3 Tips to Build Your Candidate Pipeline

This blog post is based on the sixteenth episode of the data-driven recruiting podcast hosted by CodeSignal co-founders Sophia Baik and Tigran Sloyan. You can find and listen to this specific episode here or check out the video version embedded below.

Looking for some quick, actionable advice on building your candidate pipeline?

We recently sat down for an episode of the Data-Driven Recruiting podcast to highlight three quick tips for hiring managers to build a more robust and sustainable pipeline.


Whether your company is in hypergrowth and hiring dozens of engineers or you’re simply looking for a steady flow of high-quality candidates, these tips to build your candidate pipeline will help you double down on the efforts that are working when it comes to recruiting. 

Tip #1 – Understand the Channels Candidates are Coming From

Let’s cut to the chase – there are really two main ways we hire: inbound or outbound. 

With inbound hiring, candidates come to you. Some examples of inbound hiring include online applications, hiring events, and even recruiting agencies. Anytime a candidate submits their resume to you, it’s inbound hiring. 

The second type of hiring is outbound hiring. This is everything from LinkedIn reachout, marketplaces like UpWork or Toptal, and referrals. 

Do you know which candidates or current employees came from which channel? Organizations who are looking to scale hiring should be laser-focused on figuring out the following for each channel: 

  • Candidate volume 
  • Conversion rate (end to end, each funnel, top of the funnel)

If a channel isn’t producing a high number, it might be worth turning that recruiting channel off. Also, compare your company’s numbers against the industry benchmark to identify opportunities to develop a certain channel. If you can figure these out, you can build a plan based on the channel mix.

Tip #2 – Play the Numbers Game

Recruiting, to a large part, is still completely random. There are so many factors that go into making a hire such as timing of supply and demand, compensation, and competitive elements. 

That’s why you have to play the numbers game. Just like a sales pipeline, it’s important to have enough candidates in the hopper to actually close on a single one. You can reverse engineer your hiring process by understanding different data points within your hiring funnel.

To know how many candidates you should be interviewing for each position and to shift towards a data-driven recruiting process, you need to understand these numbers per position: 

  • Average number of applicants 
  • Average number of phone screens
  • Average number of technical skill assessments
  • Onsite to hire ratio
  • Offer to acceptance

Understanding these recruiting metrics will help you understand how many candidates you historically needed to fill any given position. 

Tip #3 – Quality Trumps Quantity

At the end of the day, you’re looking for the best candidates for any given position – not the most. 

If a recruiting channel is bringing in a ton of low-quality candidates, it’s simply creating a ton of noise for your organization. You’re sifting through useless resumes while trying to find the needle in a haystack. 

If your hiring channel is bringing in a low number of candidates each month, such as recruiting agencies, but the quality is superior, the ROI is clearly there. These low-volume, high-quality recruiting channels might be a pain, but they’re worth it in the end. 

Take a look at your current employees and identify what channels they came in from. Is there a trend with the highest quality employees? Maybe a majority came in through LinkedIn or via an outbound recruiting process. If you don’t look at the data, you can’t optimize your hiring channels. 

Ready to Build Your High-Quality Candidate Pipeline?

Understanding which channels are bringing in the high-quality, high-volume candidates is a game changer. By focusing your efforts on those hiring channels, you can make recruiting less of a gamble and more of a data-driven process with predictive results. 

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