One of the few certainties you have as an organization is that you will always need to hire new talent at some point. Some of these hires will be expected – to cover retirement, for example, or business growth. Other recruitment needs will be less expected. If your biggest fee earner or senior management star quits unexpectedly, for example – maybe even taking a team with them, leaving a huge hole in your organizational structure. In either case, an effective talent pipeline strategy is essential to fill those vacancies and to fill them well. 

But what exactly is a Talent Pipeline? 

 A talent pipeline is effectively a pool of pre-vetted potential candidates for any current or future positions that may arise at your organization. Talent pipeline recruitment is all about being proactive rather than reactive. It is more work upfront, but will avoid extra work, damage limitation (and potential chaos!) later down the line. Candidates are sourced and screened in advance. HR professionals or external recruiters – like Talent Intelligence – build and maintain relationships with them, ready for a time when an appropriate job opening comes up.  

Why do you need one? 

There are many reasons why you need to bring talent pipeline management into the fold – even if things seem to be working fine as they are! 

It speeds up the recruitment process

An effective talent pipeline is proven to dramatically reduce time-to-hire. And this makes sense – if you already have a talent pool ready and waiting, all that remains is to begin the selection process. This saves not only time but also considerable resources!

…and stops you making bad hires!

When you’re desperately trying to find candidates to fill an unexpected vacancy, it’s the perfect storm for making bad decision. Bad hires are expensive! With the right talent pipeline strategy, when someone quits out of the blue, you may already be in contact with their replacement!

Recruitment is a two-way street

An effective talent pipeline strategy empowers you to build relationships with prospective candidates in advance. You can introduce your brand and explain how everything works behind the scenes, addressing any concerns they may have in the process. It stands to reason they will view your organization more favorably when they are ready to make their next move! 

Talent pipelines boost diversity

Talent pipeline management can directly feed into an organization’s diversity strategy. The importance of diversity has never been clearer. Building a talent pipeline strategically over time, rather than rushing to fill an urgent vacancy, allows you to source candidates from a broader range of places, promote greater diversity (for more information on this, see our blog post on building a diverse workforce!), and monitor the diversity of this talent pool as you go along. 

How to Build a Talent Pipeline  

Many organizations have a talent pipeline management strategy, but to maximize its effect, yours must be as unique as your organization.  

Work out where you’re going and who you need to take you there 

What are your organization’s plans over the coming years? Expansion? New product lines? Are there new regulatory developments you will need to adapt to? We don’t need to tell you this, but all these things need people to make them happen.  

You also need to consider the things you’re hoping won’t happen. Think natural disasters, mass exodus of senior management, financial market collapse! How would your business respond to these crises, and what talent would be needed for this response? Identifying and mapping all potential scenarios requires major inter-departmental brainstorming, before you even start on your talent pool. 

Source potential talent 

Your organization may already have a candidate database as a starting point. If not, you can enlist help from the recruitment solutions teams at Talent Intelligence. As you build your database, you need to ensure it is easy to search through for different criteria, such as experience, skills, qualifications, and pay rate. The more effectively you do this, the easier it will be to find the right candidates when the time comes.  

Build relationships 

It’s not enough to have these people’s names on a list. It’s essential you stay in touch and build a relationship. Get to know them and give them a chance to get to know you. We call this socializing your talent pool, and it’s one of the many steps we handle for you as your talent recruitment partner. 

As we’ve dealt with above, this is your golden opportunity to sell the company. What are the candidate’s priorities? Do they have any reservations about your organization? This is your chance to address them.  

Assess your talent pool 

Once you have your talent pool, the next step is to assess their talents and whether they are who your organization needs in the future. Are they a good cultural fit? Do they have the kind of experience you anticipate needing in the future? What skills do they bring? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Can you give this candidate what they are looking for in their future career? Does your talent pool fit your diversity objectives? 

As well as ruling prospective candidates in or out, this also gives you a chance to evaluate whether your current talent pipeline strategy is working and if any areas could be improved upon. 

Keep those relationships alive 

The biggest mistake you can make at this stage is to let all your hard work go to waste by putting the talent pipeline you’ve built back in the drawer. Keep in touch with prospective candidates. This keeps your organization on their radar and helps you stay in touch with changes in their circumstances. But also ensure this is done in the right way. Spamming people with weekly job listings is just annoying! Make a note of what interests prospective candidates and tailor your communications around these interests.  

Final thoughts on building a talent pipeline 

In times like these, where employees are harder to find, developing a talent pipeline management strategy tailored to your business needs has never been more important. While it may seem like more time and expense upfront, a talent pipeline is a long-term investment which empowers your business to find the best candidates quickly. 

If the enormity of the task feels overwhelming, Talent Intelligence is here to help. You can outsource the entire process to our experienced team, or simply seek help on specific areas like candidate sourcing. Get in touch today to find out how we can help!