Deactivating pipeline stages

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

As your organization's talent acquisition function develops over time, your unified pipeline will likely need to evolve accordingly. Lever allows you to customize your pipeline stages to reflect changes in the candidate journey defined by your team's recruitment procedures. Note that pipeline customization can have far-reaching effects in your Lever environment. We advise that you familiarize yourself with the design and function of the pipeline before attempting to make changes. To learn more, check out our help article series on understanding your unified pipeline. For a demonstration of how to customize pipeline stages, jump to the video at the end of this article. For more information on pipeline customization, refer to the other help articles on this topic:

Rules for deactivating pipeline stages

Given how foundational the pipeline is to other functions throughout the platform, there are certain actions you cannot take when deactivating stages in your pipeline. Specifically:

  • The following stages in your pipeline cannot be deactivated:
    • Lead: 'New lead,' 'Reached out,' 'Responded'
    • Applicant: 'New applicant'
    • Interview: 'Offer'
  • A stage cannot be deactivated if it has active opportunities associated with it. When attempting to deactivate the stage, you will be forced to move all opportunities to a new stage before you can proceed.
  • A stage cannot be deactivated if it is referenced in an automation workflow or survey delivery trigger. When attempting to deactivate the stage, you will be forced to edit the affected automations/surveys so they no longer reference that stage before you can proceed.

Knowing when to deactivate pipeline stages

Before deactivating a stage in your pipeline, ask yourself the following questions:

Am I prepared to update surveys and automation workflows that reference the stage I plan to deactivate?
If the stage you are planning to deactivate is used in Candidate Experience or Diversity survey delivery criteria, or is referenced in the condition of an automation workflow, you will be required to replace the stage before you can proceed with deactivation.
Am I prepared to update interview plans, feedback forms, and integrations that reference the stage I plan to deactivate?
The stage you are planning to deactivate may be used on interview plans attached to open postings, function as the trigger for active integrations, or have a default feedback form associated with it. We advise auditing interview plans, integrations, and feedback forms prior to deactivating a stage to avoid any adverse impacts.
Have I given my team advance notice of the plan to deactivate the stage?
Giving advance notice to your team of your plan to deactivate a stage will allow time for them to naturally advance or archive candidates off of the stage slated for deactivation without forcing any artificial pipeline movement.

In general, pipeline stages should only be deactivated if your talent team has established a new recruitment process that will impact candidate journeys going forward, but will not affect candidates who are currently in or have gone through your pipeline. Below are some examples of when it would be appropriate to deactivate a stage:

Example 1: Deactivating a Lead stage
A TA Operations Manager added a 'Keep Warm' stage to the Lead section of their pipeline for candidates that they felt might benefit from a more gradual pace of correspondence. After reviewing the average time opportunities spent in stage for two fiscal quarters, they found that opportunities spent more or less the same amount of time in the 'Keep Warm' stage as they did in the 'Reached Out' and 'Responded' stages combined, with roughly identical conversion rates. They decide to deactivate the 'Keep Warm' stage. Before they do, they announce to their team the stage will be deactivated in two weeks and instruct them to no longer use the stage moving forward. Two weeks later, nearly all opportunities that were in the 'Keep Warm' stage have been advanced or archived as part of the team's natural recruitment motions and no new opportunities have been added since the announcement. The few remaining opportunities can be manually moved, with their candidate histories edited if needed to reflect the artificial change. The Operations Manager can then go ahead and deactivate the 'Keep Warm' stage with minimal impact to their recruitment data.
Example 2: Deactivating an Interview stage
A company's pipeline contains a 'Topgrade' stage for interviews with Topgrade certified managers. All Topgrade certified managers have left the company, and the Director of Talent Acquisition would like to deactivate the 'Topgrade' stage until they are able to backfill the positions. Two weeks prior to the departure of the last Topgrade certified manager, the Director of Talent Acquisition creates a new stage to use as an alternative until the manager positions are backfilled. They announce to their team that opportunities can no longer be advanced to the Topgrade stage, instructing them to instead advance candidates to the new alternative stage. They also update any interview plans that included the Topgrade stage to instead use the new alternative stage. Once the final Topgrade interview is conducted, the Director of Talent Acquisition proceeds to deactivate the 'Topgrade' stage.

