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How Full-Cycle Recruiting Can Benefit Your Business

Full-cycle recruiting is an approach to talent acquisition that reimagines recruitment as a holistic process spanning from the initial job listing through to onboarding.  Also known as end-to-end recruiting or full-lifecycle recruiting, the full-cycle recruitment process is managed from beginning to end by the same individual or team.  Full-cycle recruiting is typically implemented by small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with relatively small and static hiring pools. 

It may be handled entirely in-house by an individual with the necessary skills and software, or the organization might choose to work with a full-cycle recruitment agency. 

It’s relatively rare for larger organizations to practice full-cycle recruitment on their own. Instead, they usually maintain a team of hiring specialists alongside a team whose role involves optimizing the full hiring process. The difference is that said full-cycle team rarely interacts with candidates, and instead generally works behind the scenes. 

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Full-Cycle Recruiting

Full-cycle recruiting can be incredibly beneficial, particularly to organizations without the necessary hiring flows to justify specialized teams.  However, as with any recruitment method, it’s not without its drawbacks. We’ll start with the advantages: 

  • Streamlined Recruitment. A full-cycle recruitment process typically reduces time-to-hire, not only filling available positions faster but also speeding up the onboarding process. At least in part, this is because there are no communication delays—everything is handled by the same person. 
  • Improved Accountability.  Most talent acquisition methods are multi-layered and complex, with multiple stakeholders at each step. This can make it difficult to determine who’s accountable when something goes wrong, to say nothing of how complicated it can make communication. Full-cycle recruitment eliminates this problem through consolidation. 
  • A Better Candidate Experience. For SMBs, full-cycle recruitment allows a more personalized, tailored hiring process. This means a better hiring experience, which—coupled with the recruiter’s own screening methods—also results in higher-quality candidates. 

Unfortunately, although beneficial in the right circumstances, full-cycle recruiting also suffers from some serious drawbacks: 

  • Limited Scalability.  The nature of full-cycle recruitment means it’s ill-suited for large organizations with massive hiring pools. When the list of viable candidates for a position exceeds the capacity of a single recruiter, a team-based approach is far superior. 
  • High Barrier to Entry. Full-cycle recruitment requires extensive training and a comprehensive skill set on the part of the recruiter.  It’s generally not something you can simply pick up and run with, as each step requires a different skill set. 
  • Recruitment Bias. Because a full-cycle recruitment program is typically managed by a single individual, any unaddressed biases possessed by that individual will be injected directly into the hiring process. You might well lose out on an ideal candidate simply because the recruiter personally disliked them. 


The Six Stages of the Recruitment Cycle

Whether your organization embraces full-cycle recruiting, specialized recruiting, or something else entirely, the recruitment process is generally accepted to consist of six steps. 


At this stage, the organization identifies a hiring need or vacancy. Stakeholders in the hiring process begin brainstorming, defining the specifics of the role and the characteristics of the ideal candidate. Once these details are hammered out, the organization writes up a job description and begins posting it to recruitment channels. 


Next, the organization begins putting together a list of prospective candidates. In addition to job listings, candidates might be sourced from an organization’s existing talent pool, through the use of a sourcing tool, at industry events, or via headhunting agencies. Recruiters might also choose to reach out to promising candidates they discover on their own through sites such as LinkedIn.


Once the organization is satisfied with its list of candidates, it begins its initial interview process. This may be done through a virtual meeting, a phone call, or even a chatbot. In some cases, the organization might host in-person interviews as well. 

The goal at this stage is to narrow down the list to the top applicants, at which point the next phase begins. 


Having identified the best candidates for the position, the organization schedules a series of structured interviews/assessments for each. The exact nature of these assessments tends to vary by business and industry. Some organizations might put top candidates through multiple evaluations before rendering a final hiring decision.  


Once all rounds of interviews have been completed, the organization chooses the candidate that has been identified as the de-facto best for the job. It informs the new hire of their success while thanking the others for their time.  The organization then tackles logistics such as salary negotiations and start date. 


Once the new hire is officially an employee, the organization then eases them into their new career, providing them with the necessary training and education. 

Full-Cycle Recruiting vs. Specialized Recruiting

Specialized recruiting is generally maintained to be the opposite of full-cycle recruiting. Instead of consolidating the entire hiring process into the hands of a single individual, specialized recruiting has a different individual or team managing each step. Bear in mind that specialized recruiting isn’t necessarily a siloed process—on the contrary, it requires a great deal of collaboration. 

Specialized recruiting allows organizations to cast a wider net with their talent acquisition efforts, simultaneously screening and assessing a far larger volume of candidates than would be possible with full-cycle recruiting.  And while there may be the occasional bottleneck due to inter-departmental communication, on the whole, the process is considerably more efficient. 

Should I Practice Full-Cycle Recruiting? 

You may have seen claims that every recruiter should practice full-cycle recruiting. That’s patently false—as with everything else, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to talent acquisition. Whether or not full-cycle recruiting is the right choice for your business largely depends on its hiring needs. 

If you’ve only a limited number of applicants or only engage with the hiring process infrequently,  then full-cycle recruitment is a good option for your organization. Otherwise, specialized recruiting is the better choice. 

Interested In Learning More About Recruiting? 

If you’d like to learn more about the many aspects of recruiting, visit the SocialTalent blog where we offer a wide variety of articles you can use to grow in your role. To take your skills to the next level, consider investing in our recruiter training, which will help you find, engage, and hire top talent.

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