- Be succinct with the number of stages. The most effective pipelines are 12 stages or less but you can add some extra stages if needed.
- Do not add stages after Hired. This can impact your reporting on the number of successful hires or valid referrals.
- Keep stages in one piece. Don't break up stages into multiple steps like "Approve Offer" and "Send Offer"
- Don't add a "Disqualified" stage. Instead, use the disqualify button to knock candidates out within the stage that they reached.
Even though there is no limit to the number of pipelines you can set up in your account make sure to:
- Create pipelines for types of jobs, not for specific jobs. Adding a pipeline for every job is time-consuming and can create confusion during the hiring process.
- Segment pipelines by department and location so that it's easier to select the right pipeline when creating jobs.
The "best" single pipeline
If you only use one pipeline on your account, all jobs will have that pipeline. Remember that stages have a lot of utility. Although using one pipeline may seem limiting, the stages and evaluation methods that you actually use for any given job can be different.
Candidates can be skipped over stages if a stage isn't relevant to the job. This means that you can design a more elaborate pipeline and ignore stages when necessary.
While your own company's needs may differ, generally the following pipeline is effective.
- Sourced/Applied: Default required stages
- Shortlist: Separate the best applicants for easier review from hiring managers.
- Phone Screen: Conduct initial phone screening or video interview and collect evaluation feedback
- Assessment: Send an assessment/skills test - customized for each job as needed
- Hiring Manager Interview: Have the candidate meet with the hiring manager and/or the hiring team
- Exec Interview: An interview to meet with an executive for final evaluation
- Offer: Send an offer and get a signature. Run background check if needed.
- Hired: Mark the candidate as successfully hired
Design a reporting pipeline first. All pipelines you create must have stages that fit into the reporting pipeline. In the below example, the stages 'Technical Interview' and 'VP Interview' fit into the 'Interview' stage of the reporting pipeline.
The reporting pipeline should represent the core concepts of your hiring process. Typically this includes stages like:
- 1st Round Interviews
- 2nd Round Interviews
As you add more pipelines to the account, create pipelines for types of jobs, not for specific jobs. Using consistent processes helps to keep the hiring team on track and makes it easier to understand what stages certain coworkers should participate in and how close you are to making a hire.
For example, add a single "Manager-level" pipeline for an Operations department, not unique pipelines for "Customer Support Manager", "Head of Account Management", "Manager of Engineering"...
You may end up adding "Manager-level" pipelines for different departments. As long as a pipeline can be used for multiple roles, you'll set yourself up for success.
Common names for multiple pipelines might look like:
- Marketing - Manager Level
- Marketing - Associate Level
Avoid pipeline mistakes that overcomplicate the process. Here are examples of stages that we don't recommend adding.
- Disqualified: Candidates are disqualified within stages themselves. Do not add your own "Disqualified" stage. Instead click the disqualify button on candidate profiles, keeping them within the stage they progressed to, but separating them from still-qualified candidates.
- View, ABC, Step 3: You want your hiring team and leadership teams to know how things are progressing at a glance and where they should take action. Stage names like "Phone Screen" and "Interview" are OK, but avoid words or ideas that may be more difficult to interpret. It's not clear what candidate aspects are being evaluated in "Step 3". Is this stage relevant to the hiring manager or just the recruiter? Is feedback expected or should users just be looking at resumes? Is this an interview, an assessment or what?
- Save for later: Use candidate tagging instead of adding a stage for candidates who performed well, but were not hired. For 'silver medalist' candidates, include a "#save_for_later" tag at the top of their profile and keep them in the stage they advanced to. When you're hiring again, search your database for the tag to quickly surface the candidate. Adding a separate stage for this impacts your reporting and may confuse the hiring team.
- Offer Approval & Offer Send, Interview Setup & Interview Feedback: Don't split up recruiting tasks into multiple stages. For example, in an Interview stage, schedule the interview and collect feedback within one stage. Or for offers, collect approval and send the offer within one stage.
- Hired > Onboarding Meeting: We do not recommend adding stages after Hired. This can impact the reporting on the number of successful hires.
Extra tip: Click here to download some pipeline examples for different types of jobs