job board funnel

Power Source Flywheels Are More Efficient than Job Board Funnels

Do you ever feel like you're struggling to get applicants and that it's out of your control?

Or maybe, the only thing you can do to increase applicant flow is to throw money at it?

If you do feel that way, most likely your organization is too reliant on just one primary source for applicants - job boards.

Hear me out!

I have nothing against job boards... They provide an amazing service to generate applicants for your jobs. If you haven't built out and balanced different sources out there, then you are in for a world of hurt as things get more competitive.

Power Sources

Attract More Highly Qualified Applicants

We spend countless hours researching the most effective, easy to implement, and FREE strategies that will dramatically boost your qualified applicant flow.

You need to find a way to generate and build an engine for sourcing applicants in what I call power sources. A power source is a way to generate applicants and focus on engaging people who have the highest potential to be hired. These sources are about quality, while job boards are more about quantity.

Power sources can be a bit tricky to get going, especially to a point where they really benefit your applicant flow. But once you get a solid process and approach in place and you get some built-up momentum... the inertia from that momentum will keep paying benefits from these sources into the future.

It will become an asset for your organization.

Job boards are a funnel...

One way to view job boards is to think of a funnel. They work as a funnel specifically that you throw stuff in the top, it filters down through. and something comes out the bottom. A funnel is something that you have to keep feeding the top in order to keep it going.

The downside of a funnel is that it doesn't build on itself.

You have to keep dumping stuff at the top of the funnel. At some point, you just simply have nothing else to dump in the top or your only option is to spend money to dump more.This is one of the challenges that we see with job boards. If you've got a solid Indeed, Facebook, and ZipRecruiter strategy running, there are really no additional job boards. No other job boards out there will produce enough activity to matter.

You can do things to maximize the flow through that funnel and to expand as much as possible inside of Indeed and the others. But at some point, you reach its maximum.

In the world of business, we call it the Law of Diminishing Returns. You reach the point where there's just nothing else you can squeeze out of that funnel. At that point, you're left searching for some other way to source.

This is where power sources come in. Power sources act more like a flywheel. It takes a lot of effort to get this big, wheel spinning. But once it's spinning and spinning in the right way, then it starts to pay back in benefits.

What is a flywheel?

The flywheel concept has been around forever. One of the biggest sources of knowledge comes from Jim Collins in "Good to Great"; he actually has an entire book dedicated to the flywheel principle. HubSpot on the marketing side of things has been pushing hard the marketing and acquisition flywheel.

A flywheel is basically a business process.Instead of a linear process, from beginning to end it wraps around and becomes a self-reinforcing loop.At the end of the process, it feeds the beginning again to continually deliver results.

When you find or build a process that loops around to feed itself, you've created something with an amazing amount of value for your organization.

Virtuous cycles

One of the easiest ways to think about it is to consider a virtuous cycle. For example, we go out and teach the world about recruiting. By doing this, we get people to buy our recruiting software. As they become successful at recruiting, they refer friends to us to learn more about what we have to offer. This is a virtuous cycle we have used to build our business.

From a recruiting angle, that same thing happens, right?

If you set up a flywheel where you attract awesome people, you bring them in and help them become successful at their job. You then expand and grow those individuals. Provide them with great opportunities.

They will then refer friends to your company, and that spins that cycle around again.

How do you get your recruiting flywheel started?

You've got to figure out what the flywheel looks like.

You need to then set it up and get it to start spinning, which takes a lot of effort. Once it gets to the point that it spins, you basically are left with two core functions...

  1. Adding fuel - making it spin faster.
  2. Reducing friction - making sure there's nothing that's causing drag.

There are a handful of common mistakes or challenges.


Not setting it up or viewing it as a flywheel.

Not realizing what the different parts of that flywheel are.

Not putting in the initial effort to get it running.


Allowing one side to flatten by paying too much attention to the other sides.

Think about this, like what happens when you get a flat tire. While the rest of it's round, if one side is flat, it makes it a really, really bumpy ride. It can't get up to speed.


Ignoring it.

Not showing it enough attention.

Not being consistent with applying pressure, applying fuel, and reducing friction.


Not evolving it.

Assuming that the world around you- economic conditions and your competitors- can just be forgotten.

I've mapped out a handful of different recruiting-based flywheels that you can pull into your organization, set up, and start using.

The process for using these flywheels:

  1. Understand what it is.
  2. Set it up.
  3. Give enough effort to get it to start spinning.

Three steps to keep it spinning:

  1. Add more fuel.
  2. Reduce friction.
  3. Evolve based on changes in the world around you.

First is the recruiting virtuous flywheel. This has five main parts. With each of these parts, I'm going to give you one or more questions you can ask that will help you understand:

What type of fuel is out there?

What type of friction do we need to reduce?

The five parts...


Who do we want to clone for a given position?

What makes this an upgrade for them?


Where can we find them?

How can we get them excited about this opportunity?

How do we make it easy for them to express initial interest and get into the recruiting process?

Select (now that we have people who are expressing interest)

How do we get to the top people as quickly as possible?

How do we get those people narrowed down and pick the best one that has the most chance of being successful?


How do we quickly help new hires get to the point where they can be successful at the job?

How do we get them trained?

How do we get them the knowledge they need?

How do we get the processes in place that they can run?

How do we get them from hired for a job to successfully doing the job?


How do we grow these new hires/employees?

How do we help them advance in their careers...

Up the career ladder,

Over into another area of our company, or even

Out, moving on to a different company?

How do we help individuals grow without pigeonholing or holding them back?

How do we fuel growth in ways that help both the organization and the individual?

The growth step is what really connects back to the next flywheel to make it virtuous... When we care about the growth of that individual, whether it helps our company or not, we really spin that recruiting virtuous cycle forward.

