Talent pipeline management has become one of the gems in workforce planning, particularly in such a ferociously competitive sector as technology. Not being able to afford the costs derived from the delays to cover open positions, frontline organizations are developing new ways of growing a ready-to-join talent pool.
Yet, building a talent pipeline demands a whole more than expertise in boolean searches and getting a list of prospective profiles with the right hard skills. Keeping in mind the organization’s culture, employer brand, and Business Plan are the foundations for us to define a hiring plan. And in the long run, to profiling the resources required.
This article will explore the model we use to align with our clients’ needs for a successful tech talent pipeline and sourcing.
Talent Pipeline definition
A talent pipeline is “a pool of skilled and assessed candidates willing to fill crucial roles within a certain organization. This pool may include promising internal employees and external candidates obtained through referrals, online portals, tech and open source communities, and social networks, among others.
Our recruitment team devotes a great deal of time and resources to expand our talent adquisition pipeline. An assignment worth the effort considering how effective it is in reducing hiring time, minimizing employees’ rotation, and ultimately ensuring our clients’ business runs without pauses.
How to build a talent pipeline
In many ways, building a talent pipeline is quite similar to any digital marketing strategy. It includes clarity about the business goals, identifying our target audience, profiling the Buyer Persona, nurturing, and building a relationship with the prospective customers (that is, the potential candidates).
Talent Resource Planning
In the era of People-First and employee-centered organizations, a Talent pipeline strategy inevitably starts with a workforce analysis and an in-depth understanding of the employer brand:
- Having clarity on the organizational structure and culture.
- Being on board with the business goals
- Taking note of possible future gaps to predict business talent needs.
- Understanding which are the key and hard-to-fill roles to prioritize in our talent pipeline strategy
- Profiling the ideal candidates and identifying internal promotion possibilities.
“What if” analysis, to detect skills gap
One exciting exercise in pulling out different scenarios is the “What if” analysis frequently used in contingency plans. We pick up those roles which would bleed out revenue in case of a vacancy and draft several hypotheses: What if this team member resigned, was transferred to a different location, etc.? This trigger allows us to identify key positions and analyze critical skills. It also enables us to match those skills with the current employees’ in our organization chart. Furthermore, while we detect inexistent matches, we can develop a plan to focus on upskilling to fill those gaps.
Let’s assume we work for an industry with several facilities. The IT Service Delivery Manager role is crucial for leading the infrastructure, maintenance, and support team, ensuring all operations run without tumbles. This role is a must in the company’s talent pipeline.
Whether you work at the Human Resources department or as a talent acquisition leader, it is essential to revise the job description of these critical roles periodically as part of the contingency or workforce-planning and staff replacement. Simultaneously, updating job descriptions gives the right framework for rethinking that specific role’s skill-set and gaps. This strategic approach is our fundamental guideline for prospecting fresh talent.
The Candidate Persona profiling
Once we agree on the updated job description and key skills of the strategic role to be pipelined, defining the Candidate Persona (CP) gives us a broader picture and clarifies soft skills or human traits that would fit the organization’s culture.
A Candidate Persona gathers some common attributes an ideal candidate would meet. The purpose of using Candidate Personas is to understand our audience better for outreach.
We are extremely cautious about taking our ideas or assumptions as the starting point to portrait the CP! We ground our research on real data. If other people perform similar roles in your organization, having a conversation can be extremely useful to minimize biases.
As a recruiter, engaging in short calls with ex candidates who perform similar roles can give tons of information to consider before moving on to sourcing. The grand majority of recruiters who use Candidate Persona’s profile focus on three questions:
- Who is performing this role? This field includes education, training, hard skills, and certifications according to hiring requirements.
- What are their top interests and concerns? What are the motivations that would drive our CP to consider a job? Are they heading for some specific goal careers or technologies? What do they prioritize in their personal life? What benefits would they find more attractive?
- How and where can we connect? What are the communities, conferences, and networks where we can reach our CP? What are the best channels for outreach? How long would it take to engage them? What style of communication would be more suitable and engaging
Talent pipeline management
The purpose of using Candidate Personas is to prepare us to perform a straightforward pipelining strategy before we move on to sourcing. While it provides a better understanding of our target audience, it predicts the issues we will probably have to face along the recruitment process.
Talent Pipelining candidates: sourcing
The talent sources for pipelining candidates will vary depending on the outcomes of our Persona research and may include:
- Boolean searches on professional networks such as LinkedIn, using the most relevant keywords.
- X-ray or advanced queries in open code communities (Github, Stackoverflow, etc.), using the right search parameters. These platforms give us an outlook into the candidate’s code’s quality and preferred technology-stacks. At the same time, stars and badges provide validation and recognition from peers.
- Sourcing talent in local or global tech communities and groups sharing relevant threads (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, DevCommunity, to mention a few).
- Universities and colleges. In this area, we have emerging stars, such as the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline. This no-cost service platform enables access to untapped tech professionals, already assessed after completing a 3-step screening process. NYC Tech Talent Pipeline is doing a great job feeding the technology industry with a diverse talent pool from NYC colleges and boot camps.
- Referrals from colleagues
- Our ATS database, applying those keyword filters that bring out the most promising candidates.
talent Pipelined candidates delivery
As we come across potential candidates, we pour the information into an Airtable file that gathers all the necessary data for further analysis and reach out. Sometimes we deliver the pipelined-candidates table to the clients who hire our sourcing services.
A screenshot of a table with promising pipelined candidates
Despite the kind of table you use – Airtable, Google sheets, or other tools – it is essential to include all the fields your ATS will require for later uploading. The minimum areas to fill in are date, full name, first and last name, location, email, LinkedIn profile URL, Profile, Seniority level, technical skills (languages, frameworks, and other technologies), English level, primary interests, and experience. In screening calls and interviews, we dig into the candidates’ motivational aspects and soft skills to determine if they are a good fit for the organization.
Conclusion about talent pipeline management
In Talent acquisition, talent pipeline strategy must be rooted in the hiring manager’s vision and requirements. By feeding this vision with a broader picture – the Candidate Persona – you set the foundations for effective sourcing.
The employers’ brand identity gives you clues about what kind of talent would better fit the organizational culture. At the same time, it provides valuable information about the communication style to be used when addressing prospective candidates as you move along the recruitment process.