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recruitment funnel

What is a Recruitment Funnel? — Definition, Stages, Metrics, and Template

Key Takeaways

1. Recruitment funnels make the recruiting process more efficient, from initial outreach to final interviews.

2. A recruitment funnel allows you to attract top talent.

3. Recruitment funnels help you save money on recruiting costs and focus your recruiting efforts on channels that will yield the best results.

4. There are seven stages to a recruitment funnel: Awareness, Attraction, Interest, Application, Pre-Screening, Interview, and Hiring.

Recruitment funnels are a powerful tool that can help organizations target and attract the best talent. By using a funnel approach, organizations can identify the specific skills and experiences that they are looking for in candidates. They can then create an outreach and recruitment strategy designed to attract these individuals.

The funnel approach can help to eliminate bias in the recruitment process, as it ensures that all candidates have an equal opportunity to be considered for the role. As a result, the recruitment funnel is an essential tool for any organization that is serious about attracting top talent and interested in a truly unbiased recruitment process.

What is the meaning of  “funnel”?

A “funnel” in sales and marketing means a process for converting potential customers into paying customers, by nurturing them through a series of steps or stages: awareness, interest, and decision. In detail, those steps are:

  • Awareness: In this stage, potential customers are made aware of your product or service.
  • Interest: In this stage, potential customers show interest in your product or service.
  • Decision: In this stage, potential customers decide whether to purchase your product or service.
  • Action: In this stage, potential customers take action and purchase your product or service.
  • Retention: In this stage, customers are retained as loyal, paying customers.

Sales and marketing funnels allow businesses to more effectively target their marketing efforts, and maximize their chances of making a sale.

What is a recruitment funnel?

The definition of “recruitment funnel” is a framework that guides your hiring process from beginning to end, channeling talent candidates into hires for the organization. Also called a “recruiting funnel” or “talent pipeline”, a recruitment funnel ensures you consider all prospects and only the most qualified candidates make it to the final stage of your hiring process. By doing this, you avoid bad hires, improve your candidate experience, and save time and money.

Effective recruitment funnel management can be tricky, which is why many companies choose to outsource recruitment to a company that can manage the entire process on their behalf.

A recruitment funnel aims to:

  • Nurture top talent
  • Find the right match between company and candidate
  • Eliminate unqualified applicants
  • Improve the efficiency of the hiring process
  • Provide a consistent experience for all candidates, regardless of where they are in the process.

The six key recruitment funnel metrics

Getting your recruitment funnel wrong can be the cause of many recruitment-related problems for your business. Monitoring key metrics helps ensure your funnel is performing optimally.

There are several metrics that organizations should track when it comes to their recruitment funnel. Some key ones are:

  • Brand awareness
  • Many companies use brand awareness as a metric to measure the success of their recruitment funnel. Brand awareness is important because it allows companies to gauge how well they are known in the marketplace and whether or not their message is resonating with potential candidates.
  • There are a few different ways to measure brand awareness, including surveys, focus groups, and online research: Automated surveys are a great way to get feedback from a large group of people, but they can be costly and time-consuming; focus groups are smaller and more intimate, but they can be more biased because the participants are hand-picked; online research is less expensive and can reach a larger audience, but it can be difficult to filter out the noise.
  • Ultimately, the best way to measure brand awareness is to use a combination of methods to get the most accurate picture possible.
  • Candidate screening
  • To measure candidate screening, start by looking at the qualifications and relevance of each candidate. Are they a good fit for the job? Is each application complete and strong? If not, you may need to tweak some parts of your recruitment funnel. By tracking candidate screening, you’ll be able to identify and correct any bottlenecks in your process. As a result, you’ll be able to improve your candidate screening process and make it more effective.
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • The Offer Acceptance Rate, or OAR, is a key metric for measuring the effectiveness of your recruitment funnel. To calculate your OAR, simply divide the number of offers accepted by the number of candidates who reached the offer stage. For example, if you extended 10 offers and 6 were accepted, your OAR would be 60%.
  • While the OAR is a simple metric, it can provide valuable insights into the health of your recruitment funnel. A high OAR indicates that your offers are competitive and that your candidates are happily accepting them. A low OAR, on the other hand, may indicate that your offers are not attractive enough or that your candidate pool is too small. Either way, monitoring your OAR is a good way to ensure that your recruitment funnel is running smoothly.
  • Diversity
  • When it comes to recruitment funnel metrics, diversity in the workplace is an important factor to consider. There are a variety of ways to measure diversity, but one of the most commonly used methods is the Diversity Index. The Diversity Index measures the percentage of underrepresented groups in a given population. To calculate the Diversity Index, you first need to identify the target population and then determine the percentage of each underrepresented group that is represented in that population.

