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Stages of an effective recruitment funnel

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Human Resources

21 September 2022

The only constant thing in the world nowadays is change. And the recruitment industry is no different!

Recruiters these days must change their approach a little bit and act as marketers do… That's the only way they can reach/attract, engage, and generate prospects, or in recruiters’ case, hires.

Doing so requires going through the ‘recruitment funnel' process. This latter contains specific stages that should go smoothly and steadily.

In this article we will define the recruitment funnel and state some of its benefits. But most importantly, we will drive you through each stage, comprehensively explain it, and break it down into adaptable steps.

                               Recruitment Funnel: Definition

A funnel is an analogy or a process that narrows down a big audience until one succeeds to come out of the funnel. A recruitment funnel, in others, is a framework that allows you to work systematically on the recruiting process. It creates a repeatable, scalable, and systematic pathway for attracting, nurturing, and hiring the right talent.

Some Pros

The recruitment funnel primarily aims to help make it easier to hire for a role.

First, it simplifies the recruiting process into defined stages. Then it breaks each stage into functional tasks, making it possible to assign parts to other team members.

In addition, by using an effective recruitment funnel, you’d make sure that things run smoothly, when it comes to the hiring process. It also optimizes each funnel stage to ensure that candidates stay interested and engaged with your organization.

               Design a Perfect Recruitment Funnel in 7 Stages!

1. Awareness

The awareness stage is where the candidate is aware of the existence of your brand or organization. Here, you get into the candidate’s radar. You might be lucky, and your company is known for its products or services. But they won’t necessarily think of your place as somewhere to work in.

In this stage, you should work on your employer branding. The latter simply (not simply) means getting the message out there that your organization is a great workplace.

Social media and digital presence are crucial at this stage. How do I do this is a question that would pop up in your mind now! Worry not! We will break it down into practical steps that are easier to follow.

Identify what makes your company special and why it stands out from the crowd. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What differentiates my organization from the others?
  • What would make people want to work here?

These could be strong company values or the company’s unique culture. I’m sure you have something that distinguishes your company from others. Ours at Huntzen is Equity for everyone within the process; how about you?

Next, use your social media platforms and your company’s website to showcase these features and uniqueness.

2. Attraction

In this stage, you work on attracting specific profiles to focus on job opportunities that need to be filled.

This is where you need to write spotless job descriptions and recruitment ads. You must put some effort into drafting an immaculate job description. It is mainly the first direct contact of your company with the other as a candidate.

Think of what this potential candidate likes, wants, and values. Here are some tips for writing a compelling job description:

  •  Invest in timing and do not rush!
  • Put the job’s best benefits at the top of the job description to catch the candidates’ eye
  • Use informal language and address the reader directly
  • Put the salary range in the job description
  • Be clear about what’s coming next!

3. Interest

Interest is the stage where you establish some connection with the candidates. There is a similar strategy in marketing that you can use: “lead nurturing.” It is when you keep providing your customers with appropriate and relevant content and information at every stage. But what you are doing here is that you are targeting unique talents, not customers.

In this stage, you, or members of the recruiting team, should be available to provide candidates with any information they need.

Potential hires are going to act and do research about your company because they are getting interested. You need to make the ‘candidate search experience’ as successful as possible. And that only can be achieved by making answers as evident and available as possible.

The worst plot is when an interested candidate does research only to find an outdated website of the company or a Twitter account that has been neglected for a while. Do the research yourself and make a list of the things that need to be improved. Work on them!

Try to brainstorm questions that they might have about the job or your company itself and put them in an FAQ. That is the best way to easily provide candidates with information.

4. Application

You came a long way by reaching this stage ! You’ve succeeded to make interested candidates click the “Apply Now” button.

This stage is one of the most important stages in this whole process. You don’t want candidates to drop off from this stage because the application is too long or too complicated.

Your focus should be on creating a good application experience for candidates. So, make sure your application process doesn’t exceed five to ten minutes. You should also optimize the application to work on mobile devices, as most users will navigate the application through their smartphones.

What is more, don’t ask too many (unnecessary) questions. Reducing the number of required clicks from the beginning of the application to the end is equal to increasing the appeal and the experience. In last, don’t use complex language or specific jargon. Keep it simple!

5. Screening

The funnel at this stage has already gotten narrower.

Here, you shortlist and flag candidates into a small number to be interviewed. The goal is to narrow applicants to the ones who stand out the most and have the talent to fill the job you are providing.

You need to use adequate selection methods. Resume screening doesn’t always work for several reasons. First, candidates may lie in their resumes. They might be good at writing a good resume (which is also a good skill) but not at the competencies to get the job perfectly done.

Manually screening resumes is time-consuming. And automated screening can eliminate great candidates. Such a trap!

What’s the solution then?

We’ve got your back (again)!

Skills testing is the best solution. First, identify the skills set that are needed in a specific job, and then test all applicants for those skills. For instance, a team manager needs specific skills such as resolving issues within teams and strong decision-making skills. What you need to do is to test applicants for these skills.

The test can take no more than 5/10 minutes, and it can be conducted online from anywhere! Survey makers like Google Surveys or Surveys Monkey can help scale this step.

6. Interview

The interview phase is where you meet the candidates in person -or online. It is the time to retain the information you need from your potential employees.

Ask about information that the resume and the skill-testing phase did not cover. In other words, you can squeeze more info about the candidate during such phase.

Skill testing has already informed you about the skills the candidates have. So, build your questions and interview strategy on the results & dig deep to know about things that were not included in the test.

Remote interviews are as efficient as face-to-face ones nowadays. So, make sure to consider them as an option. And if you are interviewing someone who would work remotely, make sure you ask questions about their ability to self-start, self-discipline, and time management.

7. Hiring

Congratulations! You've made it to the end of the recruiting funnel. Now, you are left with the top candidate(s) to whom you will make a good offer.

Be careful! Top talented people are most likely to receive offers from other companies. So, you need to make a clever move at this stage & make the best offer to the best candidate.


In a nutshell, the recruitment funnel is a process that helps you recruit the best talents out there. It is a process that contains several stages; each of these stages serves a particular purpose in the process.

Lastly, you need to constantly analyze and optimize your recruitment funnel to keep it as efficient as possible. Collect feedback and data and work with recruitment funnel metrics to keep improving your recruitment process.

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