top of page

A Talent Pipeline is far more than just collecting a list of names

As a recruiter or recruitment manager we constantly get asked by the managers we support “how many people have we got in our ATS or pipeline” or we are being told to build talent pipelines ready for when they are hiring. This is all well and good but few of them, if any, truly understand what a talent pipeline is or what it takes to build an effective one. Unfortunately the same can be said for many recruiters and recruitment managers. To the vast majority, a talent pipeline is simply a list of names, people who may have the right skills or have applied for a job with you/us previously. Whilst it is a start it wont prove to be wholly effective when trying to identify the potential quality, improve your time to offer, or reduce your cost of hire, it takes a lot of hard work and diligence to build and maintain interview-ready candidates

So what is a Talent Pipeline and how do you build one?

Google the definition of a Talent Pipeline and you’ll find variants of “A talent pipeline is a pool of candidates who are qualified for future open positions”. Whilst this might not be wrong I think it misses the point of what a true pipeline is. I like to think of a pipeline as

“A pool of candidates that have been properly assessed as potentially suitable for roles that you need to hire for current or future roles, who are constantly engaged and engaged with and show a desire to work for your organisation”

Whilst there is not a major difference, the first definition is a simple list of applicants or prospects whereas the latter definition requires a degree of assessment to keep the pipeline topped up to a manageable yet effective volume of people who are warm and likely to fill the role rather than just a list of people to call

With most organisations asking their recruiters to be reactive and fill tomorrow what was needed yesterday, having the time to assess candidates and maintaining a high degree of engagement is seen by many as a luxury. Yet still the managers unrealistically expect recruiters to have a ready pool of interview-ready candidates.

A pipeline of quality interview-ready candidates requires time, skills and capability and above all the right approach to be effective.

Ask yourself, would you rather have a list of names or a selection of assessed and pre-qualified interview-ready candidates?


If you would like to have an informal conversation to discuss this post or to explore the wider topic of Talent Acquistion further please contact Granite7 at

bottom of page