The hiring funnel refers to the stages candidates traverse during the hiring process. Stages may vary slightly from company to company but typically involve: sourcing, recruitment, interviewing, offer, and negotiation.
Candidates can opt-out of the hiring funnel at any point in time but advance depending on their application, ability to pass screen calls or questionnaires, and interview performance. Because not every candidate who comes into the hiring process makes it to the final stage, the candidate pool looks a bit like a funnel一starting wide at the top and getting smaller and smaller as people drop out of the process.
Candidates can enter the hiring funnel in several ways. Some companies hire outside sourcing firms to get candidates into the funnel, others use cold outreach, some use employee referral programs, and many use a combination of all three. Once in the funnel, candidates jump through a series of hoops, in the form of screening calls, assessments or case studies, and formal interviews. Companies probably have multiple candidates in the same stage of the hiring funnel at the same time. Having several folks in the pipeline is useful if candidates voluntarily remove themselves from the process.