As a recruiter, you're probably hitting several different parts of the recruiting life cycle at this very moment. As you're onboarding one candidate, you are defining the candidate persona for your next open role all while building a talent community and sourcing talent (don't forget to breathe in your spare time).

It's important to understand where candidates are in each phase of the full life cycle recruiting process so that you can delegate tasks and remain organized throughout this complex and kinetic process. 



Table of Contents


What is Full Life Cycle Recruiting?

Full life cycle recruiting is a term that refers to the entire recruiting process, starting before a req is placed and finishing when a candidate is hired and onboarded.

For those of you on a small talent acquisition team, this term probably closely reflects your day-to-day responsibilities. Larger organizations, however, often have dedicated teams that focus on specific aspects of the recruiting life cycle, such as sourcing, employer branding, people ops and so forth.  

In this article, we are going to cover the 11 steps that make up a full life cycle recruiting process. 

  1. Set Recruitment Metrics
  2. Invest in Recruitment Tools
  3. Define Candidate Persona
  4. Write the Job Description
  5. Determine Candidate Sourcing Strategy
  6. Incorporate Recruitment Marketing
  7. Navigate Talent Pipeline Recruiting
  8. Build a Talent Community
  9. Prepare for the Interview
  10. Send Job Offer
  11. Onboard & Orientation


Full Life Cycle Recruiting Process

There is a lot that goes into recruiting each and every individual in your company. To organize the long winded list of steps and tasks involved in recruiting and hiring new employees, we narrowed down 11 of the main phases you should focus on when recruiting candidates. In each phase, we included resources to dive a bit deeper and help you become an expert on the full life cycle recruiting process. Let's start with the numbers.


Set Recruitment Metrics

Image via Shutterstock

Before you even start to recruit, you’ll want to determine the recruitment metrics your team will measure so that you can track and evolve your life cycle recruiting process over time.

We've already covered what we consider to be the eight most important recruitment metrics in another article, so we won't go into too much detail here. We will, however, present the list for those of you who haven't had a chance to read the article:  

  1. Applicants Per Opening
  2. Application Completion Rate
  3. Cost of an Unfilled Position
  4. Time to Hire
  5. Offer Acceptance Rate
  6. Cost Per Hire
  7. Quality of Hire
  8. Employee Retention Rate

There are dozens (if not hundred) of metrics you could track, but we recommend focusing on these as they will allow you to demonstrate the impact your team is having on the company's performance without getting bogged down in minutia that people outside of talent acquisition won't understand. 

Remember that full life cycle recruiting is a major initiative, and it's critical that you be able to speak to your success. That's only possible if you track the right metrics. 


Invest in Recruitment Tools

Image via Shutterstock

To help streamline the long and complex full life cycle recruiting process, it’s worth investing in the right recruitment tools so that you can automate the mundane and focus your time and energy on the stuff that matters. 

As with recruitment metrics, we've covered 75 of our favorite recruitment tools in another article, so we won't rehash them all. But for those of you looking for an edge, we will point out a few modern tool sets that forward thinking recruiters are using to great success.  

As we mentioned earlier, small talent acquisition teams are competing with enterprise organizations with nearly unlimited resources, and in order to close the gap you need the right tools. Full life cycle recruiting will never be a reality if you're doing everything manually, so always look for ways to automate repetitive tasks. 


Define the Candidate Persona

Image via Shutterstock

If the job has already been posted, hopefully you've done your research and you understand what you're looking for and how to attract people with the right skill set and attitude.

If you haven't done your due diligence, it's time to get serious about creating candidate personas. Simply put, a candidate persona is a fictional profile of an ideal candidate for a specific role that is both detailed and data driven. It will help you better understand who you're looking for and how to connect with them. 

In many ways, the candidate persona is the bedrock of your full life cycle recruiting efforts. Every decision you make should be influenced by this research, so it's worth taking the time to get it right. 




Write the Job Description

Image via Shutterstock

Once your candidate persona is defined, you can start creating tailored job descriptions with the relevant information qualified candidates need in order to apply. While every job description is unique to the company and role they are hiring for, there are a few standard elements that should be consistent no matter the position.

We’ve analyzed top performing job descriptions from our seven markets to determine the 12 core elements of a job description based on data driven results.

