The Vision of Pipeline Sourcing – Part 1

As we take our transformational journey in talent acquisition, we’ve seen significant shifts in how companies obtain talent. Throughout the years we have seen talent acquisition move from being order takers to becoming a strategic partner within the business (some more successful than others, this will be a future article) in the quest of securing the best talent.

Reactive versus Pro-Active Recruiting

In years past, companies have consumed themselves with deploying a “just in time” (JIT) approach to recruiting. Recruiters are assigned requisitions, need to deploy their full recruiting arsenal to ensure active candidates apply for the job and attract passive candidates to a job needing to be filled immediately due to someone leaving the organization.

You know the story, you hear it with every open requisition.

“It’s a critical, urgent role that needs to be filled “IMMEDIATELY.”  

In the traditional methodology of recruiting, the organization reacts then responds quickly to ensure there is minimal suffering to the business while the position remains vacant.

What happens next? A slew of unqualified candidates applies to the requisition, bogging the process down as the recruiter manages thirty (30) other requisitions and when the recruiter has the chance to source passive candidates in their spare time, it’s usually too little too late.

With each day you get further and further behind, with managers screaming why don’t you have any candidates. You’re stressed.

In your spare time, you speak to some qualified passive talent, but they’re not interested, timing’s not right, you have heard it before, they don’t want to switch jobs:

  • before the holidays,
  • after the holidays,
  • before the summer break,
  • after the kid’s summer vacation,
  • on a Tuesday

I think you get my point.

Passive candidates are rarely available at the time you need them. Meanwhile, 60 days later you are driving this reactionary process down an endless road which is killing your time to hire, your credibility, and your morale.

It’s very frustrating, to the point many early career recruiters flee the profession before they really get a chance to be successful or really understand what recruiting is.

Those recruiters who stick it out? Well, you know the story.

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The labor market has changed as it does with the economy. Philosophies have changed as well, and they had too!

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Companies suffer when they’re not able to secure talent they need, whether it’s due to a reduction in sales, a slowdown in design from engineering, or the inability to start a project because there’s no project manager.

You name the role and if the business is short one person it impacts how they get the job done, ultimately affecting the organization’s bottom line.

Pipeline sourcing is relatively a new approach to talent acquisition. Yes, as recruiters we all have kept a list of people we have spoken too in the past who might be qualified in the future on an EXCEL spreadsheet or a sticky note on your desk. This is not pipelining candidates.

To pipeline source candidates, an organization must shift their mindset and approach to recruiting and the whole idea of what is “talent acquisition.”  You’re no longer relying on active candidates to fill your vacancies, you no longer are reacting to the need of the organization, and you no longer are “posting & praying.”

You are taking a strategic approach in sourcing candidates for opportunities that are going to be available (backed by data) in the future.

With this approach the recruiter/sourcer:

  • builds lists of qualified people in the industry,
  • networks with professionals and
  • interviews potentially interested candidates who may be interested in our openings now or in the future.

A robust pipeline provides a resource for the recruiter who can now come to the sourcer and ask for candidates. As the pipeline matures, the recruiter will be able to go to a hotlist and find candidates who have been screened, qualified and are engaged with your organizations brand and employee value proposition (EVP).

Developing candidate pipelines gives your organization market intelligence on who the key players are in a specific job category and how to connect with them when you have opportunities. A healthy pipeline will consist of qualified people you know and call upon them when opportunities arise.

This will reduce frustration, increase the recruiter’s morale and decrease time to hire (TTH). Most importantly, the organization will be minimally disrupted by the vacancy, allowing them to focus on their operations and improving their bottom line.

Matt Craven is a senior strategic sourcer & program manager at Schneider Electric. With 20 years of experience in talent acquisition in various industries including healthcare, financial services, energy, and technology. He drives results by finding the purple squirrels (not always with technology either) and gets his candidates to accept!

Matt leads various continuous improvement projects that drive talent acquisition as a “strategic partner” through research, data and building relationships. He helps shape how organizations look at recruitment functions.

Passion drives him. When he’s not out hunting for great people, Matt is spending time with the family in the Pacific Northwest, hiking, kayaking and exploring the beautiful beaches along the Oregon coast.

Connect with Matt on Linkedin OR Twitter.


6 Comments on “The Vision of Pipeline Sourcing – Part 1

    1. This is Matt. I think more and more companies will be doing this, otherwise they will be left behind in the quest to acquire the best talent!

  1. Matt, the reason most employers and agencies haven’t taken this approach is because there is so much manual heavy lifting. I believe, to do this below exec search level, you need to use tech to automate talent nurture and track and score candidates’ interest across all your digital assets in real-time.

    1. Hi Adam, there is heavy lifting in the beginning but once you put the pieces in place it should be easier in the long run with a much greater ROI in your recruiting efforts. In Part 2 and 3, I will explain the steps to get to the point where you can achieve success. Is it perfect, no,but it get’s us closer to becoming the strategic partner in the business.

  2. Matt, I look forward to further installations of your series to piece all of this together. I would challenge your statement that pipelining is a relatively new approach; I believe it’s been around for a while but has simply been called different things by different people – much like sourcing!

  3. Preach! I agree on a few points and smiled when you mentioned people leaving the profession too early. Everyone pays their dues in agency unless your are amazingly lucky, but it makes you appreciate your sweet corporate job all the more. I’m excited for future installments – are you going to tackle drip campaign development, automation applied to pipelines in workflows? I’d love a take on tech – CRM selection to enable this process effectively – i.e. best tools – Avature, Talemetry, Phenom, Smashfly – with so many options – how do you pick!!! Bring on the ideas – let the information flow!!!

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