees leave before you’ve begun to action any recruitment plans. This will reveal any gaps in your current pipeline.

Finally, do some research into the success of your current pipeline plans and hiring strategy. Look at metrics such as where your hires are coming from, turnover rate, time to hire and offer-to-acceptance ratio. This will give you an indication of areas you’ll need to improve going forward.


2. Attract the right talent

Many businesses rely on ‘push’ strategies for talent attraction by posting vacancies on job boards or reaching out across LinkedIn but attracting the right candidates through building strong employer branding reduces the time your team needs to spend actively trying to fill your pipeline.

Work on getting your messaging around values, culture and experience right and communicating with your target candidates in the right way to encourage them to come to you as their next employer.


3. Identify talent sources

 A good talent pipeline contains a mix of both internal and external candidates.

Start by building a talent pool of current employees who demonstrate key competencies and have the potential to develop into key roles you’ve highlighted as the company grows.

For external candidates, whilst building a strong employer brand should help with direct attraction, taking a consistent approach to engage with candidates is important. Being active across LinkedIn and relevant job boards, developing a strong referral programme and engaging with recruiters gives you access to a wide range of candidates and can really benefit your pipeline.


4. Assess your talent pool

 At this stage, consider how you plan to qualify potential candidates to assess their suitability for both the key positions and your business in general. Does their talent align with your company’s needs? Think about whether:

  • They’d add to your company culture
  • They have the skills and competencies to succeed
  • They have the experience to overcome potential challenges
  • They have the potential to grow and develop

An essential step in managing your talent pipeline, assessing your talent pool gives you the opportunity to identify certain traits and skills your business may be missing. Understanding this means you can tailor your sourcing strategy to improve the quality of the candidates you’re engaging with in your pipeline.


5. Focus on developing talent

Building your talent pipeline is more than just finding the right people – it’s about the ongoing development of your teams to set them, and your business, up for success.

Identifying the necessary assessment criteria in stage 4 allows you to create dedicated learning and development programmes to address any skills gaps in your business.

Clearly communicating this ongoing development is an important way of engaging with both candidates you’re speaking to, candidates you’ve hired through your pipeline and your internal teams who you’re looking to progress through the business.


6. Monitor, review and adjust accordingly

As with all strategic plans, without the proper measurements of success and regular reviews, it’s difficult to truly understand the benefits of the process you’ve undertaken.

Using key talent metrics (as outlined in stage 1) will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your talent pipeline and identify where you need to make improvements.


Final thoughts

Developing a strong talent pipeline framework turns the reactive recruitment process into something ongoing, organic and equally beneficial to both your business and potential candidates.

Whilst it may seem like a lot of effort upfront, taking the time to build a talent pipeline will ultimately help to streamline your hiring process and help you engage with more candidates that are right for your business.