recruit and attract top talent

How to Use a Recruiting Funnel to Attract and Secure Top Talent


If you are in sales and marketing, you are undoubtedly familiar with the marketing funnel. This funnel outlines the steps in the process of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to consideration, and finally to decision.

Did you know that the employee recruiting process now works in a similar way? In this age of low unemployment, widespread brand awareness, and social media, methods focused on the candidate experience are being employed throughout the hiring process.

Focusing on the employee experience during recruiting isn’t just a nice thing to do. In fact, companies that focus on this experience increase the quality of their hires by 70% and are four times more profitable than other companies, with twice the revenue.Here, we detail the steps of an effective recruiting funnel, as well as some overarching considerations to keep in mind every step of the way.

Raise Candidate Awareness

Quality candidates are looking for more than just the right job title and salary in today’s job market. Your company’s culture is extremely important to potential job seekers. It is important to project the right image, and to make sure this brand image is reflected across all potential platforms where your prospective applicants might find information about your company.

Social Media

First and foremost is your social media presence. You never know whether someone commenting on your Facebook page or Instagram post might be your next ideal hire.

Make sure to interact with all social media posts, and to maintain a consistent (and positive) voice across all of these platforms. Personalize your responses, rather than simply replying “Thank you for posting.”

Allow your social media to really promote your brand image, and also feel free to sprinkle some information in there about what a great employer you are. Especially if you’re ramping up to a big hiring effort, it’s good to let people know what your company culture is like and why it’s great to work for you.

Careers Page

Your careers page should include even more information on your employment philosophies. From the core values of your company to testimonials from happy employees, your careers page can serve not only as a place to list openings, but also a place to promote yourself as an employer.

Attract Candidates to the Role

When you’re looking to attract top talent to a position, getting the word out about the position is absolutely essential. Your talent pool is only as good as your net is wide.

If you have an ATS (applicant tracking software) system, use the metrics stored in this system to determine where your successful recruits have come from in the past. If specific job sites seem to work better than others, focus on those. Look at the recruiting funnel as a science experiment that you’re using to gather information and improve your process every time.

Of course, there are some tried-and-true standards, and even if you don’t have an ATS, you should focus on the following areas to cover your bases:

  • Job boards
  • Social media
  • Careers page
  • Employee and network referrals
  • In-house applicants
  • Recruiting firms

If you have been in the recruiting game for a long time, you probably know which of these have the highest rates of success when it comes to both hiring and retention.

That doesn’t mean that you should ignore your other methods of getting the word out about the role, but it does mean you should place a concentrated effort on these areas.Additionally, a focus on passive candidates is important, especially if you’re seeking in-demand skill sets. Both employee referrals and recruiting firms are great ways to get access to passive candidates who may not notice when you post new jobs.

Make the Application Process Efficient and Effective

Gone are the days of making potential employees jump over a bunch of hurdles before getting their resume to you. Talented candidates have many options when it comes to where to apply, and if you make the process too difficult, they will simply stop midway through and never turn back. In fact, notes that “candidates expect a fast and easy application experience. Job seekers today are not willing to fill out multiple application pages, especially on a mobile device.”

Rather than testing to see whether a candidate is serious by asking that they fill out an application in addition to submitting their resume, many employers are going in the opposite direction and allowing one-click applications via LinkedIn and other job search websites.

This is the point where active communication should begin! Let applicants know that you have received their application and what the next steps will be, if any.

Conduct Phone Screens and Interviews

The most important thing during the screening and interviewing process, from a candidate’s perspective, is transparency and communication. Make sure to set clear expectations and deliver on them. If things are taking longer than expected, communicate that! You are potentially not the only employer your candidate has applied to, and if you drop communication, they may take you out of the running.

This comes down to respect. If you end up hiring this person, you want them to look back on the interview process as a positive one. If you don’t end up hiring this person, you still want them to look back on the interview process as positive because they may interact with your company in other ways, and they may be a viable candidate for a future position.

Also, during your interviews, make sure to discuss the compensation range at some point mid- to early-on. In the same way that you spend time and thought on the job description because it lays out clear expectations, salary is a make-or-break component of job offers, and it only hurts both parties to drag things on if there is a major disparity between the number they’re expecting and the number you can afford to offer.

Make an Offer

If you have maintained proactive communication throughout this process, and found a candidate who is excited about your company culture, this last step should go over flawlessly. You will hopefully end up with an employee who is excited to start work, and a short salary negotiation period, if any, due to the transparency earlier in the interview process.

Just as marketers and salespeople focus on the journey of a potential buyer, it is up to recruiters to pay heed to the journey of their candidates.

Promote your brand and company culture, recruit across a variety of platforms, make the application process painless, and demonstrate respect and transparency throughout the interview process and you will set up a recruiting funnel that candidates leave happy and excited to join your company.

If you need help setting up your recruiting funnel, CulverCareers is here to help every step of the way. Let us help pair you up with top sales and marketing talent, while helping you refine the recruiting funnel and improve the employee experience.

Ty Culver headshot
Written by

Ty Culver is the Client Development Director of CulverCareers focusing on talent acquisition and workforce solutions with a wide variety of local, national and global clients.

Ty has been working in various aspects of the industry for over 10 years and developed deep expertise in Executive Search, Executive Benefit and Talent Acquisition Programs along the way. He has a range of experience from SMB to Enterprise clients and hyper specific executive searches to high volume recruiting with companies in a dynamic state of flux.

Today, Ty leads a talented team of Talent Acquisition Specialists, Executive Recruiters and Client Success Managers at one of the most respected Recruiting Firms in the Nation, CulverCareers. While leadership is a key aspect of his role, Ty still enjoys working with clients on recruiting strategies, executive benefit solutions and workforce solutions to help clients build a holistic approach to talent acquisition and talent retention.

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