Date: May 8, 2024 Full Cycle Recruiting Process Definition and 6 Steps

Amidst a shifting labor market, traditional recruitment processes may no longer attract high-quality candidates. Employers may need to update their hiring practices or adopt new technology, resources, and workflows to remain competitive in talent acquisition. One workflow that often proves successful is full-cycle recruiting.

Recruiters and human resources professionals follow a series of steps to find qualified candidates for various positions within organizations. The full-cycle recruiting process encompasses all the actions a company takes to recruit an employee, from identifying talent to onboarding new hires. Understanding this process can help streamline your employee recruitment efforts.

The full cycle recruiting process provides benefits for the candidate, the recruiter, and the organization. In this article, we will examine full-cycle recruiting, its advantages and disadvantages, and the five primary stages of this recruitment process.

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What is full Cycle Recruiting?

Full-cycle recruiting, also known as full life cycle recruiting or end-to-end recruiting, is the comprehensive process through which employers source and acquire talent. 

Depending on the size of the organization, this responsibility may be carried out by one person or several individuals. 

In large companies, specific teams are sometimes assigned to each phase of full-cycle recruiting, starting with needs assessments and concluding with onboarding.

The  full cycle recruiting process typically includes six main stages: preparation, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.

The individual responsible for full life cycle recruiting may vary depending on the size of the organization. In smaller organizations or startups, the HR generalist often serves as the full-cycle recruiter.

In larger organizations, the HR department may have team members specializing in different stages of the recruiting process. However, there is usually one person overseeing the entire process.

Alternatively, companies may choose to outsource their entire recruitment process.

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The 6 Steps Full Cycle Recruiting Process 

Full-cycle recruiting consists of six phases. Overlooking or mismanaging any of these phases can negatively impact an employer’s ability to quickly acquire top talent. Conversely, excelling at each of these steps can make it easier for employers to navigate labor market disruptions.


The first step in the full-cycle recruiting process is to define the ideal candidate profile and desired qualifications. This involves considering the necessary skill set and background experience for the role.

Collaborate with other human resources professionals or the hiring manager to determine the expected compensation for the position. This compensation range may vary depending on the company’s specific requirements.

Once the qualifications for the role are established, create a comprehensive job description that provides candidates with an overview of the position.

Include details such as responsibilities, salary range, and benefits. Additionally, share information about the company to help candidates assess whether their values align with the organization’s.


After establishing the foundation for the candidate search, it’s time to begin sourcing. In such cases. This is where having a full-cycle recruiter who is solely focused on highly specialized roles can be advantageous.

By focusing solely on candidates in a specific field, the number of potential sourcing channels is reduced significantly. This allows for better tracking of each channel and helps in understanding which channel provides the most successful candidates.

By concentrating on specialized roles, the process of building and maintaining a talent pool is also simplified – a database that contains profiles of individuals interested in your organization.

A talent pool can serve as a valuable sourcing channel, providing a safety net when faced with a sudden departure and giving access to passive candidates who may be challenging to connect with.

During the sourcing phase, the recruiter will regularly communicate with the hiring manager to provide updates on the progress.


The screening step in the full cycle recruitment process involves:

  • Utilizing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS):

Your employer may provide access to an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help you track and review candidates more easily. With an ATS, you can scan resumes for keywords and other relevant information from the job posting.
This can save time and assist in locating qualified candidates efficiently, especially when dealing with a high volume of applications.

  • Reviewing Application Materials:

After using the ATS to screen candidates, you can review the cover letters, resumes, and portfolios of the remaining candidates. Reviewing candidates’ portfolios can be particularly useful for assessing their skill sets in more detail.

  • Contacting Candidates for Interviews and Assessments:

After carefully reviewing all application materials, you can contact selected candidates to schedule phone interviews or short video calls.
During these interviews, you can ask basic questions about candidates’ backgrounds and preferences. Additionally, you may require candidates to complete assessments to better determine their culture fit within the organization.


During the selection phase of the recruitment process, assessing all applicants against the same criteria enables employers to evaluate each candidate fairly. These criteria may include the candidate’s skills, experience, interview responses, and any other job-related information that could aid in making the final decision.

