Building a talent pipeline is necessary to define, attract and develop a productive mix of talent to grow your business. Rather than hiring on a whim, a strategic pipeline needs to be developed in order to minimise overheads/downtime and draw in the best talent. 

A talent pipeline can be thought of as a roster of people your company may want to hire in the future to take up existing roles or fill new roles. An active approach to seeking the next generation of talent is needed to meet your company’s current and future needs. Here’s how to go about building an effective talent pipeline for your business. 

Plan for your pipeline  

Careful thought and planning is needed to ensure your talent pipeline strategy is sustainable and effective. Determine what kind of roles should have a pipeline, such as roles that are difficult to fill or have high turnover (such as sales). By having a designated pipeline in place for such roles, you can quickly fill them with minimal downtime.

A strong company brand is also an essential element that you must have in place before you adopt any other measures. This means that you should have a strong company ethos that speaks to the kind of talent you’re looking for, and will in and of itself draw talent towards your company. 

Identify passive candidates

Next, work on finding passive candidates that will be valuable to add to your database. This could be through social media (such as by connecting with talent on LinkedIn or following relevant Facebook groups or Twitter hashtags), meeting candidates in person during  networking events or seminars, and hosting your own events to attract talent. Start engaging with these individuals through conversation and mutual interests. 

You may also wish to look through former employees, interns, candidates and referred candidates who have previously reached the final stage of the hiring process but not made the final cut. You can also incentivise current employees to refer candidates to you to add to your pipeline. 

Engage with candidates 

It can be difficult to engage with candidates for positions that aren’t even open yet. It’s best to be honest about this when first contacting candidates, and focus on the fact that you’re likely to hire soon and wish to get to know them before reaching the hiring stage. 

It’s important to respect candidates’ time in such situations, so ask them what medium they’d prefer to communicate through, or if they’d rather have the conversation at a later date when their work isn’t quite as pressing. Show genuine interest in your candidates’ career aspirations and explore their motivations to determine whether they’d be a good fit, and to help you personalise your pitch by addressing their goals. Finally, let candidates determine how they’d like to stay in touch. This might be by scheduling regular check-ins, inviting them to events or sharing relevant content with them – whatever works for the candidate. 

For a more active approach, try a dedicated recruitment campaign. This can be in the form of a graduate program, roadshow, promotional hackathon and the like, all helping to attract the highest calibre of talent. 

Develop an assessment process 

Once you have a diverse talent pool, you’ll need to determine how you will assess the potential of each candidate. An assessment criteria based on qualitative and quantitative needs is needed, which can include questions like: 

  • What skills and competencies are needed to succeed in this role? 
  • Can you help candidates develop any of these skills for a future role?
  • What challenges will candidates face in the future? Do they have the experience to overcome these challenges?

The assessment criteria should be developed with the hiring committee and top executives. 

Develop your talent 

Once you have a strong talent pipeline, you can’t just set and forget. Instead, you should seek to constantly develop and upskill your candidates. This could be through a dedicated training program that addresses skill gaps through coaching, internal assignment opportunities and more. You may also wish to seek external help to put upskilling programs into place. This will also be great for attracting future talent to your business. 

Monitor outcomes 

In order to constantly improve your approach, it’s important to track your talent pipeline metrics. Consider setting KPIs for different areas and monitoring the outcomes to identify areas of improvement. You’ll be able to see how strong your company brand is, for example, by the number of unsolicited expressions of interest you receive, or determine the quality of your talent pool by the interview to offer conversion rate. Review these outcomes periodically to ensure your talent pipeline is serving your business needs. 

Improving your pipeline with the latest technology 

The age of digital transformation has also touched recruiting processes. Utilising these new technologies can help to build a better talent than pipeline, with data and analytics being key. 

According to the Taleo Research Talent Mobility Survey, mobile technology excellence correlates with increased quality of the leadership pipeline (76%), employee engagement rates (76%) and the ability to drive change and growth (75%). 

Ai Group Talent Solutions are the nation’s only specialised STEM talent recruiters, connecting businesses with innovative talent solutions. For recruitment in this niche field, contact Ai Group Talent Solutions today or enquire about our upskilling option for your existing team. 


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