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3 Steps to Building a Modern Recruiting Pipeline

In a recent Teamable webinar, we hosted Climate Corp Talent Acquisition and Recruiting specialists to find out how they've modernized and upgraded their recruiting pipeline. The following blog post captures the major takeaways from our conversation. The full webinar is available on demand here: 3 Steps to Building a Modern Recruiting Pipeline.

Is your talent team doomed to forever function like a help desk for your organization’s recruiting needs? Not if you build the right foundation, says Climate Corp’s Director of Talent Acquisition Ashleigh Anderson and Senior Technical Recruiting Manager Dean Talanehzar.

Traditionally, few organizations grant recruiting leaders a seat at the executive table, leaving recruiters trying to perform a key business function with very little insight into how that function rolls up to strategic business priorities. A lack of alignment and empowerment leaves recruiting teams scrambling to fill open roles on a one-off basis with candidates that aren’t the best fit.

Fortunately, the best talent teams in the business are fighting tooth and nail to transition from a service desk to a strategic recruiting model that drives partnerships, culture, and process. Here’s a look at how Climate Corp’s recruiting, marketing, and leadership teams worked together to build a modern recruiting pipeline:

Build the Foundation for Strategic Recruiting

Before you really dig into how to build a recruiting pipeline, you have to build a recruiting-friendly foundation. For Climate Corp, that meant earning executive buy-in and bringing their recruiting team onto the same page.

First, Anderson met with each C-level executive to explain the benefits of operating as partners to the business instead of a simple help desk function. These conversations allowed Anderson to design a Talent Acquisition strategy that didn’t just fill numbers, but rather prioritized the most important roles according to the company’s mission.

With insight from executives and hiring managers, it was easier for the recruiting team to source candidates that fit the organization’s needs and priorities. These efforts culminated in a reduced interview to offer ratio, saving the engineering team 175 interviewing hours in a single quarter.

Here are a few other statistics that made a compelling case for building a talent pipeline:

Why Employee Referrals

  • 51% of companies rank referrals as a top source of hire
  • Referrals lead to a 75% reduction in cost per hire
  • Referrals lead to a 55% faster time to hire
  • 1 in 16 employee referrals convert into new hires
  • Referrals are 5x more effective than other candidate sources

Next, Climate Corp instilled solid best practices in its talent team. To make sure each recruiter had healthy instincts for how to build a recruiting pipeline, Talanehzar prioritized the following activities:

  • Meeting with the recruiting team weekly to emphasize the importance of collaboration, trust, and emotional safety in working with potential candidates (with a focus on team-oriented goals)
  • Meeting with team members 1:1 to help individuals improve skills
  • Positioning the recruiting function as the organization’s proactive nutritionists rather than reactive ER doctors
  • Using metrics (like interview to offer rate) to assess what’s working and what’s not

With both executive level support and an empowered and educated team, Climate Corp was positioned to build a talent pipeline that would serve the company’s best interests in three specific steps:

Step One: Partner with marketing to craft an employer brand

When Anderson first came on board with Climate Corp, the company was riding the tail end of its startup-era media coverage. When that coverage started to fade, she knew she had to put on her marketing hat to tell Climate Corp’s story through the eyes of its employees.

Working with the marketing team, Anderson launched an employment branding campaign that highlighted why Climate Corp was a great place to work. This compelling brand narrative – told through personal stories from current employees – helped potential candidates get a feel for whether or not Climate Corp was the right company for them. The resulting campaign allowed the recruiting team to target candidates who:

  • Innovate in all they do
  • Inspire one another
  • Leave a mark on the world
  • Find the possible in the impossible; and
  • Are direct and transparent

Employer Branding

The success of this campaign showed Anderson just how important it is for recruiting and marketing to work together to build an employer brand. Without a thoughtful and compelling brand story, you can’t attract the technical talent that will build the product and you definitely can’t compete with other companies recruiting the same candidates.

Step Two: Build a strong referral culture to fill your talent pipeline

With the C-suite’s support established, Anderson was ready to begin building an internal culture of hiring and recruiting. In all-hands and breakout conversations, Anderson underlined the primary importance of recruiting to Climate Corp’s ability to deliver on product and revenue goals. She challenged employees to prioritize recruiting every day as the number one way they could impact the success of the organization.

Of course, building a referral culture takes effort, not just inspired speeches. Anderson and Talanehzar worked with hiring managers to emphasize the importance of referral hires, asking each manager to communicate their desire for employee referrals to all employees for each open position. They also worked with the highest level within each department – in their case, the VP of Engineering – to prove the ROI of referral hires so that everyone was on board from the ground up.

Step Three: Standardize your interview process to limit bias and improve hiring decisions

When you think about how to build a recruiting pipeline, you don’t usually think about your interview process. However, research and experience showed Anderson and Talanehzar that random, disorganized interviews lead to random, disorganized hires. To enable more scalability in Climate Corp’s hiring processes –  and to build a culture that values diversity, collaboration, and self-improvement – the final step in building a talent pipeline was to standardize the company’s interview process.

Structure Interview Process

To create a centralized hiring plan, the recruiting team worked together to standardize topic areas, vet high-quality questions, distribute interview loops, and train and calibrate interviewers to understand how to perform excellent technical interviews. With the whole team on the same page, they then developed interview content and clearly outlined the feedback and debriefing process. Standardized questions, problem-solving experiments, and tours allowed interviewers to evaluate candidates equally, limiting their reliance on “gut calls” and improving hiring decisions across the board.

Building your talent pipeline

Building a talent pipeline can’t be an isolated responsibility of the recruiting team. The most effective and long-lasting recruiting success requires support from the ground up: motivated employees referring their connections, educated hiring managers conducting standardized interviews, and informed executive teams lending their support. Use these tips from Climate Corp to plan out exactly how to build a recruiting pipeline for your organization.

Want to catch the full conversation between Ashleigh Anderson and Dean Talanehzar? Click here: 3 Steps to Building a Modern Recruiting Pipeline.

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