The Long Game: How to Keep Your Talent Pipeline Organically Healthy

Everyone wants instant results, especially when it comes to recruitment. Hirers want their positions filled yesterday. Candidates are desperate to end uncertainty and take their next career step. But quickfire placements are not always possible. Sometimes, recruitment is a long game.

A whopping 75% of employers are struggling to find talent with the skills they need. By 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them.

Finding top-notch candidates is a relentless task, and in 2024’s hiring climate, a robust talent pipeline of skilled and qualified people is critical. 

Here’s everything you need to know to keep your talent pipeline brimming with possibilities.

What is the Long Game in Recruitment?

Playing the long game in recruitment isn’t new. Recruiters must always think ahead. But with talent thin on the ground, the focus has shifted towards building longer-term relationships to counter the shortage of qualified people and keep a steady flow of eager potential candidates. 

It entails predicting roles and skill requirements and nurturing, developing, and engaging with potential candidates so they are primed and ready for opportunities as they arise. Often, pipelines get nourished over many months or even years.

Savvy recruiters understand that it can take time from the first engagement with a potential candidate to an eventual hire. Digging in for the long haul can pay off regarding high-calibre talent because it takes time to get to know the intricacies of a candidate and build trust. Spending this time getting to know potential candidates can unearth hidden gems. The relationship aspect of recruitment is what the long game is all about.

The Difference Between Talent Pool and Talent Pipeline

The recruitment terms ‘talent pool’ and ‘talent pipeline’ often need clarification, so here’s a quick recap.

What is a Talent Pool?

The talent pool encompasses all the people in your database. It includes passive candidates you’ve engaged with, potential hires you’ve met at job fairs or networking events, anyone who has made contact via text or Chatbot, candidates who have been rejected for a role, former candidates, and anyone else who has been added to your database from other sources. 

Your talent pool includes everyone you’ve ever contacted, so it covers a diverse set of skills and experiences. Only some people in your talent pool will be suitable for some jobs, and some won’t make the grade at all.

What is a talent pipeline?

A talent pipeline is more refined than a talent pool. It has a much more proactive edge because it focuses on identifying and cultivating a bank of potential candidates for specialized roles. A talent pipeline offers the highest quality candidates with the most potential.

The talent pipeline is like a sales funnel or succession planning. Pipelining requires getting to know potential hires over time to better understand their interests, goals and wants. Talent pipelines are generally primed for hard-to-fill roles or positions you hire for frequently.

The Importance of Engagement: Why One-time Interactions Are a Thing of the Past

Talent scarcity has turned traditional recruiting on its head. A straightforward search and the notion of one-time interactions are now considered outdated. 

Sustained candidate engagement is now fundamental for building a robust talent pipeline. Sharing content, participating in industry-relevant discussions, and engaging with professionals on social media platforms are now essential for nurturing relationships and making meaningful connections.

team members at work looking at mobile phone

As candidate sourcing strategies adapt to an evolving job market, consistent engagement with potential and past candidates, both successful and rejected, is increasingly valuable. For example, following previous candidates’ career trajectories and reconnecting with them when a perfect job match opportunity arises could lead to unexpected interest.

None of this can be achieved with minimal engagement. It’s simply not enough to engage with candidates on one or two occasions and then let their details languish in the recesses of your database.

Relationship building is fundamental to good recruiting and is just as crucial for your brand. Importantly, maintaining a relationship with potential candidates means you’re not always starting from scratch when a job opens. Engagement also enables recruiters to understand the gaps in candidates’ skill sets. Identifying training needs is a crucial step in priming candidates for difficult-to-fill roles.

The Importance of an Effective Content Strategy

Creating compelling content for candidate engagement is crucial for attracting, nurturing, and building rapport with potential hires. Great content can spark conversations and enable recruiters to understand potential hires’ needs and wants and learn more about attitudes and beliefs.

Content to enhance engagement could include:

  • Interactive job descriptions
  • Employee testimonials
  • Insightful blogs 
  • Thought leadership articles
  • Company updates, industry news and career path infographics
  • Email campaigns
  • Skill development resources
  • Diversity and inclusion success stories
  • AI-driven personalization

Great content can help to pique interest, but it requires a strategy and needs to be relevant and exciting. You mustn’t be too quiet or bombard people.

