What can analytics tell you about your recruitment funnel?

Shane Gray
5 min readJan 1, 2019


Recruitment takes a different approach to measuring candidate funnels compared to the marketing side of the business. The difference is usually driven by the lack of tools a recruitment team have to measure candidate behaviour at the top of the funnel.

Specifically, the anonymous candidates who are not tracked in your recruiting platforms but make up 90% of your pipeline.

Understanding the composition of this “pipeline” is key to answering many of your present and future recruitment needs and challenges.

If you ask a recruitment team about their funnel or pipeline, most will refer to the size of their candidate pool, the candidates that exist in the CRM or ATS. The focus will be on known candidates or prospects because existing systems do not track the anonymous visitors very well.

Marketers will certainly be talking about known leads but they will also be looking at site visitors, trying to understand their attributes, where they came from and what they do as they contemplate a purchase.

If the product has a short sales cycle marketers will be working to generate visitor insights that will help them optimize conversion of these customers immediately. The buyer decision journey for these customers will be short. Reducing bounce rate and improving conversion will maximize the effectiveness of their marketing and advertising efforts.

For products with a longer the sales cycle marketers will be trying to figure out what conversion will look like in 3, 6 or 12 months for the people who started looking today.

This is a longer game as many visitors who arrive today will not be ready to make their purchase for weeks, months or even longer.

Think about that once in a lifetime purchase you have in mind, you have researched online but are not quite ready to buy just yet. You need to do more homework.

The marketing team for that product or experience will be trying to figure out what your buyer decision journey looks like and what they can do to influence it.

They will be scrutinising your online visits and behaviour in order to segment you into the different cohorts of visitors they need to ignore or double down on converting into profitable customers at varying points in the future.

If they wait until you are ready to press the buy button they will have lost your business to a better prepared competitor.

Turns out recruitment analytics is not that different.

High volume hourly roles are the jobs with a short candidate decision journey where the decision to apply (or not) is made quickly with minimal research. Just like the product with a short sales cycle.

Harder to fill roles that need a skilled candidate that is already performing the role will have a longer candidate decision journey. The analysis and approach required to market to this audience is necessarily different.

To understand this journey it is a useful exercise to put yourself into the shoes of a candidate like this as they start this journey. These candidates use the same method they use for buying goods or services online when it comes to looking for a new opportunity.

For the vast majority it starts with a search.

Most of this search activity starts at Google, the same place we start looking for pretty much everything these days.

Google returns a list of relevant links as adverts or organic search results, and the job seeker usually ends up on a job site like Indeed or Glassdoor.

Here they view a list of jobs and companies hiring. The real career research begins as they start to click into individual opportunities to figure out their next step.

Around 85% or more of your career site visitors arrive directly to a job posting in this manner.

Unfortunately 90% of these visitors will not make an application. The reason is simple, first they want to figure out if your company is an employer they want to take the time to know better. For a good quality candidate this needs a little more research to avoid time wasted applying to an organisation that is not a fit for their needs.

A significant percentage of traffic will skip the research and apply regardless. This cohort has usually made the decision to apply for X jobs today. By adopting a volume approach to job applications rather than trying to figure out where they are likely to have success they have a detrimental effect on everyone.

Unfortunately these “frequent flyers” make up such a large percentage of inbound applicants that the noise they generate drowns out some of the interesting candidates from the recruitment teams consideration.

Marketers have similar challenges to overcome and use concepts such as lead scoring to help their teams understand who are the right prospects to focus on.

Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. The resulting score is used to determine which prospects they will engage with in order of priority.

Turns out that using the behavioral data provided by (you guessed it) web analytics is the secret weapon when it comes to lead scoring. By tracking how prospects engage with a website and digital content, you can determine accurately where they are in the buying process.

This collection of data is often referred to as digital body language or DBL and may be stored in a Data Management Platform (DMP)

A similar approach can be used to track candidate behaviour before they have made themselves known to your organisation. This can give you an overview of the health of your candidate pipelines at the click of a button. By tracking how candidates engage with your jobs and digital content, you can determine where they are in their journey and predict how likely they are to get hired in advance of their application.

How about the following scenario?

You have been told you are going to need to hire 8 Java engineers in New York in the next 6 months. It’s been a while since you have hired for this role but you know it is not going to be easy.

You search your ATS and CRM to find you only have 50 candidates who may be a match. This is great but you know that you are unlikely to be able to get all the hires you need from this pool.

Before you request some investment (agency, advertising or sourcing) to bridge the gap you check your recruitment marketing analytics platform.

A pipeline report indicates you have 256 recently engaged albeit anonymous Java engineers from New York. They are all showing behaviour that indicates they are “committed” candidates who are genuinely interested in working for your company.

66% of them are getting close to the end of their decision journey.

You know which source they came from originally, the type of employer branding content they have already seen and any extra messaging they need to see to convert them into successful applicants.

You call the hiring manager to suggest that, based on previous apply history, it’s worth opening the roles a few weeks early and also suggest some content changes to the standard job description to better inform new and returning candidates with the information they need to convert quickly.

That’s recruitment funnel analytics in action.



Shane Gray

A veteran of technology business development and strategy with the uncanny ability to distill a complex issue into something that is clearly understandable.