Ultimate Guide: Full Recruitment Life Cycle

Recruitment life cycle, or popularly known as full-cycle recruiting, is a complete process right from initiating a need of talent to getting the desired talent onboard. The entire process goes through multiple logical steps, and each step delivers something to the next step to act on and pass it on the next step until the outcome is achieved, which is onboarding desired talent.

These steps could either be managed and acted upon by the organization who is in need of the talent or by its partners as a recruitment specialist or a recruitment agency who help with the entire process.

Before we get into the recruitment life cycle, let’s understand why to recruit.

Why do we recruit?

The main reason for businesses to recruit talent is to earn profit by serving their customers either through a product or a service. Logically, businesses can earn profit only when they deliver the promise made to their customers using various resources including human resources at a cost lower than what they earn as revenue. In business term, this is the Return On Investment (ROI).

If we think further, if a company cannot fill in a position for some time, it’s actually an opportunity cost for the company. That is why recruitment is considered as a vital part of the business process. The knowledge industry, in fact, considers its talent as assets. So in other words recruiting is also acquiring assets.

In short, recruit to run the business, deliver the promise and earn profit by doing so. It’s quite important, isn’t it?

Steps in Recruitment Life Cycle

There are standard steps involved in the recruitment process, those have evolved as the recruitment industry matured.

1) Defining the requirement

The first phase of the life cycle is determining the need to recruit. Typically business identifies the need to recruit, and the reason to recruit could be one of these – 

    1. Refilling a vacant position – where a person has left the company and the position needs to be filled in to help deliver the business goals and objectives
    2. Supporting increased resource needs – where the current business is growing and demands additional resources to meet the growing business needs,
    3. Getting into a new business – where the company is looking to expand its current business or entering into a new venture, which needs a human resource to help run the new business.

Here comes the first step in the recruitment process which is analyzing the business requirement for a new hire. This is termed as ‘Job Analysis’. This is quite a crucial stage because this is the foundation. If the hiring requirement is not analyzed properly, the business outcome expected through the hiring activity will not be achieved to its desired level. Writing a “Candidate Persona” which is putting all details about an ideal candidate to recruit is a great outcome of the job analysis.

The job analysis seeks to create a complete picture of the new hire with all details including company values, objectives, long term goals as well as the culture within the business and teams. In addition, the analysis covers the details such as skills, qualifications, and experience required.

2) Sourcing potential candidate profiles

Once the job analysis is done, the next step is to write a detailed job description. The job description helps sourcing channels to find out appropriate candidates. The sources channels could be internal job listings within the company, job portals, social media channels, and recruitment partners.

3) Screening potential candidates

Screening is filtering out a bunch of potential candidate profiles that generally match with the job description. The screening was once considered to be the most time-consuming task in the process. But with the latest recruitment software, it has become a much easy and hassle-free task.

The software can compare hundreds of sourced profiles with the job description in minutes. Some software gives you a matching score for each of the profiles and ranks these profiles with the highest matching score. This makes recruiters job easy to remove the noise.

The next step the recruiter takes is to speak with the filtered list of candidates to verify if they are interested in the open position and they generally suit the requirement by asking a few questions through a phone call.

4) Interviewing candidates

Completing the screening process, the recruiter gets a short and sweet list of candidates that she would like to take to the next stage which is face to face interviews. The interview process helps the recruiter to assess the candidate at a much detailed level. Generally, an interview panel is involved to carry out this assessment through a set of questions.

The interviewing process also gives a chance to potential candidates to know more about the position by asking questions to the panel. The process also aims at assessing mutual benefits to both the employer and the employee if the candidate was recruited.

5) Making a job offer

Now that the final choice is made through the interviewing process, it is time to make a formal offer of employment to the chosen candidate. Many times before placing a job offer, the recruiter and the candidate get into a discussion to negotiate what best each can get out of this offer. The discussion could cover more than –

    • Salary,
    • Designation,
    • Employment policies including working hours paid and unpaid leaves,
    • Any other benefits such as health insurance, travel opportunities, etc.
    • Relocation assistance if applicable.

Needless to say, this discussion takes place before agreeing and signing the job offer and the contract for their acceptance.

6) On-boarding and training

The last phase is onboarding and training the new employee. The recruitment life cycle carries on until the new hire is officially on-boarded and is ready to undergo required training to deliver duties at her best.

Additionally, onboarding includes –

    • Welcome and introduction,
    • Orientation towards the culture, policies, workplace, health and safety procedures,
    • training if identified as a business requirement etc.


The recruitment life cycle is a set of process which is well aligned with the business and its human resource needs. Each company has its own set of standards and procedures for recruitment. However, they follow a logical path right from identifying the need to recruit to onboarding the talent.

The steps covered above are very broad and generally include lots of small activities and involvement from multiple stakeholders. Recruitment software can help automate many of the processes that need lesser human intervention such as screening. These software also help streamline the process and achieve higher efficiencies with better quality recruitment.

As a recruiter, it’s quite satisfying to be part of the recruitment life cycle because it ultimately serves the community!

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