In the global fast-paced and increasingly competitive business environment where adaptability is a key to success, the hiring pipeline serves as a magic wand that helps recruiters meet challenging staffing needs. But not all companies are aware of its magical properties. So, in this article I’d like to dwell upon the importance of the recruiting pipeline for business, share a guide on how to build and manage it, and present a solution for IT companies that struggle to create their own talent pipeline.
What is a Recruiting Pipeline?
The Recruiting Pipeline is a method of cultivating a pool of high-quality candidates for current or future positions in a company. It is designed to assist recruiters in boosting the entire hiring process, especially when it comes to hard-to-fill roles and positions with high turnover rates.
Importance of Recruitment Pipeline
Hiring pipelines are essential for a number of reasons. Firstly, they optimize the entire recruitment process by allowing companies to identify inconsistencies that drag down the efficiency of hiring new talents. Secondly, recruitment pipelines are used to keep track of available candidates and detect possible expertise gaps. Among other benefits of talent pipeline development are the following:
Nonstop stream of candidates
A well-functioning recruitment pipeline can serve as an infinite treasure box of gems with diverse expertise levels and skillsets ready to be hired for various positions. Instead of spending time on job advertising and applicant screening, your recruiters can tap into their own pool of vetted candidates and close an open position in a short period of time.
If recruiters take too long to close an open position, it can entail a number of consequences: from additional expenses and loss of competitive advantage to an increasing toll on employees, thus resulting in lower performance. Naturally, some roles are harder to fill than others. For instance, the average time to fill a tech position reaches 61 days, compared to 42 across non-tech roles. The use of a candidate pipeline can help your company avoid the trap of protracted talent acquisition. By analyzing each recruitment stage, headhunters can identify the time spent to fill a particular position and undertake vital changes to improve the velocity and quality of the entire hiring process.
Higher talent retention
Besides time-effectiveness, hiring candidates from a recruitment pipeline significantly increases employee retention. The reason for that is pretty simple: instead of hiring external applicants who may not possess the right hard and soft skills, as well as cultural similarity, you can make use of your internal pool of screened and nurtured candidates — who perfectly match with your job requirements and possess high interest in your company.
Improved quality of candidates
When feeling the urge to quickly fill a role, recruiters appear in a situation where they have to sift through hundreds of CVs. As a result, they are prone to making hasty decisions which may not bring the desired staffing results. In turn, using a pipeline of applicants allows recruiters to easily access candidate information (like their experience and skills) and pick a perfect fit for the current position. In this way, hiring from the recruitment pipeline can result in securing the best top talent.
Better candidate experience
To keep the pipeline flowing, headhunters utilize a hands-on approach which implies developing and maintaining close connections with applicants. This is done through nurturing – a recruitment process designed to attract, engage, and convert passive candidates via personalized messaging across multiple channels be it social media, virtual recruitment events, or advertising. Engaging candidates on their own terms makes talent nurturing a much more candidate-friendly approach, as opposed to the traditional method of posting job adverts and waiting for applications. Moreover, direct communication makes candidates feel more valued which in turn increases their willingness to work for your company. As a result, you get a higher acceptance rate.
According to recent statistics, only 26.7% of tech-related jobs are occupied by women. This percentage is just a bit higher in the Big Five, where it slightly exceeds 34%. If your IT company strives for equality and diversity, having a pipeline of talent is a must, as it can provide your recruiters with valuable data on demographics. In case some groups are found to be underrepresented, your headhunters can focus their efforts on targeting specific candidates.
Recruitment Pipeline Development
A proactive approach and well-thought-out talent pipeline strategy are the key to finding and nurturing skilled candidates for further hiring. Consider the following 5-step guide to build your ideal recruitment pipeline.
1. Identify Your Staffing Goals
To play your cards right, firstly establish a comprehensive recruitment strategy that should encompass both current and future staffing needs aligned with your long-term objectives. That’s when talent mapping comes in handy. This proactive approach allows recruiters to assess the up-to-date state of the workforce and pinpoint possible talent gaps and critical roles needed to achieve desired business goals. Another vital aspect that should be covered is hard-to-fill and high turnover positions which usually drag down the entire recruitment process. By having a pipeline of already nurtured candidates for these problematic roles, you will cut down your time/cost per hire significantly.
2. Choose a Candidate Sourcing Method
Once you have established your staffing goals, you can move on to aggressive candidate sourcing. Filling the recruitment pipeline is an ongoing process. Therefore, you need to identify the most workable sources of finding high-quality candidates. The most common and convenient method of engaging passive talent is via social media. If looking for software engineers, I recommend making use of Twitter, GitHub, and Reddit where candidates with rare skills can be found. Another way to get CVs of top talents is through a referral program. Don’t underestimate the power of your in-house talents, as they can turn out a great source of high-quality candidates. Just set an appealing reward for each successful hire to stimulate your employees to action. One more way of finding talent and driving the pipeline recruiting is through networking events, such as industry conferences, business meetups, and digital job fairs.
