Building a hiring pipeline

Tips for building a successful hiring pipeline.
May 31, 2022
Oyster Team
Woman on a virtual conference call

The business world is evolving rapidly due to factors such as new post-pandemic priorities, generational shifts in communication styles and values, and even the availability of a global workforce. Throughout these changes, one thing remains true: Companies want to attract, hire, and retain top talent. Creating an effective hiring pipeline is the easiest way to keep tabs on who’s active in your field and ready to make a move. Constructing this workflow requires dedicated resources upfront, but it’s worth the investment.

What is a hiring pipeline?

The hiring pipeline is a method of organizing job candidates as they move through the interview process. It includes their application, preliminary screening details, and interview notes. For successful candidates, the pipeline will also include their onboarding information. The goal is to help recruiters track candidates efficiently for better communication between stages.

What information should you have about each candidate? There are a few essentials:

  • Name and contact information
  • Qualifications
  • Application source, such as a job board, specific online ad, internal candidate, or personal referral
  • Stage of the process, from the initial application to the phone screening and in-depth interviews

Not only does collecting this information make it easier to communicate with candidates during the hiring process, but it also gives you insights into which job listings offer the best results so you can expend time and resources properly in the future. You’ll be able to see which listings garnered the most candidates and the highest-quality candidates, allowing you to determine what approach meets your needs in future hiring cycles.

Understanding how candidates move through the pipeline also shows you how much time and money your organization spends on hiring. Targeted searches, application review, shortlisting, interviewing, and extending an offer all require valuable company resources, especially if there are negotiations involved at the final stage. A clear, organized hiring pipeline can help you identify and improve on inefficiencies.

Throughout the process, candidates want to be kept up to date on their status—especially if they’re actively seeking a new position in a competitive industry. Remote work has also increased the likelihood of attracting a larger talent pool, whether the applicants are across the country or across the world. This combination of factors can make it difficult to stay on top of everything. The hiring process that worked before 2020 probably doesn’t meet your needs or goals today.

Things to remember when building a hiring pipeline

Quality of life is a top priority for job seekers

While the last few years have left everyone craving a sense of normalcy, it’s become clear that we’re shifting towards new concepts of community and the workplace. Employers and employees alike have the opportunity to reshape team and manager relationships in light of these developments. Workers want more than direction from their managers—they overwhelmingly want real connection and support.

Additionally, this widespread re-evaluation of personal priorities has pushed work-life balance to the front of everyone’s mind. Working remotely is popular—so much so that many job seekers consider it one of their top interests in job listings—but there are some clear drawbacks when the workspace and personal space blend together.

Leaders need to set clear expectations for availability, online/offline etiquette, and using PTO, and they need to model these behaviors for their teams. They also need to facilitate social connections via chats, virtual events, and in-person activities when possible.

Flexibility is the most attractive job perk employers can offer today, with meaningful workplace relationships close behind. Do your job listings reflect these benefits? Does your company culture match what you’re advertising? Being accurate and consistent helps build enthusiasm as candidates move through the hiring pipeline.

Workplace diversity is a major draw for new talent

Recruitment was previously limited to local applicants or being able to incentivize a quality candidate to relocate. As a result, an office was only as diverse as the community at large. In some industries, this limitation created a significant imbalance that turned off promising candidates, especially women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Opening the talent pool to national and global candidates seems like it would inherently create a more diverse workforce. While this does help expand your search options, employers also need to identify and actively correct implicit biases in the hiring pipeline.

Consider the language used in your job postings and whether word choices may demonstrate bias in terms of gender, employment status, and education or work history. Make sure the listings use clear, positive language to reflect your core values so candidates can highlight their unique strengths and potential contributions to a team. Including a statement that actively encourages historically marginalized groups to apply is also a good start, as long as your organization is also putting in the effort to create an inclusive work environment at all times. Supporting established diversity initiatives within your industry is another excellent way to build a better workplace and source quality candidates.

A hiring pipeline that masks non-essential information can also help eliminate bias by prioritizing a candidate’s qualifications rather than identifying details that might cause someone to favor or dismiss an application. These details might include:

  • Names
  • Ages or graduation years that allow someone to infer an applicant’s age
  • Schools

Using a standardized hiring process also creates a more level playing field. A skills assessment takes you beyond the resume for a real-time demonstration of the applicant’s abilities. Create a list of defined questions to ask each candidate during their interviews to keep the process as uniform as possible.

While video conferencing has made remote work easier, it can be a source of bias when hiring. Consider whether a candidate has the technology and dedicated private space to participate in an interview. Holding preliminary interviews over the phone or voice-only conferencing reduces the risk of making judgments based on a candidate’s at-home workspace or possible interruptions.

The hiring pipeline benefits the organization too

Building an effective hiring pipeline is all about establishing and nurturing relationships within your industry. You never know when a rising star will be on the job market or where they’ll come from. Having a system in place to track who you’re interacting with and how they perceive your company improves candidate quality and employee satisfaction in the long term.

Pipeline recruiting creates a steady stream of interest in the organization and open roles. In a highly competitive environment, it’s best to keep in touch with promising candidates in case a front-runner accepts an offer elsewhere. Maintaining these relationships saves you the time and hassle of starting the hiring process over again.

Remember that the pipeline also provides sourcing insights. From there, you can shift resources to the most successful platforms, such as paid social media, third-party job boards, industry groups, or in-house points of contact, like a career portal or email newsletter.

The software you use to set up the pipeline can also automate certain steps. You may want to set parameters for the program to weed out the applications that don’t fit your listing and advance the ones that do. Automation in the early stages makes your recruiting team more available for personal contact with candidates who are further along in the process.

Having a personal contact within the company helps active candidates get a better sense of who they’re considering working with, and can entice passive candidates to make a career change. New hires who feel welcome and familiar on the first day often have an easier time performing at a higher level and are more likely to stay. Not only does this improve employee satisfaction, but it also allows the organization to focus on expansion and creating new positions rather than backfilling.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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