The beginning of this century has turned the art and science of doing business upside down. Disruption is one word that can summarize this changed landscape. Water cooler conversations in HR bays most probably centers on the much laundered topic- How do we build an effective talent hiring pipeline?

Why does one need to identify and engage a potential employee? Wouldn’t the hire-when-vacant scenario work best, as always?

Yes, hiring to meet immediate needs is a track that will continue unabated. However there is a need to proactively scour the talent market and pick out talent that may be potential fit to various roles in the organization.

Let us call it an innovation driven by necessity. 


What is Talent pipeline?

Like its name sake, pipeline, Talent pipeline is identifying, adding (talent database), and engaging external talent that can at a later stage be hired immediately. This exercise spans across all roles and levels in the organization. However the emphasis is on roles that are supercritical to the business/department. 

Passive candidates

The advent of Social media has provided the boost to hiring pipeline by reaching out to passive talent. 

Passive talent are those that are not actively looking for job opportunities (companies, roles, employment types)but are willing to talk to recruiters when contacted. These candidates make up a whopping 80% of workforce. And a healthy percentage among them is actually looking for job opportunities though not explicitly advertise their desire through job boards. Therefore a potential opportunity to engage with these candidates cannot be ignored. Social media networks, talent communities and referrals are a few of these media to net such talents. 

How is Talent pipeline important? 

The evolving science of Talent management has now made organizations realize in situ talent acquisition processes need innovation. It is advisable to look out for talent that is amenable to a change in job position and engage with him/her. This will help recruiters target the talent as and when need arises to recruit that talent. Reasons like superannuation of existing talent, incapacitated employees, and re-alignment of business provide the grounds for this sort of parallel recruitment because these are anticipated to happen in organizations. 

Building talent pipeline pays huge dividends. First, due to engagement you know the talent pretty well to tag him/her as super talent, good, mediocre, or bad. Invariably you are building a database of not just talent but also qualifying them. 

Second, you avert the need to start from scratch when hiring because you already know the people you will be targeting.
A report from LinkedIn mentions that 82 percent of recruiters keep and engage with the talent they identify for later plausible hiring. 

But the Hitch is… 

The Talent acquisition resources do a good job of identifying the potential candidates for later acquisition but find it an uphill task to continuously engage with these identified resources. 

In addition, the tools/software dedicated to perform; support and archive end-to-end talent pipelines exercise is either not present or is grossly inadequate. This hinders pipelining efforts in organizations. 

Recruitment is a process riding on relationships. And for talent pipelining, this relationship building starts even before an actual job application lands in HR database. You identify a talent, reach out to him/her and strike a rapport via effective conversation and empathy. 


Talent pipeline is a profitable approach to net the star employees not withstanding ambiguity and lacunae in support functions. If your HR organization sees no merit in talent pipeline or is treating it as ad-hoc arrangement then you stand to lose quite a lot. Because LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends Survey, 2011, claims that passive talent hiring is important to at least two-thirds of recruiters and that 82% of them stay engaged with passive talent using various methods.

Why you must Build a Talent Pipeline 

Building a talent pipeline helps you start early in the talent market and reserve the best talent for absorbing at a later stage. The steps you take constitute a talent pipeline buildup and consequently beneficial. These are: 

• Engage with the talent regularly so when the time comes for hire you can accelerate the engagement.
• Due to continuous engagement candidates feel their talent is respected and hence feel loyal to your organization. They will be inclined to join your organization when it is time to hire, even when others are competing to hire them.
• You cannot predict when a vacancy can arise especially in critical roles. There is a danger of business getting affected. So be proactive and build a talent pipeline especially for these special roles.
• Use this opportunity to spread visibility and aid in brand building exercise for your company. Candidates will have a good opinion about the company due to your humane efforts to reach out to them. 


Building and managing a pipeline will reap dividends in the longer run. Proactive recruiting does not drain resources and stretch efforts (screening process) as does the usual reactive recruiting. 

Organizations that want to stay relevant in market, especially the service oriented ones, will find a better return on the recruiting efforts with such proactive talent pipelining exercise. 

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