Talent Pipelining 101: What You Need to Know and Why You Need to Know it Now

In the daily whirl of scarce talent, stretched resources, efficiency drives and information overload, switched-on recruiters are realising the benefits of playing the long game.

If the EWS fairy could grant you one hiring wish, what would it be? To make qualified, pre-screened candidates magically appear before your eyes, ready to fill vital vacancies the moment they arise?

Your wish is our command, with no magic wand required. If you can reset your recruiting mindset from whack-a-mole vacancy plugging to proactive planning and relationship building, the benefits of talent pipelining are yours to reap for years to come.

There’s a reason why more and more top global employers are adopting a talent pipelining strategy for their mission-critical roles. Actually there are several reasons and we’ll get onto them shortly. But first of all, let’s be completely clear what we’re talking about.

What is talent pipelining?

The principle of talent pipelines is simple. If you know where your company’s key talent gaps are, it’s a good idea to plan in advance how you fill them, rather than merely responding as and when they arise.

First you identify and reach out to quality passive candidates in your chosen market. You’re not contacting them about a specific job, but forging a relationship, bringing them into your world and immersing them in your uniquely compelling company story.

The aim is to create a talent pool overflowing with these passive but interested candidates. You keep in contact regularly, establishing culture fit, updating them on your plans and staying in touch with theirs. Then, when the right opportunity comes along, your dream candidates are warmed up and ready to dive in – making the process smoother and cleaner for everyone involved.

What are the benefits?

So now, back to the reasons why talent pipelining done well is the path to recruiting nirvana. There are four main virtues.

1. Talent pipelining cuts time to hire

Your talent pipeline is a fast track to relevant, pre-screened warm leads for your most important roles. If it takes some time and resources to set up in the first place, the outlay is more than made up for by your ability to move fast when it matters most to your organisation. If you need any help, we’re here to get things up and running.

2. Talent pipelining cuts cost per hire

You stand to save significant amounts of money in two ways. First, this is a direct sourcing initiative with massive potential to reduce your reliance on expensive agencies. Second, by selecting from a familiar, pre-engaged talent pool, you reduce the chances of making bad hires and incurring all the damaging costs that come with them.

3. Talent pipelining improves candidate quality

When you’re the one making the approach, you’re the one controlling the quality of candidates in your pipeline. The effect is compounded by the argument that passive candidates are better candidates. You’re talking to people not actively looking to move on from their current job, which shows commitment, loyalty and integrity. And when the time does come to make a decision on your future opportunity, they’re more likely to say yes or no for the right reasons.

4. Talent pipelining makes recruitment a strategic driver

The best talent teams are interested in so much more than bums on seats. Strategic talent planning lets you future-proof your organisation by making smart preparations to overcome hiring challenges in the years ahead. Talent pipelining is the centrepiece of any robust talent strategy, as many of our clients will tell you…

We’ve been working with a Tier 1 bank for several years to continually build market knowledge and connections for future vacancies. Today, a significant proportion of the successful approaches we make are to candidates mapped up to three years ago.

We’ve helped another client, a global tech corporation, to build flourishing talent pipelines across sales, account management and systems engineering, throughout EMEA and LatAm. The ability to stockpile talent for hard-to-fill roles in challenging markets is clearly another big plus for talent pipelining.

Planning through turmoil

Crucially, if ever there was a time to start building your talent pipeline, this is it.

We live in an age of global uncertainty that shows no imminent sign of stabilising. For some the response is to cling on and hope to ride out the storm. Others see the opportunity to put in place systems and strategies to prepare for the future business landscape, whatever it looks like.

A well-stocked and nourished talent pool lets organisations plan for their potential hiring needs in any number of possible futures.

Another way of putting it: the only future you really need worry about is the one in which you never get round to developing your talent pipeline.

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