  1. Clear Title
  2. Company Description
  3. Responsibilities and Duties
  4. Qualifications
  5. Perks and Benefits
  6. Average Word Count
  7. Average Time on Page
  8. Compensation Information
  9. Opportunities for Improvement
  10. Bullet Points/Formatting
  11. Typos
  12. Call-to-Action


Determine Your Candidate Sourcing Strategy

Image via Shutterstock

You know who your ideal candidate is and you’ve written a job description that aligns with the unique responsibilities and requirements for the role. Now you need to determine your candidate sourcing strategy. And by that we mean how and where you will find and attract candidates for your roles.

First, make sure candidates have a clear way to learn more about your company as an employer. This information is most commonly found on your website's careers page. Check out these 15 career page examples and 15 company culture videos for some inspiration on building or improving your careers page.

Believe it or not, recruitment events are just as popular as ever, and they’re a great way to get to know candidates outside of their resume and cover letter. Get creative and stand out from your competitors with these 12 recruitment event ideas.

Also, if you don't already have a candidate referral program, you should seriously look into some kind of incentive for your employees to recommend talent from their networks. Do, however, be wary of recruiting exclusively within your networks, which can lead to overly homogeneous workplaces


Incorporate Recruitment Marketing

Image via Shutterstock

Thanks to your candidate sourcing strategy, you have a good idea of where and how to deploy a stellar recruitment marketing strategy. In order to do so, you’ll need to know the following:

  • What recruitment marketing is
  • And how to develop a recruitment marketing plan

Rather than start your research from scratch, we recommend you check out how these 23 companies have generated unique recruitment marketing campaigns across a variety of platforms to jumpstart your creativity.

As part of your recruitment marketing plan, you’ll also want to consider social media recruiting. If you are unfamiliar with social media and how to use it, start with the basics — learn what it is, why it’s important and how it plays into your employer branding efforts.


Navigate Your Talent Pipeline

Image via Shutterstock

Candidates are rolling into your ATS, and you’re starting to review application materials. This is where talent pipeline recruiting comes in handy.

Talent pipelining as a proactive, procedural approach to identifying, qualifying and nurturing passive candidates toward an eventual hire. 

In simpler terms, talent pipelining is the process of building a deep bench of potential applicants that you can proactively reach out to when a new position becomes available. 

Like most things on this list, it isn't necessarily easy, but it will be worth the effort. Check out this roundup of useful tools and resources to help you get started. 



Build a Talent Community

Image via Shutterstock

Not every candidate that comes through your talent pipeline will be a fit for the role. However, many of them might be a great fit for another role in the future. That’s where building a talent community comes in handy.

A talent community is a cohort of people who would be exceptional candidates for your company, but present circumstances prevent them from joining your team. These can take many forms, but they are most often digital communities that allow candidates to remain engaged with the company even if they aren't actively under consideration. 

Building a talent community takes a little work, but it will pay dividends every time a new role comes along. 


Prepare for the Interview

Image via Shutterstock

Alright, alright, you’ve narrowed down your top candidates, and it’s time for phone screens and to bring candidates in to meet your team for on-site interviews. The interview process can be stressful for everyone involved, so make sure communication between candidates is clear, direct and frequent. Let candidates know when they can expect information and how they should prepare for the interview so that you get their best selves during the interview.


Send the Job Offer

Image via Shutterstock

At last, you’ve found the one. After all this time you’ve selected the top candidate. If you’ve never done this before or aren’t sure if your job offer is up to par, check out what other companies are doing. Know what a formal job offer letter or email looks like and everything to include, like background check requirements, salary information and the official job title.


Onboard & Orientation

Image via Shutterstock

Now that the offer has been accepted, you’ll have to take on a whole other beast that is onboarding. Luckily, SHRM has created a complete new employee onboarding guide with tips on how to create an onboarding program and what to expect on the first day, month and year of an employee’s onboarding.

You may also want to consider having an official new employee orientation every few months (or weeks if you’re growing fast) to bring all new team members up to speed on different topics and meet with department heads so that they’re a bit more familiar with the resources in your company and how everyone works together as a team.



Great Companies Need Great People. That's Where We Come In.

Recruit With Us