recruitment pipeline

How to Create and Maintain a Recruitment Pipeline

What does your recruitment pipeline look like? A full inbox and a bunch of different spreadsheets? A sleek dashboard that lets you visualize all steps of your recruitment funnel? A Trello board where you keep track of candidates and their journey through your hiring process? 

Whatever your setup, you might be curious to learn more about recruitment pipelines and how you can improve the one you have so you can do a better job sourcing and recruiting.

In this blog post, we explain what a recruitment pipeline is and why it’s important and share tips on how to fill and maintain yours.

What’s a Recruitment Pipeline?

The original meaning of the word pipeline is this: a long pipe for carrying things over long distances.

Sales, marketing, finance and recruiting have borrowed the term because it perfectly captures the way their processes work. These industries are all about attracting leads and taking them on a multiphase journey toward an end goal. 

In recruiting, that journey is the hiring process, and the end goal is turning one or more job candidates into employees.

A recruitment pipeline is a way to organize the process so you can keep track of candidates, understand action items and visualize progress.

What’s in a Recruitment Pipeline?

As described in Your Guide to Perfecting Your Recruitment Funnel, the process of turning passive candidates into employees is made up of five stages: awareness, interest, application, selection and offer.

A recruitment pipeline typically focuses on the concrete events that begin when a prospect submits an application, i.e. the application stage, and looks something like this:

  1. Applied
  2. Phone Screen
  3. Test
  4. Interview
  5. Job Offer
  6. Hired

Your recruitment pipeline might look different, of course, depending on the complexity of your hiring process. 

Precisely because every company’s recruitment pipeline is somewhat unique, even talent acquisition software products allow for customization.

Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you might choose between spreadsheets, pipeline management software, project management software or talent acquisition software for visualizing your recruitment pipeline.

Why Focus on Your Recruitment Pipeline

Without an easy way to visualize your data about your hiring processes, it can be hard to stay organized and efficient.

You may have trouble engaging both passive and active candidates, tracking important metrics or identifying areas for improvement.

Gaining control over the hiring process by zooming in on its different parts will help you gain insights and make better decisions.

Filling Your Recruitment Pipeline

When a new vacancy opens, hiring authorities often want it filled as quickly as possible. They can put a lot of pressure on you to speed through the different stages of the recruitment life cycle in order to hire someone fast.

As a recruitment expert, you know that recruiting and hiring can’t be rushed. The solution, then, is to proactively source candidates before positions open.

Here’s how to ensure a continuous influx of qualified candidates to your recruitment pipeline:

Anticipate Needs

Which positions in your organization have the biggest turnover? Which positions are the hardest to hire for? Which skills are likely to be in demand in the near future? Use these questions as a starting point for anticipating hiring needs.

Set Targets

Understand your company’s short and long-term goals. Can you glean any insights from them about what future hires and skills requirements might look like? Share your thoughts with leaders and hiring managers, and make a plan to meet potential future needs that surface from these conversations.

Invest in Employer Branding

Having a constant supply of qualified candidates depends heavily on employer branding. Convince leaders of the importance of building an employer brand and work with them on strategies for portraying the organization as a great place to work.

Identify Ideal Candidates

Create candidate personas to represent ideal job candidates. Use them to identify real candidates with the right traits and skills.

Go Where Candidates Are

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter,, Slack. Go where qualified professionals with the skills you seek spend their time. Use the possibilities available in each platform to kickstart conversations with potential candidates.

Build Relationships

Invest time every day in connecting with people. Grab coffee with desirable prospects. Go to lunch with colleagues who can make referrals or intros. Cultivate connections online and offline and make an effort to continuously expand your network.

Maintaining Your Recruitment Pipeline

Without proper maintenance, your branding and sourcing efforts could go to waste. Tending to your recruitment pipeline is, therefore, crucial. Here are some suggestions for keeping your recruitment pipeline efficient:

Get Organized

Depending on the size of your organization and the frequency and number of hiring processes, it might be worth investing in talent acquisition software. Keeping all information in one place will help you stay on top of things and track important recruiting metrics.

Don’t Stop Sourcing

Ensure a steady influx of qualified, interested and available candidates by continuously working to identify talent.

Stay on Top of Hiring Needs

Stay in regular contact with hiring authorities and leaders to learn about changes that may result in hires.

Cultivate Relationships

Keep passive candidates engaged by personalized messages. Demonstrate interest in their current projects and share inside updates and news they might be curious about.

Recruitment Pipelines – Takeaways:

  • A recruitment pipeline helps you keep track of candidates and visualize their progress.
  • Having a way to visualize data about your hiring processes helps you stay organized and efficient.

  • Depending on your needs and preferences, you might choose to visualize your recruitment pipeline through spreadsheets, project management tools or talent acquisition software.

  • Leads give life to your recruitment pipeline, so it’s important to continuously source candidates.

  • Keeping passive and active candidates engaged is also key to keeping your recruitment pipeline efficient.