Building a Robust IT Talent Pipeline for MSPs

By |Published On: December 5th, 2023|

In more ways than one, the success of an MSP lies in a well-nurtured and strategically crafted IT talent pipeline. A robust tech talent pipeline is not just a recruitment strategy; it’s a dynamic force that propels MSPs toward sustained excellence. It’s a conduit for continuous engagement, weaving connections with potential candidates beyond immediate hiring needs.

But how to build a talent pipeline? As we unravel the intricacies of talent sourcing, targeted recruitment strategies, and effective candidate relationship management, this article serves as a guide for MSPs aiming not just to hire, but to strategically build and sustain a talent force that drives innovation, meets evolving demands, and secures a competitive edge in the dynamic world of IT services.

Understanding the Components of a Talent Pipeline

Creating a talent pipeline is instrumental in ensuring a steady influx of skilled professionals for your MSP.

Let’s begin by defining the key elements of a talent pipeline and the crucial role of workforce planning in its effectiveness:

Key Elements of a Talent Pipeline

  • Identification of Talent Sources: Identify diverse talent sources, both internal and external. This could involve cultivating relationships with educational institutions, participating in industry events, and establishing connections with professional networks. A well-rounded tech talent pipeline considers a variety of channels to source potential candidates.
  • Recruitment and Sourcing Strategies: Develop targeted recruitment and sourcing strategies. This includes leveraging online platforms, MSP staffing agencies, social media, and specialized job boards to attract individuals with the specific skill sets required for MSP roles. As mentioned above, actively engaging with industry communities and forums can also contribute to identifying top talent.
  • Candidate Relationship Management: Implement a robust Candidate Relationship Management system to nurture relationships with potential candidates. This involves maintaining communication, providing periodic updates about the organization, and strategically positioning the MSP as an employer of choice.

Workforce Planning in Building an Effective Talent Pipeline

  • Alignment with Business Objectives: Ensure that workforce planning aligns with the broader business objectives of the MSP. Understanding the short-term and long-term goals of the organization is essential for tailoring the talent pipeline to meet specific workforce needs.
  • Skillset Forecasting: Implement skillset forecasting as part of strategic workforce planning – anticipate the skills that will be in high demand in the future MSP landscape.
  • Succession Planning: Incorporate succession planning into talent pipeline management. Identifying and developing internal talent for key roles ensures continuity and minimizes disruptions. Ideally, this should encompass leadership development and grooming internal talent for future leadership positions within the MSP.

Developing a Targeted Talent Acquisition Strategy

Crafting a targeted talent acquisition strategy is pivotal for attracting and retaining top-tier professionals. Now we are going to explore the development of a strategy that aligns your recruitment efforts with your MSP requirements:

  • Role-Specific Positioning: Clearly define the skills, competencies, and qualifications necessary for success within the MSP environment. This precision ensures that the recruitment process is targeted and aligns with the unique demands of the MSP landscape.
  • Cultivating a Talent Brand: Cultivate a compelling talent brand that reflects the culture, values, and opportunities within the MSP. Communicate the organization’s commitment to professional growth, innovation, and a dynamic work environment. A strong talent brand not only attracts candidates but also contributes to long-term retention.
  • Utilizing Niche Job Platforms: Leverage niche job platforms that cater specifically to the IT and MSP industry. Posting job listings on platforms dedicated to technology professionals increases visibility among individuals with the relevant skill sets, streamlining the recruitment process.
  • Online Platforms and Social Media: Harness the power of online platforms and social media for talent sourcing. Engage with professional networks on platforms like LinkedIn, share thought leadership content, and actively participate in industry discussions. This not only expands the reach of job postings but also enhances the organization’s online presence.
  • Collaboration with Staffing Agencies: Collaborate with reputable staffing agencies specializing in IT and MSP recruitment like Scaled. Staffing agencies often have access to a pool of pre-screened candidates, saving time and resources in the recruitment process.

