What Is Full Cycle Recruiting? A Step-by-Step Guide

By: Michelle Harris - Guest Contributor on November 7, 2023
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Let's face it: talent will always be your most valuable resource. Yet, the whole process of hiring is challenging and often overwhelming. Still, you must leverage every part of the recruitment cycle, known as full cycle recruiting. In simple terms, this means executing a complete end-to-end strategy, from realizing you need to find the best employees to ensuring they're prepped for more responsible roles.

What is full cycle recruiting?

Full cycle recruiting is also known as full service recruitment, full life cycle recruiting, or 360 recruiting. No matter what it's called, this multi-step holistic process includes planning, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, onboarding, and retention. 

Unlike traditional hiring practices, full service recruitment ensures employees are attended to even after being hired and onboarded. This end-to-end talent acquisition process is managed by a full cycle recruiter, department, or agency.

Benefits of full cycle recruiting

The full cycle talent acquisition and retention process is crucial for finding the perfect people to fill job openings. It also offers many other advantages for business owners. These benefits depend on different factors, but they carry over to you as an employer and to your candidates.

Full cycle recruitment benefits for employers include:

  • More streamlined hiring process

  • Reduced recruitment costs

  • Decreased time to hire

  • Increased employee retention rates

Full cycle recruitment benefits for candidates include:

  • More personalized interactions

  • Increased sense of community

  • Greater connectedness with a single recruiter

  • Enhanced candidate experience overall

What are the challenges of full cycle recruiting?

Despite the benefits of full cycle recruiting, recruiters often face different challenges compared to traditional hiring practices. That's because the full service recruitment process is more complex and longer lasting. 

While the obstacles you might experience will vary, here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Limited pool of candidates: Full cycle recruitment often limits the sources of candidates.

  • Time-consuming: The entire process, from planning and sourcing candidates to hiring and retaining employees, takes a lot of time.

  • Potentially biased: When the responsibility falls on a single full cycle recruiter, making effective and unbiased decisions can be difficult. 

  • Costly: Multiple human resources and candidate sources can be expensive. 

  • Employee retention: One of the top challenges faced by full cycle recruiters includes retaining employees. [1]

What are the steps in the full cycle recruiting process?

The full cycle recruiting process may look different from company to company. 

Generally, a full cycle recruiter will go through the following steps:

Step 1: Planning - The first step involves pre-recruitment planning and preparation. It acts as a road map for navigating throughout the recruitment process. More importantly, it considers the organization's talent needs now and in the future. As the saying goes, If you don't know where you're going (i.e., what recruitment gaps to fill and how to fill them), you'll probably end up someplace else (i.e., hiring poor employees or letting good ones leave). 

Step 2: Sourcing - This step involves scoping out the right talent pool of potential employees. This can be done through your company website, social media like LinkedIn, online job boards, and employee referrals. Nowadays, you can efficiently recruit on a more expansive and global scale, so decide whether to look far and wide or narrow the focus. Be sure to consider both candidates who are actively job searching and those who may be passively open to new opportunities.

Step 3: Screening - Screening requires you to sift through resumes and cover letters, which can be mind boggling and time-consuming when faced with a large number of applicants. Don't let a large talent pool scare you. Using the right tools, such as those driven by artificial intelligence (AI), can help you quickly whittle down the masses into the best candidates.

Step 4: Selection - Once you've gathered a short list of potential employees, it's time to evaluate each one carefully. This may include conducting background checks and contacting references. Take into consideration more than just skills and experience. Ideally, you want to hire the one most closely fits your organization's culture, values, and vision.

Step 5: Hiring - At this step, you've chosen the best-suited candidate and are ready to make them an offer. Make sure to research the job market and be prepared to negotiate. Follow up with all unselected candidates while considering how some may be a match for future roles. 

Step 6: Onboarding - The onboarding step is typically reserved for the new employee orientation, which might include human resources paperwork, coworker introductions, an overview of their roles and responsibilities, and training. It's also a great way to make them feel welcome. 

Step 7: Retention - In addition to full cycle talent acquisition, it's just as essential to focus on retaining employees. In fact, it can be more costly to replace talent. Unfortunately, this step is often overlooked or given less importance, which can lead to employees going elsewhere where they feel empowered and valued.

After the final step, the process starts all over again. It's a cyclical 360-degree approach that never ends.

What are the key skills and qualities of a successful full cycle recruiter?

As we uncover what is full cycle recruiting, it becomes all the more apparent that full cycle recruiters have a huge job on their hands. Effective recruitment goes beyond merely posting job openings, conducting interviews, and hiring employees. You must be equipped to overcome the challenges of a more involved recruitment process.

Consider these key skills and qualities of a successful full cycle recruiter:

  • Adequate training to help minimize biases and ensure a diverse workforce

  • Ability to leverage various HR software and tools to reduce time, energy, and costs associated with recruiting

  • A deep understanding of the entire candidate's journey in order to know how to offer value

  • Detail-oriented to provide concise, optimized job descriptions, focusing on requirements needed

  • Advocate for the company brand by showcasing employee benefits, company culture, and community involvement

  • Adaptability to ride the tide of change in the job market, industries, economy, etc.

  • Keep abreast of industry trends and adopt best practices for employee recruiting and retention

How to implement full cycle recruiting in your organization?

Now that you know the answer to 'what is full cycle recruiting?', you can take the next step to implement it into your organization. Many tools and technology are designed to assist human resources managers throughout the recruitment life cycle. Consider your options to streamline the full cycle recruitment process among recruitment software and HR mobile apps.

Want more info on full cycle recruiting? Read The 6 Stages of the Talent Management Lifecycle and HR's Role in Them.