newton software pipeline recruiting

What is a Recruiting Pipeline?

Your recruiting pipeline is the pool of qualified candidates you have access to who are available to be recruited for open jobs are your company. It also describes how efficiently candidates move through each stage of your hiring process, from application to hire.

Building a strong recruiting pipeline is often the most difficult thing for companies to maintain, because having a strong candidate pool requires an “always-on” approach. Tasks like screening resumes and gathering contacts need to be completed on a regular basis.

It’s important to stay on top of your candidate pipeline because the status of available candidates is always changing, and it’s important that your company has up-to-date information. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable time contacting candidates who have already accepted positions at another company or have switched industries altogether.

In this article, we will cover everything there is to know about building a healthy recruitment pipeline so that your company will never have to worry about scrambling to fill open positions.

What are the Benefits of Having a Strong Recruiting Pipeline?

When your company has a hiring need, the last thing you want to do is have to scramble to put together a last-minute recruiting and hiring plan. Having a strong candidate pool ready to go at a moment’s notice will make sure you have as little downtime as possible, saving both time and money.

Instead of always having to launch a new recruiting plan when open positions become available, you can start by reaching out to your existing pool of qualified candidates. This means that less time will have to be spent looking for candidates and no funds will have to be distributed to 3rd party recruitment agencies.

How to Maintain Your Recruiting & Hiring Pipeline

Many recruiters avoid maintaining and staying up to date with their current recruiting and hiring pipeline because of the amount of work required upfront. With each new job requisition, many recruiting and hiring teams will simply start by posting more job ads, without reaching out to any candidates already in pipeline.

When you ignore the qualified candidates already in your database, you ignore a large pool of applicants who have already expressed interest in your company and its open roles. What if some of the candidates you’ve turned down for other roles could be a good fit for one of your newly opened roles? What if some of the candidates you’ve put on the back-burner were highly qualified candidates who simply didn’t move forward in the recruiting process because someone else was hired first?

By following the steps below, you can build and maintain a strong recruiting pipeline that becomes one of your greatest assets in recruiting.

Finding Qualified Candidates – Examine Your Sources

The first step to building a quality recruiting pipeline is to hone in on the best sources of quality candidates, and focus your recruitment efforts on those areas.

It is often said that “birds of a feather flock together.” Job boards, schools and other candidate sources are no different. If you can identify the best sources for qualified candidates, then you can make an impact on important recruiting and HR metrics such as employee retention, turnover, performance and morale.

For example, if your company specializes in software development and is looking for entry level engineers, it might be in your company’s best interest to identify the best software engineering schools in the area and work with the career center to funnel candidates into your recruitment pipeline.

If you work for a small company that has a tight-knit company culture and doesn’t want to bring in an outsider who might become a disruptive force, it might be best to rely on employee referrals instead of other recruiting sources. Employees making the referrals will have a more detailed understanding of what the company is looking for and who might be a good fit.

Candidate Screening

Once you have established where you will be finding your candidates, you’re ready to start screening applicants.

This stage consists of tasks like resume screening and reaching out to potential candidates to discuss the possibility of employment.

Standardized Assessments

Assessing the proficiency of a candidate is a step that many employers don’t spend enough time on. In order to build a strong candidate pool it is important to make sure that every candidate is qualified and capable in practice and not just a good interviewer.

A good way to set this up is to have experts within your company put together an assessment that tests the candidate’s ability to complete tasks that are vital to your company and its industry.

Additionally, your company needs to ensure that all assessments are conducted in the same way to ensure all candidates are being evaluated on an even playing field. If this isn’t done, it will be impossible to make accurate comparisons between candidates in your hiring pipeline.

Finally, these scores will need to be documented and indexed so that they are readily available when a hiring need arises. This information should also be stored in your applicant tracking system for later use should you want to return to a candidate later.


Your company is probably very familiar with the interview process, but it is still worth looking into how interviews are conducted at your company to see if there is room for improvement.

In many cases, companies don’t utilize structured interviews. Just like we saw above, companies have a lot to gain by standardizing and structuring their interview process, so it’s in the company’s best interest to present all candidates with the same set of questions so they can be more easily compared.

Additionally, it is useful designate an individual or group of individuals to conduct the interview, that way you’ll have a consistent and reliable perspective throughout the entire process.

Background Check

Once the candidate has made it through the above steps, the next stage is the background check.

This stage is important because you don’t want to call a candidate during a time of a hiring need, perform a background check, and then discover they have something in their past that disqualifies them from employment at your company.

By performing a background check early in the recruiting process, your company can rest assured that every individual in the candidate pool is good to go.

Maintaining the Candidate Pool

Once you’ve gone through this process, each subsequent round of hiring should get easier. If you’re still having to put in the same amount of effort every time, you may not be taking advantage of your current candidate pool and what you’ve already worked so hard to build. As we mentioned earlier, your recruiting pipeline (if maintained and tracked properly) should be your best source of qualified candidates for new jobs, aside from employee referrals.

Explore the “low-hanging fruit” of your recruiting pipeline first and use your pipeline to your advantage before digging into other candidate sources. It pays off to maintain your database and your relationships with candidates who might come back around in the future.

After all, you’ve already spent the recruiting dollars to get those candidates in the pipeline, and they’ve already expressed an interest in working for you. In some cases, those candidates have already been screened and you can easily find assessment scores, interview notes and more in your applicant tracking system.

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