Candidate Pipeline: Tips To Engage Candidates & Hire Faster in 2024

Candidate Pipeline: Tips To Engage Candidates & Hire Faster in 2024


Raina Kushary

June 26, 2024

If you take a look at recruiting in the past, it was mostly a need-basis process. What we mean by this is—a vacancy leading to the need to fill up the position and recruiters getting into hiring as soon as they could. 

Now, we have come a long way from that. Time has changed and so have recruiting methods. Recruiters no longer wait until the urgency to fill up a position. Forward-thinking hiring teams are now ready with a more proactive approach to hiring. Hiring teams are now busy brainstorming as to what they can do to support the future hiring needs of their organization. To this, they find one thing as a crucial aspect of hiring—candidate or talent pipeline. 

Candidate pipeline is a smart way of keeping a bank of talents not only adhering to the current job requirements but also for the future. It leads to better productivity, less time and cost to hire, and easier hiring. Hiring teams can better focus on being strategic advisors to the company.

What Is Talent Pipeline?

A talent pipeline is an updated database consisting of talented, filtered, skilled, and tested candidates ready to fill up positions when required. Each organization keeps its talent pipeline prepared in case of sudden vacancies. The idea is to reduce the elaborate task of searching, approaching, & interviewing candidates at the time of immediate hiring. 

Having a talent pipeline doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no need of looking at external candidates at all. Recruiters still may have to search the career site, online job portals, and official emails for potential candidates. However, in most cases, it has been seen that talent pipelines have come of great help when it comes to the immediate filling of positions. 

Candidates in the talent pipeline need constant engagement & nurturing. Recruiters must think of various ways to be in touch with such candidates—newsletters, personalized emails, regular updates of the company’s profile on social media, and more. Constant communication with candidates increases the possibility of filling a vacant position. 

Knowing how to source talent in itself can be a challenge—recruiters must know a few strategies that work well.

Why Is Candidate Engagement Important? 

Candidate engagement simply means maintaining constant communication with the candidates in the talent pipeline. It is an essential part of the candidate experience. Recruiters take special care while building a strategy for candidate engagement. 

Now comes the big question—why is candidate engagement important? Recruiters have time and again found out that candidates need to be engaged enough to stay till the end. If they aren’t motivated, they can lose interest before joining the organization. Candidates today look for more than decent pay—what they are more about is how interesting an organization is! 

Understand that candidates who are serious about switching their job are sending applications to ten different companies. They’re briefly getting to know about a company. As a recruiter, you can make efforts to show that the candidate is important to the organization, motivate and help them get through the application process. 

Many candidates lose interest after getting a negative candidate experience in the early stages of interaction. As a result, you’d see them responding late or not responding at all. Why do we emphasize updating each candidate in the pipeline about 80% of candidates might not consider openings of a company that didn’t notify them previously. 

Key Features:

  • Proactive Sourcing: Continuously identifies and cultivates relationships with talented individuals who align with your company's needs and culture.
  • Segmentation: Categorizes candidates based on skills, experience, and potential fit for different roles.
  • Engagement: Maintains regular communication with potential candidates through newsletters, company updates, and personalized outreach.
  • Nurturing: Builds relationships and keeps candidates "warm" by showcasing your company culture and career opportunities.
  • Activation: When a relevant position opens, recruiters can swiftly tap into the pipeline to identify strong candidates who have already expressed interest and possess the necessary qualifications.

How Does a Candidate Pipeline Work?

Imagine a flowing river of talent. Here's how it goes:

  1. Source:  Recruiters actively identify potential candidates through various channels like social media, industry events, referrals, and online job boards.
  2. Qualify:  Candidates are assessed based on skills, experience, and cultural fit to determine their suitability for future openings.
  3. Nurture:  Regular communication keeps candidates informed about your company, culture, and potential opportunities.
  4. Activate:  When a new position arises, recruiters can easily identify qualified candidates from the pipeline who are likely to be interested.
  5. Hire:  The pre-existing relationship and understanding of the candidate streamlines the hiring process, leading to faster and more successful placements.