Next is the sourcing flywheel.

This is where we narrow down our focus on how to find, attract and engage the best talent our company needs to feed its engine.

There are five core parts...


Who are we trying to attract?

Who are we trying to clump?


Where are those people hanging out?


How do we increase engagement and decrease friction in the sources we're targeting?


Once we get a source working, how do we expand the amount of value or people we're pulling from it?

This usually has to do with a few things:

spending more money,

using better keywords,

using keywords in the right way, and/or

thoroughly understanding a source so that we get the most from it.


Could we do something to target a different crowd using that same source?

Can we do something to expand into other sources?

Inside of the sourcing world, we break sourcing into four types of sources:

  1. Job boards
  2. Fans and followers
  3. Direct interest
  4. Employee referrals

Each of these source categories has its own independent flywheel that runs.

Some of these were already covered in the past and some will be in the future. But there are four distinct sourcing categories, each with its own flywheel.

Inbound Source Flywheels

These are just the core inbound sources. This doesn't count outbound sources that a normal headhunter or recruiter would use when you start looking outbound through LinkedIn. We have

Job boards... which we've already covered the five core parts of the job board flywheels:

Distribution- Is our job on the job boards?

Visibility- Does my target job seeker find it when they search?

Clickability- When my target job seeker finds my listing, do they want to click to learn more?

Engagement- Does my ad make them excited about the job that they want to apply for?

Convertibility- What can I do to get the qualified job seekers to actually become completed applicants in my process?

Because job boards are more like a funnel, that needs to be fed rather than it feeding itself... It's kind of an outlier.

Fans and Followers Flywheel...

Identify- Where are my people hanging out online? What groups are they in? Who are they following?

Listen- What are they saying?

Engage- How can I help the people in these groups with their problems or solve the problems they have?

Share and Post- What do I say to start a conversation about my specific job opening?

Answer- What questions do they have about my opening that I can answer to help them progress into becoming applicants?

Recruit on the internet, specifically Facebook or LinkedIn groups, by using this flywheel for all of your followings.

Direct Interest Flywheel... people who are actually interested in the company, regardless of whether they're actually wanting to apply for a job.

Target- Who are we targeting? Where are they at?

Attention- How do we get their attention to focus from the current company to working for us?

Engage- How do we make what we have to offer engaging, exciting? A lot of times, we're talking about the opportunity of working for a company, not the specific job.

Call to Action- How do we move them from an interest in our company to acting and engaging with an individual job/opportunity?

Conversion- How do we convert those people into actively being considered for a job?

That direct interest spins around... It takes people who trust us as a company and moves them through the cycle:

identifying a job they might be interested in,

getting them excited, and

getting them into the screening and selection process for that individual job.

Employee Referrals Flywheel...

The final, most powerful sourcing flywheel of all. Employee referrals are the pinnacle of power sourcing from the highest level. From when we know who we're after, we attract them to the job, we pick them and get them successful, and we help them grow in their career. From that point, they should start referring new employees to us.

When you have mastered the recruiting virtuous cycle, you will get referrals from even former employees!

Important- How can we help our entire team know this is a focus and that it's vital to our organization?

Contest and focus- What can we do this month to make this exciting and keep it top of mind?

Drip- What is our drumbeat for letting our team know what jobs we're hiring for and which ones we want them to focus on?

Sharing- How do we make sure that it's easy for them to share those jobs out there?

Scoreboard/Feedback- How do we let people know what's working well and keep top of mind of who's doing well at this.

Credit- How can we make sure that we are publicly giving people credit for their referrals?

We will drill deep into each of these flywheels in the following emails. But I wanted to, at a high level, run through these different flywheels to give you a taste of what each one of them looks like.

As the person who's over hiring for your organization, I would spend time looking at each one, prioritize which ones to set up, and then drill into each one.

Once again, the goal of a flywheel is to take and allocate time and resources necessary to:

  1. Understand what it is.
  2. Set it up.
  3. Give enough effort to start the spinning.

And then ensure that it stays spinning for our organization by making sure that it stays balanced...

  1. Add fuel at each step to keep it going,
  2. Reduce friction.
  3. Make sure we continually review and evolve it in order to stay relevant in the changing world.

I hope that you're excited to take each of these flywheels and build them, set them up, and ensure that they keep spinning for your organization.

If you want help establishing a certain flywheel (or all the flywheels), let me know! I can help you answer the questions and nail down the solutions so you can reap the rewards flywheels have to offer.

Talk to you soon!

Increase Qualified Applicants without spending money

Increase qualified applicant flow across the board.

Download this exclusive guide to improve your qualified applicant flow.

First Name*
Last Name*
Share this article

Trying to compare Applicant Tracking Systems?

This buyer's checklist will help you weigh all of your options!

Get My Checklist

Curious what ApplicantPro is all about?

Find out how we can help you streamline and optimize your hiring process!

See a Demo

Related Articles

applicantpro is one of indeed's platinum partners
PRESS RELEASE: ApplicantPro Named One of Indeed's Platinum Partners

ApplicantPro was just named as 1 of only 4 Indeed Platinum Partners! This distinction will benefit our clients and partners and improve their hiring process.


recruiting with marketing principles
Improving Your Hiring Strategy By Applying Marketing Principles

If you start approaching your hiring process more like marketing than an HR function, you could see a 50-300% increase in applicant flow.


many employees working in office
Labor Hoarding: A Strategy for Navigating the Labor Shortage in 2023

With the labor shortage we're facing, a new trend has emerged: Labor Hoarding. Companies are hanging on to their current employees to reduce the costs of recruiting and the risk of not finding top talent down the road.


Want a tour?

Schedule a Demo

Let's get started!

FREE Trial