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Optimize Your Hiring With a Pipeline of “On Deck” Talent

Updated: Mar 30

The successful companies we’ve worked with make proactive recruiting a priority for the firm’s future.  They keep a steady flow of top-tier prospects as they surface, not just when they need to hire.  This strategy minimizes the risk of critical openings going unfilled or losing candidates to competitors.  There are several ways you can optimize your hiring while keeping a pulse on the talent in your industry.

First create an “exploratory interview” plan to document the exceptional candidates you encounter, regardless of if you’re actively hiring.  Create a list of questions that makes for a 15 minute phone interview to determine which prospects are worthy of your pipeline.  If properly scripted, these exploratory calls can be conducted by HR or an administrative assistant.  Candidates that are above the bar can then be kept on file and immediately contacted when you have a position you need to fill.

Then work with your internal HR/recruiting department to set benchmarks for candidates who apply to your company’s career page or job board.  Have a list of keywords including industry, competitors and technical skills so you can take immediate action.  The goal is to keep talent from going unnoticed in your company’s inbox, even if a position has already been filled.

You can also take advantage of headhunter cold calls.  If a recruiter solicits you with a résumé, have a default response for exactly what you want to be bothered with.“We always look for someone with x, y and z skills.  Happy to talk more if you have someone with that exact experience.”

By sharing with recruiters what skill sets have been the hardest for you to find, you can outsource some market research… for free!  You’ll be educating yourself on what other companies are working on and what your competitors are paying their people.  Since some recruiters work on a contingency basis, there’s no commitment unless you see a candidate you want to hire.

Implementing a proactive recruiting strategy is betting on your own growth.  Even if you’re not actively hiring, a steady pipeline of qualified talent will give you a pulse on the current market, keep you ahead of your competitors and help you avoid starting a search from scratch when time comes to recruit for your team.

For details of how proactive recruiting can give you a competitive edge in acquiring top talent, send an email to with nothing but a subject: Proactive Recruiting.


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