Sonata Talent

Sonata Talent Logo

Building a Consistent Candidate Pipeline

Building a Consistent Candidate Pipeline
by Philip Foti

Building the Candidate Pipeline is the buzz today for the most cutting edge Talent Acquisition Guru’s worldwide.  Understandably, as revolutionary as “just in time inventory” revolutionized the manufacturing and retail distribution processes of great companies like McDonalds, Wal-Mart and Dell, this same concept in reverse order has become the key strategic component for progressive, forward thinking companies in regard to successful Talent Acquisition.

In manufacturing and retail, the efficiencies gained were in limiting the surplus and “carrying costs” of material goods, resulting in higher profit margins, lower production costs and in Wal-Mart’s case a more competitively priced product. In fact, Wal-Mart’s success has historically been attributed to the genius of their JIT Distribution system.

If only the surplus inventory model worked for us in the Talent Acquisition industry today, however, in reverse order the deficit of inventory facing many employers today and the drive for Candidate Pipelining is to Talent Acquisition what JIT Inventory was to the very heart of success for today’s industry giants, and the rewards are equally critical to the very success of any company.
Reactionary Recruiting, It’s Bad For Business.

Today, unfortunately many companies following the herd mentality continue to fulfill the proverbial definition of insanity, doing the same futile things and expecting different results. Many employers are stuck in what I call a Reactionary Recruitment mentality. With little, no or at the least poor workforce planning, companies that fail to develop solid, forward looking Pipelining Programs are simply reacting to record vacancies with old school methods all to the detriment of the businesses success. 

Having consulted with hundreds of great employers who all have their own systems and methods of finding and recruiting talented employees, I came to realize that the most successful recruiting organizations never experience the inconsistent repercussions of Reactionary Recruiting but have instead worked hard to replace it with a finely tuned, smooth running process. Much like a car, when the engine is always running and a smooth acceleration to increased hiring is almost effortless, similarly, when these organizations are fully staffed the engine idles along waiting for the next round of hiring.

Your candidate pipeline is the fundamental building block for successfully recruiting the employees you need.  And, while it may seem incredibly oversimplified, if you never stop filling the pipe (recruiting) your process will automatically get smoother. Let me say that again, never stop recruiting (even when you aren’t hiring) and your process will get smoother.
What are the costs and damages of Reactionary Recruiting?

Every company has its own set of consequences; however in common are a few of the basics:

  • Increased cost per hire- Reactionary Recruiting results in knee jerk acts of desperation to throw money at the problem.
  • Loss of Revenue.
  • Stagnated or Recessed Business Growth.
  • Weakened Competitive Advantage.

Benefits of Pipelining  

 There are many benefits to this constant method of recruiting, some of which are outlined below.

  • Avoid emergency hiring  .
  • Save time and money   – In most cases, it is more expensive to start and stop and restart your recruiting process that it is to keep it in motion. Emergency hiring is always more expensive than a typical hire because of the urgency inherent to the process. Constant recruiting allows you to plan and budget both your time and recruiting dollars.
  • Ramp  up  hiring  smoothly  when  needed    –  When  you  are  constantly  recruiting,  it  is  very  easy  to accelerate the process when you need to hire more people faster. Instead of recruiting from a dead stop, your process is already in motion gathering candidates before you need them.
  • Top Grade   – When you continuously recruit, you continuously see the best talent in the market. You may find new employees to join your organization that will outperform some of your existing staff.  Having a constant stream of new applicants allows you to top grade your workforce if you so desire.

Of course the two most important benefits of Pipelining are:

  1. Meeting Business Revenue/Growth Objectives, especially for mission-critical revenue generating positions. 
  2. Strengthening Competitive Advantage. When the quality and consistent supply of talent IS your greatest asset, pipelining becomes paramount to maintaining competitive edge on competitors breathing down your neck.  


These are just a few of the obvious benefits on continuous recruiting. You may find that the process had completely different benefits for your organization once you start.

How do you develop a Pipeline?

Think like a Marketer! Recruitment is marketing.

  • Great Marketers aren’t reactionary, they are forward thinking, much like a farmer. They understand the Law of Reciprocity, what we sow today will be tomorrows harvest.
  • Great Marketers attract and develop a broad database of prospects (candidates), then define their market into segments and define each marketing tactic to appeal to the individual motivations of each segment/demographic.
  • Great Marketers then understand the “Rule of 7”; it takes at least 7 touches or exposures to a consumer to gain any space in the real estate of their mind. 
  • Great marketers don’t just try one tactic; they try multiple tactics based on reasonable and calculated risks and test, test, test. From their testing they develop a “control” medium, which is any combination of a tactic/copy/strategy that outperform the rest and become bankable!
  • Great Marketers continuously augment, purge and remarket to this database and the result…a customer pipeline.

The same will happen to you with candidates.

The bottom line…

Simply think, strategize and execute like a marketer. Attract and develop your base of candidates, segment them and understand the differences, motivations and personality characteristics of each segment. Pick your top 3-5 “keep in touch” strategies and keep talking with them and telling them your story. Most importantly, focus all of your marketing efforts on them, yes it’s important to know how GREAT a company you are to work for, but that has become as cliché as the Pizza Guy’s “You’ve tried the rest..Now try the best”, yeah  . Remember its human nature to ask “What’s in it for me? Hit those buttons and build, then wash, cycle, rinse and repeat and you will have a strong base of candidates that are either ready to work for you, be an evangelist for your organization or be willing to open up the treasure trove of referrals.

Happy Hunting!

Philip Foti   is a well-known thought leader in Healthcare Recruitment. He is a frequent speaker and advisor to Leading Healthcare Providers nationwide and is the founder of Sonata Talent Staffing and RPO and 1-800Med-Jobs  specializing in candidate Pipeline Development through recruitment process outsourcing.  
If you enjoyed my article, please sign up below to get more articles to your inbox to help you find the best talent.