6 tips to master full cycle recruiting

Last updated:
February 26, 2021
December 21, 2021
min read
Bev Campling
Table of contents

Traditionally full cycle recruiting has been the domain of recruiters in small to medium-sized businesses, and to an extent it still is. HR technology has, however, opened the way for full cycle recruiters in big companies as well.

So what is full cycle recruiting?

It is when the entire recruitment cycle for a specific position is handled by a single recruiter, from initiation of the process through to job offer and onboarding.

Benefits of full cycle recruiting

In smaller sized companies, in-house recruiters often have no choice, but bigger companies can benefit from this option as well. Yes, there are a lot of steps involved in the HR recruitment process, and it’s a lot of responsibility for one person. But the value is that the recruiter is totally committed, so nothing gets overlooked. When there are several people in the sourcing chain, such as researchers and administrators, important details can fall through the cracks.

A full cycle recruiter has to be experienced and know what they’re doing, but that means that they can work as a specialist, focusing all their attention on finding the right candidate. In organizations that have recruitment teams, opting for full cycle recruiting for in-demand skills can make hiring more successful.

What makes an excellent full cycle recruiter?

Experience! Anyone who takes on the task has to know what they’re doing, so this is definitely not a task for an entry-level recruiter who’s still on a learning curve. Not every experienced recruiter can do full cycle successfully either. You need someone who’s up for the challenge because they’re confident that they have the right skills, which include:

  • Ability to understand job requirements beyond just skills and experience.
  • Ability to understand people so that they can identify the best candidates.
  • Ability to both multi-task, and work in an organized manner simultaneously.
  • Ability to network and communicate effectively with hiring managers and candidates.
  • Being tech-savvy and able to take advantage of the best tech options available.
  • Self-assured enough to make suggestions to management to get optimum results.

Let’s break that down further

Each step in the recruiting cycle has to be meticulously planned upfront to avoid delays and improve time to hire. An experienced recruiter will make use of data to track progress and ensure that decisions made throughout the hiring process are data-driven and free of bias.

That can only be achieved if you’re using all features of an applicant tracking system (ATS) for support and automation as well as to generate metrics and analytics.

There are predefined stages of finding and hiring the best candidate. Depending on the position and your industry, you might need to add more, but full cycle recruiting can only succeed with the following steps.

6 steps to success and how HR tech makes it easier

1. Defining the vacancy

The full cycle recruiting process starts with identifying a job and what the requirements are. The recruiter needs to sit down with the hiring manager and define the position in detail. You can’t rely on a few lines in an email, or “find me someone like Jack”. Hiring and line managers are focused on their core responsibilities which generally don’t include either recruitment or HR.

If you are the full cycle recruiter, you have to take the lead. Sit down with the department managers and break the requirement and responsibilities down. You have to be assertive enough to press for details because there will likely be an attempt to rush it along. You also often only have one chance for a meeting, so use the time well.

Knowing precisely what the requirements are is the only way you’ll find the right candidate. Excellent communication is vital to cooperation, so politely respond with “well Jack started here five years ago; what’s changed since then?”

Also, discuss skills levels and soft skills so that you can identify applicants to shortlist without wasting time. At this point, you can decide if skills, personality or psychometric testing will form part of the interview process.

Tech options to get the info you need:

2. Sourcing candidates

Finding suitable candidates requires planning and can be very time-consuming. It’s crucial that the job advert is well written and constructed to attract the type of people you want. Where the ads are placed in just as important. People frequent job boards and social media that draws jobs and discusses their skills and career aspirations. The same social rule applies to levels of seniority. Make sure you understand where the type of candidates you want are hanging out.

How a job post is written also influences whether people will respond. Too detailed and serious and people will lose interest and move on. Too flippant with little info and no one will take it seriously. You can also include some screening questions or basic skills assessments with the post. Just make sure that they don’t hamper the application process in any way and dent the applicant experience. People will be put off by a tedious process and they’ll move on.