Employer Branding for Talent Pipeline Success

We’ve already glanced over how the strength of an employer’s brand plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining top talent – in this section, we’re delving deeper. Let’s explore the significance of enhancing your MSP’s employer brand, showcasing your company culture and opportunities for career growth:

Enhancing the Employer Brand

  • Authentic Messaging: Craft authentic messaging that reflects the true identity and values of your MSP. Avoid generic statements and focus on highlighting what sets the organization apart. Authenticity resonates with potential candidates and establishes trust from the initial engagement.
  • Employee Testimonials: Showcase the experiences of current employees through testimonials. These authentic stories provide potential candidates with insights into the day-to-day work environment, the collaborative culture, and the opportunities for professional development within the MSP.
  • Highlighting Technological Innovation: Emphasize the MSP’s commitment to technological innovation. Showcase how the organization stays at the forefront of industry trends, invests in cutting-edge technologies, and encourages employees to engage with innovative solutions.

Showcasing Culture and Career Opportunities

  • Interactive Web Presence: Develop an interactive and engaging online presence. A well-designed careers page on the company website, interactive social media accounts, and regular updates about company achievements contribute to a positive online image.
  • Employee Development Programs: Highlight robust employee development programs. Showcase opportunities for continuous learning, skill enhancement, and career growth within the MSP. This emphasis on professional development not only attracts top talent but also appeals to individuals seeking long-term career progression.
  • Incorporating Diversity and Inclusion: Demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Showcase initiatives, programs, and success stories that illustrate the MSP’s dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Leveraging Technology in Talent Pipeline Management

Harnessing technology is also essential for streamlined talent management and creating a talent pipeline. This section delves into the utilization of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and the integration of automation for efficient candidate sourcing and screening:

Utilizing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

  • Centralized Candidate Database: Implement an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to centralize and organize candidate data. A centralized database streamlines the talent management process by providing a unified platform for tracking applicants, managing resumes, and storing candidate communication history.
  • Automated Application Workflow: Leverage ATS capabilities to automate the application workflow. This includes automated responses to applicants, acknowledgment emails, and status updates. Automation not only enhances the candidate experience but also reduces the administrative burden on HR teams.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Utilize analytics and reporting features within the ATS to make data-driven decisions. Insights from the ATS can provide valuable information about the effectiveness of recruitment strategies, time-to-fill metrics, and areas for improvement in the talent acquisition process.

Integrating Automation for Candidate Sourcing

  • Automated Candidate Sourcing: Integrate automation tools for candidate sourcing. Automated processes can scan online platforms, job boards, and professional networks to identify potential candidates who match the specified criteria. This accelerates the initial stages of talent acquisition by presenting a pool of qualified candidates.
  • AI-Powered Resume Screening: Explore AI-powered solutions for resume screening. Machine learning algorithms can analyze resumes against predetermined criteria, shortlisting candidates based on skills, qualifications, and experience. This not only speeds up the screening process but also ensures a more objective evaluation.
  • Streamlining Communication: Implement automated communication tools to streamline interactions with candidates. Automated emails for interview scheduling, status updates, and feedback requests enhance communication efficiency.

Continuous Engagement and Relationship Building

Now let’s break down how your MSP can stay engaged and successfully build long-term relationships with your tech talent pipeline:

Maintaining Relationships with Potential Candidates

  • Nurturing Talent Networks: Establish and nurture talent networks that go beyond immediate hiring needs. Engage with potential candidates who may not be actively seeking a new position but align with the skill sets and values sought by the MSP.
  • Proactive Outreach: Implement proactive outreach strategies. Regularly reach out to individuals in the talent network with updates about the organization, industry insights, and relevant opportunities. This consistent communication not only keeps potential candidates informed but also fosters a sense of connection with the MSP.
  • Participation in Industry Events: Actively participate in industry events, webinars, and conferences. These forums provide opportunities to engage with potential candidates in a less formal setting.

