Recruiting talented candidates can boost the productivity of a business and contribute to growth. Even with a vast pool of candidates, recruiting isn’t as easy as picking up a random candidate to fill an open position.
Many processes go into the recruiting system, and one misstep with a bad hire could cause a 36 percent drop in business productivity, not to mention lost time and effort.
A full-cycle recruitment process provides a holistic approach to vetting and hiring candidates from start to finish. This article discusses all you need to know about full-cycle recruiting and how to get started.
What is full-cycle recruiting?
Full cycle recruiting consolidates all the recruitment stages — preparing, sourcing, screening, selection, hiring, and onboarding — into one holistic cycle. The process starts with recognising the demand for new employees, constructing job descriptions, following up with qualified candidates, and ends with onboarding them.
In small- to medium-sized organisations, a full-cycle recruiter, often an HR generalist, oversees the end-to-end recruitment process, typically involving themselves in every stage. By contrast, large organisations might have different recruitment team members handling specific procedures as part of their business systemization strategy.
Having an HR specialist handle the most technical recruiting aspects has its benefits, but a full-cycle recruiter can also do great good. Full-cycle recruitment drives efficiency by aligning the entire recruitment process. It also creates a consistent candidate experience, reducing churn.
For this reason, even large organisations with separate departments usually have an HR head overseeing each cycle’s recruitment process.
Now, let’s dig into getting started with full-cycle recruiting a bit more.
6 steps to full-cycle recruiting
Each full cycle recruiting process consists of six main steps. However, depending on the organisation and the position involved, each step might have several sub-stages that reflect a company’s hiring culture.
Of course, companies can decide to compress or skip some methods involved to have a leaner recruitment cycle.
But still, consider the following steps to start your full-cycle recruiting journey.
Preparing for the job vacancy
This stage involves identifying a hiring need, defining the qualities that make a great candidate, and posting inclusive job descriptions on social media and job boards.
To prepare, consult stakeholders to ensure you gather the right information for a job vacancy. You’ll need to understand their expectations; candidate personality traits, desired skills, demographics, qualifications, and work experiences they seek in an ideal candidate.
This will help you create the ideal candidate persona.
You should also glean more insights about the job responsibilities, benefits, perks, and company culture to enable you to craft job descriptions that appeal to the right candidates.
Moreover, interviewing existing employees will give you a unique insight into the kind of employees the organisation prefers. These existing employees’ qualities are often good key points to include in the candidate persona.
Sourcing the talent
Now you know what you want, you have to source suitable active and passive candidates for the role.
Professional full-cycle recruiters can source top talents using different methods. But since nearly four out of ten candidates are passive, you’ll have to do more than post open positions on career websites and job boards. Proactively go where qualified candidates hang out — conferences, industry forums, social media, etc.
Many active and passive job seekers hang out on LinkedIn, so it’s possible to find your next best hire there. Using LinkedIn’s recruiter tool, you can filter suitable candidates by their current job title, company, qualifications, or location, and send them a well-crafted cold email.
When recruiting on social media platforms, use social media ads to streamline your search for qualified candidates and reach a wider audience. For instance, you may try running LinkedIn ads to cast a wider net.
Better still, use applicant tracking software (ATS) and recruitment CRM to filter qualified candidates from previously created talent pools to streamline your efforts.
Although recruiting candidates externally gives you a bigger playground, in-house recruiting might improve your time to hire and save you resources. So, if you have an urgent opening with a steep learning curve, consider recruiting existing qualified employees to fill that role.
Alternatively, leverage employees’ existing networks through structured employee programs to source qualified candidates for open positions.
After the sourcing phase, screen the applications — resumes or CVs, cover letters, and/or portfolios — you’ve received to exempt unqualified candidates. The goal is to whittle down applications to get the best few with matching qualifications, skills, and experience for the job description.
Afterward, have a phone screen interview with those that meet the requirements. At this point, the purpose isn’t for you to determine whom to hire. The purpose is for you to identify which candidates won’t actually make the final cut. The interview will allow you to test their soft skills and determine if they’ll be a great fit for the team. You may ask some standard interview questions for a fair evaluation, but look out for these traits:
The candidate’s personality and interests
Are they professional? Polite? Confident or use humour when appropriate? You should check whether a candidate’s personality suits a position. For example, if you’re looking for sales associates, you’ll want someone who is outgoing.
And if their interests and plans don’t align with what’s necessary for the role, they might not be a great fit. For instance, let’s say they tell you they have plans to migrate to Canada in two years. They might not be the best person to move forward in the hiring process if you’re looking for a manager who needs to physically report to the office in Atlanta.
The candidate’s thought process and communication style
A person’s thought process often reveals itself when answering questions. They should be able to say what motivates them; is it philosophical or perhaps more business-driven? Also, how a person communicates on the phone might give you an insight into how they’ll handle communication in other areas, depending on the role.
If they consistently fly off on a tangent during a conversation, they may struggle with focus.