A significant aspect of this stage is scheduling. The recruiter must manage multiple tasks simultaneously, including planning and confirming candidate interviews, sending out and reviewing assignments, and providing constructive feedback to candidates afterward.

Equally important is the recruiter’s relationship with the hiring manager. Close communication is essential, with the recruiter providing regular updates on the candidate shortlist, feedback received from the hiring manager, and any adjustments to the job requirements.

After choosing the top candidate for the position, you can start contacting their references and conducting a background check to confirm their information.

In this phase of the hiring process, employing an interview manual can be extremely advantageous. It establishes a systematic approach, ensuring all candidates undergo a consistent experience—from the initial invitation and briefing to the sequence of questions asked and the conclusion of the interview. Moreover, an interview manual helps mitigate the potential for bias in the interview process.


The decision should be made using a data-driven approach, meaning candidates are evaluated based on predefined criteria during the selection process. 

After verifying a candidate’s information, you can extend a formal job offer. The offer letter should detail the position’s terms, including salary and benefits. 

The candidate may accept the offer as is or negotiate the terms. During negotiations, discuss the salary, benefits, and start date. 

If the candidate declines the offer, you can select another highly qualified candidate. Before extending the offer, conduct reference and background checks.


Once the candidate signs the job offer, the full-cycle recruiter’s job is not yet complete; they now transition into an employee of the company.

It’s essential to reach out to the new hire before their official start date to ensure they know what to expect.

Send them a copy of the employee handbook, extend invitations to participate in informal activities to meet their team and colleagues, and provide any important information that may be beneficial for them to know before their first day.

On their first day at the company, introduce them to their manager and team, and assist them in feeling welcome.

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Advantages of Full-Cycle Recruiting

Employers who effectively utilize full-cycle recruiting may achieve the following benefits:

  • Enhanced candidate experiences:

Full-cycle recruiting ensures that candidates have a positive experience throughout the entire hiring process. From the initial contact to the final offer, candidates feel valued and respected, regardless of whether they are hired or not.

  • Reduced time to hire:

With full-cycle recruiting, the entire hiring process is streamlined, leading to a decrease in the time it takes to fill a position. By managing every stage of recruitment efficiently, employers can make quicker decisions and secure top talent before their competitors.

  • Improved talent acquisition rates:

Full-cycle recruiting allows employers to attract and retain high-quality candidates more effectively. By managing the entire recruitment process in-house, companies can identify and secure top talent that aligns with their organizational goals and culture.

  • Lowered hiring costs:

By managing the entire recruitment process internally, employers can reduce their reliance on external recruiters and staffing agencies, thereby reducing overall hiring costs. Additionally, a streamlined recruitment process leads to reduced time and resources spent on finding and hiring new employees.

Disadvantages of full-cycle recruiting

There are a few drawbacks to this recruiting approach that are worth mentioning:

Full-cycle recruiting isn’t suitable for every organization. When one person manages every stage of the process, there’s a limit to how many candidates they can handle effectively.

This approach is best suited for highly specialized roles or smaller organizations.

Moreover, full-cycle recruiting demands a wide range of skills. Larger organizations often have specialized recruitment teams to handle different stages of the process, such as sourcing candidates, negotiating offers, and onboarding new hires.


Full-cycle recruiting can foster stronger relationships between hiring managers and candidates, providing a positive experience for everyone involved in the hiring process. However, before implementing this approach, carefully consider your organization’s needs, as it may not be suitable for every type of organization.

FAQs: Full-Cycle Recruiting Process 

What is full cycle recruiting?

Full-cycle recruiting is applicable to employers who follow the six talent acquisition stages: preparation, sourcing, screening, selection, hiring, and onboarding.

What are the disadvantages of full cycle recruiting?

Disadvantages of full-cycle recruiting include its unsuitability for every type of organization and the requirement for a multitude of skills.

What is the recruitment period?

This period usually starts when a job opening is advertised and concludes when the employer makes a final hiring decision.

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