Keeping a Strong Candidate Pipeline

By: Ben Murphy

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Hiring has changed dramatically in last 18 months after years of high unemployment. It’s a candidate job market now, which is why focusing on your candidate pipeline is imperative if you’re going to hire successfully.

Filling traditionally hard-to-hire positions in fields such as IT, Engineering and Finance will continue to be challenging. On top of that, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder, one in five people will be leaving jobs on their own accord for other companies and opportunities this coming year.

Obviously, recruiting top talent and attracting top performers is not going to get any easier. Unless you’re willing to spend three or more months trying to fill open positions, it is essential to proactively fill your candidate pipeline.

Tips to keeping your pipeline full and remain ready to hire on short notice:

  • Have an efficient tracking system to manage candidate info. Be sure everyone understands the importance of keeping it updated – from personal data, to aptitude and personality test results, to interview notes/impressions. Establish a rating methodology so top candidates can be identified quickly when new positions open.
  • Get involved in industry associations. Top performers aren’t always looking for a new job but could be convinced to make a change if a new opportunity fits. This will only happen if you know who they are because you’ve consistently networked to meet new candidates.
  • Setup an employee referral program. Make sure your employees know how it works and what they earn when referred candidates are hired.
  • Make LinkedIn part of your pipeline-filling strategy. From posting positive corporate news that enhances workplace reputation to connecting with strong candidates, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for filling your pipeline.
  • Gear up your college outreach. You may not have openings for new grads, but think ahead. In a few years, they’ll have gained experience and education that may make them ideal for a future opening. Track those who impress you at college recruitment fairs in your potential hire database.
  • Keep selling your company. It’s important to stay in touch with those in your pipeline a couple times a year. Add them to mailing lists, connect with them on LinkedIn, forward positive news releases about your business, or drop an occasional email. Keeping potential candidates’ interest high will only make your job easier when openings arise.

Granted, it takes time to do all the above, but you can allocate the time for pipeline development now or spend months hunting for the right candidates later. Don’t get caught with a dry pipeline.

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