Full Cycle Recruiting: what is it and how to get it right

7 minute read

Posted by Chris Platts on 22 June 2020

Full cycle recruiting is the process of managing the recruitment process from end to end. It is often described as the largest paradigm shift to hit the talent acquisition industry in years, and it seems that the hype is growing every week.

Do you want to know what full-cycle recruiting is all about? Well, you’re in luck! In this post, we’ll take you through what full-cycle recruiting means, why it’s important, and guide you through the 6 different stages involved.

  • What is full cycle recruiting?
  • Why is full cycle recruiting important?
  • The 6 stages of full cycle recruiting:
    • Identifying the talent gap
    • Sourcing
    • Screening
    • Selecting
    • Hiring
    • Onboarding
  • Conclusion

What is full cycle recruiting?

Full cycle recruiting refers to managing the entire recruitment process from beginning to end. It’s also known as life cycle recruitment or end to end recruitment. It’s a recruitment method where one recruiter is involved and able to complete every step of the process.

Full life cycle recruiting consists of several stages, laid out in the diagram below, starting with the need for a new employee and ending with onboarding.

Each of the 6 main full-cycle recruiting stages requires different processes. We explain each stage in further detail below.

Why is full cycle recruiting important?

Recruiters are well aware of the long and costly process that comes with hiring. Vacancies are guaranteed to eat up time and resources and the cost of a failed hire can be between 6-9 months of salary [1]. What’s required is a well-oiled hiring process – from start to finish. Full-cycle recruiting begins with recognising the need for talent and ends with getting the right talent on board and being productive.

An employee’s experience with an organisation starts the moment the job advert catches their eye. Organisations are vying for the best talent in an environment of continuous digital competition. It’s essential to fine-tune every phase of your recruitment process in order to effectively compete for the best talent.

A full cycle recruiting approach aims to improve efficiencies in the recruitment process. It will help decrease your time-to-hire and cost-per-hire, as well as ensuring your overall recruitment process is more effective.

6 stages of full cycle recruiting

1. Identifying the talent gap

Successful talent acquisition begins with identifying where it’s lacking. This then enables a clear definition of the ideal candidate based upon business needs.

Whether it’s a result of a departure of an existing role, or the creation of a new position, hiring managers need to be clear on what they’re looking for. Conducting a job analysis can really help here. Need help with job analysis? Use our job analysis questionnaire.

What capabilities are needed? What type of person and cultural fit is required? What level of commitment does the manager expect?

Once the ideal candidate has been defined, you can proceed with drafting a job description, based on the strategic business needs of the organisation. Write a clear and accurate explanation of the job responsibilities, whilst also including information about salary, benefits and company values is essential.

2. Sourcing

Recruiters have the difficult task of operating in a candidate-driven market that is vast and global. Although there are obvious benefits to having access to such a diverse candidate pool, sometimes it can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack when searching for the ideal candidate.

This stage involves tapping into the right areas; sourcing both active candidates – those actively seeking a job and passive candidates – those who are not actively looking for jobs but may be interested in your new role.

How you reach out to candidates is vital and it depends on the situation. It might be through posting a description on a job board, advertising internally, or utilising social platforms. Recruiters need to think about how to engage with talent on platforms they wish to be engaged on. A Talent CRM can help by enabling hiring teams to organize data, save time on manual tasks and provide rememberable candidate experience.

3. Screening

This stage of life cycle recruiting refers to screening prospective candidates by reviewing their CV, skills, experiences and other qualifying data.

Having access to a wide pool of talent to source from, screening strategies need to be scoped effectively. Don’t be reluctant to go for a large sourcing pool; if your screening process is effective it can be leveraged to find the best-fit person regardless. 

The most predictive candidate screening methods are realistic, work simulation assessments, however, these are best used as a selection tool for high volume hiring. Most companies also combine candidate selection tools with phone screening questions before meeting in person. 

Once you’ve screened your applicants and found the most suitable ones, you can invite them to attend an interview.

4. Selecting

Selecting the ideal candidate for the job is arguably the most fundamental part of the full life cycle recruitment process. Selecting involves evaluating shortlisted candidates usually via face-to-face or virtual interview after the screening stage. 

The idea here is to establish whether the candidate doesn’t just tick off the skills requirements, but also fits into all aspects of the role and has what’s required to thrive in the organisation and team. Effective tools for this stage of the hiring process range from cognitive ability tests and personality questionnaires to interviews and case studies involving hiring managers, supervisors and team members.

5. Hiring

Once you’ve decided on the successful candidate, it’s time to offer them the job. How this is done is important. According to LinkedIn, 77% of candidates prefer receiving the news over the phone [2].

Once that phone call is over, you’ll need to send a formal job offer letter. This clarifies all hiring terms, including precise information on compensation and benefits, working hours, and contract length. 

If the offer is questioned, negotiations might entail. This is a delicate stage of the process and must be handled with consideration. Finding the right balance here between the needs of the candidate and those of the organization is important.

6. Pre-boarding & On-boarding

New employees should walk into an organization that is prepared for them. Onboarding can take time and commitment. But, if you want a successful finish to the full cycle recruitment process, new staff should feel welcomed by their new co-workers, and get off to a great start.

Relaxing at this step and thinking the hiring process is finished spells danger and can result in new hire attrition. Using a new hire checklist can ensure mistakes are avoided.


The recruitment cycle is a process, built upon individual stages that come together to form a whole. Successful recruitment doesn’t stop at selecting your ideal candidate, it’s critical to build upon what has come before and ensure strategies are in place to secure the future success of new hires. 

Full cycle recruitment has the potential to make life easier for most recruiters and HR departments, but finding time for implementation and disrupting processes is for many HR professionals can be difficult.

Oh, and if you’re looking for full-cycle recruitment software, check out TalentLyft! TalentLyft is the world’s most complete recruitment software. It offers all the features you need to find, attract, engage and hire top candidates. Highly recommended!


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