Candidate Pipeline vs Talent Pool vs Resume Database: Understanding the Differences

These terms often get used interchangeably, but there are subtle distinctions:

  • Candidate Pipeline:  A dynamic and ongoing process of identifying, engaging, and nurturing potential candidates.  It's about building relationships and keeping talent "warm."
  • Talent Pool:  A broader collection of qualified individuals who might be a good fit for your company at some point.  It may include passive candidates or those who haven't actively applied for a specific position yet.
  • Resume Database:  A more passive repository of resumes submitted by candidates who have applied for open positions.  It's a good starting point for filling immediate needs, but doesn't involve proactive outreach or relationship building.

In essence, the candidate pipeline takes your talent acquisition strategy a step further, allowing you to build a proactive talent pool and cultivate relationships with potential hires long before a vacancy arises.

Tips To Have An Engaging Candidate Pipeline

Engaging candidates in the talent pipeline is not that tough, but you need to know the right techniques to make it happen. The first step in having candidates engage with you is to have a meaningful conversation. Begin by asking questions about the future goals, plans, and interests. 

  1. Communication is Key

Communication with candidates in the talent pipeline is crucial. As part of the recruiting team, it’s important that you keep the conversation going with the candidates. When you are in contact with candidates regularly, they feel connected with the organization. Updating them with the latest news, product launches, and accomplishments—makes them more interested in your organization. 

From an early stage to the advanced stage of the interview process, interacting with candidates is essential. It makes the candidates feel comfortable & what they can expect from you. Clear & concise conversations during the entire interview process create a positive outlook in the candidate’s mind. 

  1. Create a unique employer brand

While you try to engage with candidates in the candidate pipeline, do not forget to make them oriented with the company as much as possible. Even before you start building the candidate pipeline, you must take a look at your current employer brand. It is a great way to attract the most qualified & suitable candidates to your pipeline. Having a robust employer brand keeps the candidates interested in your company.

To maintain a good employer brand—you need to work on every aspect of your organization—starting from the career site, and social media accounts, to employee feedback. 

  1. Keep an eye on roles that are required

A good candidate pipeline is made by strategically planning the roles you actually want to fill. This comes from the point—of which roles need the pipeline. It’s a good way to not waste your time on candidates who don’t have long-term plans with your organization. Engage with the roles that are more important in the candidate pipeline.

As a result, the candidates will feel more connected with the recruiters. To know which roles need pipelines more, you can look up LinkedIn Talent Insights. Use the insights to measure the trends in your company, get to understand the demanding skills, and assess the talent available. Taking all these into consideration, make a report & share it with your leaders. 

  1. Use data to set realistic goals for your team

To know how engaging a candidate pipeline you’ve created, you need to set goals. When you set targets, it helps to make a more compelling decision for hiring. Having valid data to help you make better decisions is something recruiters are increasingly doing now. It’s important to know what is working out for the recruitment team & what isn’t. 

Set achievable yet ambitious goals that motivate your team. Data makes an assessment much easier. If you’re a recruiting team that isn’t much about the quantity, then having metrics that tell the number of candidates engaged, and offer acceptance rate, maybe your target.

  1. Fill the candidate pipeline with quality candidates

A candidate pipeline must have a diversified candidate pool—which means you must pay attention while filling the pipeline. The hiring team needs a strategy to get diversified candidates & for that, you can look up the different platforms for candidates. 

LinkedIn is the first choice when it comes to looking for professionals. While building a long-term pipeline,  use LinkedIn Recruiter’s Advanced search feature that helps you find potential candidates. You can start building connections with these candidates as soon as you find them. Be transparent when you’re trying to reach out to connections on InMail. Talk about why you liked their profiles, and tell them even if you’ve no roles open now, you’d like to stay in touch with them.

