Full cycle recruiting, sometimes called end-to-end recruiting, is generally best for small or mid-size companies since they may not have the same volume of hiring as enterprise organizations, which usually require specialized HR roles for sourcing, screening, onboarding and more. 

Full Cycle Recruiting in 6 Steps

  1. Preparation
  2. Sourcing
  3. Recruiter Screen
  4. Hiring Team Assessment
  5. Offer
  6. Onboarding


What Is the Full Cycle Recruiting Process?


In this stage, a recruiter meets with the hiring manager to gain an understanding of the required skills, background and other relevant information for a job opening. This is important in optimizing sourcing efforts, as well as in creating an accurate job description. Unless an interview process already exists, the recruiter and hiring manager may use this time to create an interview process for the role. They may also discuss any potential internal candidates during this stage. 



Sourcing begins the recruiting process and can be classified as either passive or active. Generally, recruiters will make use of both ways of sourcing.

  • Passive sourcing is when a recruiter sources by posting open positions on the company’s careers page and various job sites in order to collect applicants. 
  • Active sourcing is when a recruiter directly reaches out to prospective candidates who closely match job requirements for an open position. Recruiters do this outreach over various online networking platforms and social media, as well as during in-person events.


Recruiter Screen

Once a recruiter successfully sources a candidate, they’ll follow up to screen the candidate. This initial screening phase allows the recruiter to get a sense of the candidate’s background and skills to determine whether or not they should move forward in the process. This screen also allows the candidate to get more information about the role and the company, as well as ask questions that are important to their decision making.


Hiring Team Assessment

Candidates that pass their initial screenings will make their way to the hiring team interview phase where there’s a greater focus on assessing the candidate’s skills. Depending on the role’s required skills, these assessments may vary and can include coding assessments, writing challenges, Q&A sessions and more.

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Candidates who are identified to be the best fit for the role based on the hiring team’s needs are extended an offer. In this stage of the process, the recruiter’s goal is to close the candidate and get them to join the team. Recruiters will usually go over the total compensation for the role, including salary, performance bonus, benefits, perks and additional forms of compensation such as stock options.



Once the candidate accepts the offer, a full cycle recruiter’s responsibility is to ensure their new hire successfully transitions to their new company. A recruiter’s onboarding responsibilities may include sending first day information and scheduling a welcome call between the new hire and their manager. A full cycle recruiter also works closely with IT to ensure that new hires receive their work equipment and appropriate software access based on their role. In some cases, a recruiter may also lead an onboarding session to welcome new employees and provide them more information about the company.

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Full Cycle Recruiting Benefits

Benefits for Companies

For small or mid-size companies who may have fewer job openings for which they’re recruiting, full cycle recruiting can lead to better recruiting and hiring efficiency. Without the need to have specialized roles to source and onboard new talent, a company can lower overall hiring costs. This is especially beneficial for companies who may not have the budget to hire specialized roles in HR.


Benefits for Candidates

Full cycle recruiting makes it easier for candidates to know who their point of contact is during the recruiting and hiring process. Unlike larger companies with various specialists from recruiting to onboarding, if you operate under a full cycle recruiting process, candidates know exactly who they should reach out to if they have any questions.


Benefits for Recruiters

For recruiters, full cycle recruiting is a way to gain experience in onboarding new employees. The extended scope of responsibilities gives recruiters a better understanding of the employee experience during onboarding and helps recruiters further build relationships with new hires. Finally, with onboarding experience, a recruiter may be able to transition into an onboarding specialist role in the future.

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What Are the Challenges of Full Cycle Recruiting? 

Single Point of Failure

Having a single point of contact may also mean a single point of failure in the hiring process. If one person is responsible for everything from sourcing to onboarding, it’s possible there may be a concern for delays if nobody else has been trained to do those tasks. It’s highly recommended to have another person learn these responsibilities as a backup for full cycle recruiters, especially if there is only one in the company.


Limited Capacity

Recruiting is a challenging role on its own, especially within very competitive talent markets such as the tech industry. With the additional responsibility of onboarding new hires, it’s crucial for full cycle recruiters to effectively manage their time. Failure to do so may mean working long hours, which could lead to burnout. As a company grows and hiring volume increases, it’s important to consider when the right time is to hire additional recruiters or HR operations and onboarding specialists. If the increase in hiring volume is temporary or seasonal, companies may also consider working with contract recruiters or staffing agencies.

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Full Cycle Recruiting Tools

Identifying the right combination of various full cycle recruiting technologies based on a company’s needs is important. This includes sourcing tools, applicant tracking systems, talent branding platforms and human resource information systems (HRIS).


Sourcing Tools

There are many sourcing tools available in the market that recruiters can take advantage of depending on their industry and roles they are sourcing for. Some well-known sourcing platforms include LinkedIn Recruiter, Dice and Careerbuilder. However, there are also newer platforms, such as Hired, Teamable and SeakOut that have been recently gaining popularity among recruiters.

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Applicant Tracking Systems 

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are used by recruiters to keep track of candidates in various stages of the recruiting and hiring process. In addition, these systems allow recruiters to measure recruiting key performance indicators such as time-to-hire and offer acceptance rate. Greenhouse, Lever and Workable are among many available ATS in the market.


Talent Branding Platforms

With positive employer branding and brand recognition, it is more likely for prospects to respond to a recruiter’s outreach. With this in mind, recruiters should utilize talent branding platforms to increase brand awareness for their company. Built In and LinkedIn are examples of online platforms that provide companies talent branding services that raise brand awareness and help with recruiting.



Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) are systems that store employee data and manage processes such as time and attendance. Depending on the HRIS, certain add-ons may be available, including performance management and even ATS functionality. ADP and Workday are among the most well-known HRIS that provide these service bundles.

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