If you were to ask someone how to go about hiring for a new role, they might suggest posting a job and conducting a few interviews to find your next employee. Sounds easy, right? As recruiters can tell you, there’s much more to it than that. Organizations invest a large amount of time and resources into their hiring process. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129 and the average time it takes to fill a position is 42 days. To make your recruiting strategy even more effective, it’s important to examine the process from beginning to end. 

Full cycle recruiting, also called 360 recruiting or full life cycle recruiting, refers to the entire process of recruitment, from identifying staffing needs to onboarding a new hire. A full cycle recruiter is an HR professional who performs all steps in the recruitment process. Full cycle recruiters are common in small- and medium-sized businesses that only need one employee managing their recruitment needs while larger organizations may have an entire team dedicated to full cycle recruiting. 

What are the steps in the full cycle recruiting process?

Let’s break down each phase with a few tips on how to make your recruitment process even better. While strategies and techniques may vary depending on your organization’s specific hiring needs, full cycle recruiting typically includes the following steps:

1. Determine staffing needs. The first step in the full life cycle recruiting process is to assess your needs. As leaders in the organization strategize and evaluate goals for the year, they will share anticipated staffing needs with HR. HR professionals work cross-functionally with departmental managers to identify what positions need to be filled and the skills and qualifications required for each role. A staffing plan is usually put together when annual budgets are set, but can be reassessed as needs arise or as critical positions open. Staffing plans also take into account macroeconomic trends in the industry, competitor activity that will affect labor supply, technological or regulatory changes and other disruptors that will help HR identify gaps and better predict future hiring needs.

2. Write the job requisition and description. When it’s time to hire, a job requisition will be filled out that outlines the ideal candidate’s characteristics and qualifications as well as justification for the new hire. Once approved by HR, the requisition is used to develop the job description. The job description should be compelling and concise. In addition to sharing the responsibilities, qualifications and skills required, highlight what makes your company a great place to work, such as culture, benefits and perks. Use targeted, straightforward job titles and avoid generic phrases, jargon and buzzwords. 

3. Promote the job posting to inbound candidates, or those actively seeking employment. Determine the channels that will best reach job seekers, such as posting on job sites, sharing across social media platforms and attending in-person or virtual hiring events. Tell your company’s story and share informative and valuable content across your chosen platforms to strengthen your employer brand and encourage candidates to apply. Make it easy for candidates to fill out your application by eliminating any unnecessary or time-consuming steps.

4. Source candidates through direct outreach and referrals. Sourcing focuses on outbound, or passive candidates, which are those who aren’t actively looking for employment. Recruiters tend to focus on inbound candidates first because it’s faster, less expensive and results in higher candidate response and acceptance rates. However, outbound sourcing can be a useful way to identify great candidates for hard-to-fill roles. A recruiter or dedicated sourcer will conduct extensive research to find candidates that are a good fit, then proactively reach out using a personalized approach.

5. Review resumes to find top candidates. While it can be time consuming, recruiters know what to look for when reviewing resumes to quickly identify great candidates, such as whether the applicant has the required skills and tailored their resume directly to the job posting. In addition to resume screening, employers can take advantage of candidate assessments that help talent demonstrate their capabilities, such as work samples, simulations and skill tests.

6. Conduct interviews. Once the applicant pool has been narrowed down, it’s time to conduct interviews. The number of interview rounds may vary depending on the organization and role. Interviews provide an opportunity to get to know the candidate and learn about their career goals. It also allows both the employer and job seeker to mutually determine if the role is a good fit. Interviewers should make a game plan in preparation for the interview. Take time to reread the job description, review the candidate’s resume and write down questions in advance to make the most of your conversation.

7. Extend a job offer. When a finalist is selected, a job offer is extended and negotiations begin. Misaligned salary expectations can potentially derail the negotiation process — set expectations and be transparent about salary and benefits by providing a pay range and high-level summary of benefits and perks early on in the process. It’s also important to contact candidates who weren’t selected. Respond quickly and provide constructive feedback when you can. Thoughtful outreach to rejected applicants can make a positive impact on your company’s reputation. 

8. Hire and onboard. This is the last step of the full life cycle recruiting process. Once a candidate has accepted the job offer, hiring and onboarding begins. Onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into the organization and familiarizing them with your company. Schedule formal orientation sessions, provide online learning tools and create opportunities for new employees to get to know their team members. Onboarding is a critical step for new hires to feel confident in their role, increasing their likelihood of success. Strong performance and integration with the team early on also increases the odds that new employees will stay with your company long-term.

Now that you’re familiar with full cycle recruiting, you can start to put systems in place to create a smooth recruitment process that reduces time- and cost-per-hire, creates a positive candidate experience and ultimately helps you hire great talent. 

This is part of a series covering fundamental topics in HR and recruiting. Want more? Learn more about what is recruitment, what is a job requisition, what is talent management or the pros and cons of a temp agency