Did you hear? Funnels aren’t just for precision pouring anymore. They’re also a powerful tool for every hiring manager's toolbelt.
With a well-planned recruitment funnel, you can attract and hire the right people at the right time — no matter what's happening in the talent market. And it doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming.
With a clearly defined recruitment funnel, you can create a simple but effective process that consistently delivers the best candidates. Here's how it’s done.
Here’s what’s ahead
- What is a recruitment funnel?
- How do I create a recruitment funnel?
- How to prevent candidate attrition in your recruitment funnel
What is a recruitment funnel? And why a little zig and zag isn't always bad
A recruitment funnel is a strategic framework that makes it easy for organizations to attract, engage, and ultimately hire qualified candidates by guiding them through a streamlined series of stages. It’s a talent channel, just like your job boards, career page, and employee referral portal.
But when you crack it open, there is so much more to a powerful recruitment funnel than first meets the eye.
Here’s what you can expect, in seven straightforward steps:
- Awareness: Getting candidates to notice and recognize your brand.
- Attraction: Guiding aware candidates towards a specific job opportunity.
- Interest: Prompting candidates to discover more about the opportunity.
- Applying: Candidates take the first conversion step by completing an application.
- Evaluating: Assessing and screening candidates to determine potential fit.
- Interviewing: Conducting face-to-face, phone, and/or video-based interviews.
- Hiring: Extending a job offer and kickstarting the onboarding process! 🎉
“The recruitment funnel is designed to keep hiring processes moving forward — casting a wide net for candidates, then narrowing down the candidate pool to applicants, then shortlisting the best candidates, and then hiring the best person for the job,” explains Micole Garatti, Director of Content Marketing at Fama Technologies.
But as we all know, hiring doesn’t exist in a vacuum — and your recruitment funnel doesn't always follow a linear path. Often, it looks a whole lot more like chutes and ladders. And that’s ok.
Candidates are human too. Their actions aren’t always predictable. And as the gig economy grows, your recruitment funnel may look a little less linear.
So when is the best time to use a recruitment funnel? We asked some of our HR friends the very same question.
The benefits of a recruitment funnel and when to use it
“Any time you can't guarantee that a fresh, qualified candidate will be waiting when you are ready to hire one for a critical role, you should utilize a recruitment funnel,” explains Ben Eubanks, Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory.
With an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help you track candidates as they progress through the pipeline, your recruitment funnel can be even more effective in getting the right folks across the hiring finish line, just in time.
But the benefits don’t stop there.
Here are a few other advantages an effective recruitment funnel can offer:
- Easier candidate screening and evaluation
- Better tracking on key recruitment metrics
- Enhanced employer branding
- Improved candidate experience
- Excellent quality of hire ✨
For example, you can position your recruitment funnel to target a specific cohort of candidates, let's say veterans or management-level hires, then reduce your time-to-fill by adjusting each stage to speak directly to that group.
How do I create a recruitment funnel?
What does it take to build a powerful recruitment funnel? Let’s break it down, step by step.
To create an employer brand candidates are itching to work for, they’ve got to know it exists first.
A strong employer brand makes it crystal clear your company is a great place to work and can even reduce your cost per hire by as much as 50%. Not only that, it could help you attract the 75% of job seekers who say they’re more likely to apply if a company actively manages its brand.
During the Awareness stage, focus on:
- Aligning your brand messaging across your career site, job boards, social media channels, and more
- Building awareness with passive candidates by interacting with target groups in online communities
- Leveraging your network to build organic awareness
How Breezy can help:
- Launch a stellar career site. Customize it as much as you want with no coding required. You can even link to the career portal from your own site and tweak it to match your page’s style and branding.
- Level up your employee referral program with a custom portal to bring in better quality hires and refer candidates directly to your company’s open positions.
The next step is all about drawing in job seekers and steering them toward a particular open role.
By this point, potential candidates are already familiar with your brand, but haven’t applied for a job yet.
During the Attraction stage, focus on:
- Writing pitch-perfect job ads. 92% of candidates don’t finish their applications due to unnecessary snags in the process. If you're building the right awareness with the right candidate cohorts, a lengthy app won't be necessary.
- Advertising your open jobs on job boards, social media, and your careers page
How Breezy can help:
- Select from our database of hundreds of expertly-crafted job descriptions.
- Post your open role to the best job boards on the planet, with just one click.
- Leverage niche and premium boards for ultra-specific roles.
- Reach diverse candidates with Breezy-integrated DEI-focused job boards.
You’ve built brand awareness and attracted an audience of potential pre-qualified applicants. Bravo!
In the Interest stage, job seekers get to know your company better, usually via your website or social channels. Whether they get their info from LinkedIn, your website, or your latest webinar — optimizing your digital presence to pique candidate interest is essential.
Our expert Ben Eubanks (yes, same pro from earlier!) agrees. “When [candidates] are in a hiring funnel sequence, they like to receive information about relevant jobs, a company's hiring process, and helpful guidance on the organizational culture.”
The goal is to give them all the info they need to keep the fire of interest smoldering, gently guiding them from the home page to application.
During the Interest stage, focus on:
- Fine-tuning your digital presence to strengthen your brand and encourage candidates to apply
- Creating a FAQ page so potential applicants can easily find the answers they need
How Breezy can help:
- Double down on customizing your career site. With Breezy, you can even manage multiple career portals and easily track referrals so no one falls through the cracks.
