What is full life cycle recruiting?

The 6 steps in full life cycle recruitment and what you need to know about each step to succeed with recuitment.

Table of contents.

The term full life cycle recruiting refers to the entire process of finding new employees. The process consists of 6 steps: (1) Preparing (2) Sourcing (3) Screening (4) Selecting (5) Hiring (6) Onboarding. In many organizations, these steps are split up among various persons, and in other organizations, you will find that one person handles all 6 steps in the life cycle of recruitment. 

When one person is in charge of all the steps, it's the practice of full life cycle recruiting - sometimes also called end-to-end recruiting or hiring cycle. This person is often referred to as a full life cycle recruiter and is responsible for the full life cycle recruiting process.

The 6 full life cycle recruiting stages.

In traditional recruiting, each step is handled by a different person. For example, the manager might write the job post, the HR department will do the screening, and the recruiter might help with the job interviews. While this has tremendous advantages, there are also disadvantages. 

Likewise, having one person in charge of the whole process has pros and cons too. The following section dives into these pros and cons and which companies most often use the full life cycle recruitment process.

Who uses full life cycle recruitment.

There can be several reasons for using full life cycle recruiting, and there is no correct answer to whether the standard hiring process or the full life cycle recruiting is better. It all depends on the circumstances and the specific need of the company. With that said, you will often find smaller companies using the full life cycle recruiting because they might not have an extensive HR department. Still, larger companies with a big HR department sometimes use full life cycle recruiting. It's often applied when a company is looking for an employee who will be a pillar for the business's success; hence, it enables the recruiter to consider every little detail and see the bigger picture.

Pros of using full life cycle recruiting.

Working with full life cycle recruiting comes with a couple of benefits. Let's take a look at some of them.

Clear responsibility.

A full life cycle recruiter is responsible for all 6 steps in the recruitment life cycle process. This means there can be no doubt about who does what in the process. This makes it easy for the recruiter to have a complete overview of the process and manage each step according to their preferences. As you can imagine, this can also be a con, but more on that in the cons section.

Pros of full life cycle recruiting.
This is the 3 main pros of full life cycle recruiting.

Ensures a smooth experience for the employee.

The employee experience starts already in the recruitment process. Therefore, giving a potential candidate a pleasant experience from the first point of contact is crucial. This experience will often be more smooth and more coherent when one person is responsible for all contact points. For example, it can be pretty stressful for a candidate to be in touch with many different people. Having only one point of contact makes establishing a meaningful relationship with the candidate easier.

Creates a quick and more efficient process.

The chance of delays is minimized when a full life cycle recruiter is in charge of the full process. The recruiter does not have to wait on necessary deliveries from third parts which can significantly increase the time to hire. A quicker hiring process is a great benefit and will ensure a better experience for the candidate. Of course, this demands a great skill set from the recruiter, who has to be able to master all of the steps in the recruitment process.

Cons of using full life cycle recruiting.

Nothing in this world comes without disadvantages, and even though the benefits of full life cycle recruiting are many, it certainly has some downsides. Below I present the most significant downside, so you can consider what makes sense for your organization.

Managing all stages of recruitment can be challenging.

Taking advantage of the full life recruiting demands key knowledge in all the 6 stages. This skill set can be hard to master for one single person and may take several years to obtain. For example, the full life cycle recruiter must handle both screening and salary negation, which are very different disciplines.

The skill set of a full life cycle recruiter

Furthermore, it's complex and more time demanding to manage a large number of candidates simultaneously. This means the recruiter is limited to considering fewer candidates than in the traditional hiring method, where several people are involved in the process.

The six stages of the full life cycle recruitment process.

Full life cycle recruitment requires vital insight into each of the recruiting stages. Below I have listed each stage with a brief introduction to what each stage contains and what you should be aware of.

1. Preparing.

This is where you start by asking your why. Why do we need a new employee, and who do we need? If you're hiring for a manager, make sure to interview the manager and align expectations for the process.

The most important part of preparing is to understand in depth which candidate you are looking for. Which skillset does the ideal candidate need? Which personality type would you prefer in this role? What interest should the candidate pose? You can try to work with creating a profile or persona for the candidate. Also, consider what type of education and experience you prefer the candidate to have.

