How to Build an Effective Talent Pipeline to Hire Right Candidates

Updated on: 19 October 2022 | 6 min read

In today’s fast-paced business environment, you don’t necessarily need to wait until an employee leaves to start hiring new team members. A solid talent pipeline can expedite the hiring process and help attract the best talent into the company.

This blog post aims to shed light on why you need a talent pipeline and how it can improve the quality of candidates. It will also guide you through the steps in building an effective talent pipeline.

What Is a Talent Pipeline?

Talent pipelines refer to a company’s requirement to have a continuous pool of qualified candidates who can be potentially hired to fill positions at various levels in the organization. Since different positions demand varied skills and competencies, the company must develop appropriate programs to develop the required skills sets.

Your talent pool should ideally consist of candidates whose competencies are desirable to the organization. Thus, having a talent pipeline propels the need for continual grooming and cultivating top talent from both inside and outside the company.

A healthy recruiting pipeline enables you to forge strong relationships with potential candidates.

Difference Between Talent Pipeline and Succession Planning

Talent pipeline and succession planning have a similar objective – that is to fill a vacant position. However, the difference of each process lies in their implementation.

A talent pipeline is primarily used to attract newer or in most cases junior talent into the business. Succession planning, however, is utilized to identify and groom new leaders who can become successors for senior leadership positions.

Benefits of a Talent Pipeline

Engaging Passive Candidates

Imagine a scenario where you meet a potential candidate for an existing or future vacancy in your company. Now this candidate may not be actively searching for a job. Having a talent pipeline allows you to maintain relationships with a prospective candidate who may be re-approachable later down the line. Moreover, the familiarity of the first interaction will prove to be advantageous and there is a higher likelihood that the candidate will respond.


Gone are the days when you had to spend on vacancy advertisements. Now you can have a pool of approachable candidates who are skilled and well-suited for the role. A talent pool can reduce the cost of advertising. More importantly, it can eliminate the initial screening of candidates because you already completed that when you entered candidates to the talent pool.

This also reduces the risk of a bad hire, potentially saving you time and money.

Hire Right Candidates

As mentioned earlier, a talent pipeline allows you to maintain a pool of candidates who are suited for current or future positions within the company. This not only reduces the time taken to recruit an employee but also prevents you from making hasty or ill-advised hiring decisions.

Since you have already engaged with the potential hires, you are already somewhat familiar with their skills and qualifications. A talent pipeline also enables you to plan in advance and be strategic about filling the existing skill gaps.

Improves Candidate Experience

The traditional process of posting job vacancies and waiting for applicants can be somewhat disengaging for the candidates. A talent pipeline provides an engaging experience for prospective employees and helps cultivate a positive perspective towards the organization.

The interaction that a recruiter carries out with an applicant along the talent pipeline allows the candidate to engage in his/her own terms. It enables him/her to have a more informative experience throughout the hiring process.

How to Build a Talent Pipeline for Your Business

We broke down the process of building a talent pipeline into the following steps.

Talent Pipeline Template - how to build a talent pipeline
Talent Pipeline Template (Click on the image to edit it online)

Assess the Current Skill Requirements of Your Organization

The first step in building a recruitment pipeline is to assess whether there are existing skill gaps and talent needs in the organization.

You can do this by visualizing an org chart and analyzing the critical roles in operations management. Once the roles are identified, conduct an assessment of the skills required by each position.

Map out organization charts for each department of the company on a single canvas to identify existing skill gaps. This knowledge can help plan an effective talent pipeline since it gives you a clear idea on the type of candidates to approach.

Creately is already armed with multiple customizable templates of org charts that help you analyze the most important roles in the company.

Organization Chart With Responsibilities - how to build a talent pipeline
Organization Chart With Responsibilities (Click on the image to edit it online)

Identify Talent Sources

If you have conducted a successful skill assessment, then move on to identifying potential internal and external talent sources.

  • Referrals from current employees is an internal talent source. Encourage your team members to refer potential candidates for future opportunities. You can even develop a strategy to reward employees whose referrals lead to hires.

  • Social platforms such as LinkedIn are great external sources to approach potential candidates. These platforms allow you to get an idea of the skills of potential candidates and go a step further to engage with them.

  • Networking events too provide opportunities to identify prospective candidates and build relationships and maintain a channel of communication with them. This practice enables you to approach them whenever there is an opportunity within the company.

  • Recruiting databases are another source to gain instant access to a large number of applicants so that you have a wider selection.

Reach out to Potential Candidates

Once you have identified the sources, you can start reaching out to prospective applicants. Firstly, assess the candidates that you came across on all the above platforms. Use the following questions to base your assessment.

  • Does the applicant have the necessary skills/qualifications and/or experience suited for a particular position in the company?

  • Will he/she fit in with the company culture?

  • What new skills will he/she be able to acquire if selected?

  • Will he/she have a career progression pathway within the organization?

Engage with prospective candidates and let them know about potential opportunities in the organization. Since most candidates in your talent pool will be passive candidates, maintain a fine balance of meaningful interactions without irritating them with too much information.

Focus on Training and Development

Building a talent pipeline goes beyond merely building and maintaining it. Once you hire candidates from within the pipeline, make sure to continuously nurture them through appropriate training.

Training and development motivate employees to perform better and contributes to employee retention as it enhances employee engagement and satisfaction.

Talent Management Process - how to build a talent pipeline
Talent Management Process (Click on the template to edit it online)

Create a Pipeline for a Smooth Flow

Creating a recruiting pipeline does require a fair amount of work upfront, but it can be one of the most important assets that your company may possess. It effectively reduces the time taken to hire new employees and allows you to plan ahead in terms of selecting the best candidates.

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Hansani Bandara

Hansani is a content specialist at Creately. She loves reading and writing about tech innovations. She enjoys writing poetry, travelling and photography.

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