Personalized Communication for Ongoing Engagement

  • Tailored Content and Updates: Provide tailored content and updates based on individual interests and preferences. Personalization goes beyond generic communication, demonstrating a genuine understanding of each candidate’s professional goals and aspirations.
  • Feedback and Two-Way Communication: Establish channels for two-way communication. Encourage potential candidates to share their insights, preferences, and career goals. Actively seek feedback on their experiences with the MSP, creating a dialogue that strengthens the relationship and allows for continuous improvement.
  • Customized Career Development Guidance: Offer customized career development guidance. Provide resources, articles, and insights that align with the candidate’s career trajectory. Position the MSP as a valuable resource for professional growth, showcasing a commitment to the long-term success of potential candidates.

Upskilling and Training Initiatives

One would expect to also have a section on upskilling in this kind of article, and it’s clear why – the emphasis on training is integral for staying ahead in the IT and MSP industry in particular.

Let’s talk about how you can develop internal programs to upskill existing employees as well as strategic partnerships with training providers:

Developing Internal Programs for Upskilling

  • Skill Gap Analysis: Conduct a comprehensive skill gap analysis to identify areas where upskilling is most needed. This analysis can be based on emerging technologies, industry trends, or specific project requirements within the MSP.
  • Customized Training Modules: Develop customized training modules that cater to the specific needs identified through the skill gap analysis. These modules can include technical training on new tools or technologies, soft skills development, and industry-specific knowledge.
  • Internal Workshops and Knowledge-Sharing Sessions: Facilitate internal workshops and knowledge-sharing sessions. Encourage employees with expertise in specific areas to lead sessions and share insights with their colleagues. This peer-to-peer learning fosters a collaborative culture and accelerates the dissemination of knowledge within the MSP.

Partnering with Training Providers for External Skill Development

  • Identifying Specialized Training Providers: Identify external training providers specializing in the relevant areas of expertise. Whether it’s cybersecurity, cloud computing, or project management, partnering with specialized training providers ensures that employees receive high-quality, industry-relevant education.
  • Certification Programs and Accreditation: Enroll employees in certification programs and accreditation courses offered by reputable training providers. Industry-recognized certifications not only enhance individual skill sets but also contribute to the MSP’s credibility as a provider of highly skilled professionals.
  • Continuous Learning Subscriptions: Explore continuous learning subscriptions offered by training platforms. Subscriptions provide access to a wide range of courses, allowing employees to choose topics aligned with their career goals.

Diversity and Inclusion in Talent Pipeline Building

In the modern landscape of IT talent, fostering diversity and inclusion is not just an ethical imperative but also a strategic advantage. And here’s how you can make use of that advantage:

Strategies for Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

  • Inclusive Job Descriptions: Craft inclusive job descriptions that emphasize the organization’s commitment to diversity. Avoid gendered language and highlight an inclusive workplace culture. This sets the tone for attracting a diverse pool of candidates right from the recruitment stage.
  • Diverse Sourcing Channels: Utilize diverse sourcing channels to reach a broader audience. Engage with platforms and networks that cater to underrepresented groups in the IT industry. Building connections with organizations focused on diversity in tech can expand the reach of job listings.
  • Blind Recruitment Practices: Implement blind recruitment practices to minimize unconscious bias. Removing personally identifiable information from resumes during the initial screening process ensures that candidates are evaluated based solely on their skills and qualifications, fostering a fairer selection process.
  • Cultivating Inclusive Company Culture: Cultivate an inclusive company culture where diversity is not just welcomed but celebrated. Showcase diversity within the organization through employee testimonials, success stories, and inclusive events. Prospective candidates are more likely to be attracted to organizations that prioritize inclusivity.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Training: Provide ongoing diversity and inclusion training for employees involved in the hiring process. This training should focus on mitigating unconscious bias, fostering an inclusive work environment, and promoting equal opportunities for all candidates.
  • Regular Diversity Metrics Evaluation: Regularly evaluate diversity metrics within the talent pipeline. Analyze the composition of the candidate pool, interviewees, and hires to identify areas for improvement. Transparently communicate diversity goals and progress to showcase the organization’s commitment.

