7 Steps to Expand Your Candidate Pipeline

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Hiring new employees in your organization is not an easy task. It takes a ton of effort to hire the right candidate for any open job position and avoid a bad hiring decision. While you are working on prioritizing operational and growth plans, the recruitment team in your organization does its best to ensure continued hiring momentum as per the requirements. But as a good recruiter, you also have to fill the open positions within a minimum time.

This is where having a candidate pipeline of skilled, qualified professionals plays an important role. As per recent data, the unemployment rate in the U.S. in July 2022 stood at 3.5%. While the pandemic has lost its overpowering impact across the globe, candidate flow in various industries continues to be tight.

Despite these issues, you can still turn the tides in your favor by building up a candidate pipeline with the best talent and a robust sourcing strategy. Wondering how it is people when you are currently facing a hiring crunch and a lack of experienced individuals to work for your company? It may seem complicated at first but it is possible.

Before we reach the actionable part, let’s understand the need for a candidate pipeline in the first place.

Why Do Organizations Need a Candidate Pipeline?

Finding potential candidates that fit the open job positions can be a tedious task. The best options are quite limited when you are locating the right individuals in a pool of both unqualified and qualified talents. In many cases, you might have settled for a candidate who seems like the best person at that time even if he/she is not the best one for the position.

A key factor considered by the HR teams while dealing with recruitment challenges is time to hire. It refers to the period that starts when the hiring team contacts a prospect and ends when the employment offer is accepted. Teams having a high time to hire generally follow poor, loosely-defined hiring tactics. However, on the brighter side, the hiring teams can set alerts to identify and address the existing inefficiencies.

One way to address high time-to-hire is to focus on building a candidate pipeline of qualified professionals. By allocating different segments of a content pipeline to different job requisitions raised internally, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to recruit promising employees.

Since improving time-to-hire was one of the top five recruiting priorities (23%), it’s time to talk about what you can do to grow your candidate pipeline.

7 Steps to Grow Your Candidate Pool

1. Create an ideal candidate persona

With hundreds of applicants for open job positions in your organization, do you know if Sam is the right fit for Senior Architect or If Harry is the one you are looking for?

Here, Sam and Harry are not real people but candidate personas – a representation of an ideal candidate for a vacancy. The question you may want to ask is – why do you need to consider Sam and Harry?

It is because sourcing individuals from a generic pool is like shooting in the dark. You may get luck a few times but the chances of missing the right target are quite high. By creating candidate personas, you can benefit from identifying the traits of an ideal candidate and then designing your hiring strategy accordingly.

Such fictional personas include crucial details such as education, work experience, skill sets, professional goals, and preferences related to the work environment if any. Creating these personas involves research and brainstorming with various stakeholders to determine some of the most important characteristics of a preferred candidate.

While this may seem like a lot of upfront effort, having candidate personas by your side lays a strong foundation for the following steps in the hiring process to improve the quality of hires.

2. Develop detailed job descriptions

Once you have created the candidate personas for different job positions, the next big question is – How will you share it with the target candidates, and in which form?

This is where you need to develop job descriptions for the open job roles. An effective, engaging, and all-inclusive job description is the key to attracting the right talent to your organization. It also serves as a checklist for both you and the potential candidates to determine whether or not their skills, experience, and background are a good fit for the vacant job positions.

Coming to the elements to be included in the job descriptions, you must keep in mind that it should not be a list of skills you have identified. The best job descriptions combine various facets, like brand marketing, work culture, skills, and the reality of the role. Besides this, you must not alienate any individual based on class, color, race, religion, or gender to build a diverse pool of qualified employees. Given below are a few tips to get the job description right:

  • Creating an engaging overview or introduction
  • Avoid extreme modifiers or superlatives like the ‘best-in-class’ ‘best of the best’, etc.
  • Focus on growth and learning opportunities provided to the employees
  • Team up with the current employees to write detailed job descriptions

3. Set parameters for disqualifiers

When you start receiving applications for open job positions through your job description, the next step is not all about picking every candidate and offering him work opportunities. This is where you need to add the step of application review and screen them for disqualifiers. It simply means eliminating job applications based on the lack of skills and experience as asked for in the job description. There’s a valid reason why this is important. According to a survey, 74% of companies who made a bad hire lost $14,900 on average on every bad hire. The higher the position of a bad hire, the higher the cost of poor hiring decisions.

Screening the talent pool with disqualifiers early in the hiring process will eventually save your time and efforts. It will also ensure that you only follow up with potential candidates who have the required qualifications and skills. If you are looking for talent with certain specific skills and certifications, make sure you include technical assessment as a part of the interview process.

