Operating the Lead section of the pipeline

Available for Roles Super Admin, Admin, Team Member, Limited Team Member
Permissions • Manage profiles and view associated postings
Packages Lever Basic, LeverTRM, LeverTRM for Enterprise

This article is the third in a series designed to help you understand the structure and operation of Lever's unified pipeline. This article takes a close look at the Lead section of the pipeline and how it functions. If you missed it, the previous article in this series defines the difference between candidates and opportunities in Lever - a key distinction when it comes to navigating your pipeline.

Adding opportunities to the Lead section of the pipeline

The Lead section of the pipeline is designed to hold opportunities associated with potential candidates that you are actively sourcing from places like job fairs and sites such as LinkedIn or GitHub. As such, candidates must be manually added to the Leads section of the pipeline. There are two ways to manually add a candidate profile to Lever:

#1: Add the candidate directly in Lever

You can manually create a candidate profile by clicking the + Add Candidate button above the opportunity list.

Arrow pointing to Add Candidate button above the opportunity list


Candidates submitted as Referrals are added to the Applicant section of the pipeline, not the Lead section. For more information on referred candidates, check out the next article in this series.

In the candidate profile editor, the stage will be set to 'New Lead' and the Origin will be set as 'Sourced' by default.

Close-up of candidate profile editor with stage set to New Lead and origin listed as Sourced.


If you have already contacted the potential candidate that you are adding to Lever, change their stage to 'Reached Out.' The generated opportunity will still be listed in the Leads section of the pipeline and follow the automated progression rules defined below.

At this point, you can choose to associate the potential candidate with a specific job posting, or leave the job undefined to generate a 'General opportunity.' Fill out as many of the fields in the editor that you can. The profile will automatically be saved and added to the Leads section of your pipeline (unless you have moved the opportunity to a different stage when creating the profile) when you close the editor.

#2: Add the candidate via the Lever Chrome extension

Lever's Chrome extension allows you to create a candidate profile directly from the sites from which you are sourcing. To add candidates using this method, first download the Lever Chrome extension.

When viewing a potential candidate's information on a site from which you are sourcing, open the extension to reveal a condensed version of Lever's candidate profile editor. Copy the necessary information into the fields in the extension and click Create Candidate.

Lever Chrome extension expanded on a GitHub profile.


The Chrome extension will detect if you are attempting to create a profile in for a candidate that already exists in Lever and will direct you to the existing profile.

You can then proceed to fill out the rest of the candidate profile fields in the condensed version of the editor and save the associated opportunity to the Lead section of the pipeline as described above in method #1. To learn more, refer to our Lever Chrome extension help article.


Recruiters using LinkedIn Recruiter System Connect (RSC) can use Lever's integration to add candidates directly to the Lead section of their pipeline. To learn more, check out our LinkedIn RSC integration article.

Advancing opportunities through stages in the Lead section

The Lead section of the pipeline has three built-in stages: 'New Lead,' 'Reached Out' and 'Responded.' 

Close-up of stage list in Lead section of the pipeline.

The Lead section is the only section of the pipeline that uses automatic stage progression to advance candidates based on your outreach with them. As such, the stages in the Lead section cannot be modified.

When you send an email to a candidate from their opportunity in the 'New Lead' stage, the opportunity will automatically be advanced to the 'Reached Out' stage within the Lead section. If the candidate responds to your email, their opportunity will automatically be advanced to the 'Responded' stage of the Lead section.


If you reply to the candidate's response, their opportunity will not be automatically be moved back to the 'Reached Out' stage. The opportunity will stay in the 'Responded' stage unless you manually move them back to 'Reached Out.'

From here, you can advance the opportunity to one of your interview stages (which will pull it into the Interview section of your pipeline) if you are moving forward with the candidate.

Candidate profile with stage menu open. Current stage is responded, Recruiter Screen stage is highlighted.

If you are not moving forward with them you can archive the opportunity or snooze it and revisit it later. Check out our article on automatic stage progression to learn more.

Next steps...

Now that you have an understanding of how the Lead section works, we can move on to the Applicant section - the point of entry to the pipeline for inbound candidates.

If you would like to jump to the other articles in this series, select from the options below:

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