Talent Pipeline: Definition, Benefits, and How to Build One

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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Head of People
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Learn how building a talent pipeline allows you to hire better talent more efficiently. Use our step-by-step guide to build a talent pipeline for your dev team.
Published on
February 2, 2024
Updated on
April 18, 2024

A talent pipeline refers to a pool of qualified candidates ready to fill positions as soon as they become available. This pool may include internal employees a company can promote and candidates from external sources such as job sites and referrals.

Many companies now use talent pipelines to recruit new employees. This is because modern organizations can't afford to wait for candidates to apply for open positions. They need to have a talent pool available to quickly fill any vacancies that arise, enabling them to start working as soon as possible.

This article discusses what a talent pipeline is, the benefits of using one for the hiring process, and how to build and manage one. It also covers how to tap into Revelo's global talent pipeline.

What Is a Talent Pipeline?

A talent pipeline is a group of potential job candidates who have already been contacted and are qualified to fit relevant roles in your company. Unlike traditional recruitment methods, where candidates actively apply to positions, talent pipelines require organizations to proactively identify, nurture, and maintain long-term relationships with potential candidates rather than simply reacting to immediate hiring needs.

Talent pipelines are helpful in recruiting because they streamline talent acquisition and provide immediate access to talent, resulting in lower hiring costs and time to hire for many industries. A robust candidate pipeline can also reduce or remove the need to post on job boards or work with recruitment agencies when there are job vacancies. This frees more time for Human Resources to focus on nurturing and managing current employees.

Talent Pool vs. Talent Pipeline vs. Talent Community

The term "talent pipeline" is often confused with talent pool and talent community. Although these concepts sound similar, they are distinct. Here is a summary of each:

  • Talent pools are broad groups of candidates that have not undergone the vetting process required to enter the talent pipeline. Unlike talent pipelines, they are static, and communication is usually one-way (i.e., talent applies to jobs when a company posts a job opening).
  • Talent pipelines are talent acquisition funnels consisting of internal and external candidates deemed qualified for certain positions. Communication is two-way, with organizations and talent continually updating each other as roles become available.
  • Talent communities allow candidates to talk to each other. Companies use talent communities to engage interested parties by sharing referrals, career advice, and employment opportunities.

Benefits of a Candidate Pipeline

In this fast-paced and competitive landscape, pipeline hiring provides several advantages. It empowers companies to proactively identify and nurture a better candidate pool and results in faster time to hire, increased diversity, and more meaningful relationships with talented individuals.

Companies that leverage these benefits position themselves for success, enabling them to thrive in the market and deliver superior products and services. They also have a higher chance of attracting high-quality talent since prospective employees are attracted to highly-rated companies.

Conversely, companies that do not prioritize cultivating talent pipelines may face difficulties securing the best talent and achieving business goals.

Better Candidate Pool

A talent pipeline is an excellent tool for companies to identify and evaluate top employees at an early stage. This increases the chances of finding the best candidates to fill open positions. With a strong candidate pipeline, HR can be more selective and focus on finding the perfect match for a position rather than settling for someone with experiences similar to those required by the role.

Access to Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are individuals not currently seeking employment, but companies may be considering them for certain positions. Unlike active candidates, they are not actively job hunting. However, they may be open to a career change, and a talent pipeline can help you attract and secure them.

You can use social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, to establish long-term relationships and attract passive candidates to job opportunities within your organization when they become available.

Faster Time To Hire

A talent pipeline can help companies hire candidates faster by providing access to a pre-vetted, ready-to-work talent pool. For instance, suppose you have a vacancy for a machine learning (ML) specialist at your company. You may turn to your candidate pipeline of ML specialists and select someone interested in working as soon as possible, filling your position in less than a week.

In contrast, traditional hiring requires you to create a job post, sift through hundreds of resumes manually or with applicant tracking systems, interview candidates, and choose the best one, a time-consuming process that can take several weeks or even months.

Increased Diversity

Companies can use talent pipelines to attract, hire, and retain talent from underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people. A diverse pipeline empowers organizations to tap into various perspectives, leading to greater innovation and improved business performance.

