Changing the stage of an opportunity

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Changing the stage of an opportunity is one of the most fundamental actions you can take in Lever. Stage changes should be conducted with agility and consistency so that you maintain a healthy pipeline velocity and clean data. Readers of this article will learn about:

How stage changes work

Changing the stage of an opportunity simply means moving it a different location in the active part of the pipeline. The stages to which you can move an opportunity will depend on how your pipeline has been customized (refer to our help article on pipeline customization for more on this topic). When changing stages, there are couple of key distinctions to keep in mind:

Changing the stage of an opportunity is different than archiving an opportunity. When an opportunity is archived, it is removed from the active part of the pipeline. Refer to our help article on the archive to learn more.

If a candidate has multiple active opportunities, changing the stage of one opportunity does not entail changing the stage of the other(s). Decoupling candidates from opportunities is designed in part to allow for greater flexibility when it comes to pipeline dynamics. To learn more, check out our help article on the difference between candidate profiles and opportunities.

Methods for changing the stage of an opportunity

There are three methods for changing the stage of an opportunity:

Method 1: Manual stage change
To manually change an opportunity's stage, simply open up the candidate profile to the corresponding opportunity and select a new stage from the stage menu beneath the posting title.

Close up of candidate profile with stage menu expanded.

Stages can also be changed manually during a Fast Resume Review session for opportunities that are in the 'New Applicant' stage. Refer to our Fast Resume Review help article to learn more.

Method 2: Automated advancement
Opportunities in the 'Lead' section of the pipeline are subject to automated advancement, based on outreach that has occurred with the candidate. Opportunities in the 'New Lead' stage will be automatically advanced to the 'Reached Out' stage if they are sent an email via Lever (including emails sent as part of a Nurture campaign). Opportunities in the 'Reached Out' stage will be automatically advanced to the 'Responded' stage if the candidate replies to the email. Movement beyond the reached out stage will need to be done manually.

Close up of New Lead, Reached Out, and Responded stage tiles.

Method 3: Bulk stage change
To change the stage of multiple opportunities at once, select their checkboxes from the opportunity list in the pipeline, click the Stage button in the bulk action toolbar (the toolbar will be revealed once you have selected at least one opportunity in the opportunity list), and choose a stage to which to move the opportunities. This method can also be used to move individual opportunities without opening a candidate's profile.

Two opportunities selected in opportunity list; Stage button in bulk action toolbar outlined for emphasis.

To learn more about the other types of bulk action you can take in Lever, refer to our help article on the bulk action toolbar.

Best practices for stage changes

The way in which you and your team change the stages of opportunities can impact your data hygiene when it comes to measuring performance metrics such as pipeline speed and conversion rates. Here are some best practices for changing the stage of an opportunity:

Be consistent
When recruiting at scale, it is important that each of the recruiters on your team adhere to the same set of rules when changing the stage of their opportunities. Skipping a stage here and there may seem minor in the moment, but when scaled to the level of an entire recruitment team, such an action can artificially skew your recruitment data. Use interview plans to set guidelines for the stage progression associated with each role for which you are hiring (check out our interview plans help article to learn more). If an opportunity needs to deviate from an interview plan, make sure it is properly communicated so you can account for it when reviewing data in Visual Insights.

Avoid regressions
Lever's unified pipeline is designed around the forward progression of opportunities (and dispositioning when appropriate). Just as skipping stages can skew your data, so too can regularly regressing opportunities in the pipeline. Remember that the opportunity-centric design enables you to easily generate new opportunities for a candidate at the top of your talent funnel while keeping their full candidate history intact. In instances where you might be tempted to move an opportunity backward in the pipeline, ask yourself if generating a new opportunity (carrying all necessary information from the old opportunity in the process) would be a better option for maintaining data integrity.

Know which integrations rely on stage changes
Some integrations may rely on stage changes in order to trigger (for example, moving an opportunity to the 'Background Check' stage could initiate the generation of a new recording in your organization's background check system). If you have integrations enabled in your Lever environment, review which of them (if any) are associated with a stage change trigger, so you have a full understanding of the effects of moving opportunities (and any integrations that will failure to trigger if stages are skipped).

If in doubt, check the candidate story
The story on the candidate profile acts as the historical record for all actions taken with an opportunity, including stage changes. If you ever need to trace back an opportunity's journey, review the story to see each pipeline movement.

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