How Employers and Applicants Should Approach the Recruitment Funnel Part II

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In How Employers and Applicants Should Approach the Recruitment Funnel Part I, I introduced the concept of a recruitment funnel and provided a depiction of the six step process. I dove into the intricacies of the first three stages and how both employers and applicants can approach each to achieve their ultimate goal.

Recruitment Funnel

In today’s post, I will continue to explain the recruitment funnel by going into further depth on stages four through six. Similar to Part I, I will provide examples from my experience leading recruitment at Portlight.

Keep in mind that all companies will approach recruitment with a different strategy. My experiences merely demonstrate one example of how a growing start up attempted to hire the best possible candidate.

Stage 4: In-office Interview #1

After completing the introductory phone call, it is time for the employer and applicant to take their relationship to the next level. In Stage 4, both parties are exposed to new information about each other through in person discussions, interactions, and mini tests.

For the Employer

The employer has decided to invite the applicant into their office demonstrating that they have a clear interest in this individual. In the first round interview, employers want to learn more about the applicants’ competency, personality, and expectations.

At Portlight, we used the first round interview as our first test to see if the applicant would be able to survive in our team. We exposed the applicant to our founding team for general questions, put them through job specific testing, and had them meet wit the team they would be working with if hired.

At the end of each first round interview, we had at least 5 people who could formulate a critique of the applicant. As with most activities within the company, we functioned as a team. If the applicant passed, they moved on to the next round.

For the Applicant

At this point, the applicant has made it to a group of 3 to 5 applicants still competing for the position. This stage is the applicant’s best chance to make a lasting impression and gain an edge over their competition.

The applicant should prepare meticulously through researching the company and speaking with the hiring manager about the first round interview process. Going into the interview, the applicant should have strong discussion points to address the following common interview questions.

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me about a time when…
  • What would you do in the first 90 days within the position?

It’s important that the applicant do their best to relax. Remember that whoever you are speaking with is also just a person. Treat the interview like a conversation.

Stage 5: In-office Interview #2

If a company decides to hold a second round interview at their office, it is the final chance for both parties to make an impression. At this point, there may be only 1 to 3 applicants left making it a critical interview to the decision process.

For the Employer

This stage marks the final opportunity for the employer to address any issues that they have with the applicant.

At Portlight, applicants only made it to this stage if we were 100% confident that they had the skills to fulfill the job to our satisfaction. We used the second round interview to discuss the culture and vision in relation to the applicant’s life and beliefs.

We wanted to make sure that the applicant had the heart to work long hours, handle conflict, get behind the vision, and effectively contribute on a team.

For the Applicant

If the applicant is committed to make this opportunity their next job, this stage is their last chance to demonstrate that passion for the company. Showing how interested you are in the position can be a game changer for the employer as it may give you a competitive edge over the other remaining applicants.

Stage 6: The Offer

The final stage of the recruitment funnel is to form a lasting agreement to work together.

For the Employer

After recruiting, interviewing, and rejecting handfuls of applicants, this stage marks a decision being made. The employer knows who they want and not is is their job to demonstrate how they will take care of that special applicant in the form of a formal offer.

Dependent upon the policies of the company, the employer may invite the applicant into the office to extend the job offer or they may simply call or email the agreement for the applicant to review.

At Portlight, we found through trial and error that extending the offer in person was more effective to landing the applicant as a new team member. When we called or emailed, we discovered that the applicant was less willing to express their concerns with the offer leading them to either rejecting or offering other job offers.

To avoid this from happening, we changed our strategy and began inviting applicants into the office to review and discuss the job offer. We found that by taking the time to review each line item and offer the applicant the ability to negotiate, we were able to assuage their concerns and welcome them to the team.

For the Applicant

At this stage, it is important to be patient. Employers can take their time while making a final decision as they want to make sure it is the right one.

Once you receive the offer, take the time to meticulously examine the agreement and highlight areas where you would like to negotiate. The act of offering you the job places the ball a bit more in your court. The employer wants you to join their team, but you should not accept unless it meets your needs.

In early December, I’ll be releasing a column focused on the compensation package, each item that you should be expecting, and how you can utilize simple negotiation tactics to maximize your offer.

Join the ConnorGillivan email list for updates leading up to its release. You’ll receive one email every Monday with updates on new content, special offers, and new entrepreneurial projects.


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