Guide: How To Create and Maintain Recruitment Pipelines

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A recruitment pipeline helps recruiters store information about job candidates and track their progress through the hiring process. If you're a recruiter, using this tool offers several benefits for your day-to-day duties and the organization as a whole. Learning about recruitment pipelines and how to create them can help you develop efficient hiring practices and gather more qualified candidates. In this article, we discuss what a recruitment pipeline is and its benefits and provide a list of steps to create and maintain one.

Related: Why Is Recruitment Important?

What is a recruitment pipeline?

A recruitment pipeline is a method that recruiters use to organize the recruiting and hiring process. This process contains several stages, from receiving candidates' applications, screening and interviewing candidates, and eventually onboarding them as employees. Recruiters can add candidates to the recruitment pipeline once they apply for a job, then move them throughout the different stages as they progress. Each stage may have specific action items that the recruiter must perform, such as setting up interviews or preparing hiring materials. The pipeline offers an effective way for recruiters to visualize and monitor candidates' progress and remain accountable for their tasks.

Related: FAQ: What Are the Stages of Recruitment? (Plus Tips)

What are the benefits of a recruitment pipeline?

A recruitment pipeline can offer several benefits to recruiters and their organizations, such as:

Increased efficiency

A recruiter may have many candidates they're currently in contact with, and using a pipeline helps them organize these individuals effectively. In addition to their stage in the pipeline, recruiters can also note candidates' names, contact information and qualifications. By storing this information in an easily accessible location, recruiters can spend less time deciding which candidates to communicate with about their next steps. For example, once candidates move past the screening stage, the recruiter knows they need to contact them to schedule interviews with hiring managers.

Better candidate experience

When placing candidates in the recruitment pipeline, recruiters can also note specific details from their conversations with each person. They can use these insights to create more personalized interactions with them as they move through the hiring process. This approach can help candidates feel valued by the organization, and a positive hiring process may make them more eager to join as an employee. If the candidate doesn't get hired or accept the job, the recruiter can also use the pipeline to maintain relationships with these individuals for future opportunities.

Enhanced quality of candidates

Organizing candidates with a recruitment pipeline makes it easier to identify and focus on individuals whose qualifications meet the organization's needs. Recruiters can track specific information about them, such as their experience, skills or training. As job openings arise, the recruiter can look at the pipeline to find previous applicants who already meet the job's requirements or expectations. For example, if a hospital has an opening for a NICU nursing position, the recruiter can look through the pipeline to find individuals with NICU nursing certifications. They already know these candidates have the right qualifications to perform this job.

Related: Tips and Strategies for Finding High-Quality Job Candidates

How to create and maintain a recruitment pipeline

You can use the following steps as guidance for creating and maintaining recruitment pipelines:

1. Identify hiring goals

Many businesses have long-term hiring goals that recruiters can use to guide their creation of recruitment pipelines. These objectives may involve hiring a certain number of candidates or hiring for specific positions or skills. For example, a business might set a goal to hire 50 entry-level employees and 10 experienced managers within the next two years. Recognizing these objectives can help you focus on the desired number or type of candidates and move them through the pipeline when you determine they meet specific qualification requirements.

Related: 10 Recruitment Objectives for Finding the Best Candidate

2. Begin sourcing candidates

You can use several strategies to source candidates for your recruitment pipeline. Some sourcing strategies may prove more effective than others for certain positions, industries and companies. Try to use a combination of approaches to optimize the number and quality of candidates you find and move through the pipeline. Here are some methods for sourcing candidates:

  • Social media platforms: You can post job listings on company social media accounts, inviting your followers and other users to apply. You can also search for candidates on professional networking sites, which sometimes allows users to post their work experience or make themselves available for contact from recruiters.

  • Online job boards: You can post job descriptions and openings at your organization on online job boards. These platforms let interested individuals apply directly for these positions, and some allow them to upload resumes to help you search for qualified candidates.

  • Referrals: Referrals allow you to source candidates using information and recommendations from current employees. Because employees already understand your organization and its culture or goals, they're likely to refer candidates they believe represent good fits.

  • Networking events: You can attend networking events to meet potential candidates in person and collect resumes to review. Depending on your recruitment goals, you may choose events specific to your industry or a particular group, such as recent graduates.

  • Recruitment databases: You can create and continuously update a recruitment database that holds information from people who've applied to jobs at your organization. When a job opening appears, you can review these individuals' qualifications to identify viable candidates based on their skills, experiences or other criteria.

Related: 18 Effective Recruiting Sourcing Strategies To Use

3. Review applications and resumes

Once you source candidates, you can review their application materials, such as resumes and cover letters. This step allows you to determine whether candidates meet the minimum qualifications needed to move on to the next stage of the recruitment process. For example, if you're hiring for a manager position, you may move applicants with at least five years of managerial experience to the screening or interviewing stages.

Because you may need these applicants for future job openings, you can keep their applications and resumes on file. These candidates can remain in the first stage of the recruitment pipeline until a suitable position arises. For example, while a candidate may not have the experience needed for a sales manager position, you may find that their skills and training make them a good fit for a sales representative role later.

4. Contact potential candidates

Candidates who meet the job's qualification requirements can move into the next steps of the pipeline. You can make initial contact with candidates through a phone call, email or professional networking platform. This message can vary but often asks the candidate to confirm their interest in the position and willingness to speak with you or a hiring manager. Depending on the role, you might also ask them to take an assessment to gauge their skills.

As a recruiter, you may host a phone or video call with these individuals and ask them screening questions to ensure they meet the minimum expectations set by the hiring manager. During this conversation, you can also establish a personal relationship with candidates to ensure you can contact them about future positions. Once you determine the candidate represents a potentially good fit, you may schedule an interview between them and the hiring manager to move them through the pipeline.

5. Continue developing relationships

As candidates move through the recruitment pipeline, work toward building relationships with them. During the interview stages, you can tell them that you're available to answer questions for them or provide other assistance. Creating a positive experience for candidates as they move through the hiring process can make them feel welcomed by your organization. Similarly, you can offer guidance to hiring managers based on the information about the candidates gathered through the pipeline.

Even if a candidate rejects or doesn't receive a job offer, you can keep them in your recruitment pipeline and maintain a relationship with them. Once their hiring process ends, you may thank them for their efforts and ask if you can contact them for future positions. Maintaining your pipeline and these relationships can make future recruitment processes more efficient because you already have an available pool of viable candidates.

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