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The Recruiting and Hiring Funnel: How to Get Each Step Right

In Hiring Strategy — by Dave Anderson


The sales funnel is the formula for success in many companies. Each step is measured and optimized to ensure prospects stay interested and eventually become happy, paying customers.

Recruiters can also use a funnel to hire great employees. A typical recruiting and hiring funnel has five steps that help companies attract, assess and hire the best people available. In this blog post, we’ll walk through each step in the funnel and provide tips and statistics for achieving hiring success.

Step one: Raise candidate awareness

According to Glassdoor, 76 percent of job seekers look for information on what makes a company an attractive place to work. So it isn’t enough to post job openings and expect great candidates to apply. You also need to define and promote what is great about working for your company.  

The modern job seeker wants more from their employer than fair compensation. They also want good benefits, work-life balance, career advancement opportunities and to have a good time at work. Figure out what sets your company apart for others and highlight the advantages on your company’s careers page. Include photos, videos and employee testimonials that help candidates determine if your company is the right fit for them. If you need some inspiration, check out our e-book “Elements of a Great Careers Website.”

Step two: Source great candidates

Once you have a great careers page up and running, you need to drive potential applicants to it. There are multiple pipelines for sourcing candidates and some are likely more beneficial to your company than others. Here are some common ones:

    • Job boards – Active candidates go to the various online job boards to easily find positions to apply for. These sites are great for generating a lot of applicants but many of these people will be blasting their resume off to every company hiring.
    • Employee referrals – It’s always a good idea to ask your employees to recommend people they know for open positions. You’ll get less candidates than job boards send but they’ll likely be qualified and interested in the role.
    • Social media – Sharing job openings on social media is a great way to engage with candidates who are following your brand. You can also take a more passive approach and share content about what makes your company fun to work for. A Pew Research Center study revealed about 35 percent of people use social media in their job search and many companies still haven’t taken advantage of this source.
  • Previous applicants – Each person who has applied to your company has a profile stored in your applicant tracking system (ATS). Since you can only hire one person for most roles, you likely have some quality candidates who are worth reconnecting with as new positions open.  

You can generate reports using your ATS that tell you what your best candidate sources are. You can learn what sources send the most candidates and how far they progress through your hiring funnel.

Step three: Generate applicants

Candidates are aware your company is hiring and have landed on your careers page. You now need to communicate the positions you are hiring for and get people to complete your application process.

There are a lot of conflicting opinions on what makes a good job description. At Recruiterbox, we believe the key to getting the right people to apply is to clearly convey who you’re looking for and what you can offer. Check out this blog post on what to include in your job descriptions for a more detailed explanation.

Once people know a role makes sense for them, they’ll feel compelled to apply. Some recruiters believe an extensive application filters out the candidates who are applying all over. But that’s only part of the truth. According to CareerBuilder, 60 percent of candidates give up in the middle of lengthy job applications so those recruiters are definitely losing out on some quality candidates too.

Job seekers have other life obligations so don’t make your application more complex than it needs to be. See how your application process stacks up with our audit

Step four: Interview and assess candidates

At this point in the hiring funnel, you’re transitioning from generating as many applicants as possible to narrowing down to an ideal person to hire. Depending on the number of applicants you receive, about 10-15 percent should move onto the interview and assessment stage.

It’s important to define the requirements for a position early on so you can ask the right questions in the interview. You have limited time with a candidate and need to learn if they have the skills, experience and personality you’re looking for. You should also strive to provide them with a positive interview experience so they continue to have a favorable opinion of your company, even if they don’t get the job.

Skill assessments are also an effective way to learn what a candidate is capable of. But like the application process, you can lose candidates by asking them to complete a test or exercise that is too burdensome. Make great hires with our candidate evaluation guide

Step five: Extend an offer and hire a new employee

You’re at the bottom of the funnel and need to “close” as the sales team says. While modern job seekers care about more than money, getting an offer accepted still depends on what you’re willing to pay, in many cases.

However, each side should have some idea what the other has in mind for compensation by this point. The candidate has read online reviews from your employees and perhaps you shared the salary range in the job description. And hopefully you asked the candidate what they hope to earn during step three or four. If so, coming to an agreement should be painless but this guide has some helpful tips on how to approach salary negotiations.

Take it one step at a time

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Building a company of great people takes time but following a step-by-step process is the key to attracting and hiring top candidates.

Trakstar Hire is considered the most user friendly hiring software on the market. If you’re ready to take your recruiting and hiring to the next level, request a Trakstar Hire demo today.