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workNet DuPage Career Center
2525 Cabot Drive, Suite 302
Lisle, IL 60532

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Understanding the Hiring Funnel

image of recruiting funnel

If you've been conducting a job search for very long, no one has to tell you how competitive the job market is. It's very important for job seekers to understand the hiring process, and what you can do to make yourself more competitive.

Granted, the economy has been slowly improving, showing increased job openings and lower unemployment. And, there are indicators that the second half of 2013 will see improved hiring. But, the hiring process is always a competition, and you need to make yourself as competitive as possible.

Sometimes recruiters speak of a "hiring funnel" or "talent pipeline" - for every single job, many applicants go in at the top of the funnel, but only a single final candidate comes out at the bottom. That single person, who is determined to be best qualified, is the one who gets the job offer.

But, what happens in the hiring process between the top of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel?

Here's a little insight into how the hiring process typically unfolds, starting from when the job is first posted on a job board or careers site, to when you submit your resume or job application, to the interview process, and finally to when a job offer is made to that last job candidate:

The Hiring Funnel:

Average # of people who see the job when it's posted:


What This Means for You:

It's a fact that a lot of people are looking for work. And it's also true that people who apply soonest after a job has first been posted have the best shot at being considered. So, be diligent about looking for jobs every day, and apply ASAP to any job for which you are a good fit.

# of people who start the job application:


What This Means for You:

Again, job search daily and apply ASAP for any job for which you're a good fit.

# of those who complete the


What This Means for You:

Online job applications are a pain to fill out. BUT, if you want the job, you must be one of those who actually completes the application.

# of those who make
the first cut:


What This Means for You:

The application tracking system (ATS) or recruiter will eliminate 75 of the 100 applicants. Be sure your resume is optimized for ATS systems, contains all necessary and appropriate keywords, and is formatted to be easily scanned by the system or by a recruiter or hiring manager. Be aware of current trends in resume format. And be sure that you're truly a fit for that job.

# of those who get an interview:

4 - 6

What This Means for You:

Make sure you are familiar with current trends in interviewing, know the essentials of job interview etiquette, and make sure you have researched the company and the job so that you can sell yourself as the perfect fit.

# of those who get a 2nd interview:

1 - 3

What This Means for You:

Again, do your research, know how your skills and experience match the job, and know how to explain to the interviewer that you're the best candidate.

# of those who get the job:


These statistics are from an article at

Clearly, competition can be fierce at every step through the hiring funnel.

But, this is no reason to be discouraged!

This merely demonstrates how important it is to be in control of everything that you can possibly control, whether that be properly formatting your resume, researching the company for the interview, or rehearsing your answers to interview questions.

This is reason to make sure you're as competitive as possible!

Job Search Workshops

job search workshops

With workshops on resumes, LinkedIn, and interviewing, our Job Search Boot Camp workshops will help you "get fit" for today's job market.

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Training Scholarships

occupational training

If you need to upgrade your occupational skills or professional certifications, we offer occupational training grants just for this purpose.

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