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Building and Nurturing Your Candidate Pipeline

Recruiters build their reputations—and their business—based on the quality of candidates they can provide to their clients, and the number of candidates who ultimately receive and accept offers. That requires building and maintaining a talent pipeline that they can turn to when a new opportunity emerges.

Success isn’t about cold calls or casting a wide net. Success is about making strategic connections aligned with client needs and maintaining those connections so that, when a client is looking for talent, you have a network of pre-qualified leads to turn to.

That’s not easy, of course. But doing so will help you build your book of business and make a name for yourself as a recruiter. Here are some key things you need to do to build and nurture your talent pipeline:

1. Be Specific and Focused in Your Recruitment Efforts

One way to set yourself apart from other recruiters and improve the quality of the candidates responding to your job postings, is to be specific when you’re promoting these opportunities. For example, you’re not just recruiting a marketing expert, you’re recruiting a marketing expert with 10 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, specifically focused on B2B account-based marketing initiatives.

A side benefit here: the more specific you are, and the more keywords you include in your posts, the more likely it is your postings rise to the top when candidates search for new roles.

That same approach can help you stand out online. Tailor your LinkedIn profile to include the key terms and keywords that the type of candidates you’re recruiting are likely to use when searching for opportunities. Make yourself stand out in your target industries by using the language people in your industry use.

2. Have More—and More Effective—Conversations

To a certain degree, recruitment is a numbers game. The larger your network, the more likely it is that people in your network have the right qualifications to fill open roles. That requires more than just adding people to your connections. It requires engaging with those people—not just once, but on an ongoing basis.

To stand out, you need to not only make more (relevant) connections, but also have more conversations.

When you find and connect with someone with a background and experience that fits a current or potential future role, reach out to them to initiate a conversation. Get to know them. Explore their background, interests, and values to determine where they will be the best fit.

Then, don’t lose sight of those top candidates, even if they’re not a fit for a current role. Building a pipeline is all about considering those future opportunities.

3. Nurture Your Candidates

Proactively speaking with and educating candidates, even when you’re not actively placing them, is a great way to stand out as a recruiter. You’ll be the first person they think about when they’re involved in a job search and they’ll reach out to you.

Once you’ve established a relationship, help them out by offering advice and counsel on how they can best position themselves to be considered for roles, how to beef up their LinkedIn profile to increase their visibility, how to best present themselves during an interview, etc.

LinkedIn is still the primary way that most recruiters find candidates, but many candidates almost “forget” that they have a LinkedIn profile. Advising them on how to perfect their profile can be a powerful way to nurture your network. And, again, when they’re in a job search, you’re the recruiter likely to first come to mind.

There are other ways to nurture candidates that might include posting job search and interview tips on LinkedIn, sending links of helpful articles, and sharing information about new opportunities. It’s all about being visible, approachable, and helpful.

4. Don’t Ignore Your Own Online Presence

Your own online marketing efforts are also important for helping candidates find you. Look at your LinkedIn profile to make sure it includes the keywords related to the types of positions you most often recruit for, the industries you recruit for, as well as your own background, experiences, and successes.

Have an open network and make your contact information clear and visible. When people reach out to you, you want them to be able to actually connect with you. If they’re not quite the right fit—for now or for future roles—you can simply tell them. If they are, though, you can and should reach out to establish a relationship.

Share industry-relevant blogs, articles and videos to show your existing network that you’re knowledgeable about what’s going on. Bonus: The content you share shows up on your LinkedIn profile, too.

Build your pipeline, stay in contact with your pipeline, help your candidates get the job and you’ll soon find that you’ve become the go-to contact for job seekers in your industry.


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