What is Full Cycle Recruiting?

By Tressa Shepard - Last Updated on March 13, 2020
What is full cycle recruiting?

What is full cycle recruiting?

Full cycle recruiting refers to the comprehensive approach to the six stages of recruitment. This is often managed by a single full cycle recruiter who coordinates with the hiring manager, interview team, and other HR professionals to facilitate hiring the best candidates quickly and efficiently.

Full cycle recruiting is also known as full circle recruiting, 360 recruiting, and end-to-end recruiting. Full cycle recruiting eliminates communication disparities, improves time to hire, and prevents ideal candidates from getting lost in the shuffle.

This recruitment strategy has six stages:

  • Preparing
  • Recruiting
  • Filtering
  • Selecting
  • Hiring
  • Onboarding

Proper preparation leads to successful recruitment strategies that find numerous candidates that are filtered by agreed upon criteria to interview only the best and brightest candidates, selection determines the best candidate, hiring negotiates the best deal for both the candidate and the organization, and onboarding ensures that the newest edition to your team begins work without a hitch.

Previously accepted hiring strategies often took too long to hire due to communication and chain of command issues, or the candidates selected were not a good fit for the organization’s needs.

Who should practice full-cycle recruiting?

Any size business can benefit from each of the stages of full cycle recruiting. Small to medium businesses have fewer players involved in the process, and these goals are often met faster because there are fewer stakeholders.

In large organizations, the stages of full cycle recruiting(1) are essential to maintaining accountability and professionalism from the start when identifying the open position to the end when the new hire begins work. Larger organizations usually have multiple stakeholders from various departments, but this does not mean that the process is slow.

What are the responsibilities of the full cycle recruiter?

A full cycle recruiter must have experience and a comprehensive understanding of human resources from determining the business needs for an opening to strong onboarding skills. This recruiter is assigned as a project manager for the hiring process and acts as the point person for assigning responsibilities to the group of stakeholders, communicating with the candidates, and keeps everyone moving through each stage of the process. When one person oversees these tasks, the hiring process is significantly expedited.

What are the best practices for Full Cycle Recruiting?

Full Cycle Recruiting begins by discussing requisition approval and discussing the job needs with the hiring manager and ends with a new employee. It is the steps in between that are integral to ensuring smooth recruitment, screening, offers, and Onboarding of a candidate.


  • Meet with the hiring manager to determine that a requisition has been approved through finance
  • Discuss the essential job functions and any additional skills or knowledge that would be ideal

As with all great plans, preparation at the beginning prevents tedious problems along the way. Before discussing any information about this position, confirm that you have the appropriate financial approval to begin the hiring process.  Then, meet with the hiring manager to understand exactly what skills and knowledge are essential and those skills that would be beneficial but are not mandatory.

Other factors to consider besides preparing the team:

  • Diversity: When companies have a more diverse workforce, profitability is more apt to increase 33%, A more diverse team does not fall victim to groupthink, but rather, the different cultural perspectives provide new ways of seeing the company and its opportunities. 25% of companies recognize this and use it to achieve a competitive advantage over other organizations in the same space.
  • HR Branding: 80% of HR professionals agree that employer branding contributes the desirability to work for a company.
  • Communication: When everyone recognizes the business needs of the organization, the expectations of job candidates, the realities of the company’s HR branding as either desirable or undesirable, and each person knows the behavior expected of them, this preparation enables full cycle recruiting without complications.


  • Using the manager’s feedback and your knowledge of the industry to write a job description
  • Post the job description on employee referral sites, job posting boards, and across social media.
  • Begin Sourcing initiative

Using the information from the hiring manager, knowledge of similar industry job descriptions, and the creativity that only recruiters have, create a job description that speaks to the candidates that you are seeking.

Next, you will need to post the job description on message boards, websites, apps, and across social media. Sourcing is also used to seek out those professionals that are interested in new opportunities but are not ready to actively search for available jobs.


  • Review resumes promptly as they come to you. Never longer than 3 days!
  • Using multiple methods reduce the number of candidates (pre-screen, testing)
  • Send relevant resumes to the hiring manager

Once the resumes start rolling in, it is essential to review them quickly as younger professionals expect prompt responses.  By eliminating the candidates whose skill sets do not align with your needs, time is available to filter the candidate pool one step further through phone screening or video chat with promising candidates.

Additionally, skills testing, aptitude tests, and other measures can further pare down the number of candidates. Finally, pass along your top candidates to the hiring manager. The next level of filtering is performed by the hiring manager who will select the appropriate candidates to interview.


  • Schedule interviews with the Hiring manager and selected team members
  • Interview the top candidates
  • Narrow down top candidates

A positive or negative interview experience has changed 80% of candidates’ perception of a role or an organization. Keep this in mind when it is time to schedule interviews for the candidates.  Reengage the hiring manager and interview team to remind the team of the impact they have on the organization and the role.

