Full Cycle Recruiting: All You Need to Know

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Full Cycle Recruiting: All You Need to Know

Full cycle recruiting can benefit the candidate, the recruiter, and the organization. In this article, we’ll take a look at full cycle recruiting, its benefits and drawbacks, and the six main stages of this recruitment process.

What is full cycle recruiting?
Pros and cons
The full cycle recruiting process in 6 steps
Wrapping up

What is full cycle recruiting?

Full cycle recruiting, also referred to as full life cycle recruiting or end-to-end recruiting, is a term used to describe a holistic recruitment process with a full cycle recruiter involved in every step of the process. A full cycle recruitment process involves six main stages: preparing, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.

A full cycle recruiter is able to complete each stage of the recruitment cycle, from the vacancy intake and sourcing of candidates all the way through the extension of a job offer and the onboarding of a candidate. 

Depending on the size of the organization, the person who’s in charge of the full life cycle recruiting may differ. In a start-up or smaller organization, this will often be the HR generalist who’s acting as a full cycle recruiter at the same time. 

In larger organizations, there often is an HR department where each member of the people team has specialized in a specific stage of the recruiting process. There will, however, always be one person overseeing the whole process. 

Companies can, of course, also decide to outsource their entire recruitment process.

Full Cycle Recruiting in 6 Steps

Pros and cons of full cycle recruiting

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that come with end-to-end recruiting.  


  • Accountability. If there is one person in charge of the entire process then it’s clear who is responsible for that process too. 
  • Candidate experience. A lot has already been said about the importance of a great candidate experience. It’s not hard to see how having a single point of contact throughout the entire recruitment cycle is beneficial for the candidate experience. 
    Instead of speaking to various people at the same time, not knowing who to reach out to and when, candidates know exactly who will be guiding them through each stage of the process. This will reassure them in what can be quite a stressful period.
    For the recruiter, involvement throughout the entire process presents a great opportunity to create a more meaningful relationship with the candidates. They’ll be able to have a more personalized way of communicating with them which, in turn, will have a positive effect on the experience of the latter.  
  • Decreased time to hire. Time to hire measures the number of days between a candidate applying for a job and that same candidate accepting a job offer. As such, the time to hire metric provides information about: 
    • Recruiting efficiency. Put simply, a long time to hire indicates a slow and inefficient process with unnecessary bottlenecks. 
    • Candidate experience. From a candidate perspective, a time to hire of two weeks is more appealing than a time to hire of three months. A faster time to hire will, therefore, lead to a better candidate experience.  

Having one and the same person in charge of the entire process limits the chances of unnecessary delays. If I’m the one managing every stage of the recruitment process and guiding candidates through them then I don’t depend on other people as much as when a different person is in charge for every stage. 

This can, however, only work if the person managing the recruitment process is very well-organized and rigorous (among other things). 

With a full cycle recruiter in charge, it’s also clear for all the parties involved who is responsible. If delays do occur, the hiring manager or candidate know whom they can reach out to asking for an explanation. 


There are two sides to everything and end-to-end recruiting is no exception to this. There are a few downsides to this way of recruiting worth mentioning. 

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  • Not suitable for every type of organization. When one person is involved in every stage of the recruitment process, there can only be a certain number of candidates that person can handle at the same time. 
    Once you go above that number, the benefits of an improved candidate experience and a reduced time to hire won’t be as big. This is simply because the full cycle recruiter doesn’t have enough time to take care of all the candidates.  
    This means that full cycle recruiting is particularly well suited for highly specialized roles or smaller organizations. 
  • Demands a multitude of skills. There’s a reason why larger organizations often have people who are specialized in a specific part of the hiring process. They’ll have a recruitment team that, depending on the size of the organization, consists of, for instance, a talent sourcer, a recruitment assistant, several recruiters, and a manager. 
    The reason for this is that each stage of the recruitment process requires a specific set of skills and knowledge. Sourcing candidates, for example, is a different ball game than negotiating offers or onboarding new hires. For one person to master all these different skills can be challenging. 

