Why ‘Filling the Funnel’ is a Horrible Recruitment Marketing Strategy

old fashioned tv

For as long as I can remember, "fill the funnel" has been a mantra among recruiting professionals – and salespeople.

The thought is if you fill the funnel with enough people, you're sure to find a good fit for your role/product/service.

It's a sloppy, lazy, expensive big bet.

It also creates an awful experience for candidates (or customers).

When the layperson thinks of marketing, they often think about advertising and believe that both things are synonymous.

They think of the mass marketing done by big brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Nike.

I also feel like this is what people think recruitment marketing and employer branding is or should be like.

This could not be further from what modern marketing has become.

Demographics are so Mid-20th Century

Modern marketing, if done thoughtfully and correct is precise. It's focused. It's targeted. It's not done to appeal to everyone.

The core element of modern marketing is knowing who you're not for just as much as it's knowing who you are for.

Creating personas based on demographics is so 1960. That's a tactic of mass marketing.

Psychographics are a critical element in modern marketing. Understanding people and their behavior at a personal level.

Why did they choose the profession they're in? Do they want to change professions? What are their values? What story do they tell themselves about work and their career?

When someone evaluates your company and open role, they're consciously or subconsciously thinking to themselves, 'people like me work at places like this. Is this company for people like me?'

Recruitment marketing isn't about mass marketing and advertising to the masses. It's not about corralling enough people in hopes you'll find that one person you're looking for.

It's about doing the work of finding the right people and engaging and building relationships with them. Helping them figure out if people like them work at a place like your company and being OK if the answer is no. In fact, it's better to come to the conclusion it's not sooner rather than later. It's cheaper, saves time, and is better for everyone.

Recruiters joke about the candidates who "spray and pray" their resumes around, applying to hundreds of jobs because they can, and hoping to play the odds. When the reality is, those same people pointing the finger at the candidate have four more fingers pointing back at themselves.

It's tough to criticize someone for doing the same thing you're doing, right?