How to create a recruiting pipeline

How to create a recruiting pipeline

Last week I wrote about the importance of creating a recruiting pipeline with the same urgency and intentionality applied to sales pipelines. If you are intrigued or persuaded, but looking for some practical how to’s, this post is for you!

The problems to be solved:

  • Over the long-term, you want to flip from having to chase mediocre talent to being sought out by the best of the them.
  • When you have an opening, you want to be able to immediately schedule interviews from a list of candidates you have previously screened and cultivated a relationship with.
  • You are tired of wasting time interviewing candidates that are a bad match for your company, let alone the job description. In addition to wasting time, it dilutes the pool and you are concerned that you may be hiring the best of the worst.
  • You are losing the talent war to companies with more widely known brands or bigger budgets.

The key to creating a recruiting pipeline is to parallel what you already know about creating a successful sales pipeline.

Identify your pipeline goals

  • Who do you want to hire? You have to move beyond skills, experience and credentials because the pipeline is about finding the right people, not just filling specific openings. Come up with an ideal employee profile, one that aligns with your company mission, vision and values. Market to someone, not the crowd.
  • Specify what success looks like. From the number of leads going into the pipeline to your conversion and retention rates, be specific and identify how you will measure success.
  • What aspects of your current recruiting, interviewing and hiring process does your team or recent hires find most frustrating? How can you fix those while implementing this new recruiting pipeline?

Develop marketing collateral

  • Evaluate your current marketing collateral and messaging through the lens of employees you want to attract over the long-term. Where possible, make adjustments to make your brand more attractive to desired talent.
  • Develop a dedicated web page and brochure for recruiting. Assume you need to persuade and inspire. You will have to compete for the best talent. They have the leverage. If you have all the leverage when evaluating new hires, you are chasing after the wrong people.

Generate leads

  • Contact area colleges and universities. Participate in job fairs. Build relationships with the career services department. The goal is to establish a brand by being present and engaged in your community.
  • Assign someone on your team to submit entries to the “best places to work” award programs in your market. Newspapers, magazines, chambers of commerce and others run these programs. It is a good way to communicate to the market that you are an exceptional employer.
  • Encourage your leadership team to start intentionally pursuing great talent, regardless of current openings. Follow connections, build relationships and always be on the lookout. The key here is to think about generating recruiting leads like you think about generating sales leads. Leave no stone unturned.

Capture leads

  • Leverage your customer relationship management software to track candidates. Develop a process for taking them through pipeline stages just like you do with your sales leads.
  • Capture information about candidates that you will need to assess whether the lead is cold, warm or hot. Turn their resume into field data that you can use to sort, filter and evaluate.

Qualify leads

  • First, identify a method for assessing whether a candidate is a good fit for your company regardless of skills, experience or credentials. Depending on the size of your company, this could range from a simple gut reaction to more sophisticated personality and culture assessments.
  • Second, send a polite message to those who are not a good fit. How you handle this communication will reflect on your recruiting brand. If you do this well, even those who are turned down will be impressed and may make a good referral down the road.
  • Third, send a message to those who are a good fit (your qualified leads). Let them know that although you do not have a position open fitting their skills, experience or credentials, you believe they would be a good addition and you want to continue cultivating the relationship. They need to know this is not “keeping their resume on file.” If you had the right opening, you would immediately bring them in for an interview and will do so in the future.
  • Fourth, if or when you find exceptional candidates, hire them. Do not let them get away.

Convert leads

  • It takes time to develop relationships with sales leads, to understand their wants and needs and to convert them into a customer. You want to begin thinking about qualified recruiting leads the same way.
  • Schedule a once a quarter social event at your offices and invite your qualified leads. Woo them. Develop a relationship. Help them understand your business and connect with your team.
  • Email or call them at least quarterly to let them you continue to have interest, but are waiting for the right opening. If opinions about the fit change as you get to know one another, communicate that too. Leading them on will hurt your recruiting brand in the long-term.

Question: How would implementing a recruiting pipeline change how and who you hire in the future? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Need help? I help companies improve their organizational health and culture, which often includes redeveloping their recruiting process. Contact me if you would like to discuss how I could help your team.

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  • Thad Puckett

    I seem to be familiar with this process. It certainly worked well at The Karis Group!

  • Stephen Lahey

    Sound thinking, IMHO. Whether or not companies follow this advice is linked to whether or not they buy into your first bullet point: “Over the long-term, you want to flip from having to chase mediocre talent to being sought out by the best of the them.”

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