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Talent pipeline: overview
Blog //22-06-2021

Talent pipeline: overview

by Claire Ross, Head of Culture and Engagement

At Advanced, we understand that it is crucial, now more than ever for business leaders and HR professionals to have their finger on the pulse of their organisations. We know that helping you build your talent pipeline is one of the most effective means of ensuring that you have access to the right candidates to fit the roles you need and to ensure that your business can focus on driving profitability and productivity.

What is a talent pipeline?

Put simply, a talent pipeline is a ready pool of candidates with which organisations are easily able to connect in order fit a relevant need or fill an existing role. Businesses who utilise a talent pipeline naturally put themselves at an advantage when recruiting for a role as it shifts the process of recruitment from a reactive position to proactive one. The traditional hiring process can often be driven by an immediate need to fill a job role in order to ensure business continuity, rather than finding the best fit for the organisation. A talent pipeline allows businesses the ability to cultivate a pool of candidates who have been previously earmarked as a suitable fit, be that in a cultural, skillset or other sense.

How do you build a talent pipeline?

The key to building a talent pipeline lies in HR professionals and business leaders shifting their focus towards a proactive model of recruitment. Although it is a natural part of working life to find people leaving an organisation, even if an employee exit is sudden or unexpected, the most effective businesses should never find themselves scrambling to fill a role.

A focused, considered approach to recruitment is certain to reap dividends and ensure seamless business continuity for any organisations taking advantage. Research by CIPD shows that 44% of recruiters have significantly widened their geographic pool when searching for talent over the past year, as organisations scramble to fill positions over the course of the pandemic. A talent pipeline can help you avoid having to cast the net so wide by giving you access to a ready pool of candidates.

Building a talent pipeline is at its heart, an ever-evolving process. When hiring for roles, organisations should be considering their existing talent pool and assessing positions to identify which job roles are most critical to the successful day to day operations - See our workforce planning guide for tips. Think about outstanding performers in your organisation and the ways in which a new hire can complement their existing work. 

Company culture and business ethos are just as important as skillsets. When recruiting for a role, make a note of candidates who seem like a good fit for your company culture. Although their qualifications may not make them the ideal fit for an existing role, having ready contact with a candidate who will gel with your people and business ethos will naturally place them high on the list for future roles.

Nurturing contact with clients in your talent pipeline is essential in maintaining a positive working relationship. Keep clear and open lines of communication with candidates to ensure they receive honest feedback regarding interviews and also be upfront about your interest in keeping them on file. Demonstrate your interest in the candidate by pushing through relevant job openings, rather than relying on them returning to you through the recruitment process.

Fundamentally, the key to building a successful talent pipeline is to be honest and open about the shape of your organisation and what your requirements are for new talent filling that role. Build the recruitment process around long-term business strategy, considering how a new hire can complement and enhance your existing employees. None of us work in a vacuum and it is important that the recruitment process and the pool of talent which you draw from is factoring in the wider needs of the organisation.

How to develop a talent pipeline

As touched upon previously, the key to nurturing a strong talent pipeline is for businesses to take an ongoing and proactive approach to recruitment. By being honest and upfront about your organisation’s requirements and folding recruitment into discussions around long term strategy, you will be able to constantly manage and maintain your expectations for new talent and ensure that any new hires fit around your business goals.

The onerous will be on HR professionals to continuously nurture this pool of talent. HR software and systems have long been a fundamental part of the recruitment process and business leaders would do well to explore the merits of new technology, in order to help supplement the work of their HR teams and to shoulder some of the burden of managing and maintaining the recruitment process.

Make sure “Silver medalists” or other close shortlist candidates are priority points of contact for new roles. Take advantage of HR systems in order to build candidate persona stories, giving you an easy touchpoint for assessing the suitability and ensuring returning candidates receive a seamless, continuous recruitment experience that demonstrates prior knowledge of them.

Marketing and branding also plays a vital part in the recruitment process and making your organisation as attractive as possible to potential clients.A study by Research Gate notes a LinkedIn survey of 2250 corporate recruiters found that a strong talent brand can translate into 50% savings in cost per hires and 28 % lower turnover rate. Research Gate also found that recruitment material focused on employee stories and experiences were far more effective in engaging the interest of potential candidates. Be mindful of the fact that over the past year, candidates may have reassessed their priorities regarding what makes an organisation a good fit for them. A strong marketing presence and brand is your opportunity to put forward your company culture.

Building a stronger talent pipeline internally

What will determine the strength of your talent pipeline is how closely attuned it is with the needs and overall business strategy of your company. The best pipelines are more than just a ready pool of talent but also a metric of the existing company culture and ongoing goals.

Encouraging internal talent development of employees, assessing current performance and folding discussions around employee aspirations and goal setting into team discussions. Encourage managers and team leaders to assign leadership roles, additional tasks and problem solving exercises in order to assess employees for future suitability. Encourage a feedback model wherein employees who demonstrate continued commitment towards their role, receive praise from senior management. This can help significantly in increasing employee engagement levels and ensure that they remain motivated and committed to reaching business objectives.

Have open discussions about internal reward schemes and the scope for employment. Existing employees should be encouraged to hone their skills and consider their career pathway within the organisation and what positions might be suitable for them.

 By having a focus on internal development and recruitment, you can help ensure that when a position opens up, there should already be a ready list of interested and suitable candidates with the organisation. Continuous employee nurturing and development can also play a huge role in increasing engagement, job satisfaction and job retention levels.

Building a talent pipeline may seem like a daunting process and at Advanced, we understand the importance of getting it right first time. We are here to help your HR teams understand your talent pool and to focus on attracting the candidates you need in order to drive the future success of your organisation.

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Claire Ross

Claire Ross


Head of Culture and Engagement

As Head of Culture & Engagement, I'm focused on building positive moments that matter which in turn strengthen the relationship our colleagues have with OneAdvanced. Our employee experience is key to our business performance and from a background as a HR generalist, I see every aspect of the employee lifecycle as an opportunity to reinforce that we are an employer of choice.

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