6 Steps to Creating a Killer Contingent Talent Pipeline

For many businesses, every year seems to bring greater challenges when finding the right talent. Whether you’re looking for a front-end developer or a picker packer, sourcing workers and getting them on board quickly has become a common issue. So, what can you do to set yourself up for success?

All over the human capital space you hear the phrase “talent pooling”—organizations creating a segment of candidates that they interact with for upcoming positions. While talent pooling is great, we believe that the best way to prepare for upcoming positions is to create a talent pipeline. While the two terms may sound similar, a talent pipeline takes the talent pool one step further by qualifying that talent and ensuring they’re ready for immediate deployment.

There are six main steps that come with creating a killer contingent talent pipeline, to save you time in both the sourcing and onboarding process. These steps include:

1. Identifying Sourcing Trends in Your Organization

You don’t need a talent pipeline for every position within your organization. While they’re super beneficial in the onboarding process, they do require nurture. So it’s best to be strategic about the positions you include in your talent pipeline strategy. Determining which talent to include will involve:

  • Using your VMS/ATS to decide on your most commonly sourced jobs
  • Analyzing when you traditionally hire for these positions
  • Determining which jobs have the highest amount of turnover

Once you’ve identified the positions that require the most attention and when that attention will be needed, you can move on to filling your talent pipeline.

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2. Create a Process for Finding Talent for Your Pipeline

Now that you’ve identified what you need to source, you can determine where you can start to build your talent pools that will turn into your talent pipelines. A good place to start is looking at internal workers who are looking for new positions or are open to temporary positions. You can also create a pool of “silver medalist” or second place candidates for positions, that can be used later. 

Your website is another great way to source talent. It could be used to publicize your talent pool to prospective employees or contingent workers, who could then opt-in to be alerted of open positions.

Social media and other networking sites or events can also generate talent pipelines for upcoming positions. Additionally you can work with your staff to create a referral network to bring in like-minded individuals to your current workforce.

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3. Assessing and Developing Incoming Talent

Creating talent pools is just the beginning of managing the talent pipeline.  Transforming these pools into a talent pipeline involves determining if each person in the pool is actually qualified for the position. You can do this by establishing the skills your organization needs and whether or not the candidate has them. If they don’t, are they close enough to where an investment in training or learning may get them to where you need them to be by the time the position opens?

In addition to confirming the core competencies of the role, this is the time to get the candidate up to speed on the dynamics of the organization. This will help to ensure that the arrangement is mutually beneficial and that there will be a good cultural fit between your organization and the candidate.

4. Driving Compliance for Immediate Onboarding

Depending on the type of roles you hire for, you may need a worker tomorrow, or even today if you have a no-show at an assignment. Fast-paced, high-turnover environments lend themselves to having candidates at the ready to begin an assignment at any given time. 

For positions like this, in addition to assessing the candidate, you should begin preliminary compliance items, such as:

  • Background checks
  • Drug screening
  • Licence verification
  • Onboarding modules

By having your pipeline assessed for ability, and vetted for compliance, you will drastically decrease onboarding times.

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON ONBOARDING | ‘How to Create Stellar Onboarding Experiences With Integrations

5. Creating Pipeline Engagement

Just finding and assessing the talent isn’t enough to make your pipeline a success. You need to continue to engage with your talent to make sure that they’re still invested in your organization, and are available for open positions as they arise. 

Communication is key to the success of a talent pipeline. So creating regular touchpoints and communication with potential employees in your system is a must to ensure the success of your new sourcing strategy.

6. Adjusting Your Pipeline as Needed

An important thing to remember when trying a new sourcing strategy is that it won’t be 100% perfect on the first try. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle with any of the above steps. Identify the problem, determine a potential cause, and adjust. Maybe you need to broaden where you’re posting your talent pipeline, or perhaps your job descriptions don’t align with what the market is looking for. Your process will continue to evolve and improve. It just takes the willingness to try.


Looking for sourcing solutions? Download the Direct Sourcing Toolkit to learn more about leveraging your brand to attract top talent.



Meet the Expert
Nikki Williams – Marketing Brand Manager

Nikki Williams is responsible for marketing strategy and implementation for VectorVMS. In her role, she helps contingent workforce professionals discover the value of a vendor management solutions through blogs, webinars, conferences, and more. Her goal is to ensure these professionals can quickly find answers to their questions about VMS technology. Nikki has more than 10 years of experience as a marketing professional for technology, including human resources technologies as well as leadership and organizational development services. Connect with her on LinkedIn.