Recruiting 101: What Is a Candidate Pipeline?
What is a candidate pipeline?
A candidate pipeline is a pool of qualified people interested in learning about job opportunities as they become available at your company. You “pipeline” candidates because their skills, experience, and traits match a particular role for which there is no immediate hiring need. When it does become available, you can invite the pipelined candidates to interview for the position.
Typically, candidates included in your pipeline for a role:
- Meet the requirements identified in the job description
- Have communicated with your recruitment team
- Have expressed favorable views of your company and agreed to receive notifications when relevant job opportunities open up
- Passed an initial phone screen or assessment
- Are kept warm through regular contact: job postings, company news, blog posts, personalized emails, and other forms of communication
Candidate pipelines are also sometimes called “talent pipelines” or “recruitment pipelines.”
Candidate pipeline vs. resume database
A resume database is merely a collection of people’s resumes. A candidate pipeline is a list of candidates who have interacted with you, expressed interest in joining your company, and passed a basic screening or assessment. In other words, you are nurturing a relationship with the candidates in your pipeline.
Why build a candidate pipeline?
Pipelining is a proactive recruitment strategy, meant to speed up the selection and hiring process by identifying suitable candidates before they are needed. The approach can also improve the quality of candidates: pipelined individuals have time to become more familiar with your employer brand, solidify their interest, or disqualify themselves from consideration.
How do you build a candidate pipeline?
To begin pipelining for a particular role, you might simply start tracking strong candidates: finalists not hired, employee referrals, sourced candidates, and individuals you meet through networking, for example. A simple spreadsheet will do; log their name, contact information, resume or LinkedIn profile link, and any other pertinent details. Don’t forget to track each interaction you have with them, for future reference.
Depending on the size of your company and complexity of your recruiting needs, separate pipelines for a role may be built to suit different teams, locations, and specialties.
As your pipeline grows and management needs become more sophisticated, there are many candidate relationship management applications (CRMs) and applicant tracking systems (ATSs) available that provide a breadth of specialized features.
Can I purchase candidate pipelines, or pay a service to build them?
Though there may be vendors out there selling pre-built pipelines or lists of names, to be truly useful, candidate pipelines must be built for the specific circumstances and needs of your roles and your company. It is possible, however, to hire sourcing support or specialized candidate pipelining services to help you build pipelines based on your current and planned needs.