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The Recruitment Funnel: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover the stages of a recruitment funnel and how Kula ATS can help optimize each stage to attract, evaluate, and hire top talent efficiently.


More than 75% of employers complain that they find it difficult to fill jobs, a survey by ManpowerGroup recently revealed. 

Vacant roles, especially the critical ones that affect your bottom line deeply, require you to identify the right candidates. But do you bombard every job board, interview every semi-qualified applicant, and then wait for magic to happen?  

You need a clear step-by-step model that everyone who has a part to play in attracting, assessing, and hiring can directly apply. 

What a well-designed recruitment funnel can do for you is:

  • Decrease the amount of time spent and resources on filling vacancies
  • Ensure consistency and structure around how interviews are carried out
  • Enhance the candidate experience 
  • Allow perfect synchronization between you, the hiring manager, and the candidate.

What is the recruitment funnel?

The recruitment funnel is a framework that covers the entire journey of talent acquisition: from initial awareness to job offer acceptance. 

It aims to help you move candidates through different stages within their hiring processes by providing clear guidelines that help you stay on track.

The key stages in the recruitment funnel usually include:

  • Awareness
  • Attraction
  • Consideration
  • Interest
  • Application
  • Selection
  • Hiring

Why do you need a recruitment funnel?

A recruitment funnel is important for creating a hiring system that can be scaled and optimized for efficiency. When dissected into various stages, the funnel allows organizations to:

  • Identify areas of weakness that require improvement
  • Highlight aspects that are progressing well and further optimize them
  • Gather valuable information needed for decision-making and optimal allocation of resources.

A funnel makes it easy for you to segment data and analyze it—attributing failures and successes to specific stages of the funnel. 

In the sourcing stage, Kula ATS’s analytics enable you to gain a deep understanding of your recruitment funnel. With this software, it is possible to:

  • Use the built-in sourcing analytics as they allow performance comparison across all source channels: career pages, job boards, staffing agencies, and referrals.
  • Extract data for analysis (like ROI on sourcing channels used), enabling you to make data-driven decisions and continuously refine your sourcing strategies.

Stages of the recruitment funnel

Here’s a deeper look at the recruitment funnel, along with the recommended tasks you have to perform at every stage. 


Focus this stage of the funnel on informing potential candidates about the available job opportunities in your organization. In this crucial phase, you need to build a brand image that establishes you to be a worthy employer. You also need to promote open positions effectively to reach your ideal candidates.

Some key tasks for you in this stage:

  • Create search engine-optimized job postings that convey the culture of the company. If you are well-established, can train new hires, and guide them for the first couple of months—specify this. If you are a new company and need self-starters who don’t need the same—mention this in your post, because it will influence who you attract. 
  • Identify the most suitable platforms or channels to promote the vacancy. Niche boards, social media, and employee networks are all reliable sources. Look at past source-of-hire analytics to identify where the best leads come from.
  • Publish videos that focus on current employees talking about a day in their lives working for you. Generate content that talks about the company’s mission, values, and employee value proposition. This kind of information helps someone envision themselves as part of your organization.

Kula ATS offers customizable career pages combined with expansive job board integrations. You can create branded career pages in a matter of days without getting your marketing team involved. 

You can also advertise on multiple job boards at the same time without having to repeat the process manually for every individual site. This improves the visibility of job posts resulting in a wider pool of candidates from different demographics. 


With awareness created, we move into the second stage—inspiring potential candidates and encouraging them to apply after they have learned more about the role. You need to create a candidate experience that is informative, engaging, and user-friendly to maximize application completion rates.

Your main objectives during the attraction phase are to:

  • Make career sites responsive enough so that users can access them using smartphones and apply on the go. This may not seem like a necessity, but job-seekers are probably submitting multiple applications a day. Making it slightly easier for them goes a long way.  
  • Communicate clearly what the role entails and what qualifications are required. Applicants should be able to quickly determine if they could be a potential fit based on their skills and experience. Include an FAQ section to proactively address common questions.
  • Respond promptly to candidate inquiries to demonstrate responsiveness and respect for their time. Use template responses for efficiency but aim for personalization. Kula's automated email campaigns can keep candidates warm and maintain momentum.

Also, Kula ATS’s branded application forms can help you create an enticing first impression. Use the career page builder, pre-screening surveys, and resume parsing to attract, engage, and pre-qualify interested candidates.


As candidates with piqued interest evaluate job opportunities more closely, your focus should turn to nurturing this interest as well as addressing concerns.

Here’s what you can do to make an impact in the consideration stage:

  • Develop a strong employer brand presence on key social media platforms and review sites like Glassdoor. How do you do this? Respond to comments and questions to drive positive engagement. 
  • Share employee stories and thought leadership content to raise credibility.
  • Reach out to engaged leads who haven't applied yet. Send personalized messages referring to their specific interactions with your content. Invite them to informational webinars or Q&A sessions with the hiring team so they can dive deeper.
  • Leverage employee advocacy by encouraging team members to authentically share their experiences. Candidates trust their peers, so first-hand stories are powerful social proof. Make it easy for employees to get involved by providing them with shareable content and templates.


