Troubleshooting your hiring funnel: A guide for identifying & fixing problems in your interview process

Eric Guidice
Eric Guidice
26 Jan 2023 • 4 min read

Eric Guidice is a founder at headcount365, a software that replaces spreadsheet based recruiting management, with a platform that connects your ATS, Hiring Managers and Finance team. Prior to starting headcount365, Eric’s consulting firm Unicorn Talent, provided recruiting advisory to over 100 startups, following his experience as an internal recruiting leader for companies like Uber, Bird Scooters and Clutter.

Conversion rates are one of the most powerful KPIs for measuring hiring volume and throughput, giving recruiting leaders key actionable information to diagnose and fix blockages in the interviewing process. Let’s take a look at 5 key hiring funnel conversion rates, their benchmarks, and the key actions you can take to improve your team’s performance.

The key stages of the hiring funnel and their benchmark conversion rates 

Inbound Applicant to Recruiting Screen Ratio

Target: 3-6% conversion rate

What it Measures: Quality of applications

How to Improve:

  • Recruiter Training: Recruiters should prioritize resumes with the highest probability of conversion. The recruiters may not be extracting the right information from hiring teams to be able to identify them, or conversely, may have too wide a criteria for interview opportunities. Recruiting training can help standardize your team's approach to understanding what makes a resume a good conversion candidate for each role.
  • Sourcing Training: If inbound applications are low, recruiters may try to meet interview quotas by lowering their resume quality standards. This practice leads to longer recruiting times and instead should be replaced with sourcing to drive high quality applications.  Sourcing training can help your team feel more comfortable with outbound sourcing and help bring more high quality candidates into the funnel.
  • Increase Application Volume: Recruiting leaders can increase recruiting advertising spend on job boards, improve the brand, or run referral programs to help  increase applicant volume.

Recruiter Screen to Hiring Manager Screen Ratio

Target: 70-90% conversion rate

What it Measures: Resume review quality

How to Improve:

  • Recruiter Training: If recruiters are having a hard time converting their own selected resumes into hiring manager screens, then consider additional  training on how to identify high quality resumes or sourced candidates beyond simple keyword matching.

Hiring Manager Screen to Onsite Ratio

Target:  70-80% conversion rate

What it Measures: Recruiter and Hiring Manager alignment

How to Improve:

  • Intake Session Training: Before recruiting begins, hiring managers and recruiters should align on the specific competencies needed to make a hire. These competencies should be reviewed in the recruiter screen and qualified in the hiring manager screen. Low conversion rates typically point to a misalignment that can often be solved by pausing the search and re-intaking the role.
  • Metaview Interview Review: Metaview is a great tool to ensure that hiring managers are calibrated and aligned to leveling & compensation frameworks associated with the role. By reviewing interview recordings and transcripts captured on Metaview, you can go back and watch what actually happened in an interview to identify where misalignment might be happening.  Additionally, any variance in candidate quality between the recruiter and hiring manager can be quickly identified and used to align interviewers at the top of the funnel, saving time and resources.

Onsite to Offer Ratio

Target: 30-40% conversion rate

What it Measures: Hiring Manager and Interview Team alignment

How to Improve:

  • Interview Rubrics: Recruiters and hiring managers should partner to define what Yes and No is and codify this in the interview rubric. Leveraging interview rubrics that predefine Yes and No leads to higher conversion rates, reduced bias, and reduces time to make a Yes/No decision. For an example of the interview rubric our team uses, you can download a free copy here.
  • Metaview Interview Review, Culture Screen: If competencies are being met, but candidates are still being declined because of “culture fit”  Recruiting leaders should use this as a signal to investigate deeper. This is typically a warning sign of bias in the process and a good use case of where Metaview can be leveraged as a tool to ground decisions in objective facts, not fuzzy memories or feelings.
  • Metaview Interview Review, Skills Match: If variance in the perception of skills needed to do a job is causing issues with getting to an offer, Recruiting leaders can leverage Metaview to facilitate a discussion amongst the hiring team to ensure alignment on the skills needed to do the job, often increasing the number of offers made by the team. Recruiting leaders can also use Metaview data to identify any inconsistencies among interviewers across key metrics like candidate talk-time or assessment question count. Fixing these inconsistencies in the interview approach can also help improve calibration and alignment on what to look for.

Offer to Accept Ratio

Target: 30-40% conversion rate

What it Measures: Closing Ability

How to Improve:

  • Decline Reason Investigation: Recruiting leaders should categorize and segment offer decline reasons to help identify key trends in why candidates are declining offers. This segmentation allows recruiting leaders to understand trends and differentiate nuanced market feedback, allowing you to understand where you can invest to improve your offering.
  • Recruiter Training: Closing the candidate throughout the process should always be top of mind for your recruiters. Transparent compensation and titling should always be addressed on the first call, leaving closing candidates to  simply be a confirmation of alignment on the information already agreed upon and never a surprise.

Optimizing your recruiting funnel saves hours of wasted interview time for both recruiters and hiring managers. Using data from interviews to help drive key actions and training will help recruiting leaders quickly address low conversion rates and drive a high performing recruiting operation.

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