Of course, there are tools available for each stage of the recruitment process that can support the full cycle recruiter in their job. Keeping up with the latest technology and knowing how to use it can, however, still take up a big chunk of their time. We’ll give a few examples of different types of technology that can be useful in the section below.

A word about soft skills is in order here too. For a full cycle recruiter, things like listening, communicating, and being good at building relationships both with the candidate and the hiring manager are essential. They’ll need to master these soft skills, among others, on top of the more technical skills necessary to work with HR-and recruitment tech.

The full cycle recruiting process in 6 steps 

In this section, we’ll zoom in on the actual full cycle recruiting process. We’ll describe each of its six stages and the role of the full cycle recruiter in them. 

1. Preparing 

In this stage, it’s about gathering information from the hiring manager. As soon as the job requisition has been approved internally, the recruiter will contact the hiring manager to make an appointment for the vacancy intake. 

During the intake, the recruiter and hiring manager will discuss the specific requirements for the new position. It includes the required skills, role in the team, personality, and capabilities of a suitable candidate.  

The recruiter will use the information gathered during the vacancy intake to write a clear, inclusive, job description (to use internally).

Based on the job description, they will then write the job posting (or ask a copywriter to do this). The job posting, or job advert, is the external text that candidates will see. 

Tool tip: To make sure you write job adverts in an inclusive way, you can use a tool such as Textio or Gender Decoder.

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2. Sourcing 

Once the foundation for the candidate search has been laid (i.e. the job advert is ready), it’s time to start sourcing. This is where it’s easier if the full cycle recruiter is, for example, only focusing on highly specialized roles.

If you’re only looking for candidates in a specific field, this reduces the number of potential sourcing channels dramatically. This, in turn, will allow you to better keep track of each channel. It also helps you understand what channel provides you with the most successful candidates, etc.

Focusing on specialized roles also makes it easier to build and maintain a talent pool – a database that holds all the profiles of people with interest in your organization. 

A talent pool can be a great sourcing channel too, providing a safety net when faced with a sudden departure, and giving you access to passive candidates who can be hard to connect with.

During the sourcing phase, the recruiter will be in touch with the hiring manager regularly to give them an update on how things are going.

Tool tip: There are many different sourcing tools that you can use to streamline this part of the recruiting process. One example is Hiretual, a sourcing solution built by recruiters, for recruiters.

3. Screening

The initial screening of candidates can take place in several ways. 

  • Resume screening. This is the most common technique. It helps the recruiter assess if candidates comply with (some of) the criteria in the job description.
    To facilitate this type of screening, there are many tools available that can do the work for you. They range from built-in resume screening tools that are part of an ATS to resume screeners that use AI to predict the quality of hire.
  • Phone screening/chatbot. After the resume screening, a phone screening often takes place. This helps to align expectations between the candidate and the employer.
    The recruiter can walk through a checklist here. The screening may include topics like comp & benefits expectations, full time or flexible commitment, starting date, and other potential deal-breakers.
    As this is a fairly standard procedure, a chatbot can also take over here.     
  • Pre-selection. It is a powerful screening method that helps to avoid potential mismatches. Pre-selection tools provide assessments that can include cognitive testing, a job sample, personality testing, and other tests that help to predict the quality of the new hire.
    Pre-employment assessments can also include a realistic job preview. This shows candidates the positive but also the not so pretty sides of the job, resulting in a more truthful picture of the role. This helps in aligning expectations between candidate and employer and leads to better hires. 

These preselection tests are often used for functions with a high volume of applicants. However, a full cycle recruiter can use a realistic job preview, for instance in the form of an accurate ‘day in the life of’ video, to manage candidate expectations.     

The goal of this stage of the recruitment process is to reduce the number of candidates to a manageable group of between 3-10 people. These candidates can be interviewed in person/via video.

Tool tip: We already mentioned a few tools in this section, so we added a video instead. While it’s not your typical realistic job preview video, it does give candidates a good idea of how it’s like to work at Culture Amp; useful information that they can take into account to decide whether or not this is the organization for them.

4. Selecting

This step of the selection process is about sending out assignments, arranging interviews, participating in the interview process, and providing feedback to candidates. It’s also about maintaining a good relationship with the hiring manager and keeping him or her actively involved.  

