Chris Russell

3 min read


How to Optimize Your Recruitment Funnel

The employment market looks much different today than it did a year ago. It’s a candidate’s market and the employer that provides the best candidate experience while remaining agile is in the best position to win.

Symphony Talent summarizes the recruitment funnel as:

  1. Career Website
  2. Application Process
  3. Interview
  4. Offer
  5. Hire

The goal of a recruitment funnel is to find the best hire in a large candidate pool. Here are a few tips to perfect your recruitment funnel.

Be clear on what’s included in your recruitment funnel.

Your funnel can be as long or short as you wish; however, you need to be clear on what each step means, why each step is important, and the expected outcome of each step. Without clarity in each step the last step may not result in the best hire. 

Have buy-in from all partners.

There is nothing as frustrating as starting a process and then mid-step needing to change the entire process because something new is revealed that wasn’t known before. When this happens, you can taint the entire funnel, decrease candidate satisfaction, add unnecessary time to time-to-hire, and more.

This often happens when there is a lack of transparency in the process. When all partners – within HR and especially outside of HR – are in alignment the overall process is more effective.

Automate were possible, without decreasing candidate satisfaction.

At the end of the day, your candidate is your customer. It may not seem like it, but their satisfaction is just as important as your customer’s satisfaction. When you automate in a way that makes the process more efficient for the company and the candidate, you keep candidate satisfaction.

An example of automation is correctly parsing a resume’s information into an application. Another example is automating the interview scheduling process by using a SaaS that allows the candidate to view the interviewer’s availability and schedule accordingly. When automation is used this way, it enhances the candidate experience and shortens time-to-hire. This should also include the use of texting to speed candidate communication.

Have standard processes that you do not delineate from.

Every step in your process should have a standard operating procedure. The procedure should clearly define the process, supply step by step instructions for how to complete the process and show what a successful outcome looks like.

This should not only be for every step in the funnel, but for the treatment of every candidate. If you need a process for each department or function, as hiring an engineer can look different than hiring a customer success manager, then do so. You want every candidate to receive the same treatment because creating a fair and unbiased process is not only the right thing to do, but often, is tied to your company’s mission or core values.

Minimize where possible.

Minimization is not the same as automation. Minimization simply means to trim unnecessary fat in your hiring process. Does a candidate really need to go through five interviews before you know whether you want to extend an offer? Is an assessment necessary to decide whether a candidate can do the role?

The goal of minimization is to deliver the best candidate experience in the shortest amount of time. This isn’t just important for the candidate’s sake, but also your company’s sake. In today’s market, candidates are often juggling multiple offers at once. Don’t let an overly long and unnecessary process be the reason why you lose a great candidate.

Be clear on when one part of the funnel ends, and the next part begins.

The best job postings I’ve seen have an application deadline and an outline of the hiring process. It sets expectations for candidates while making the process transparent for all involved. While the first level of the funnel – candidate website – may not have an end date, the rest of the funnel should. This ensures that a curveball isn’t thrown at the last minute that deviates from the process.

Treat each candidate as if they are a customer.

Often, your candidate is your customer. They’re familiar with your company because something piqued their interest before applying to your opening. Far too often the candidate who is hired is the only candidate to receive great treatment. But when you consider each candidate as your brand ambassador, it changes how you perceive their treatment. 

A great candidate experience not only has the potential to amplify your brand, but ensuring every candidate gets a wonderful experience also ensures successful sourcing for future roles.

Have you assessed the effectiveness of your recruitment funnel lately? If you haven’t, today’s a great day to start.

Article contribution by Timara Nichols

About Emissary

Emissary is a candidate engagement platform built to empower recruiters with efficient, modern communication tools that work in harmony with other recruiting solutions.

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