How to Spot, Engage and Nurture High-potential Candidates

Mastering the talent pipeline is an art. There’s a lot involved in identifying, engaging with, and nurturing high-potential candidates.

Here are six key essentials for cultivating a network of exceptional professionals ready to fuel your talent pipeline.

1. Dive Into Diverse Sourcing

People reaching for a job offer

It’s essential to seek out niche platforms and engage with potential talent from underrepresented backgrounds. While culture fit is commonly hyped up, culture add is becoming a much more forward-thinking way of building an exceptional team. Don’t rule out those who don’t fit the usual mould. For upcoming hard-to-fill roles, shift your attention away from the typical candidate profile. Remember, a perfect fit on paper isn’t necessarily your best hire.

Diverse sourcing enriches the talent pipeline and helps combat talent shortages. Carry out a diversity audit. Change up your job ads and other content and consider your reach. Expand your sourcing databases and tools to include job boards and social media platforms catering to diverse talent.

2. Embrace AI and Automation 

Recruitment automation is now necessary as it streamlines workflows and gives recruiters time to focus on the human aspect of hiring. 

By sequencing comms and segmenting candidates, you can ensure timely and relevant engagement with the right people without creating busy work. 

Intelligent AI-based tools can gather data on candidates, and then process it to speed up and streamline multiple processes, including job board trawling, candidate screening, resume parsing, video interviews, and email sequencing. 

3. Mine Your Existing Database

Colleagues discussing new presentation on computer

Your next perfect hire could already be in your database. With the right recruiting software, well-developed search semantics and intelligent algorithms can determine probable candidates by evaluating the skills, experience, and other characteristics of previous hires.

Mining data is no longer a once-in-a-blue-moon project; it’s something recruiters regularly need to do. The strength of your data will depend on the search capabilities of your CRM and ATS and the cleanliness of your data.

4. Build a Runners-up Pool

Do your ‘nearly-made-it’ stars fall off a cliff edge? Segment your runners-up to make it easy to consider them for future roles. Regularly vet this cohort for your talent pipeline. 

5. Set Up a Referral Program

Referrals should be in your talent pipeline mix as they are more likely to land hires than most other recruiting methods. Zippia employee referral stats show they account for 30-50% of all hires, and 88% of employers rate employee referral programs as the best source of applicants. The stats also show that referred candidates are 2.6% to 6.6% more likely to accept job offers. 

6. Internal Client Development

Businesses managing their recruitment needs should always work towards identifying and developing high-potential employees and promoting them within the organization. 

People want to work for employers who care about their development. While low pay is the number one reason employees leave their jobs, research by Statista shows a lack of advancement opportunities is also highly cited as a reason for quitting.

Passive Candidates: How Recruiters Can Engage With This Group

A group of businesspeople discussing work during a meeting

Sometimes, the best hires are the ones who don’t know they are looking. A passive candidate is already employed and not currently looking for a new job, or rather, they have yet to learn they are interested in a new position. 

The best way to find passive candidates is by being proactive on social media. Share industry news, highlight excellent placements, and participate in conversations. Use industry-relevant hashtags and keywords to search for niche fields. 

Building a presence is a long game, so be patient. Over time, showcasing your excellent work as a recruiter will eventually pique passive candidates’ interest. Entice them with relevant content – an article entitled, ‘When is it a good time to move jobs?’ could sew an unexpected seed.

Recruitment Software: How Tracker Makes It Easy to Identify and Engage With Talent

Recruitment software plays a crucial role in candidate sourcing and enhancing candidate engagement. The right tools can make a huge difference when replenishing the talent pipeline.

Tracker’s advanced recruitment software offers a combined ATS & CRM, giving recruiters a whole raft of tools that support the nurturing of a robust talent pipeline, including:

  • Data-driven automation – identify candidates from various sources, including job boards, social media, and professional networks.
  • Customizable semantics – deep intelligence leading to better hiring
  • Auto-matching – automate talent searches for better fit, including qualifications, and identify fresh prospects at scale
  • Email sequencing and campaigns – multiple, personalized emails to nurture talent throughout the recruiting funnel
  • A branded, personalized experience – build affinity for your brand and attract top talent

Contact our recruitment software specialists to learn more about how Tracker can boost your talent pipeline and land you the best hires.

Marketer in the Staffing and recruiting industry for over 6 years with a passion for building relationships and educating staffing professionals with industry best practices.

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