Further, make it easier on those doing interviews by coordinating several on the same day within one block of time to keep those interviewing the candidates in the right headspace for hiring versus the urgent issues that they would face at their desks. Finally, conduct a meeting following the interviews with the team to grade or rank the candidates.


  • Make the offer to your top candidate
  • Background and reference checks
  • Negotiate with the candidate
  • Reach agreement on salary, benefits, and any additional items

It’s time to make an offer but do it with a backup candidate.  Unemployment lows have created a candidates’ market.

The main reasons that candidates turn down job opportunities is due to:

  • Low salary offers
  • Poor communication during the interviewing process
  • The company’s lack of corporate culture or the company culture did not translate through the interview process.

Knowing this information, it is obvious that negotiation skills are imperative to meeting recruitment goals and salary targets. Utilize the offered salary, benefits, and positive company attributes to assist in the negotiation process. Once an agreement is reached, communicate with the candidate and the hiring manager the start date.


  • Guide the hiring manager through the process of preparing documentation, new hire orientation, technology, and secure access for the candidate
  • Communicate first-day schedule to the New Hire
  • Review hiring metrics to score the hiring performance

Each organization differs; however, hiring managers are not as familiar with the process as a full cycle recruiter. As such, be prepared to assist the manager in the company procedures for bringing on a new employee.

Pay special attention to ensuring background and reference checks, ordering equipment that the employee will require, and setting up access to all the appropriate software, applications, and physical spaces that the employee will need prior to starting. The smooth onboarding of a candidate is the first impression of the organization’s efficiency. Be certain that this goes well.

Finally, work with the manager to create a first-day schedule for the employee and included in this should be a new hire orientation for familiarizing the new hire with the company and its expectations and processes.

What tools are required to facilitate Full Cycle Recruiting?

While there is no one application that manages the entire process, applicant tracking systems (ATS), collaboration tools, and sourcing applications are constantly evolving.

Collaboration software allows users to organize and assign a workflow to the appropriate team members, as well as share ideas about projects. In full cycle recruiting, this software is good for assigning who owns each part of the stages, and it eliminates questions about the responsibility of internal staff throughout all stages of the recruitment process.

Most ATS scans resume by keywords and determine if the candidate fits the requirements of the position.  Some applicant tracking systems screen candidates by criteria, test applicants, schedule interviews, provide a guideline for the hiring process, provided background and reference checks, and facilitates new employee paperwork.

This is helpful throughout full cycle recruitment; however, it does not actually manage all of the internal pieces of the recruitment puzzle.

Sourcing is different than traditional recruitment techniques because it does not wait for the candidate to look for a new opportunity.  Rather, sourcing is when the recruiter seeks out potential candidates who may not be seeking new employment. Sourcing tools use social media to find, connect, and engage professionals of the job title or industry of interest to the full cycle recruiter.

By utilizing collaboration systems, ATS, and sourcing tools the full cycle recruiter has all the tools necessary to hire efficiently.

Tips for tracking the end to end recruitment cycle

  • Approval

    As soon as a hiring manager indicates that a requisition has been approved for filling an opening with an organization, it is imperative that you see the approval. Do not begin the full cycle recruitment process until the opening has been fully approved.  Needless hours have been spent in pursuit of candidates for jobs when the hiring manager did not get the appropriate approval. Be firm.

  • Meet the stakeholders

    Schedule a meeting with the hiring manager alone to discuss the business need, ideal candidate, salary, and additional confidential information about the open position. Then, meet with the entire interview team to get buy-in from each team member and build a sense of connection to the goal by having each person introduce themselves and explain what they will be doing.

    This is an ideal time to add to or remove unrealistic expectations. Further, this meeting will give the full cycle recruiter more information about the new role.

  • Job Posting

    Posting to the applicable job boards goes without saying, but when hiring within a profession, access professional organizations’ job boards because they are almost always worth the time and investment.  For example, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is a great resource for finding qualified Human Resources/Talent professionals.

    Recruiters are not always a sourcing specialist. Sourcing requires selling a job and a culture to a potential candidate that has not expressed interest in making a career move. Sourcing results are not always as fast or predictable as recruiting those who are interested in your job opening.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, your full cycle recruiting results depend on the amount of thought that goes into each of the six stages: preparation, recruiting, filtering, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.  It can be managed by an experienced recruiter regardless of the size of the company, and the use of ATS and collaboration tools make managing the process and the key players significantly easier.

The many weeks of the time to hire can significantly be reduced with the use of full-cycle recruitment as well as lend to new hires whose time with the company is longer and more enjoyable.

Tressa Shepard | Tressa Shepard is the Human Resources Manager at Bython Media, a global digital publishing and B2B marketing company that specializes in data-driven, fully integrated solutions. Previously, she was Talent Acquisition Manager at Cisco Systems.

Tressa Shepard | Tressa Shepard is the Human Resources Manager at Bython Media, a global digital publishing and B2B marketing company that specializes in data-drive...


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