4. Minimize Unconscious Bias

While this term may sound slightly technical, it is quite self-explanatory. Unconscious bias refers to the underlying attitudes, social stereotypes, and beliefs that we unconsciously attribute to certain groups of people. In general, bias is a subconscious preference based on facts or past experiences but can have a negative impact on how people understand certain groups and interact with them.

Particularly during the hiring processes, these biases can be toxic in nature when the hiring managers consider some candidates differently than others. For example, bias can prevent highly qualified candidates from advancing in their careers or being included in the candidate pipeline. Furthermore, the impact does not end at the hiring stage. A recent inclusion survey found that 68% of individuals witnessing or experiencing bias confirms a drop in productivity.

While unconscious biases are not illegal, it is still frowned upon. The good news is – you can implement training programs and systems in place to eliminate any form of bias or discrimination. Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to reduce unconscious bias while building the talent pipeline:

  • Replace gender-specific pronouns with neutral words in the job descriptions
  • Remove candidate demographics to build a diverse culture
  • Address implicit bias with periodic training

5. Forecast Hiring Needs for the Upcoming Period

According to the SHRM study, 75% of HR professionals confirm the existence of skill gaps and shortages, which ultimately leads to recruitment challenges. This is where workforce forecasting can help predict your organization’s labor needs in the recent future.

Workforce forecasting basically helps in predicting the company’s workload to ensure that it is adequately staffed at the necessary times to handle the volumes of work available. Forecasting the hiring needs for the next six to twelve months will be advantageous for you in the following ways:

  • It will help you understand the workforce requirements across the organization.
  • It reduces the possible risk of staffing shortage.
  • It helps in examining current staffing skill sets to compare them with future needs.
  • It will help streamline recruitment strategy.

To create a forecasting plan, you can follow the tips given below:

  • Check your company’s goals in terms of revenue, profitability, and targeted growth
  • Map the impact of forecasted hiring on different departments
  • Loop in hiring managers to address the skill gaps
  • Consider attrition and turnover rate alongside
  • Prioritize hiring needs to build the talent pipeline
  • Create and maintain an internal talent inventory

6. Research the market to build the talent pool

For many businesses, the hiring strategy can be a bit of a crap shoot. Interviews are conducted on gut decisions paired with unconscious bias. But the resultant hiring decisions can also backfire severely, costing the organization time and money to terminate bad hires and then re-hire new employees. Calculative research can help you streamline hiring decisions for the better.

With the help of research findings and data, you can create an organized recruitment process that will lead to better hiring decisions. For example, if you want to fill an open position of a software engineer, you can dig deeper to find their demographics, compensation expectations, qualifications, and experience based on statistical data. Conducting research the right way will let you know if the candidates can walk the walk in specific roles and are happy to be included in your candidate pipeline.

7. Build Strong Employee Referral Policies

While your hiring managers work hard in sifting through applications and vetting applications, you can give their efforts a positive push through an employee referral program. It can be your best bet to improve various important recruitment metrics, such as time-to-hire and cost-per-hire. Being an internal method to find job candidates, it is based on asking their existing employees to recommend candidates from their networks. In return, you can offer different types of rewards to your employees.

As the research says, the current job market is highly candidate-driven (90%), which means you do not pick talent. Rather, the talent picks you. With employee referral, you can improve the quality of hire while also increasing the employee retention rate.

Where Does a Staffing Agency Fit in Building the Pipeline?

For most organizations, a vacant position costs them money and also delays operations. Although you or your team would do your best to fill up job positions as quickly as possible, the process can take a long time, depending on your industry and specific needs. You can benefit from hiring a staffing agency to further streamline the candidate pipeline and reduce the time to hire.

With its expertise in hiring for specific roles or industries and a vast network, the right staffing agency can further help in reducing overhead costs.

Build Your Candidate Pipeline with Connect Tech+Talent

Building a candidate pipeline is not a one-time activity and calls for continued efforts. Tackle the related hiring challenges smartly when you hire Connect Tech+Talent – a reputable Austin-based staffing agency. To know more, click here

How can Connect Tech+Talent Help?

Connect Tech+Talent is in the business of finding the right talent for companies. Connect Tech+Talent takes the overbearing burden of finding human resources with the right skill set and lets companies focus on their core business. We specialise in IT jobs, helping businesses build and ramp up their technical staffing. We help build entire teams with the right set of skills in the technology that best suits their business.

We at Connect Tech+Talent will also help you as a candidate to acquire most sought after technical skills and forward your candidature to leading enterprises with global reach.

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