Metrics and Analytics for Talent Pipeline Evaluation

Last but not least, effective evaluation of MSP recruitment efforts relies on well-formulated KPIs and strong data analytics. Namely, the following metrics are ones to pay attention to when assessing the health of your talent pipeline:

  • Time-to-Fill: Measure the time it takes to fill open positions. A prolonged time-to-fill may indicate inefficiencies in the recruitment process, affecting the agility of the talent pipeline.
  • Sourcing Channel Effectiveness: Evaluate the effectiveness of different sourcing channels. Analyze which channels consistently provide high-quality candidates and adjust the recruitment strategy accordingly.
  • Conversion Rates at Each Stage: Track conversion rates at each stage of the recruitment process, from application to hire. Identify potential bottlenecks or areas where candidates drop out, optimizing the process for better efficiency.
  • Candidate Quality: Assess the quality of candidates in the pipeline. Look beyond quantity and focus on the relevance of skills, experience, and cultural fit. This ensures that the tech talent pipeline is filled with candidates who align with MSP requirements.
  • Diversity Metrics: Monitor diversity metrics to ensure inclusivity in your talent pipeline management routine. Track the representation of different demographics at various stages of the recruitment process.
  • Offer Acceptance Rate: Measure the percentage of candidates who accept job offers. A low offer acceptance rate may indicate a need to reassess compensation, benefits, or other factors influencing candidate decisions.

At the same time, here are also some ways you can efficiently use your data analytics for better recruitment results:

  • Predictive Analytics for Skill Needs: Utilize predictive analytics to anticipate future skill needs. Analyzing historical data can inform decisions on the skills and competencies required for upcoming projects or industry trends.
  • Source of Hire Analysis: Conduct source of hire analysis to identify the most effective channels for attracting top talent. Allocate resources to channels that consistently yield successful hires.
  • Cost per Hire: Evaluate the cost per hire for different positions and sourcing channels. Understanding the cost-effectiveness of recruitment efforts allows for budget optimization and resource allocation.
  • Applicant Journey Mapping: Map the applicant journey through data analytics. Identify the touchpoints where candidates engage with the MSP, helping optimize communication strategies and enhance the overall candidate experience.
  • Retention Metrics: Incorporate retention metrics into talent analytics. Assess the long-term success and retention rates of hires from different sources or with varying characteristics to refine sourcing strategies.
  • Feedback and Survey Analytics: Analyze feedback and survey data from candidates and employees. Use insights from surveys to continuously improve the talent acquisition process, addressing pain points and enhancing the overall candidate and employee experience.


For MSPs, the significance of a well-crafted tech talent pipeline cannot be overstated. The focus on role-specific positioning and cultivating a compelling talent brand enhances the organization’s appeal, while leveraging niche job platforms, social media, and collaborations with staffing agencies optimizes recruitment efforts.

On top of that, you shouldn’t ignore the practices of authentic messaging, employee testimonials, and technological innovation – they all showcase the strength of your employer brand.

Technology integration and upskilling initiatives also remain absolutely integral to creating a talent pipeline – and the success itself should be meticulously measured with KPIs such as time-to-fill and cost-per-hire.

About the Author: Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson
Michael started his MSP, TLC Tech, in 2004 and has steadily grown and developed the company in the near two decades since. Currently employing 31 employees (including seven from South Africa), he understands the unique challenges faced by MSPs. As a founder of Scaled Inc., Michael works to assist his peers in the MSP world by streamlining the process of adding talent technicians to their teams. Connect with Michael on LinkedIn to discover how Scaled can place technical talent at your MSP.

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