Sourcing 101: Candidate Pipelining

What is pipelining? As recruiting professionals, we know what it is….but where to start and how to execute effectively is a common challenge in our field. If you are consistently sourcing from the same competitors or for similar positions, pipelining provides you the opportunity to have a candidate list ready to discuss with a hiring manager after your first intake meeting.

Building a pipeline of candidates by sourcing for openings you are likely to have in the future allows you to manage your daily tasks efficiently and limits your daily sourcing needs going forward. With no urgent need to contact the pipelined candidates, you can focus on gathering data and dedicating 1-2 hours per day of pipeline building activity.

There are five key components to pipelining:

Ongoing Company Name Generation

Build a list of companies. For some staffing professionals, certain competitor companies are off limits. While this can be a hurdle, a successful strategy will focus on looking for more competitor names every day just as you would look for more people from the companies you already have on your “green” list. Dedicate yourself to finding a minimum of 2-3 new companies to add daily. If you are part of a sourcing team, share the list either on an internal SharePoint system, company network drive, or online collaboration tool like Google Docs or Stixy (very cool tool for recruiters on a 0$ budget).

Ongoing People Generation

Build a List of people. Spreadsheets should be set up to have all the fields that would be easily sortable (i.e. Name, Title, Company, Location, Source, Contact Information, & Notes). Sort your list and collaboration lists by company and name and look for new people. Sort by company and title to be sure you are capturing all the people with a specific skill set from target companies.

Cross Referencing the ATS

If you are finding names of people not on your list that are already in the ATS, you need to cross reference constantly as you’ll save time in the long run. People you find on a social media site might have applied for any opening at your company five years ago, and their personal email address could still be valid. Also, if they interviewed and didn’t do well, you might not want to spend time trying to recruit them again for a similar role for the same hiring manager.

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Targeted Lists of Resources

A great resource list for targeted resources includes LinkedIn, Plaxo, & Jigsaw for just about any search. They are proven resources for “scraping names” up front. Focusing on a specific opening, start with those sites and then add in searching the Deep Web, Names Searches and other Social Sites.

Generating Contact Information

There are several good ways to generate contact information. A best practice can include splitting up tasks 2, 3 and 5 from this list and dedicating sourcing time to each specific task. For example, spend 2 hours doing People Generation, the next day spend 2 hours cross referencing the ATS, and with remaining time, focus on finding contact information for the targeted candidates.

Building a candidate pipeline is an essential task that can save you hours in your recruitment day as you plan ahead. Whether you are a solo Sourcing Recruiter, or a Sourcing Specialist on a Sourcing Team, pipelining can be extremely valuable to the quick recruitment of passive candidates for future requisitions!

Ryan Phillips is a technical writer & sourcing researcher at AIRS. She lives in Helena, Montana. Joining AIRS in 2010, she transitioned to the role from the internal recruiting team at The RightThing. Phillips began her recruiting career working for a technical recruitment staffing firm in the Silicon Valley, where she recruited for IT, Engineering, Marketing, and Accounting. She later moved into the RPO field, where she did mainly niche engineering recruitment for Microsoft. She works on curriculum development for all AIRS courses, including the industry-leading AIRS Certification classes. She also continues to consult with RPO clients on their social media branding strategies, as well as support the internal RightThing sourcing team to develop client specific sourcing strategies.


5 Comments on “Sourcing 101: Candidate Pipelining

  1. Anyone using something besides an Excel spreadsheet to mange their passive/pipeline lists? We would love to get away from more spreadsheets but are struggling with using our current ATS (Taleo) as a CRM.

    1. If you want CRM functionality for recruiting, get a CRM for recruiting.  Since Taleo is your ATS, note that some vendors have partial integrations w/it (e.g., AIRS SourcePoint, Avature) but true bidirectional functionality between Taleo and any CRM isn’t there yet.

  2.  Pipelining helps build credibility with the hiring managers because we can better anticipate their needs by having qualified candidates ready.  Great article with actionable things we can all do to pipeline! 

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