1. Home
  2. Glossary
  3. Recruitment funnel

Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions

What is a recruitment funnel?

A recruitment funnel is a framework that defines the stages of the recruitment process from start to finish. The journey through the recruitment funnel narrows down the candidate pool until one is selected to hire. 

Key learnings in this glossary article:

What are the stages of a recruitment funnel?

In general, the stages of the recruitment funnel are as follows:

  • Awareness
  • Attraction 
  • Application
  • Selection
  • Hire 

Each stage of the hiring funnel consists of smaller steps, each with its own goals.


The awareness stage is where organizations need to concentrate on employer branding to bring as many ideal candidates into the funnel as possible. Two important touchpoints during this phase are a company’s career site and social media profiles. Both are platforms where an organization can showcase their workplace culture, demonstrate their values, and convince potential applicants why they should join your workforce. 


The attraction stage focuses on candidate sourcing. However, before you can advertise a job opening, it’s critical to craft a compelling job description. The job description is often the first point of contact for potential candidates, so it needs careful consideration. It needs to spark interest in your company, outline the essential job requirements, and include the right keywords to show up in relevant candidate’s search results. 

Don’t forget to explore our content about how to source candidates and how to write a job advertisement guide. If you are looking for specific job description templates, we also got you covered. From the software engineer job description to the product manager job description, find the job description template you need

Attracting more relevant candidates is also a matter of identifying the best job boards and social media platforms where your job descriptions can attract the highest number of active candidates and passive candidates. 

One way to post jobs more efficiently is to use recruitment software that allows for multiposting job ads to many platforms at once. For example, JOIN enables employers or recruiters to create one search-optimized job ad and then automatically post it on several job boards and platforms at once. 

It's fast, easy, and free with JOIN

Need to post a job ad for free?

Sign up – it’s free


The application stage aims to generate the highest volume of qualified applicants, and it requires attention to the candidate experience. The first step is to evaluate the application process to reduce the number of dropouts. Create a seamless path to application, requiring the least amount of clicks possible for an applicant to submit their documents. Job seekers are increasingly applying to jobs via mobile devices. Make sure your career page or online application functions properly on smartphones and tablets.

Consistent communication is another way to set up a positive candidate experience. Send out automated emails letting candidates know their applications have been received, thank them for their submission, and provide some details about the next steps. 


The selection stage consists of shortlisting applicants, the interview process, and candidate assessment. The goal is to narrow down potential candidates during each step to zone in on the few who get considered for hire. 


Hiring is the final stage of the recruitment funnel. Once you have the final candidate, it’s time to make them a job offer. Tailor the offer per prior discussions and be open to negotiation. A highly-qualified candidate is likely to be receiving other job offers, so already establish the outer limits of your salary range. 

Top recruitment funnel metrics to evaluate and improve the hiring process

It’s not enough to have an established recruitment funnel plan, the stages need to be tracked and analyzed to ensure the most successful overall outcome. To evaluate whether a recruitment funnel is delivering the best results, make sure to pay attention to the following recruiting metrics:

  • Source of hire: determines which platforms generate applicants 
  • Quality of hire: identifies from which platforms the best-qualified candidates apply
  • Time to hire: measures the time it takes to find, recruit, and hire a new employee
  • Cost to hire: measures costs involved in finding, recruiting, and hiring a new employee

What can impact a recruitment funnel’s effectiveness?

Several things can impact the effectiveness of a recruitment funnel, including:

  • Not doing a recruitment funnel analysis and improving areas of weakness when found.
  • Sourcing candidates from too few platforms.
  • Not measuring the recruitment funnel metrics accurately or consistently.


Simplify your hiring process and workflow

Understand how to create job ads that actually work. Leverage winning strategies to best promote ads. Find the ideal candidate faster.

Already have an account? Sign in

Recommended Articles

Job application form questions: The best pre-screening questions to ask applicants
Hiring process Job application form questions: The best pre-screening questions to ask applicants

Find out what job application form questions there are and why you should add these pre-screening questions to your job application process.

Frans Lelivelt Nov 18, 2022
The 5 candidate journey phases – from first contact to final decision
Hiring process The 5 candidate journey phases – from first contact to final decision

Find out how to optimise the 5 stages of the candidate journey to easily find, attract, and retain the best candidates for your business!

Mia Worts Jun 30, 2023
How to find employees in 2024: Successful methods to find and retain top employees
Talent acquisition How to find employees in 2024: Successful methods to find and retain top employees

Find out how to find employees and grow your chances of retaining them once they join your team. Use these strategies to grow your company!

Mia Worts Jun 09, 2023

Easily post your job ads to 10+ job boards

Find your next hire - for free!

Get started