The application stage is where interested, qualified candidates formally enter the talent pipeline by applying for the open role. Your objective is to make applications as quick and painless as possible while still gathering the required information for screening and compliance.

Crucial components for you to implement here include:

  • A simplified application process with a minimum number of steps and form fields. Only collect need-to-have information upfront—additional details can be gathered later from candidates who advance. One-click application using a resume or LinkedIn profile is ideal.
  • Intelligent resume parsing and auto-fill to further reduce data entry. Kula's AI parses uploaded resumes and populates application fields with a high degree of accuracy. Candidates are prompted to quickly review for any corrections before submitting.
  • Timely confirmation emails and status updates so candidates feel informed about the next steps and timing. Kula generates instant, branded confirmation emails upon application and can automatically send personalized messages when candidates are moved to different stages.
  • A fair and unbiased pre-screening process. Configure standardized knockout questions related to core qualifications (e.g., licenses, language skills, work authorization) to advance applicants based on a consistent scoring rubric.

Kula ATS’s one-click application process can help you further. Candidates can quickly apply or express interest from any device, reducing applicant drop-off. Role-specific pre-screening surveys allow candidates to share relevant experience and skills right away, and take up less of your time later. 

Robust, yet flexible Kula workflows guide candidates through each phase of the application, from initial pre-screening through assessments, interviews, background checks, and offers. You can create and modify process stages and criteria without IT support, and adjust on the fly to meet evolving needs.


Screening and evaluating applicants to identify the most qualified candidate is the essence of the selection stage. To ensure an effective and equitable hiring process, you must develop a strategic selection framework.

Best practices for selection include:

  • Define clear, job-relevant criteria for assessing resumes, interviews, work samples, and references. A structured rubric with numeric scales and weighting for each competency provides a consistent method for grading applicants.
  • Conduct standardized interviews with behavioral and situational questions designed to probe key skills. Train interviewers to take notes, suppress biases, and use the scoring framework to enable fairer decisions.
  • Deploy predictive assessments like personality inventories, cognitive ability tests, and job simulations. Scientifically validated instruments add objective data points that complement your judgment.
  • Capture candidate interactions, interview feedback, assessment results, and other screening details in a centralized applicant tracking system. A single source of truth makes collaboration and decision-making easier.

Kula's digital interview guides and scorecards align interviewers on requirements and evaluation methodology. Ratings can be entered and calculated directly in Kula, and then reviewed side-by-side for easy comparison. 


Extending an offer to the final candidate is the final step of the recruitment process. 

Essential elements of an outstanding hiring phase are:

  • Preparing and presenting a compelling offer that aligns with the candidate's expectations and market data. Using Kula's library of dynamic offer letter templates makes it simple to generate a professional, personalized offer that puts your organization's best foot forward.
  • Allowing for some flexibility and negotiation, within reason, on compensation and start date. Candidates appreciate when HR is open to discussion and tries to find a mutually agreeable middle ground, even if the initial offer can't be significantly altered.
  • Initiating pre-boarding before day one with key new hire paperwork, equipment provisioning, and a warm welcome. Kula's onboarding module includes e-signature for digital forms, task management for the HR team, and an engaging new hire portal to build early excitement and preparedness.
  • Notifying other candidates when the role has been filled. Respectful, timely communication, even if not the desired news, shows the company values candidate effort and maintains relationships for future openings and referrals.

With Kula, you can send offer letters via email or DocuSign and track signature status directly within the recruiting workflow. 

Upon acceptance, new hire details sync automatically with onboarding and to the HRIS, jumpstarting their employee record. Personalized portals introduce new hires to the team and company through inspiring multimedia content.

By optimizing each stage of the recruitment funnel with proven strategies and powerful technology like Kula, you can build diverse talent pipelines, make quality hires faster, and scale for growth. A well-designed process with a strong employer brand, engaging candidate interactions, and efficient workflows benefits everyone involved—the HR team, the business, and the candidates.

How to optimize the recruiting funnel with Kula

Having an optimized and well-structured recruitment funnel attracts highly qualified candidates in a competitive job market. A recruitment funnel will help you:

  • Break down the hiring process into manageable stages
  • Identify areas for improvement and create repeatable systems when something works
  • Gather and analyze data to inform decision-making

Kula ATS aims to streamline your hiring process and optimize your recruitment funnel. The following are three key features that can make a huge difference:

Configurable hiring workflows: With Kula ATS, you can configure unlimited numbers of hiring workflows customized by department, brand, country, or position among other user-specific criteria. 

Multilingual resume parsing: Kula ATS has 18 languages in their resume parsing feature.  If you evaluate candidates globally, you don't need to worry if someone uses a different language when submitting their application, since Kula ATS can process it anyway. 

Extensive job board integrations: Kula offers pre-integrated access to over 100 job boards, allowing you to distribute your job postings with just one click. This feature saves you time and effort in the sourcing stage, so you can reach a wider pool of candidates and increase your chances of finding the right fit for your open roles.

Book a demo to learn more.

Sandra Rachel Oommen

Content Marketer

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