Several ways to make your talent pipeline more diverse include the following:

  • Foster an inclusive company culture by identifying diversity goals and areas for improvement. Promote your inclusive culture in your brand materials, including your social media channels and website.
  • Establish specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives to achieve your diversity goals. For instance, you can aim to boost the percentage of people of color in leadership roles by 10% by Q4 2024.
  • Use a structured interview process to mitigate unconscious biases that may drive specific demographics away from your talent pool. Consult diversity consultants, develop a standardized set of unbiased questions, and train interviewers on best practices for conducting unbiased interviews.
  • Proactively find diverse candidates to build your talent pipeline. Leverage various channels, such as online platforms and job fairs, to attract diverse candidates.

More Meaningful Relationships With Talented Individuals

A talent pipeline is a great way to engage and build connections with potential candidates who may not be ready to apply or be hired immediately. To achieve this, companies can use a variety of tactics such as webinars, social media, events, in-person workshops, podcasts, and email campaigns. These tactics help to establish meaningful relationships with talented individuals over time.

How to Build a Talent Pipeline

Companies must make a clear and actionable plan to build a successful talent pipeline. Otherwise, they will have difficulty meeting their goals and maximizing efficiency and candidate quality.

Specifically, companies must identify their pipeline recruitment goals, find potential hires, start a dialogue, cultivate relationships, interview potential hires, and hire the best candidates for their team.

1. Create Candidate Personas

To get the best talent for your organization, identify the types of candidates you want to attract to your recruiting pipeline. One way to do this is by creating candidate personas or fictional profiles of your ideal candidates based on their skill sets, traits, and characteristics.

You can generate candidate personas by interviewing successful executives and employees, analyzing hiring metrics, and asking questions about their candidate experience, interests, skills, motivations, and goals. Consider asking these questions to people you didn't hire and current candidates to get a more complete picture.

By developing candidate personas, you can align your recruitment efforts with your resources, including your budget, headcount, and time, and focus on finding suitable candidates for your organization.

2. Build Your Talent Pipeline Foundations

Once you have candidate personas, you can build your talent recruitment pipeline foundations. Start by crafting and promoting your employer brand — showcase your reputation, image, services, products, mission statement, and what you can provide prospective employees, such as career advancement opportunities and benefits.

Top hires have many companies to choose from and would prefer to work for companies that align with their values, preferences, and career trajectories.

3. Cultivate Relationships

Your hiring pipeline can be as large as your network. As such, you must maintain a robust and continually expanding networking strategy to cultivate leads for your talent pipeline. You can do this by letting leads know your company is always looking for top talent. Try different message templates until you find one that optimizes your outreach efforts.

4. Interview Potential Hires and Hire The Best Candidates For Your Team

Once you have developed strong relationships with potential hires, you can hire them to fill vacancies at your organization as they appear. Even if you fill all vacancies, you should continue cultivating relationships to build a talent pool that can fill future roles when they open up.

Talent Pipeline Management

After creating a talent pipeline strategy, you must manage it effectively to secure a consistent influx of candidates and optimize talent acquisition strategies.

Beyond streamlining recruitment processes, adept talent pipeline management creates cost-effective results and boosts hiring efficiency. In light of this, adopting best practices is vital for maximizing your talent pipeline's potential.

Here are some talent pipeline management best practices:

  • Reach out to internal candidates: Hiring external candidates can be time-consuming, especially if you already have access to high-quality internal leads. Existing employees may only need targeted development opportunities to fill new vacancies.
  • Prioritize hard-to-fill positions: Some positions are more difficult to fill than others, particularly senior ones that require many years of specialized experience or a niche skill set. Prioritize these positions by identifying high-potential existing employees early in the talent pipeline. Work with these individuals and their managers to determine what learning and development is needed to bring their competencies and skills to a level where they can take on the role.
  • Work closely with hiring managers: To maximize your talent pipeline, you should collaborate with hiring managers to ensure they know how to use a talent pipeline effectively. Encourage hiring managers to regularly review the pipeline's candidates and assess whether the quality and number of candidates meet their needs. If not, you should adjust or change your current recruitment practices.

Tap Into Revelo’s Global Talent Pipeline

Building and maintaining a global talent-sourcing pipeline for workforce planning can be challenging, especially if you have limited resources, knowledge, and personnel. Fortunately, Revelo can help.

As Latin America's premier tech talent marketplace, Revelo connects businesses with Latin American developers who are U.S. time-zone-aligned and rigorously vetted for technical skills, English proficiency, and soft skills. Revelo also provides expert assistance in candidate onboarding, tax and payroll management, benefits administration, and local compliance to ensure engagement, retention, and peace of mind.

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