Once you’ve posted your job, immediately turn to your talent pool for sourcing candidates. You can easily find someone who wasn’t suitable for a previous position fits this one perfectly. Also, don’t forget social recruiting.

Tech options that can attract the applicants you want:

  • Investing in an augmented writing platform like Textio will help you write impressive job adverts that are also free of unintentional bias.
  • Programmatic advertising tools automatically sources where best to place your job posts, and also at what time to ensure that your ad gets seen by the right people when they’re likely to be online.
  • Many job boards like Indeed, include screening questions and basic skills assessments.

3. Shortlisting Candidates

With full cycle recruiting, this is the most time consuming and labor-intensive stage. Depending on the position, you could be inundated with applications, most of which are unsuitable. An experienced recruiter will use pre-employment selection tools like screening questions and skills assessments to weed out applicants who don’t qualify. There are many other pre-employment assessment tools that you can select from depending on your industry and needs, and most integrate with your existing HR system.

Screening shortlisted applicants to see if they can be converted into candidates takes time, but chatbots can help you out. If used correctly, chatbots can take care of primary screening.

Tech options that will make shortlisting quicker:

  • Pre-employment selection and assessment tools.
  • Chatbots.

4. Interviewing candidates

Chatbots come to the rescue once again to help set up interviews with shortlisted candidates. Organizing times and dates with multiple people can become very tricky and roping in a chatbot together with an ATS interview scheduler quickly brings order to what could be chaos for a solo recruiter.

Automated candidate communication, as well as real-time collaboration with the hiring team takes care of repetitive manual tasks. Video interviewing saves time and is just as effective as face to face interviews, and it actually improves the candidate experience.

Tech options that help streamline the interview process:

  • Chatbots (again).
  • Automated candidate interviewing features on your ATS.
  • Video interviewing platforms like HireVue.
  • Automated candidate communication tools.

5. Negotiation and offer

Full cycle recruiting still has a hiring team on board which could be the recruiter and hiring manager only or several other invested employees. The full cycle recruiter must work very closely with the team and also keep candidates updated. If a shortlisted candidate falls out of the interview process, let them know right away. Always provide honest feedback, but keep it positive, or at the very least constructive. Never insult or humiliate a candidate, no matter what went down in the interview. Giving valuable and potentially helpful feedback boosts your employer brand and can assist candidates with improving their approach in other interviews.

Once the best candidate has been identified, it’s time for negotiation. The whole hiring team must concur on what the offer should be. It’s also essential to make sure that your offer is in line with the candidate’s expectations. Ideally, you want to offer them more than what they’re currently earning and improve on benefits, but budgets don’t always make that possible. Many candidates look at more than salary, so be creative with benefits like additional annual leave, extended parental leave or performance-based incentives.

Depending on the position, it might be better to have the line manager enter into negotiations with the candidate and also make the job offer.

Tech options to use in the negotiation and offer stage:

Apart from salary and benefits structuring software that offers different options to the candidate, this stage must be kept personalized and free of automation.

6. Onboarding

Even if the hiring manager signs and seals the job offer, a full cycle recruiter’s job isn’t done yet. See it from the new hire’s point of view. You’ve been working with them as a candidate from the start of the hiring process, and then you just disappear? That doesn’t make a great impression. As with all hiring, full cycle recruiting must place just as much emphasis on employee onboarding as it does on finding the right candidate.

All new hires feel both excited and slightly intimidated once they’ve accepted a job offer, no matter at what level they are. There must be a process in place that keeps in touch with them from the time they accept up to the day they start. And when they arrive on their first day there must be someone especially waiting to welcome them.

If there’s no communication between the acceptance and start date, the new hire could change their mind and not turn up. Without keeping in touch you’d be none the wiser until they don’t arrive. You’d have to start the recruitment cycle all over again; just think of all the time wasted! If there’s no one to meet the new hire and make their first day memorable, their first impressions could be negative, and first impressions really do count.

Tech options to streamline onboarding:

There are plenty of options when it comes to onboarding software. Most integrate with your existing HR system to ensure that no new hire ever feels left out or forgotten.

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