The perfect recruitment pipeline

The perfect recruitment pipeline (with sample board and workflow)

There is a lot of recruitment software out there with a lot of cool features, optimizations, and corner-cutting approaches which can help you save time. Unfortunately, for me, only one works perfectly and it is not even recruitment software.

Follow this guide to help you get started for a simple, down to earth and most importantly free recruitment pipeline!


Obviously, Trello is a board slash project management tool that is so versatile that I literally use it on my day-to-day. Best of all, it is free for a couple of boards, which means it will do the job.

Here is a screenshot of my favorite board and let me tell you how to use it

sample board and workflow

The Process

The following process is mapped for your reference. I have used the above-mentioned trello board to guide you. The sky is the limit then!

Not only that – but you see the board above? Add it to your trello here

[board] Add candidates to your <Pipeline> list

The entry point for all candidates. I usually take special attention to the people that I would want to talk to, so I manually create these cards, with all the information that I usually deem necessary.

For the applicants that I don’t want to talk to, I usually reject them, for two main reasons:

  1. You should interview to hire, so it is either on the list or out of the list
  2. The candidates have put on effort into the application, and the sooner they are aware of the status of their application, the better.

Here is what I usually add:

  1. A name
  2. [Label] Where did you get this candidate  
  3. [Label] Position applied
  4. The application URL
  5. Upload CV

[call] Schedule a Preliminary chat

You do not have the time to settle a specific time when you will talk to your candidates, but you can have calendly. It is a freemium tool, which for the basic utilization that we need, you will not need to pay extra money. Integrate it in your calendar, and put a workflow that automatically sends out a teams or google call invitation to the candidate

When you have the call:

  1. Add Notes to your board when I do a preliminary call.
  2. I always ask for salary expectations and a preliminary starting date
  3. Next steps (with a deadline for myself)

I know that I have talked to a candidate because I have put a deadline for myself or I have rejected them after the preliminary chat

[board] Send them a <Technical Task>

If a task is necessary, do this. Alternatively, skip this.

I usually deal with developers, and for me to even have a technical call, I give them a simple technical task.

The topic of technical tasks is a big and controversial issue, but if you are looking to send out one, then this is the time.

The task should have:

  1. A clear specification
  2. A deadline
  3. A clear delivery expectation

Note the deadline here, and put the card in the <Technical Task> list.

[review] Review the technical task and provide feedback

If a candidate did a technical task for you, the least that you can do is provide constructive feedback on why this is good or bad.

IF not to the standards that you are looking for, provide feedback and decline

IF yes, reach out, and ask for a technical interview. You should schedule the technical interview with the same approach as above.

[board] Technical Interview

The purpose of the technical interview is to introduce this technical hire to your technical lead/team. If you do not have a technical team lead, then one of their peers.

The call should be about the code, approach, and maybe some questions that you have missed on the screening call.

You would also focus on asking here what the candidate is comfortable with, what they are looking for, or if there are specific approaches to their day-to-day that they may deem important.

I consider this the most important call as after this you will either hire or reject the candidate. Make the most of it.  

Make sure to inform the candidate about the expected timelines after this.

[board] Pending – the limbo decision making state

After the technical interview, it is time to decide and discuss if you want to go ahead or not with the candidate, define the offer that you will send them, and whatever open topics that you need to discuss.  

Do this fast, within a week.


[board] Offer Sent

Sent out an offer email with the following:

  1. Title,
  2. Salary
  3. Potential starting date
  4. A sample copy of the contract

Be open and clear. If you want to negotiate after this point, that is up to you, but your financial offer should potentially match the salary range asked in the very beginning.

[board] Hired

Self-explanatory. Note the starting date and if needed.

[board] Rejected

The board where you add all the rejected candidates. Make sure that you have informed the candidates.

[board] Lost

My favorite board. It is the humility board. It gives you through the recruitment process, the necessary feedback if you are doing something wrong.