Hiring pipeline: Strengthen your recruitment process

Last updated:
December 12, 2020
November 17, 2022
min read
Adrie Smith
hiring pipeline
Table of contents

If you think a hiring pipeline as just another buzzword, you’re probably still into reactive hiring. You’re also most likely unprepared and feel stressed when a new vacancy comes up, especially for those difficult to fill roles.Rest assured that a hiring pipeline isn’t just another passing buzzword! A little knowledge in this area will go a long way and building a healthy hiring pipeline can take you from reactive to proactive recruitment. You’ll also move from making job offers with fingers crossed to hiring with confidence.The days of spreadsheets, an inbox filled with applications, and a list of confusing subfolders to separate your different vacancies are over! An ATS gets rid of all that laborious time-wasting and easily sorts every step of the recruitment process into stages for you.

What is a hiring pipeline?

A hiring pipeline is the overview of stages that each candidate follows. It extends from application through to offer or rejection. It covers all of the different stages of the hiring process for each vacancy. Because of inherent differences between vacancies, screening, interview, and assessment procedures will differ.In general, all vacancies have an application, screening, and interview process. However, depending on the level of the job or skills required, you might need to add a number of interviews into the process, or skills or personality assessments.If you’re trying to keep track of your hiring pipeline by using spreadsheets, it’s easy to see how quickly you can lose track, especially if you’re working with a hiring team. An ATS allows you to track the progress of each vacancy, step by step, in real time via your dashboard.The data provided on your dashboard allows you to see at what stage candidates are in the process. With real-time information, you can quickly identify bottlenecks in your processes, lack of progress or whether you must stop advertising or start re-advertising specific vacancies.

hiring pipeline in recruitment process
Use a hiring pipeline overview to guide your prioritization.

Using your hiring pipeline as a tool

A well-managed and refined hiring pipeline is a tool to evaluate your recruitment process. Consider management expectations and check the ROI on advertising spend.When we’re under pressure it’s easy to fall into a rut; “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” the saying goes. We don’t always realize it: sometimes our systems are broken and no longer fit for purpose. We could be doing things better, but we don’t take the initiative until it’s absolutely necessary!Being able to assess your hiring process on your dashboard with the option of delving into the analytics behind the graphs and numbers means you can easily evaluate progress. You can readily identify what works, what doesn’t, and where you’re going wrong.

3 problems a hiring pipeline could help you identify

1. Time to hireThe issue of time to hire is a major headache for both recruiters and management. A position with critical skills that remains open for too long can start having a knock-on effect.Any key post that’s part of a series of processes within a team of employees can stall productivity that your business can’t afford. Hypothesizing about time to hire and seeing the process happen on your dashboard are total opposites.2. Managing management expectationsHaving access to real-time analytics allows recruiters and line managers to assess the actuality of the process and develop realistic expectations about filling vacancies. If a position proves to be hard to fill because of skills requirements, you can start putting systems in place build a talent pool of candidates for future vacancies. This is not only proactive hiring but predictive hiring as well.3. BudgetThe cost to hire is another issue that regularly raises its head in management meetings. Being able to analyze where you get the best ROI on job advertising spend is very important. Time to hire also impacts costs.Identifying which job boards or media channels deliver the best candidates means that you have more control over your budget. Being able to draw candidates from your talent pool is an ideal cost saver.

pipeline recruitee
Monitoring key metrics per job will help you maintain a healthy pipeline of candidates.

Future talent comes from your current hiring pipeline

Today’s hiring pipeline is an excellent tool for building your talent pool for future hires. A talent pool of skilled candidates who are keen to join your company is a valuable asset. Instead of panicking when a new vacancy comes up, you can turn to your talent pool!Often we have quite a few great candidates for a vacancy, but we can only appoint one. If you don’t have a talent pool, you won’t be able to track great talent. When a similar post opens in the future, you’re back to advertising and all the expense and time that goes with finding a suitable candidate.You won’t need to advertise if you maintain a robust and engaged talent pool. You could actually source a suitable candidate within a matter of hours. Just imagine, and that’s certainly no far-fetched notion! If you’re using an ATS to keep track of candidates in your talent pool. If you engage with them regularly, your time to hire will improve and so will your advertising spend.

Your hiring pipeline is also a marketing tool

Recruiters today are responsible for marketing their employer brand. This can seem like a full-time job even outside of baseline recruiting tasks. If you haven’t started building and investing in your employer brand strategy yet, be assured that your competitors have, and you’re being left behind.A strong employer brand can be the clincher when it comes to a top candidate deciding to accept your offer or another. Some candidates will decline a higher salary for a superior employer brand. Attracting and employing the best talent is vital for your company’s continued success.Research shows that 83% of job seekers consider a company’s reviews and ratings before they apply for a vacancy. If your employer brand isn’t comparing well with, or better still, outdoing the competition, there’s talent out there that you might never even get to engage with.Creating an employer brand is an ongoing and continually evolving process, and how you treat candidates in your hiring pipeline is a reflection of your brand. Taking weeks to respond to unsuitable applicants (or worse still, not responding at all) and delays during the hiring process put candidates off.Your hiring process is both an exercise in promoting your employer brand and an effort to fill a vacancy. Generally, candidates respond to being treated well by leaving good reviews and ratings. Conversely, people can just as easily react in anger or frustration. Candidates will leave horrible ratings if they’ve been poorly treated.If tracking your hiring pipeline while building and engaged talent pool and marketing your employer brand sounds mind-boggling, you haven’t invested in an ATS yet. The artificial intelligence and automation competencies of an ATS will free you from the drudgery of the recruitment process.With more time on your hands, you’ll be able to engage, analyze, optimize, communicate better.  But most of all, you’ll put your employer brand a few crucial steps ahead of your competitors.

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