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Who Needs a Talent Pipeline?

by Steve Singer

Who Needs a Talent Pipeline?

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be taking a detailed look at what we call the talent pipeline—what “pipelining talent” means; why it’s especially important in the creative and marketing field; and how to manage and use your pipeline.

To start out though, let’s get a definition on the table. For our purposes, a talent pipeline is a collection of candidates that hiring managers can draw on to fill open positions. Thanks to LinkedIn and Google (not to mention Monster), compiling such a collection is hardly challenging. Still, bookmarked portfolio sites and a folder of downloaded resumes do not a talent pipeline make.

The fact is, building a talent pipeline that you can actually use when you need to hire someone is a deliberate, ongoing process. And like any such process, the more methodical and planned-out your approach, the better the results!

Who needs a talent pipeline?

If your company is growing, you need a talent pipeline. If there is regular churn in certain roles within your organization, you need a talent pipeline. If client work coming into your department or agency fluctuates or spikes in unpredictable ways, you need a talent pipeline. And if you are always looking for talented developers, designers, or writers, then you need a pipeline.

Creating and maintaining such a pipeline has traditionally been the role of human resources and the internal recruitment team. But given that creative and marketing roles can be notoriously difficult to fill nowadays—both due to the compressed timelines of creative projects as well as the need for candidates to be both creatively gifted and technically adept—anyone overseeing an in-house creative group or agency always needs to be pipelining. Failure to do so can mean unfinished projects, missed deadlines, or worse.

That being said, the benefits of a robust pipeline don’t just accrue to the folks doing the hiring. Getting to know talented people in your industry raises your company’s profile in the community while also serving as a steady source of ideas for what your organization could be doing next.

In other words, even if you set aside the particular needs of hiring managers in marketing and creative, talent pipelining is something that the whole organization should get behind!

This series 

In the coming weeks, we will look at pipelining from a number of different angles with a special emphasis on best practices for pipelining creative and marketing talent. Topics to be covered include:

  • How you should go about setting up a talent pipeline
  • How to keep your pipeline fresh
  • Staying in touch with pipelined candidates
  • How to attract the best candidates to your pipeline
  • How to read between the lines on a resume
  • Tools for managing your pipeline

If you are struggling with your pipeline, or struggling because you haven’t developed one yet, this series is for you! We'll be posting a new entry ever Wednesday, so stay tuned!

Image Source (Creative Commons): Maureen.

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