Events are a great place to meet new people—especially professionals you want to build relationships with. Encourage the hiring team to attend industry events where they can meet potential candidates to fill the pipeline. Given the resources, you can host your own event & invite professionals for a meaningful event. After meeting professionals at the event, remember to connect with them on LinkedIn later on.

Previous applicants can be a good resource to build out the candidate pipeline. The applicant tracking system (ATS) that you have in place may have multiple candidates. But, not all candidates are going to be the ideal hire for you at the moment. Take a quick look at this database and check the applicants you have there.

Referrals seem to fill the candidate pipeline with talented professionals. We suggest building a referral program as part of your recruitment process. Current employees of the organization can refer skilled candidates they know & in return, they can get referral bonuses as a reward. Though this method is not new, it is significantly changing the way candidates are hired.

  1. Get candidates from different background

Take a look at your candidate pipeline and see if it reflects the diversity of the talent pool. Every organization is now trying to focus on inclusion—by including candidates from every background. Source from different other schools with historical backgrounds to diversify your candidate pipeline. Build boolean strings with lists of women colleges, and historically black colleges—adding search operator. With the right technique, get to see search results of diverse graduates.

Campus fairs sourcing can get you, candidates, you look to have in your pipeline. Other than that, ERGs or employee resource groups will find you diverse referrals. Having diverse minds in the organization leads to diversified business ideas, better productivity, and multiple ways of solving problems.

  1. Maintain a balance between internal & external candidates

Are you just thinking of having sourced candidates in the pipeline? Well, don’t. It’s because a candidate pipeline doesn’t necessarily mean having applicants or sourced candidates. The existing employees in your company can be true fits to the position you’re hiring for. You can hire these candidates to fill up difficult positions faster—helping them to climb the corporate ladder. 

The thing to remember is how to balance the two—internal & external candidates. If you keep on filling the openings with internal candidates, there can never be enough growth for your organization. You need people from outside the organization to come up with fresh ideas. 

  1. Keep one common source for all information

You may have different platforms where you keep candidate information. It might get a little confusing to keep track of the information & maintain a consistent candidate pipeline. A comprehensive ATS that stores all information you need under one roof is easier for everyone on the recruiting team to view information when needed. 

LinkedIn Talent Hub is a great choice as it’s designed to keep teams on the same page. Getting updates is seamless on this platform. Teams can collaborate and share their feedback on candidates. Hiring managers have a better understanding of what’s going on in the pipeline. Visible data is always helpful in making proper decisions.

  1. Track the progress & strategize accordingly

Using a single platform to track each candidate makes it easy to not lose sight of them. By tracking & analyzing this data you can assess how the pipeline is performing. The recruiting team can then decide how to improve with the right strategies. Many ATS provide pipeline reports—check the reports regularly to determine the status & how the teams are dealing with it. 

Motivate the team by establishing a screen-to-hire ratio. Talent Hub on LinkedIn provides an awesome reports feature! Plan realistically to reach the goals of hiring—knowing about each candidate thoroughly.

With time, you will get to know how well each channel is doing. It is possible to even know if candidates are spending too much time in one stage—if recruiters are screening enough candidates or not—or if the hiring time is decreasing with time.

The aim of building & maintaining a candidate pipeline is to save time. We say it does more than saving only time—you save resources & so much more! When you have the right strategy to keep an engaged pipeline, you hit the target. It may take some time until you nail the strategy or boost results. That’s why we got you covered with these tips that can help you build the right strategy. Get your hiring team in line with the right tools and ideas to set forth a well-built candidate pipeline. 

A robust candidate pipeline helps your team to source candidates, screen them, and interview handful of candidates—all happening more efficiently than ever. NurtureBox is a great tool that works with LinkedIn in tracking candidates and adding them to your pipeline. You can do so much with this tool that comes with multiple integrations.

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