Full cycle recruiting is a comprehensive method of talent acquisition where one recruiter or a team (known as “full cycle recruiters”) handles each stage of the cycle from start to finish. This process has six steps: preparing, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.

In this article, we’ll explore each step of the full-cycle recruiting process in detail and discuss the benefits and disadvantages of this approach for your organization.

What Is Full Cycle Recruiting?

Full cycle recruiting, also known as end-to-end or 360-degree recruiting, encompasses all aspects of the hiring process, from sourcing to onboarding. It’s a method used to streamline the process and provide a consistent candidate experience. For each step, a recruiter or the human resources department is responsible for maintaining the efficiency and quality of the entire process.

Though companies of all sizes adopt this type of recruitment model, implementation varies significantly. In small to mid-sized organizations, one recruiter or a small team of recruiters handles the entire recruitment cycle. Conversely, in larger corporations, specialized teams are usually utilized for different process stages, resulting in a more segmented but specialized approach at each step.

The full cycle recruiting process

While the full cycle recruitment process may change depending on an organization’s needs and structure, it usually involves the following stages:

  1. Preparing – Determining the job requirements and the ideal candidate profile
  2. Sourcing – Utilizing various channels to gather a pool of candidates that fit the ideal profile
  3. Screening – Narrowing down the candidate pool through resume reviews or quick interviews
  4. Selecting – Identifying top candidates and setting up in-depth interviews
  5. Hiring – Negotiating terms and finalizing the employment offer with the chosen candidate
  6. Onboarding – Integrating the new hire into the organization

Let’s go into detail on each stage below.

Step 1: Preparing

In this initial stage, the recruiter collaborates closely with the hiring manager to define the job roles, qualifications, and the ideal candidate profile. Following this, they develop a comprehensive recruitment strategy that outlines the timelines, budget, and channels for candidate sourcing. The job description is then used to create and post job listings on the selected channels. 

Tip: Having an organizational chart helps during this process as it helps you determine how the new role will fit into your organization and avoid any redundancies or conflicts. 

If your company lacks an organizational chart, tools like Organimi offer a straightforward way to create detailed and intuitive charts that help you understand your organization. Check out our LinkedIn community for detailed discussions and guides.

Step 2: Sourcing

After preparing the necessary materials, recruiters begin sourcing candidates using a variety of channels, including job boards, job fairs, and social media. In addition to these proactive sourcing methods, some recruiters may do passive sourcing by reaching out to potential candidates who are not actively seeking new opportunities but match the ideal candidate profile. Furthermore, recruiters can also leverage the networks of current employees to obtain referrals for suitable candidates.

Step 3: Screening

Once a substantial pool of candidates is assembled, recruiters start the screening phase by examining applications and resumes to pinpoint those who best meet the job specifications. If the pool is small, they might manually screen candidates through interviews.

But for larger volumes of candidates, they often use automated tools like an applicant tracking system (ATS). Nowadays, many recruiters opt to blend manual and automated screening methods for efficiency. Additionally, recruiters may also administer assessments to gauge the candidates’ skills and competencies related to the role.

Step 4: Selecting

The candidate shortlist is forwarded to the hiring manager, who will now work closely with the recruiter to conduct more thorough evaluations, including multiple rounds of interviews with key decision-makers and additional assessments. This stage is crucial for identifying candidates who are not only qualified but also align well with the company’s culture and values.

Step 5: Hiring

After the hiring manager selects the top candidate, an offer is made. Depending on the candidate’s expectations, this may lead to negotiations on salary and benefits. The recruiter must handle this step carefully, balancing the candidate’s demands with the organization’s budget constraints. Once the offer is accepted, the recruiter prepares the necessary paperwork to finalize the hiring process.

Step 6: Onboarding

Onboarding is where the recruiter assists the new employee in transitioning smoothly into their role within the company. This stage usually involves orientation, training, team activities, and providing support to help the new hire settle in effectively. It’s important for the recruiter to facilitate a thorough onboarding process, as it significantly influences employee retention and overall job satisfaction (Think “first impressions last”).

Benefits of Full Cycle Recruiting

  • Cost efficiency: Having one person or a small team manage the entire process can reduce overhead costs and the need for external recruiting agencies.
  • Better candidate experience: With the same people handling the entire recruitment cycle, communication is simplified, giving the candidates a consistent experience throughout the process.
  • Faster hiring times: Having integrated strategies and familiar procedures implemented by the same people can reduce time-to-hire.
  • More accountability: One recruiter or team being responsible for the entire process enhances accountability, which may lead to better outcomes.
  • Better decision-making: Handling all stages of recruitment makes the collection and analysis of data across the entire process easier, enabling informed decision-making.

Disadvantages of Full Cycle Recruiting

  • Limited specialization: Some recruitment phases may require specialized skills, which some recruiters lack the skills for. This could compromise the quality of the recruitment process.
  • Scalability issues: As the company grows, the full cycle approach may become harder to sustain, especially if there’s only one recruiter managing it.
  • Potential for bias: Having one person or team handling the entire process may lead to biased decision-making due to a lack of other perspectives.
  • Higher initial investment: Assembling a recruitment team that can handle full cycle recruitment may require substantial upfront investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does on-cycle recruiting mean?

On-cycle recruiting is a recruitment process that only happens during specific times of the year, usually coinciding with peak business cycles or academic calendars, to maximize efficiency and meet operational needs. It’s usually held within a week-long period and can start at any time. 

What is full cycle staffing?

Full cycle staffing is a comprehensive recruitment strategy involving a single recruiter or a team managing each step of the recruitment cycle. This recruitment model aims to enhance the quality of hires and create a recruitment process that better aligns with organizational goals and culture. 

What’s full cycle recruiting vs. recruiting?

Full cycle recruiting involves all stages of the recruitment process, from sourcing and screening to hiring and onboarding. In contrast, general recruiting usually only covers specific parts, such as sourcing and screening.