3. Contact and Nurture Candidates
After sourcing for the right talent, it’s time to initiate first contact and get the ball rolling for putting candidates into the pipeline. To get confirmation of the candidate’s interest in the position and willingness in further communication, craft a well-structured message including necessary details on the job position and general information about the company. It’s vital to find a good balance between being friendly and proactive, while staying professional and respectful.
Then you can choose a convenient medium for video calls where you will be able to get acquainted with the candidate and ask them some screening questions. When looking for tech gems, I recommend paying special attention not only to their tech expertise and experience, but also interpersonal attributes and business mindset. In doing so, you will be able to spot a perfect match for your development team. If you don’t have a relevant open position for the applicant, messaging can set a solid foundation for nurturing. To keep your passive talent engaged, try using recruitment automation tools to send them regular emails on job specifics and company updates.
4. Analyze Your Talent Pool
Once your recruitment pipeline bursts with talent, you should analyze your pool. To get a holistic picture, headhunters utilize a recruitment pipeline template or customize a pipeline themselves according to their hiring approach. Usually, such a system contains names of candidates, CVs, positions, contact information, salary expectations, as well as stages they are currently on. Typically, you would include sourcing, screening, interviewing, testing & assessment, and delivering offer/rejection. By visualizing the whole recruitment process, you can determine the number of (active/passive) candidates you have, track their progress as they move from stage to stage, compare applicants’ skills to figure out a perfect fit, and identify which expertise you most need. Moreover, with this system you will also be able to see the effectiveness of recruiting pipeline strategy and adjust it to your staffing needs.
5. Develop a Powerful Employer Brand
And don’t forget about your employer brand, as it’s an underlying factor in progressive pipeline hiring. In fact, 79% of job seekers consider a company’s mission and purpose before applying for a job, while 23% of them claim that corporate culture is a decisive aspect during job offer acceptance. Thus, you should concentrate on building a well-defined corporate culture with solid values, mission, and goals. In addition, you should take care of your online presence on social media, where you can provide future applicants with a glimpse into the life of your company. In this way, you are more likely to attract candidates who perfectly fit with your company values and at the same time decrease employee turnover.
If scaling up abroad, creating a recruitment pipeline can become a real challenge, as your potential candidates may not be aware of your company. Therefore, building powerful employer branding in the offshoring destination is a must. That’s what a US-based product business Sift did when expanding to Eastern Europe. With the help of a local IT recruitment partner, the company got a catchy branding video and social media campaign that boosted the entire hiring process and resulted in 30 hires!
Recruitment Pipeline in IT industry
The process of creating and managing a hiring pipeline in the IT sector is quite similar to other fields. The principal difference though is a huge pool of passive candidates that are hard to keep in the recruitment pipeline, due to high competition for talent between the IT companies. This challenge is aggravated by the massive developer scarcity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the shortage of engineers in the United States will reach 1.2 million by 2026. Right now, there are only 65 potential candidates for every 100 new job openings. The issue of attracting and engaging passive tech talent to create a recruitment pipeline is further hindered by the Great Resignation. The Harvard Business Review states that the resignation rate in the tech industry rose by 4,5% with 83% of software engineers suffering from burnout caused by extreme work-life imbalance.
These and other IT recruitment challenges push many western tech businesses to seek alternative ways of hiring talents. And one of them is offshoring to destinations where the supply of software developers outweighs their demand. The cream of the crop picks among American IT companies is Eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Romania. These offshoring destinations boast the biggest talent pools in the region, have affordable tech remunerations and taxes, well-educated IT experts, and a developed infrastructure.
One of the US-based IT businesses that decided to give this offshoring region a try was Dotmatics. Their intention was to hire 30 programmers in Eastern Europe with further expansion into a dedicated offshore development center. To reach these ambitious goals, Dotmatics decided to partner with an experienced local tech recruitment company Alcor.
Having 40+ IT headhunters on board and a network of 600,000 candidates, it took us only 1 year to make the Dotmatics’ staffing goal a reality! Usually, we need 8 CVs to get to 1 accepted offer. But in the case with Dotmatics, we closed Product Manager and QA Engineer positions from the first resume! Our client also got a Director of Engineering, DevOps, and Node.js developers to name just a few. We respect the time of our clients and we provided Dotmatics with verified candidates only, taking less than 6 weeks to close 1 particular position. We also provided consultations on specifics of the local IT market, payscales, talent availability, developer skills and mentality, plus how to set goals for engineers to manage them effectively.
Building a talent pipeline is a strategic move that allows businesses to boldly pursue their staffing goals without the hassle of finding every suitable applicant from scratch. Still, not every industry is equally built. IT companies, particularly western ones, often struggle to fill and manage recruiting pipelines due to overwhelming talent shortages and burning competition for skilled developers. Therefore, most of them opt for offshoring to destinations with large pools of available programmers like Eastern Europe. Partnership with a local IT recruitment company that has a network of vetted candidates and a solid team of headhunters is the best way to get those perfect fits.