Best practices for pipeline customization

Available for Roles Super Admin
Permissions • Manage pipeline stages
Packages Lever Basic, LeverTRM, LeverTRM for Enterprise

The unified pipeline is the backbone of your Lever environment. The fixed elements in the design of the pipeline support a holistic approach to talent relationship management as well as give your recruitment data a clear and insight-driven structure. Lever further enables you to tailor the stages in your pipeline to fit your organization's recruitment processes and connect those stages to other functionalities. This article will cover best practices for customizing your pipeline, so you can get the most out of both its consistency and configurability.

For instructions on how to customize your pipeline, refer to the following help articles:

For a demonstration of how to customize pipeline stages, jump to the video at the end of this article.

Understanding your pipeline layout

Before you make changes to your pipeline stages, you should first understand how your pipeline is organized. This will allow you to make future changes to your pipeline strategically with respect to its design.

The pipeline is divided into three sections - Lead, Applicant, and Interview. The Lead section is designed to hold opportunities associated with outbound candidates - i.e. candidates that enter the top of your recruitment funnel as a result of your sourcing efforts. The Applicant section is designed to hold opportunities associated with inbound candidates - i.e. candidates that enter the top of your recruitment funnel via direct application to a posting on your career site or a job board, as well as those submitted as referrals.

Close up of section tabs above Lever pipeline.

The Interview section represents the middle to end of your recruitment funnel and is further segmented into milestones - Screen, On-Site, and Offer. The milestones align to the mid-funnel phases that a candidate progresses through as they are screened, interviewed, and finally engage in intent-to-hire activities such as background checks and offers.

Each section is further divided into stages, which align to different points in the candidate journey.

Example of stages in the Interview section of a pipeline

In order to ensure that your recruitment data is properly structured (and your dashboards reflect accurate insights), sections, milestones, and certain stages cannot be customized. Specifically, the following limitations apply when making pipeline customizations:

  • The following stages in your pipeline cannot be deactivated, renamed, or moved to a different section of the pipeline:
    • Lead: 'New lead,' 'Reached out,' 'Responded'
    • Applicant: 'New applicant'
    • Interview: 'Offer'
  • No stages can come before the 'New lead' or 'New applicant' stages in their respective sections.
  • The 'Reached out' stage must always come before the 'Responded' stage.
  • All active stages must have different names.

When reordering stages, we advise keeping stages within the same section and milestone in order to maintain the integrity of your recruitment data. Below is an example of how a pipeline could be set up. Stages that cannot be deactivated, renamed, or moved are denoted with an asterisk (*).

Sections Lead Applicant Interview
Milestones N/A N/A Screen On-Site Offer
  • New lead*
  • Reached out*
  • Responded*
  • New applicant*
  • Hiring manager review
  • Contacted
  • Recruiter screen
  • Hiring manager screen
  • Phone interview
  • On-site interview 1
  • On-site interview 2
  • Reference check
  • Background check
  • Offer*


Scoping out the impacts of pipeline customizations

Pipeline stages can be associated with objects and functionalities to enhance consistency and efficiency throughout your Lever environment. Customizing your pipeline has the potential to impact these connections resulting in a broken experience. Below is a summary of the different objects and functionalities that could be impacted by a pipeline customization.

Interview plans

Interview plans are defined when creating a job posting. Interview plans allow you to configure the interview events, feedback forms, and interviewers associated with interviews scheduled with candidates at different stages of the pipeline. To learn more, refer to our help article on interview plans.

Feedback forms

Feedback forms can be made to function as the default for interviews scheduled with candidates that have reached specific pipeline stages. To learn more, refer to out help article on feedback forms.


Pipeline stages can be included in the delivery criteria for the Candidate Experience Survey and diversity surveys active in your Lever environment. To learn more, refer to our Candidate Experience Survey help article and our diversity surveys help article.

Automation workflows

Pipeline stages can be referenced in the conditions and actions defined in the steps of automation workflows. To learn more, refer to our help article on automation workflows.


Some integrations are set up to trigger when a candidate's opportunity reaches a specific stage in the pipeline. Check out our collection of integration help articles to learn more about the different types of integrations, including those that rely on pipeline stage triggers.

If you are attempting to make a change to a pipeline stage that is referenced in a survey or automation workflow, you will be required to remove the reference to the stage from the affected object before you can proceed with the customization. As a best practice, we advise auditing each of the objects listed above prior to pipeline customization, so you can proactively address any potential impacts. Refer to the following table as you are completing your audit to understand how each object will be impacted by your planned customizations.

  Pipeline stage customization
  Add Deactivate Reactivate Reorder Rename
Interview plans No impact Stage is removed from plan Stage reappears on interview plan(s) Stage is moved accordingly on interview plan Stage name is automatically updated
Feedback forms No impact If default, reference to stage will be removed Requires manual re-association with stage if meant to function as default No impact Stage name is automatically updated
Surveys No impact Reference to stage must be removed from survey delivery criteria Requires manual re-association with survey delivery criteria No impact Stage name is automatically updated
Automation workflows No impact Reference to stage must be removed from automation workflow Requires manual re-association with automation workflow conditions/actions No impact Stage name is automatically updated
Integrations No impact Will break if reference to stage is not manually updated Requires manual reconfiguration to reference reactivated stage No impact

Stage name is automatically updated on Lever side of integration; requires manual update on integrator side

These objects should still be audited to check that the new location of the stage makes sense in relation to its surrounding stages.

Video walkthrough

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