Understanding The Recruiting Funnel and How to Use it

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In practice, all funnels represent a process for narrowing down a large audience, where each step is measured and optimized. Recruiting funnel is a framework for the entire recruiting process to create a never-ending pipeline of candidates so you can find the right people for the right jobs in your company. 

Representation of a recruiting funnel and recruitment funnel metrics

The five steps of the recruiting funnel are Awareness, Consideration, Interview, Offer, and Hire. Each of these steps involves engaging with the talent to establish relationships and networks that will help you find the best candidates, identify them, and hire them. In an increasingly tight talent market where unemployment is around 4%, having an effective recruitment plan with HR management KPIs is more important than ever.

As we walk you through the recruiting funnel framework, we will show how each step is a crucial component of the whole process and give you metrics to track the effectiveness of each step.

Step One – Awareness

You want to create awareness of your employer brand at the top of the funnel - regardless of whether a candidate is a good match for a role. At this point, visitors will be introduced to your organization's mission and Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Posting a job is not enough; you also need to tell candidates enough about your company to convince them that you're a great fit for them. You also want to capture enough basic information (such as a name, email and phone number) to drive engagement to the next level.

Metrics for step 1:

    • Number of visits to your career page
    • New followers on social media
    • New followers on LinkedIn
    • Sourcing channel effectiveness

Step Two -  Consideration 

Using programmatic media channels will allow you to place ads on the best-fit job boards and other media channels your candidates are most likely to visit based on the candidate information captured at the top of the funnel. This is similar to the experience consumers have when they visit a website and receive updates, additional information about purchases they’re considering, suggestions about similar items, etc.  

Candidates today do not want to experience a long, drawn-out process. Organizations that excel streamline the process to the maximum extent possible and use analytics platforms to deliver an immersive, omnichannel experience that’s highly targeted, personalized and engaging.

The percentage of applicants who continue to submit an application at this stage is about 36%. The best way to increase this rate is to make your application process mobile and checkout-style, similar to a shopping cart on a consumer retail website.  

Metrics for step 2:

      • Applicants per position
      • Internal vs External applicants
      • Number of Employee referrals
      • Application drop off rate

Level Three – the Interview

This is an important step where analytics should be used to nurture the candidates you plan to interview and keep them interested in your company. Aside from the interview, you should give them additional specifics about the role, the environment and the culture of the company.

Now that you have sufficient details about your candidate, you should be able to conduct an interview that really shows that you take the time to learn about their needs and aspirations and to follow up with a message (perhaps via an email drip campaign) that contains more information about how to proceed.

Metrics for step 3:

      • Number of applicants that meet the job requirements
      • Number of candidates who are qualified and could do the job

Step Four – the Offer

The candidate should have done due diligence not only on your own organization, but also on what your competitors offer in terms of compensation, work/life balance, and benefits for similar positions. In this instance, you could obtain employee testimonials and stories to demonstrate what makes you the best choice.

Congratulations and well done! The acceptance rate for your offers will be about 90% at this point.

Metrics for step 4:

      • The measure offers made to offers received
      • Acceptance rate
      • The ratio of candidates to negotiations

Level 5 – the Hire

Welcome to the team! Your newest hires are great ambassadors for your employer brand as well as your newest employee advocates. Leverage a talent advocacy platform to get their message out there on social media to continue building awareness and fill your talent pipeline.

Metrics for step 5:


There are many moving parts to talent acquisition, and we hope this summary gives you an idea of how a Recruiting Funnel works and some strategies and technologies to employ to be able to attract quality candidates. The most effective way to sit on top of your metrics is to use analytics and create an HR dashboard. 


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