5 Reasons Why Talent Pipelining is a Win for You and Your Company

June 25, 2013

“Taking Intelligent Risks” is one of our values at LinkedIn; but beyond that, it’s valuable advice for anyone in the talent acquisition space. When you hire someone it’s kind of a leap of faith (a risk) regardless the rigor of your interview process.

As recruiters our role is to help put “intelligent” in front of those risks when making hiring decisions. Talent pipelining is one way to do this.

What is talent pipelining?

Talent pipelining – or as I like to call it, “relationship recruiting” – is building long-term professional relationships with passive talent for future opportunities. This means getting to know the talent landscape, the actual people, regardless of whether or not they are looking to make a career change immediately.

Developing a talent pipeline requires a shift from reactive recruiting to proactive recruiting. Your mindset should switch from recruiting to fill an open position to thinking about who your company will want and should hire in the future. Talent pipelining isn’t a short term strategy and takes time to develop and nurture, but in the long term the benefits worth the investment.

Talent Pipelining
What are the benefits of talent pipelining?          

1. It allows the recruiter to be a consulting business partner vs a req filler:

To be successful at pipelining, the recruiter needs to do a deep dive into the company’s business and the industry. You must understand your company’s long term plans, current talent in the organization and potential talent gaps. The recruiter must also quickly come up to speed on the competitive landscape, understand who the key players are, and follow the trends in your market. Having this strong industry knowledge, will allow you to engage in more meaningful conversations with the business to help make smart hiring decisions and also gain respect and trust from the talent in the industry.

2. It can open up a flow of quality candidate referrals, eliminating the need for cold calls:

As you start to develop relationships with people in the industry, they will often feel comfortable referring your way co-workers or other professionals that have great potential and experience. This way your talent pipeline itself becomes a source of trusted referrals and warm introductions - cold calls and getting past the gatekeeper might even become a thing of the past.

3. It shortens the time-to-fill for open positions:

Talent pipelining allows you to be two steps ahead in the hiring process and saves time in actively sourcing and narrowing down the ideal candidate profile. This gives the recruiter valuable time to develop a customized strategy to attract and hire key individuals. You will already know the talent and what is important to them in order to consider making a career move.

It also allows the recruiter to better influence strategic hiring decisions for your business by educating the hiring managers on the talent landscape. This will help boost the hiring manager’s confidence that they are making an intelligent hire vs. cycling through many candidates to try to figure out who is the best available candidate.

4. It allows you to measure culture fit, long before the candidate’s first interview:

Even the best talent won’t be successful in the long term if they don’t click with the company’s culture and values. By getting to know the talent in advance, you have more time to gain deeper insight into their personalities and helps you confidently detect how the candidates will fit culturally vs. just how strong an interviewer they may be.

5. The candidates also see big benefits from pipelining:

Developing relationships with the recruiter is a benefit to the candidate as well. Often times, individuals that are top performers and those passionate about their work, don’t have time to look for new opportunities.

Having trusted recruiter relationships gives the individual a career advisor, and ensures there is someone keeping them in mind when it’s time for the next career move. Having an open conversation with a recruiter, also gives the candidate a better view into the company and ensures they are taking an intelligent risk when considering their future. Last but not least, thanks to talent pipelining the candidate knows who to reach out to when they are ready to explore opportunities.

I have to admit, that pipeline /relationship recruiting is some of the most fun and rewarding recruiting I have done in my career. The bottom line is this: relationships matter! This person may or may not join your company; regardless it is worth the investment and can often be a connection point to your next hire and that is an intelligent risk worth taking.

To learn more about talent pipelining, download our Best Practices for Talent Pipelining Guide.

* image by Nikos Koutoulas