2. Sourcing.

The sourcing stage starts when you have a clear overview of the candidate profile you are searching for. You can search for candidates through job posts or look for candidates in-house. Also, ask your employees if they know someone they think would be an excellent fit for the company. This is a great way of taking advantage of your internal network in the organization. It's worth considering if you should offer the existing employees a monetary reward if they help you find the right candidate. If you use this method, pay extra attention to the quality of the referred candidates, your might risk some employees will refer a candidate because of the reward and not because they think it's a great fit for the company.

Knowing how many candidates you need to source can be challenging, so it highly depends on how well you feel about the candidates you have sourced and how many resources you have available. Remember, it's highly time-consuming sourcing and screening candidates.

Take advantage of your employer brand.

If you have a well-established employer brand, it will make the source stage easier. Simply because attracting the right talent is more manageable when people know and understand your values. If candidates have followed your company on social media for a while or have seen you portrayed in the media, they will be more likely to apply for the job; hence they might feel a fit with your company culture and values.

Employer branding

3. Screening.

The screening stages start as soon as you feel you have the correct number of potential candidates. The more candidates you have, the more time-consuming this process will be. Therefore, remember to have peace of mind end recognize that this will take quite a while.

Start by reviewing the resumes while keeping in mind the candidate profile you created in the first step. Consider both the role and company fit. Try to compare the candidate's skill sets up against each other. When you have decided on the most promising candidates, you should call them to conduct a short phone interview.

It can also be a good idea to pre-test candidates. You can, for example, send them a case that resembles a typical work task. That way, you can see how they handle the task, and the candidate can also get a sense of whether they would find this kind of task exciting or not. This way, you will hopefully avoid inviting the wrong candidates to a full interview.

After this, you should end up with around 3-7 candidates, and it’s time to invite them to a full interview. I cover this in the next step, called selection.

4. Selecting. 

Before starting the interview process, you should ensure that you have thought out the right interview questions. Tailor your questions to the specific job requirements and the personality type you are searching for. Think about which questions will give you a clear understanding of the exact role fit. Making this kind of interview guide will help you structure the interviews the same way, making it easier for you to compare each candidate. It can be necessary to conduct 2-3 interviews according to the job's complexity and the candidates' qualifications.

Use personality and talent tests.

The use of personality tests is getting more common in the recruiting process and can also be very beneficial in full life cycle recruitment. There are numerous tests on the market. Two of the most well-known tests are Predictive Index or Gallup's "strength finder". Use these tests to understand how the candidate will fit with the rest of the team, and how they will get along with the complexity and the pace of the tasks. If you're looking for a candidate who will be working a lot on their own, you will certainly not want to hire a very outgoing person. This is not a great fit.

Talent profiles
This is an example of what a talent test looks like.

5. Hiring.

At this stage, it's time to take the final decision. Make sure to check in with relevant managers and trusted employees. You should also do a last background check on the candidates and collect references from former job positions. The more perspectives you can get on the candidates' skills, the greater the chance for successful hiring and, thereby a successful full life cycle recruitment process.

When making the decision, it can be great to take a data-driven approach. Consider each candidate against each. Which candidates check the most of the requirements you set in the first stage? Which candidate seems to have the best fit according to the personality test? Using a structured process will help you act more unbiasedly in the selection.

In this stage, it's crucial to be clear in your communication. What is the salary, benefits, etc. In the salary negotiation, you should consider how the candidate feels in that situation and what you can do to ensure a good experience for your new employee from the start. Keywords in this process are patience and listening skills.

As soon as you come to an agreement with the candidate and they have signed the contract, the preboarding phase begins. Many organizations tend to take a bit lightly on this phase. Still, preboarding is great for establishing trust and engagement even before new employee has their first day at their job.

6. Onboarding.

When the primary hiring process and the preboarding are completed, it's time to start the onboarding process. The recruitment life cycle stops here, and the employee enters into the employee life cycle model, where the company's onboarding process takes over.

This phase is crucial in retaining your new employee and ensuring their career in the organization. So make sure to give your new employees a great onboarding experience. You don't want them to leave too quickly and see your hard recruiting work go to waste.

Onboarding process
Example of how an onboarding analysis can look if you collect answers about your employees onboarding experience.

Don't be afraid to ask for feedback on the onboarding process; this will help you improve and show the employees that you care. You collect feedback from interviews or anonymous surveys. Collecting anonymous feedback can often be great, allowing employees to be completely honest.



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