Pipelines, Pools, Networks….To Each Their Own

There has been a lot of discussion regarding Pipelines, Pools and Networks. What should we be doing as recruiters and is there a difference? In my mind there are differences to each. Let me explain the commonality first. All three of them entail gathering candidates to use at some point or another. Here are the differences of each:

Pipeline: You might post an advert to build your pipeline and source. Pipeline candidates are candidates you may or may not have multiple touch points. Pipelines are built when you know a position(s) will be open. You open your pipelines for a purpose. You should have a use for your pipeline within 30 days ideally or you will start to lose your pipeline fast. If the job you are recruiting for gets pushed out, you would most likely contact the pipeline to let them know you will have opportunities soon. Thus the term, “keeping them warm”. When building pipelines about 50% - 65% will actually be viable and available should you need them to work.

Pool: Again, you might post an advert to build your pool or source to throw people in your pool. You are not going to contact these people and are not sure if you have an opportunity. You might be gathering them since it is a hot skill and you think you may be able to deploy them. You might be gathering them for a position that may or may not be open in the future. Pools are a cold, lonely place for candidates. You are not going to contact them UNLESS you have an opportunity. Even if you think you are going to lose them, again, you are not going to contact them. When building pools about 25%-30% of candidates will actually be viable and available should you need them to work.

Networks: Oh, these are the holy grail of Social Networks. How many times in the past year have you heard build your Network vs. Pool or Pipeline. Seems to be the new catchphrase, right? Do people really know what this means? Networks are viable candidates or contacts that you will consistently keep in contact with. This is NOT the “I find people for jobs” mentality. This is the “I find jobs for people” type of recruiter. Don’t get me wrong, you will have jobs to fill with these people, but even if you do not have a job, you will point them in the right direction and give them good sound advice. They WILL come back to you again and you can and are able to get referrals from them. You are their Trusted Advisor. Networks take a lot more time to maintain for a recruiter and have a higher hit rate if you work them the right way. Networks are smaller. They are people connected to people, to find the right people, for the right career or job.

As a recruiter I have used all for different purposes. I usually maintain a network and if there is a skill I need to pipeline for I will do so all while working my network. It’s all what really works for you.

That is my take on Pipelines, Pools and Networks. To each their own!

Views: 90

Comment by Jenn Francine on May 4, 2010 at 4:55pm
Thank you Maren! My recommendation is there is always some type of contact with the candidate no matter what type of candidate they are (pool, pipeline or network) and how they got there. Putting myself in the candidates shoes that applies to a job, there is nothing more frustrating then not hearing anything back. My recommendation would be if a candidate gets to your network, pipeline or pool through a connection or posting/advert to respond to them with something within in 3 days max. This can be an open ended or closed communication. For a pool, you might want to close it since you do not know if you will really need this person in the near future. Ending with something like "If there are any available opportunities in the future, I will contact you immediately". If you acquired the candidate via sourcing, you can determine if you would like to initiate contact and follow-up. My general rule is if you initiate contact and leave it open ended, create touch points/points of contact in regard to what makes sense for the level of position you are recruiting for. If you are purely networking you would schedule network time. I spend on average 10 hours per week maintaining my networks.


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