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Imagine having a warm candidate slate at your fingertips for your next-hard-to-hire role. Those who pipeline talent are living that dream (and probably having more lunch breaks than you!). Pipelining not only saves you and your team from reinventing the wheel for every role, it reduces time to hire and leads to better quality candidates. We get that it’s a “chicken-egg” situation. If you’re thinking, “How can I find time to pipeline when I can’t even find time to adequately source?”, read on. A pipelining strategy will pay off (we promise!).

Here are 11 tips to get you started:

  1. Prioritize where you pipeline
    Focus on skills your business recruits for repeatedly and roles that are hard to fill. This will increase your chances of filling these roles quickly, reducing cost per hire and time to fill.
  2. Pre-screen for top performers
    Save time: before placing a candidate in your pipeline, find out from mutual connections whether they are a cultural or performance fit.
  3. Get hiring manager commitment
    The best pipelines are built in partnership with hiring managers. Get buy-in by explaining the benefits of pipelining in terms they can understand – instead of talking “time to hire” use
    metrics such as “getting x people to sales productivity y weeks earlier.”
  4. Stay organized
    Create one “source of truth” to keep your team on the same page. Use it to keep track of candidates contacted, responses, and interest levels.
  5. Treat your pipeline with respect
    Consider your pipeline a community, not a database. Respect the candidate’s time by asking him/her, “How often would you like to touch base?” To deliver what you promise, send
    yourself calendar reminders to continue the conversation.
  6. Personalize your message
    Have a real reason to message someone – for example, an article that reminded you of a conversation or a work anniversary congratulations. Encourage your recruiters to brand
    themselves and personalize their messages.
  7. Stay visible and accessible
    Rather than hounding prospects relentlessly through labor-intensive conversations, stay top-of-mind by using indirect channels like LinkedIn status updates and Twitter. Post articles
    about your company and industry to keep them interested.
  8. Embrace a culture of networking
    Encourage your team to get out of the office to attend industry events. Set up a referral system for passive candidates even when jobs aren’t available.
  9. Set clear targets for your team
    Know your ratios of screens to hire to estimate how many people to engage to reach your goals. Create a plan for how many of each skill set they need to find, shortlist and submit each week.
  10. Measure progress
    Create a pipelining strategy that pulls in talent from multiple channels like Recruiters, Job Applications, Employee Referral Programs and Direct Sourcing. Measure which ones produce the most hires over time.
  11. Recognize success
    Provide special public recognition for every hire resulting from your pipeline. Acknowledge recruiter-hiring manager duos who successfully collaborate to fill your pipeline with
    quality candidates.