    For example, if you are looking at the diversity of a company’s workforce, you would first need to identify the total number of employees and then calculate the percentage of each underrepresented group that is represented within that workforce. The Diversity Index can be a useful metric for measuring diversity because it provides a clear and concise way to compare different populations.

    However, it is important to keep in mind that the Diversity Index does not take into account other factors such as socio-economic status or region. As such, it should be used as one piece of data when evaluating diversity rather than the sole metric.

  • Time to hire
  • There are a few different ways to measure time to hire. One way is to simply take the average amount of time it takes to fill a given position. Another way is to track the time from when a requisition is first open to when an offer is accepted.
  • This metric can be helpful in identifying where bottlenecks are in your hiring process. If you’re taking too long to contact candidates or if there’s a lengthy approval process, you can use this metric to make improvements. By reducing your time to hire, you can increase your chances of recruiting top talent.
  • Cost per hire
  • There are a few different ways to calculate cost per hire (CPH), but the most common method is to simply divide the total cost of recruiting (advertising, agency fees, etc.) by the number of new hires.
  • This will give you a broad overview of your CPH, but it’s also helpful to break down the calculation by each stage of the recruitment funnel. For example, if you’re spending a lot on advertising but not seeing many qualified candidates apply, you may need to adjust your budget or target a different audience.

    Understanding your CPH at each stage of the hiring process allows you to make more informed decisions about where to allocate your resources.

What are the stages of the recruitment funnel?

The recruitment funnel has 7 stages. At each stage, you are looking to move candidates further down the funnel until only the most qualified remain:

Stage 1: Awareness

Awareness is the first stage in the recruitment funnel and is all about building brand awareness. It’s important to understand that at this stage, candidates are not actively looking for a job, they are simply aware of your company and what you do.

The aim of awareness-stage marketing is to reach as many potential candidates as possible and get them interested in your company as a workplace. This can be done through a variety of channels such as social media, and career fairs. Awareness is a year-round activity, not something that is only considered at the point of advertising a job vacancy.

Stage 2: Attraction

When you’ve built Awareness, it’s time to capitalize on it and attract interest in the specific role. This is the stage where you need to capture the attention of your target audience by crafting a compelling job ad that includes key information about the position and what makes your company an attractive employer.

Once you have created your ad, it’s important to post it in places where your target candidates are likely to see it. This may include online job boards, professional networking sites, and social media platforms: For certain roles, you may want to consider the ‘open talent marketplace’. By taking the time to create a strong job ad and post it in the right places, you can ensure that you attract high-quality candidates to your recruitment funnel.

Stage 3: Interest

“Interest” is the third step in a recruitment funnel and involves handling questions and enquiries about the advertised role. The aim at this stage is to be responsive to any questions or concerns that potential candidates may have about the company, the team, or the role itself

Stage 4: Application

It is important to ensure that potential candidates are not put off by an unnecessarily lengthy or complicated application process. By streamlining the process and making it as easy as possible to apply, you can remove one of the major barriers to attracting top talent.

Additionally, by providing an auto-response for all applications, you can ensure that candidates feel confident that their application has been received and is being processed.

Finally, by keeping candidates informed of likely timescales and next steps in the process, you can help to create a feeling of transparency and fairness throughout the recruitment process.

Stage 5: Pre-Selection

Now that you have a pool of candidates, it’s time to start whittling down the list. Pre-selection narrows down the pool of candidates by looking at their qualifications and determining who is best suited for the job.

This can be done in a number of ways, but one of the most effective is to give skills assessments. These tests can help you identify which candidates have the knowledge and abilities required for the job, and eliminate those who do not meet the minimum requirements.