The applicants are rolling in — hurray! 🙌🏼
Now it’s time to focus on candidate experience. At this stage in your recruitment funnel, streamlining the application process and keeping candidates informed is crucial.
During the Applying stage, focus on:
- Streamlining your application for a short, clunk-free process
- Making sure your online forms are mobile-friendly
How Breezy can help:
- Applications questionnaires make it easy to quickly move candidates into (or out of!) your pipeline
- Rich candidate profiles show you everything you need to know about an applicant in one glance.
- Automatically send an email to thank candidates for their time and keep them updated on where they stand in the process.
The applications are in, but how could one person possibly have the time to sift through all of these resumes?
At the evaluation stage, your goal is to assess candidates' abilities, experience, and expertise in depth. And quickly.
While 37% of candidates hear back from a company within a week of applying, another 44% have to wait weeks. Frustration is a candidate constant, with 48% of respondents feeling discouraged and antsy while waiting to hear back.
To keep applicants happy, engaged, and ready to join the team, you’ve gotta streamline your evaluation procedure.
During the Evaluating stage, focus on:
- Choosing the right selection methods. From resume screening to skills assessments, think critically about your open roles and which methods best suit your needs.
- Eliminating bias. From blind hiring to merit-based skills testing, find a way to curb unconscious bias during the evaluation phase.
How Breezy can help:
- Drag-and-drop pipelines make it easy to move candidates through the funnel
- Nip bias in the bud with Incognito Apply, which hides name, location, and age on every application.
- Use Candidate Match Score and put AI to work prioritizing applicants so you know exactly which applications to look at first.
- Utilize custom scorecards to easily share feedback with the rest of the hiring team.
- Automate your workflows to reduce repetitive tasks like thank you emails and team feedback requests.
By now the funnel is narrowing, resulting in a small pool of top candidates. But with 77% of candidates reporting that they’ve been ghosted by an employer, now is not the time to drop the ball on candidate experience.
Keep the good vibes going with a well-executed interview process.
During the Interviewing stage, focus on:
- Optimizing your remote interview experience. From testing equipment beforehand to dressing sharp and staying punctual, keep it focused and professional.
- Maintaining contact with candidates so no one forgets to show
- Using structured interviews to reduce the potential for biased interviewing
How Breezy can help:
- Determine your team’s availability with scheduling links, then let the candidate pick a time that works for them.
- Communicate with candidates directly from Breezy via email or SMS. You can even delay interview confirmation and reminder messages to schedule them for just the right moment.
- Use standardized interview guides to ensure each candidate is asked the same questions no matter which team member they meet with.
- Use group video interviewing to organize a live video meet with your team.
- Keep everyone updated with shared hiring conversations so you can compare notes on candidates in one central (and confidential) place.
Congrats! You and your candidates have reached the final stage of the recruitment funnel. Now it’s time to seal the deal with a formal job offer.
To make sure you land the hire, you need to pull out all of the stops with a job offer that sings. (Not literally…but wouldn’t an offer backed up by a barbershop quartet be kinda cool?)
First and foremost, keep things speedy — 62% of candidates lose interest if they don't hear back from a company within two weeks following the interview.
But that’s not all. You also need to show that you care by offering meaningful feedback on their interview performance. According to Talent Board’s 2022 Candidate Experience Benchmark Research, communication and feedback are key differentiators of top employer brands, but only 17% of companies provide feedback to external and referral candidates.
During the Hiring stage, focus on:
- Sending job offers quickly so you don’t miss out on top candidates
- Collecting candidate feedback so you can keep improving your recruitment process
- Offering feedback to candidates so they’re more likely to speak highly of your brand and apply again in the future
How Breezy can help:
- Manage offers with custom templates, approval flows, and built-in eSignatures to get offers out to candidates ASAP.
- Check background screening off your list in days, not weeks, with integrations from top providers.
- Take advantage of HRIS integrations that help you quickly move new hires into onboarding.
- Make compliance look easy with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and EEOC/OFCCP tracking.
- Utilize reporting and analytics to measure your hiring process and streamline your recruitment funnel for even better results next time.
How to prevent candidate attrition in your recruitment funnel
Once your recruitment funnel is, y’know, funneling, it’s time to locate and patch any leaks.
One of the main reasons candidates drop out of the recruitment funnel is a lack of communication.
“The biggest problem is only sending job details to candidates. Every company does this, so it's hard to stand out just sending more jobs more frequently,” explains Ben from Lighthouse. “Candidates prefer transparency, so sharing critical details about the company, the roles, etc. beyond the job description can be a big differentiator.”
Whether you’re sending out updates about company culture, or keeping candidates in the loop regarding the sometimes lengthy application-to-interview process, a little extra transparency goes a long way in leak-proofing your funnel.
Build a rockin’ recruitment funnel with Breezy
From generating awareness to sending out that final offer, an efficient recruitment funnel can keep the top-notch candidates coming.
With a clear understanding of each stage, you can create a powerful process that consistently delivers the talent you need. And with a do-it-all ATS like Breezy on your side, you can kick back and watch the magic happen.
Get more out of your recruitment funnel with a free 14-day trial of Breezy HR.