My approach to building a hiring pipeline

Over the last few months, I’ve been helping a few companies build hiring pipelines to recruit at nearly every experience level and for technical, sales and business development roles. Below are the lessons I’ve learned.

Identify your ideal candidate
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Narrow your search focus to find the right candidate. The easiest way to start is by building look-alike candidate lists. I start with either a particular person or a list of companies that would provide someone with the right experience for the role.

Right tools. Right mentality.
Hiring is a daily process. You should treat it like email - something you do every day. Allocate an hour per day to search and contact potential candidates. Allocate up to 50% of your time to interview, reference and close candidates.

Get your technology in place. Upgrade to a premium LinkedIn account. Deploy an applicant tracking system. It can be as simple as Google Docs or Streak. Candidate tracking is essential for success both for communication with candidates but also within your team.

Nail your pitch
Hiring is sales. Be human in introductory emails. Find a way to relate someone or something about the role to the person you’re contacting. It could be a contact in common, shared work experiences, or shared passions. Say something that will intrigue someone to learn just a bit more. The goal of the email is to generate curiosity and land the first meeting. That’s it.

Perfect the process
Be responsive. Quick email responses. Quick interview scheduling. Quick decisions. Reference strong prospects in parallel. Immediately after the first meeting, I start contacting former colleagues and co-workers to get another data point before the second interview.

Sell the dream You started a company. You should be passionate about it and the opportunity to build something worthwhile. During the process, your goal should be to understand the candidates dreams. Sell the candidate by telling them how your dreams converge.

Published 2012-10-03 in


I am partner at Redpoint. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 20,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.

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