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Five Things You Need to Understand About Your Recruitment Funnel.

  • 01.31.2023

  • |

  • Lance Christensen, Senior Director of Strategy

Funnels come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Each characteristic of a funnel serves a specific purpose.  The design of your recruiting funnel is no different.  If the top opening is too wide, you may get more into your funnel than you bargained for.  If the bottom spout is too big, you risk spilling the contents everywhere. Using long or flexible funnels can help get the contents poured into some pretty hard-to-reach places.

The recruiting funnel originated as a visual aid for the process of taking a  large number of potential applicants and narrowing them down to only those who are hired. The importance of this process has resulted in an abundance of white papers, blog posts, and articles being written about the many stages within the recruiting funnel.  

For the sake of time,  we are going to assume you already have basic familiarity with the process that takes place inside the funnel.  In this blog post, we will explain how the recruitment process relates to and is significantly impacted by your funnel.  We will then unfold how the optimization of your recruitment process will actually reshape your funnel to increase hires, reduce turnover, and improve the overall applicant experience.

The Funnel

Funnel Opening– When it comes to the funnel opening, size and shape are everything.  As the entrypoint of your target applicant pool, the opening needs to be large enough to capture not only the quantity but also the quality of leads & applications necessary to meet your hiring goals.  A narrow opening restricts applicant flow, just a wide one increases it. The size of the opening is determined by the actions or inactions taken to encourage or discourage  jobseeker interest.

Here are a few examples:

Narrow the Opening

  • Increase requirements
  • Damage to employer brand
  • Difficult apply path
  • Poor communication
  • Lack of diversity
  • Bad job descriptions
  • Low/negative web presence

Widen the Opening

  • Reduce requirements
  • Boost employer brand
  • Easy apply path
  • Good communication
  • Increased diversity
  • Good job descriptions
  • High/positive web presence

A rightsized funnel opening is essential to proper talent attraction.

The Upper Funnel Bowl- The v-shaped upper funnel is where the recruiting process takes place. Designed to efficiently move leads and applications from the top and efficiently narrow them down to the quality candidates ready for the hiring process.

Having a short but efficient recruitment process that engages quickly, establishes a strong bond, and consistently nurtures candidates throughout the process is key.

Holes in The Funnel- Candidate drop off is an increasing problem for talent acquisition leaders in every industry. In many cases candidates are progressing through the recruiting or hiring process quite well, and then abruptly vanish (or ghost) without a trace.  While the current labor shortage, and an overall shift in job seeker behavior have each contributed to the rise of ghosting, this and other forms of candidate drop off can often be prevented with changes to your recruiting and hiring processes.

Some common causes for the holes in your funnel:

  • Lack of a nurturing campaign
  • Failure to communicate timeline & expectations
  • Weak Recruiter/Candidate relationship
  • Slow, complicated, or inefficient processes
  • Inadequate job offer, compensation, benefits
  • Too much impersonal automation
  • Improper candidate selection

The Funnel Spout- Here you find the hiring process, and just like a spout, a well designed hiring process is short and narrow, to allow candidates to travel quickly from offer, through vetting, and on to their first day of work. Screening providers, testing vendors, and any other 3rd parties used in your hiring process need to be chosen on a basis of both speed and quality. Consistent communication with the candidate is essential at this stage, and nurturing programs are highly recommended. In high demand roles, candidates will often participate in the hiring process of 2 or more employers simultaneously, evaluating and selecting their future employer based on the hiring process. The quality, and frequency of your interactions with candidates in the hiring process will determine the outcome.

Turnover in the Employee Pool- While not actually part of the funnel, we have included turnover. New hire turnover (typically within 90 days) is often considered part of the recruiting and hiring process. Like ghosting, it too has steadily increased in recent years, being fed by many of the same causes.

  • Failure to set clear job expectations
  • Inadequate training and/or onboarding
  • Weak Hiring Manager/Employee relationship
  • Slow, complicated, or inefficient processes
  • Too much impersonal automation
  • Improper candidate selection

Strong ties to previous employers often remain for several months, a detail that hiring managers sometimes miss.  Ensure that as new hires transition into your organization there are ample opportunities for them to forge new relationships within and outside of their department.   The procurement of equipment, user permissions, tools, etc. should be quick, organized, and efficient, as well as any required onboarding and  training.  The time and resources dedicated to acquiring top talent should not be squandered by providing a  new hire experience that fuels turnover.

For some, this may be a lot to take in, but we hope you found it useful. Equipped with the right tools and  a clear understanding of the types of candidates needed for the success of your organization, you can create a hiring funnel shaped for success. Want to learn more? Connect with our team, we are here to help.

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