How to deactivate pipeline stages


The deactivation of stages in your pipeline may affect integrations you have enabled in LeverTRM. As a best practice, review your active integrations for any triggers associated with stages (and make adjustments if necessary) prior to deactivating stages in your pipeline.
  • Navigate to Settings > Pipeline and archive reasons > Pipeline stages. Here you will see a preview of the active sections of our pipeline, as well as the list of active and deactivated pipeline stages in your Lever environment.

Pipeline and archive reasons settings page.

  • Click the Customize pipeline stages button to open the stage editor. Each stage in your pipeline will be represented by a tile, organized by section. Each tile will show a tally of the number of active opportunities currently associated with that stage in your pipeline.
  • Click Deactivate stage on the tile of the stage you wish to deactivate.
  • Review and resolve any configuration dependencies associated with the stage by clicking the Resolve button under the dependency. You will be required to resolve all dependencies before you will be able to proceed with deactivation. Dependencies can include the following:
    • Candidate Experience survey or Diversity survey triggers - If the stage you are attempting to deactivate is referenced in the delivery criteria for a survey, you will need to replace the stage in the survey configuration in order to resolve the dependency. Refer to our Candidate Experience Survey help article and our Diversity surveys help article to learn how to update delivery criteria.
    • Automation workflow conditions - If the stage you are attempting to deactivate is referenced as a condition in an automation workflow, you will need to replace the stage in the workflow condition in order to resolve the dependency. Refer to our Automation workflows help article to learn how to update workflow conditions.

Stage deactivation modal

  • Once all dependencies have been resolved, click the Deactivate stage button to proceed. The stage tile will be removed from the editor, but you will have a chance to review the stages you have slated to deactivate before applying your changes. Click the Next button to the right of the progress bar at the top of the page to proceed.
  • If any of the stages you have selected for deactivation are associated with active opportunities, they will be listed on the next page. Select a destination stage for the active opportunities associated with each stage slated for deactivation. Click the Next button to proceed.

Move opportunities page in pipeline stage configuration workflow. One stage slated for deactivation is listed with a new stage selected to which to migrate opportunities.

  • The final step is to review your slated changes. On the review page, you will find a comparison view of the current and future state of your pipeline once your changes are applied. Below this, you will find a table with a detailed summary of all of your slated changes. At the bottom of the review page, you will find a table summarizing the impacts your changes will have on your analytics.

Example of changes to stages summary

Impact of changes to analytics table

  • Click the Save button to the right of progress bar to apply your changes. It may take a few moments for your pipeline changes to be applied. You can return to Lever while this process runs in the background. Note, it will not be possible to make further changes to your pipeline stages until the initial set of customizations have been applied. When your changes have been applied, a pop-up notification will appear in Lever. Click the button in the pop-up to view the changes in your Settings.

Pop up notification that pipeline stage changes have been successfully applied.


If you exit the pipeline stage customization workflow without applying your updates, any changes you have made up to that point will be lost.

Frequently asked questions

Will deactivating a stage cause that stage to no longer appear in the history of hired or archived candidates?
No, all historical data associated with the deactivated stage will retain its place in the candidate story.
How is an interview plan impacted if one of the stages in the plan is deactivated?
The stage will disappear from the interview plan for all postings. If the stage is later reactivated, it will reappear on the interview plans on which it was previously included. To learn more, refer to our help article on interview plans.
What will happen to a feedback form assigned as the default for a deactivated stage?
The feedback form will revert to not to being the default for any stage.
How is an integration impacted if it relies on a trigger associated with a deactivated stage?
The integration will cease to work. The integration will need to be manually reconfigured to a new stage trigger.

Video walkthrough

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