Here, the full cycle recruiter needs to keep an eye on several balls at the same time. A big part of this stage of the full cycle recruiting process is about scheduling. Candidate interviews need to be planned and confirmed. Assignments need to be sent out and reviewed, and constructive feedback needs to be provided afterward. 

An equally important part of this stage of the process is the recruiter’s relationship with the hiring manager. They should be in close contact. The recruiter constantly communicates with the hiring manager about the candidate shortlist, feedback from the latter on the candidates, iterating the requirements, etc.  

In this stage of the hiring process, the use of an interview guide can be very helpful. It will create a structured process and ensure all candidates get the same experience – from the initial invitation and briefing all the way to the order of the questions asked and the wrap-up of the interview. An interview guide also helps reduce the risk of bias in the interview process.   

When it comes to planning the interviews, a tool in the form of a chatbot can be of assistance again. The big advantage of this is that they can, to a certain extent, also take care of basic questions that may come in from candidates regarding their interview.

Tool tip: While it’s not a tech tool, the interview guide we mentioned is a great ‘tool’ to use here. Actual software tools that can come in handy in this phase are interview scheduling tools such as Calendly or GoodTime.

5. Hiring

Once the recruiter and hiring manager have reduced their shortlist to between one and three candidates, it’s time to do a reference check and, in some cases, also a background check.

Reference checks are a way to confirm your perception of the candidate and gather additional information from multiple perspectives. This comes especially useful if you had a doubt about a certain competency or skill during the interview.

The use of background checks depends on the type of function and also the country you’re in. It’s common to do this type of check for government functions, for example. Countries like the US use it more than most European countries. 

Once these boxes have been ‘checked’ too, it’s time to make a decision. While the full cycle recruiter is (heavily) involved in each step of the process, the final hiring decision lies with the hiring manager. 

This decision is best made based on a data-driven approach. In other words, based on pre-defined criteria on which each candidate is rated during the selection process. The best candidate is then chosen and a job offer will be extended. 

Tool tip: There are, of course, many different tools to choose from but Checkmate is both a reference checking and background screening tool in one. 

6. Onboarding

Once the candidate has signed the contract, the full cycle recruiter’s job isn’t over yet. This is where the pre-boarding period starts. It refers to the time between the candidate signing the contract and them starting their new job. 

It’s crucial to keep in touch with new hires during this period to keep them engaged and excited to get started. Not doing so can result in them joining another company before they even began. 

Things to do during a pre-boarding can vary from sending the new hire the employee handbook, inviting them to (informal) team activities, sharing information about their first day, having a virtual coffee with them, and so on. 

Here too, software tools can help the recruiter in guiding new hires through this process and making sure everyone gets the same experience. 

Once the new hire finally starts their first day, it’s time for the organization’s employee onboarding program to take care of them. While this will often be HR-driven, with a lot of involvement from the hiring manager as well, it’s important that the recruiter regularly checks in with the new employee. 

After all, they’ve built a relationship together which means that the freshly hired employee may feel more comfortable sharing their concerns with the recruiter, at least during the first couple of weeks. 

Tool tip: Onboarding software comes in all shapes and sizes. Some companies use a Trello board to structure their process, where others use a specialized platform such as Appical for their pre- and onboarding. 

Wrapping up

Full cycle recruiting can help build better relationships with the hiring managers and the candidates. It can also provide a good experience for everyone involved in the hiring process. Before implementing this type of recruiting, though, carefully consider your organization’s needs as it’s not suitable for every type of organization.


What is full cycle recruiting?

Full cycle recruiting, also referred to as full life cycle recruiting or end-to-end recruiting, is a term used to describe a holistic recruitment process with a full cycle recruiter involved in every step of the process.

What are the benefits of full life cycle recruiting?

Benefits of full life cycle recruiting include an increased accountability, a better candidate experience, and a decreased time to hire.

What are the disadvantages of full cycle recruiting?

Disadvantages of full cycle recruiting include the fact that it’s not suitable for every type of organization and that it requires a multitude of skills.

What are the different stages of a full cycle recruitment process?

The main stages of a full cycle recruitment process include: preparing, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.


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