5 Steps to High-Performance Pipelines and Sustainable Talent Acquisition

Want a High-Performing Talent Pipeline & Sustainable Talent Acquisition? (5 Steps)

Talent acquisition isn’t easy in the current job market. Companies cannot afford to post a job and simply hope for the best. For companies with slowed hiring, it is even more imperative to mindfully establish a quality high-performing talent pipeline if they want to hit the ground running when hiring picks up again. 

A talent pipeline is a pool of qualified, suitable candidates who could fill the open roles within the organization, either now or in the future. Usually, talent pipelines include both internal and external candidates that companies intend to promote or hire, respectively. 

Establishing a network of professionals:

  • Allows for a steady flow of candidates even when the market is down
  • Reduces time and hiring cost
  • Minimizes workflow and productivity disruptions
  • Increases interview success rates
  • Helps match talent more effectively

How to build a robust and high-performing talent pipeline 

Developing a talent pipeline is easier said than done. Companies need to find candidates and consistently engage with them to keep talent pipelines warm. Employee referrals, social media, and engaging with past candidates are great ways to add more people into your pipeline. Forward-thinking talent acquisition leaders and teams may also collaborate with companies sourcing and training early-career talent. 

So, how do you develop a high-performing tech and sales talent pipeline?

1. Plan: Identify your hiring goals and needs

Like any other business decision, your talent acquisition strategy must align with your needs and goals. In terms of recruitment, this is where many organizations fall short. Without adopting a strategy for hiring, you’ll have more costs than benefits. 

Spend time developing a complete understanding of your talent needs, including current positions needing to be filled, future positions or growth, and changes that might impact hiring. 

This is known as talent mapping. It is a proactive approach to bridging the gap between business strategy and hiring to predict long-term hiring needs and cultivate support for the new roles. 

Since talent acquisition is a long-term strategy, talent mapping can be a crucial exercise and helps put your best foot forward. While it looks simple, talent mapping is an extensive process and involves brainstorming and collaboration across departments, stakeholders, and leaders. To get started, begin with these questions: 

  • Are you planning to expand your organization within the next year, two, or even five years? 
  • Is your company anticipating any potential mergers, acquisitions, or other major changes?
  • Do you plan to change locations, add one or more offices, or go remote/hybrid? 
  • Where do you think the company needs the most support?
  • Are there any departments that lack skills, structure, or support the most? 
  • Is there a specific department that you plan to expand or restructure?
  • What skill sets do you need to meet business goals and objectives? How do you plan to achieve that?
  • How do you see the company (or a department) changing/growing to support new roles? 

2. Source: Find quality candidates

After brainstorming the above questions, you will have a fair idea of the type of roles you are (or will be) hiring for. By understanding the type of talent and skills required for your company, you will be able to identify the right candidates to fill up your pipeline. 

Candidate sourcing to fill your pipeline means actively searching for candidates instead of waiting for them to apply to your organization. Here are some of the most essential sourcing methods for attracting top candidates: 

Employee Referrals

Organizations often ask their current employees to refer candidates and offer a reward in return. These popular programs are often successful in finding qualified candidates who are the right fit for the organization.  

Job Fairs and Networking Events

What better way to approach candidates than in-person events? Compared to typical online outreach methods like emails, offline networking is an opportunity to develop strong and fruitful connections. This is also a great option for engaging with passive candidates. In addition, campus events are effective for fostering early-career talent. 

Recruitment Databases

Applications like an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), Candidate Relationship Management (CRM), or other tools provide relevant data for talent acquisition. Partner with a data provider or talent sourcing company if you don’t have a candidate database. But, if you are planning to incorporate a talent strategy into your upcoming plans, it is an ideal time to embrace a data-driven policy. 

Related: Browse Hired’s ATS partners (including 2023 new additions Teamtailor and Ashby!)

Sourcing from Social Channels

Job boards and applicant portals allow you to identify candidates based on skills and keyword searches related to your needs. While LinkedIn is one of the most popular sources, people also use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to attract candidates. You might also target niche sources like Hired for tech candidates like developers and engineers. 

3. Connect: Build relationships

Once you’ve identified the candidates, it’s time to reach out and connect with them. Now, this is where it can get tricky. At this point, you are not offering a job or asking them to apply for an open role. Instead, your intention is to develop an authentic relationship over time. If done right, these relationships will be beneficial. However, candidates may lose interest if you appear overbearing and irrelevant. 

Focus the initial conversation on understanding their goals, interests, experiences, and future plans. This will help you cultivate trust and build better relationships with passive candidates. 

Remember that honest and consistent communication is fundamental to a candidate relationship. Inform the candidates if there are no open roles and engage with them about other valuable and relevant topics. Let them know about new projects, developments, and suitable roles, as they arise. 

Related: 7 Ways to Message UVPs to Tech Candidates Now: Recruitment Marketing in 2023

4. Assess: Align skills and goals

As you connect with your candidates, assess if their skills and goals are in alignment with your company’s needs and goals. Identify appropriate candidates from your talent pipeline based on the need for specific skill sets. You can also tweak your sourcing strategy to bring in more specific talent. For instance, if your goal is to have more diverse candidates, you might target diversity job boards that have proven successful based on your talent pool assessment. 

Related: Hired platform diversity features

Consider these questions while assessing your talent pool: 

  • Does the candidate possess the skills necessary to fulfill your business needs? Is there scope to develop those (and other) skills within the organization?
  • How is the candidate adding value to your organization?
  • Are the candidates’ past experiences applicable to any roles at your company?
  • How can you support the candidate in fulfilling their goals?
  • What opportunities for learning and development do you plan to provide? 
  • Are your diversity goals reflected in your talent pool? If not, how do you plan to achieve those? What initiatives do you have in place to support diverse candidates? 

Tip: Use Hired Asessments to evaluate talent and get insight into how you can improve your talent pipeline. 

5. Nurture: Keep your candidates engaged

Congratulations, you successfully built a high-performing talent pipeline! But your work doesn’t end there. Nurturing candidates in your pipeline is vital to maintaining their interest. In addition, passive candidates who might not be looking to switch jobs might require more time and effort.

Nurturing candidates requires a delicate balance between building a solid relationship and not overdoing it and driving them away. Sending them a barrage of irrelevant job listings will likely irritate them and give them a bad impression of you and your company. 

Focus on sharing relevant and interesting content tailored to their needs. Leverage your previous interactions to deliver personalized content to them. 

Another way to engage candidates is to invest in their training and development. Research suggests that 26% of jobseekers want learning and development opportunities at their current workplace. This is true not only for your talent pipeline but also those hired from your channel. While training and development initiatives seem expensive, they are investments in the candidate’s and the company’s future.

Related: How to Nurture Innovation, Strengthen Retention (Use Professional Development) 

Start building your high-performing tech and sales talent pipeline

Organizations can focus on curating a network of talented candidates to develop a sustainable talent acquisition strategy. Aligning your business goals with hiring needs to source and nurture relevant candidates ensures you have plenty of interested candidates when you are ready to hire.