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#FirstInHR: How to Build a Strong Talent Pipeline

In Sourcing — by Erin Engstrom

Like many business leaders, you want to cut down the time you spend on hiring, and find good candidates for every hiring cycle. In order to do so, you need a strong talent pipeline. So how do you build one? It’s an involved process that requires examining hiring from a number of perspectives, understanding the balance between time and quality, and making an effort to seek out new avenues in hiring to keep the pipeline fresh.

Promote Internally

Creating a talent pipeline doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. In fact, you might be surprised at how little building a strong talent pipeline hurts your budget. Here’s the secret: It’s been in front of you the whole time. If you want to build a more effective talent pipeline, consider promoting from within. As studies have shown, companies that fill more than a quarter of their management positions using outside hires have double the turnover of those that promote from within.

Strong can mean a number of things, and “efficient” is one of them. Save yourself the enormous capital by targeting some of your recruitment efforts internally. Developing a talent pipeline doesn’t require candidates from around the world to fill your open positions; sometimes the best (and least expensive) candidates are just around the corner.

Raise Your Standards

Part of building your strong talent pipelines has to do with process, but it also has to do with human decision-making. An applicant tracking system can help you reduce your candidate pool by as much as 75 percent, which helps when you’re inundated with applications from unqualified candidates. But your hiring team is ultimately going to make decisions about the candidates left over. And when it comes time to choose whom to interview, Anurag Gupta , vice president of Amazon Web Services, recommends you save yourself some time and be even more strict.

“For every person making it all the way through the interview loop , that can be 20 person-hours. If you multiply that by your hire ratio, you’ll see that this is just not scalable. You also have to consider the candidate experience­–they’re investing time with you just as you are with them. If someone makes it all the way to an onsite interview, you want to be able to tell them ‘yes’ a fair percentage of the time.”

Having access to a strong talent pipeline is important, but just because you have numerous strong, interview-worthy candidates doesn’t mean you have to put everyone through the ringer. Remember, you’re most likely only going to hire one of them. So make some additional cuts–you’ll be glad you did.

Build Diversity Into Your Pipeline

A strong talent pipeline requires a strong candidate pool, and a strong candidate pool is a diverse candidate pool. Not only does casting a wide recruiting net ensure diversity compliance is met, but studies show that ethnically diverse companies outperform homogenous companies by 35 percent.

Last year, 81 percent of companies said they planned to focus their recruiting efforts on more diverse candidates . It’s important to follow up on these plans. Currently only 13 percent of companies have someone responsible for diversity and inclusion. If your company isn’t large enough to support this role, consider bringing on an external consultant. Many companies are blind to the ways in which they ignore certain demographics in their hiring, so having someone on the outside look at your process from a new angle could be invaluable.

Integrating all these processes into your company could take some time, but the benefits of promoting from within, maximizing your hiring efficiency with stricter standards, and actively seeking out diverse candidates will, in the long run, give you the strong talent pipeline your company needs.

About the author
Erin Engstrom ( @erinaengstrom ) is the web content strategist at Recruiterbox. I’m in Chicago for now, but hope to take advantage of Recruiterbox’s remote workplace and do the digital nomad thing. Relax and eat the elephant one bite at a time.

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