Building Your Talent Pipeline – A Step-By-Step Guide

Not all candidates are the same! So why should your outreach be? Talent pipelines will help you accurately forecast candidates’ demand for your jobs and how to position yourself with them, depending on their level of interest. Candidate.ID CEO Adam Gordon takes us through the key steps to building and managing our talent pipeline.

Talent pipelining has been one of the top priorities for talent acquisition leaders for the last three years according to The FIRM’s Annual Membership Survey.

The reason it remains a priority is because almost no organisations know how to create sustainable talent pipelines.

Who Should Create Talent Pipelines? 

Employers with evergreen hiring requirements in highly competitive markets. Examples include almost every international employer. PwC are constantly recruiting tax experts; as are BDO, Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton and KPMG. PepsiCo are constantly recruiting brand and sales pros; as are Coca-Cola, Danone, Mondelez and Nestle. HSBC can’t get enough of recruiting risk and compliance people. As for most technology companies, the door’s open to every engineer scoring a 7 and above. You get my drift..

Building your Talent Pool 

If you don’t already have a candidate database you’ve got work to do. This is the foundation of your talent pipeline.

Most large employers have a stale applicant tracking system that isn’t very useful for sourcing. There are two reasons why. First, because ATSs often don’t include much search functionality but also because even if you can find every Project Manager on your database, you don’t know who is active or otherwise so you need to make contact with all of them which is very time consuming. That said, your ATS data is likely to be the biggest head start you have on building a talent pool.

Other ways of building your talent pool include:

Advertising – include on all your job and employer brand collateral a form where people can opt in to keep informed about career-focused content

Careers site – include pop-up forms where people can opt in to keep informed about career-focused content

Direct sourcing – every time you approach a candidate who kindly responds with “not right now”, tell them you’d love to keep in touch and share talent focused content which will help them improve their career prospects and ask them which email address to share this with

Events – your hiring managers and talent development team are brimming with great content which will help potential candidates get ahead in their careers. Sign people up to on and offline events, share the knowledge and add all relevant attendees to your talent pool

ExecConnections – map all your competitors using social media and other online sources, then connect your hiring managers directly online. Use hiring managers because according to LinkedIn, 80% of people are not in the market. They’re more likely to connect with and follow hiring managers with the same technical background than they will with you.

Social media – use your careers Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for example, to attract people to your talent pool. Ensure they understand the benefits they’ll get from allowing you to keep in touch

Creating content 

You need to segment your content for four different groups of candidates as follows:

Awareness – for those who are not currently in the market.

Education – for those starting to explore potential new employers.

Consideration – for those who want to know what the coffee tastes like. It’s important you understand candidates’ specific areas of interest so you can introduce a more personalised approach by now.

Application – roll the red carpet out at this stage.

My best advice when thinking about creating content for the top of the funnel is, both your general marketing team, talent development team and hiring managers are brimming with assets which were not created for the purposes of talent attraction but can absolutely be repurposed for this.

Building a scoring model

In order to understand where candidates are in the pipe, you need to score all of their interactions with your content. Allow your talent pipeline software to automatically accumulate a score for each potential candidate and then create your long-list in record time by filtering your candidates by engagement score.

Candidate.ID’s talent pipelining software will score candidates’ interactions with your emails, links, landing pages, careers site, videos, blogs, infographics, SMS, WhatsApp and social media channels.

Every organisation’s scoring model is going to vary. For some, if a potential candidate reviews the job description, they are typically just browsing. For others, it will mean they are deep into their journey. The process of creating a scoring model is iterative and you’ll need to continually refine until you’ve achieved perfection.

Once you know what type of content you are going to share for candidates at different stages of the pipe and you have determined what you think your scoring model should look like, next step is to get on with running your first pilot campaign.


The five components you need to create a talent pipeline are:

  •  A talent pool (database)
  • Content segmented for the different levels of the pipe
  • Talent pipeline software
  • Patience
  • Tenacity

This is a shortened version of our Talent Pipeline Playbook. Download the full version here (also includes bonus content- 30 Point plan for Talent Communities).

Adam spoke with Specsavers Head of Recruitment Rob Mould about using technology to generate a constant flow of hire-ready candidates at the In-house Recruitment Technology Conference on 8 February 2018.

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