For example, if you’re looking to hire a project manager, you’ll need an organised, outspoken, and confident person. They might not be a great fit if they struggle to share their story during a 10-15 minute conversation.
Or, if you’re looking for a sales associate, you need someone who can speak confidently. At the same time, though, you want them to have the ability to put people at ease.
Nonetheless, ensure you’re not overbearing in your interview. Give candidates time to speak and be themselves while you listen attentively.
Phone screen interviews are convenient but can become overwhelming if an imposter shows up.
So you can employ several other screening methods using pre-selection tools like Interview Mocha or Talent Sorter. These tools help sort through a high volume of applicants using assessments like personality or cognitive ability testing to assess the quality of a new hire.
As a full-cycle recruiter, you can also include a realistic job preview to manage the candidate’s expectations. Think of it like an accurate “day in the life of” video where you showcase the positive but not-so-pretty sides of the job and organisation.
When done effectively, realistic job previews help with self-selection, leaving behind high-quality candidates who’ll likely perform better with less attrition.
Once you’ve chosen the candidates you’ll take to the next stage of the hiring process, send them an email informing them of the decision. Make sure you verify their email addresses first to ensure your emails reach the intended people. You can use tools for this. There are email finder tools that don’t just help you look for email addresses. They come with verification features, too.
But don’t just email the candidates who made it to the next stage. Email the ones who didn’t make it, too.
Thank them for taking the time to apply but that you regret to inform them that they didn’t make the cut. Make sure you don’t close all lines of communication, though. Include an electronic business card in your email signature that contains all your contact details. Take the opportunity to promote your brand, too. Include links to the company website they can easily access when they scan the QR code.
Selecting the right candidate
The fourth step of the full-cycle recruiting process involves interviewing top applicants and giving them feedback. Here, the full-cycle recruiter aligns actively with the hiring manager, keeping them in the loop as they conduct back-to-back interviews.
Because things move pretty quickly in this stage, you’ll need to schedule several activities, such as assignment review, interview, and feedback. This is so you don’t get overwhelmed or skip critical steps in the pipeline.
An interview guide is beneficial to streamline the interviewing process and give each candidate a fair chance and the same great experience.
Negotiating the offer
Recruiting is a two-way street. You want something the best talents have, and they need the best you can offer. But before you make an offer, consider their work experiences, qualifications, expectations, and company budget for that position.
Bottom line? A negotiation.
Ideally, you’ll want to meet the best candidate midway through a compromise. While you’re at it, use these best practices to negotiate the best offer.
Don’t ask for salary history
Asking top candidates about their salary history in the recruiting process might put them off. You’ll risk losing quality candidates who might be too scared to reveal it for fear of being priced out of the role. Instead, you want to focus on the candidate’s expectations and the company’s offerings to reach a fast compromise.
Determine where you rank with counter offers
You’re trying to hire the best talents in the market. Top talents don’t stay too long in the market. This means some other company might be offering a better offer. If you want to remain top of mind, determine where you are on the ‘leaderboard.’ If you’re not first, re-negotiate your offer.
Use compensation as a negotiation tool
Different roles have different salary expectations. But you shouldn’t go below the minimum wage in the country you’re hiring, whether it’s an on-site, hybrid, or remote role.
Thus, if you’re hiring someone from the US, ask yourself, what is the minimum wage in the US?
Other than that, check with the hiring manager beforehand about the entire compensation package for that role to enable you to negotiate effectively.
If the candidate rejects your offer; find out why. If it’s because of compensation, offer more. And if you can’t, emphasize other benefits like career growth, insurance, and paid leave. Show that your job can provide a better career trajectory than counter offers.
When they agree to job terms, send an offer letter and prepare for onboarding.
Starting a new job can cause anxiety for new employees. But a good onboarding process will make them feel comfortable in their new work environment. It shouldn’t be all about paperwork.
Onboarding involves the introduction, orientation, and training. Have a co-worker assigned to answer the new hire’s questions and show them how things work. Introduce them to other employees and show them around the workplace.
An excellent onboarding experience gives new employees the conviction that they made the right choice and sets the tone for the working relationship with employers. Give them an orientation on company guidelines, culture, and values. A training schedule will also help them settle in nicely.
The full cycle recruiting process can improve relationships between the recruiters and candidates, creating a positive experience for everyone involved.
As this model follows one clear strategy from beginning to end, it is more efficient and streamlined. It enables smoother negotiations and faster time to hire. Nonetheless, you should consider the company’s needs before implementing full-cycle recruitment.
That said, when you’re ready to begin your full-cycle recruiting journey, optimise your processes with relevant tools. Follow the best practices discussed in this article for a seamless process.
Claron is a brand nut. He has an unceasing curiosity about what brands do to break through the clutter to stay relevant to their audience. He also loves to explore how simple tech (QR Codes lately) can be used to improve customer experiences and consequently, scale up brands.