Pre-selecting candidates saves time and money by only interviewing those who are truly qualified for the position. Additionally, pre-selection can help to ensure that the best possible candidates are hired, as skills assessments can provide an objective measure of a candidate’s qualifications.

Stage 6: Interview

The interview is one of the most important steps in the funnel, as it provides an opportunity for employers to get to know candidates and assess their suitability for the role. With the rise in remote job roles, it’s important to consider how to handle interviews for work-from-home roles.

A standardized interview framework helps to remove bias from the process and ensure that all candidates are given a fair chance to shine. The framework should include both competency-based questions and behavioral questions, allowing employers to assess both skills and fit. By using a standardized interview framework, employers can ensure that they are making the best possible hiring decisions.

Stage 7: Hiring

Hiring is the final step in the recruitment funnel, and it is just as important as the other steps in the process. After all, the goal of recruitment is to find the best possible candidate for the job, and an offer that is not properly tailored to the candidate’s needs and wants is likely to be rejected.

To increase the chances of a successful hire, it is important to take the time to learn about the candidate’s motivations and objectives. What are they looking for in a new position? What are their career goals? Understanding these factors will help you to craft an offer that will be appealing to the candidate.

Video: Track your recruitment funnel 

It is increasingly important to track your recruitment funnel so you can remain on top of progress through the pipeline. One possibility is to use HR software like BambooHR

Another option is to build your own spreadsheet. This approach is explained below. 

The best recruitment funnel templates

Applying a recruitment funnel template across your organization is useful for two reasons: 

  1. HR analytics and reporting mean that it is crucial to be able to explain the process simply and attractively to senior stakeholders
  2. It ensures that the entire organization follows a standardized and consistent process

Not every business and industry will apply the same recruitment funnel: Therefore, it is useful to apply a recruitment funnel template that is specifically suited to your business. We recommend: 

  • SlideBazaar, for a series of animated templates, easily integrated into PowerPoint presentations for all audiences
  • Sketchbubble, for more technical templates aimed at an HR audience
  • Adnia solutions, for a detailed excel integration, allowing the close tracking of recruitment funnel metrics.

Note: We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive any payments from, the businesses assessed here. We simply share our opinions based on our recruitment expertise. 

How Horizons fits into the recruitment funnel

If you’re serious about growing your business, you need to be proactive about recruitment. Hiring haphazardly is a recipe for disaster, and waiting for the perfect candidate to come along is a surefire way to miss out on great talent. The solution is to create a recruitment funnel – a system that helps you identify, attract and hire the best candidates for your open positions.

For many businesses, especially businesses that are hiring global talent, it’s more cost-effective to outsource their recruitment funnel to an international recruitment agency. At Horizons, we understand that every company is different and that your specific requirements may vary. That’s why we offer a comprehensive recruitment solution that can be customized to fit your specific needs.

Whether you’re looking to hire top talent in a new market or simply need help with the onboarding process, our team can provide the assistance you need. We begin by getting to know your company and your recruitment goals. From there, we develop a tailored plan that includes all of the necessary steps for successful global recruitment. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your recruitment goals.

Frequently asked questions

A recruitment funnel is a system used by businesses to Identify and hire suitable candidates for open positions. The funnel metaphor is used because the hiring process narrows down the pool of applicants as it progresses, with each stage eliminating those who are not a good fit for the role. Businesses often use various tools and methods at each stage in order to find the best possible candidates. For example, they may post job ads online, search through resumes, conduct phone screens or in-person interviews, and give aptitude tests.

By using a recruitment funnel, businesses can ensure that they hire the right person for the job, which can save time and money in the long run.

The goal of every business is to find and retain the best talent. To do this, you need to have an efficient recruitment funnel in place that incorporates all seven stages: awareness, attraction, interest, application, pre-selection, interview, and hiring.

Creating a recruitment funnel involves setting up efficient processes for all of these stages. If you hire for remote roles, you need to consider how to manage your recruitment funnel for remote job roles.

The most effective recruitment funnels make use of all seven stages of the funnel, from awareness to hiring. By addressing each stage in turn, businesses can ensure that they are reaching the widest pool of potential candidates and that they are making the best possible use of their time and resources.

What is a Recruitment Funnel? — Definition, Stages, Metrics, and Template

recruitment funnel