What Are The 6 Stages Of A Typical Recruitment Cycle?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

For many businesses, full life cycle recruiting or recruitment cycle is a crucial process for finding the best candidates to fill open positions. While looking for employees who engage with a business on a long-term basis, an organisation may employ full life cycle recruitment techniques to achieve favourable outcomes. If you are a professional in human resources who helps a company address its staffing needs, you may benefit from knowing more about this process. In this article, we examine what full life cycle recruiting is and what stages it involves, and explore its advantages and disadvantages.

What Is A Recruitment Cycle?

The entire process of hiring or recruiting new employees is known as a recruitment cycle or full life cycle recruitment. Preparation, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring and onboarding are the six stages of a full life cycle recruitment process. For hiring new employees, hiring managers and HR professionals help in finding candidates to fill the position, short-listing the best candidates for interviews, selecting ideal candidates based on their performance and facilitating onboarding and training processes. Using full life cycle recruiting processes helps improve communication between hiring managers and candidates.

Full life cycle recruiting offers several advantages for business enterprises, recruiters and candidates. In a small business, a manager or a department lead may recruit new employees. Professionals in the human resources division often lead such initiatives in mid-sized businesses. For large companies with expansive scale of operations, HR departments may have separate teams addressing each stage of the recruitment process.

Related: What Is Recruitment In HR? (With Types, Process And Tips)

Stages Of A Recruitment Cycle

A typical recruitment process involves six prominent steps. Finding the best candidate for a job often requires completing each one of these steps. The following are the six phases of a typical recruitment process:

1. Preparing

Preparing the requirements for hiring the ideal candidate is the first stage of the process. A successful cycle of recruitment requires HR professionals to create a candidate profile and comprehensive job description. You can specify the qualities you are searching for in a new employee during this phase.

Consider the organisation's needs and the requirements of the position that is open. Describe the ‌individual who is most suitable for this position and outline the duties they may routinely address in the role. Once you identify these aspects, you can use the information to develop an engaging job description that can attract qualified candidates.

Related: How To List Job Responsibilities In Job Listings

2. Sourcing

You can start the phase of sourcing after you create a job description. This phase entails advertising the vacancy on job boards and looking for prospective employees. There are many ways to find candidates for a post. Some common channels include:

  • The Internet: Web-based sourcing is a method for finding potential candidates for open positions by searching through a large number of profiles on the Internet. When you look for suitable candidates on the Internet, you can establish contact with them directly, clarify any queries they may have and encourage them to apply.

  • Social-media platforms: This channel involves posting job openings and looking for suitable candidates on social networking sites.

  • In-house recruiting: Often, businesses find that current employees make an excellent fit for a new position. In such cases, in-house recruiting can also be a strategy to promote professional growth and career advancement inside an organisation.

  • Employee referrals: This channel for sourcing applicants involves requesting recommendations from existing employees. Current employees in a firm may know interested professionals in their network who may be a great fit for an open position and may be willing to connect their employer to suitable candidates.

Related: What Is Talent Management? Importance, Strategy And Process

3. Screening

Hiring managers review incoming applications in the screening process to identify suitable applicants. This stage may be time-consuming for many organisations who tend to receive a large number of job applications for each vacancy posting. As a hiring manager, you may examine applications which typically include a resume, purpose statement, cover letter and a portfolio. Businesses may also use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automate their screening processes. Once you have a list of candidates that meet a specified criteria, consider doing quick phone interviews for inviting them to attend an in-person interview.

Related: What Is An Applicant Tracking System? Definition And Tips

4. Selecting

The selection procedure, which is the fourth phase, entails carefully interviewing each suitable candidate. After completing the first three stages, you may have a shortlisted pool of qualified candidates who are ready for interviews and know the exact job requirements. Hold in-person interviews with candidates who advance to the selection phase, to get to know more about their education background, work experience and skills.

Related: What Is A Structured Interview? (With Example Questions)

5. Hiring

After an interview round, hiring managers further shortlist a group of candidates either for selection, or for additional interview rounds or assessments. As a hiring manager, once you decide on selecting a candidate for a particular role, contact them and provide a formal job offer promptly. Consider reviewing the terms of recruitment including compensation, work hours and benefits, with each selected candidate.

Businesses usually negotiate the specific details of a job offer with a selected candidate if they do not accept the offer right away. Before approaching a selected candidate, be prepared to articulate exactly what the firm can provide in terms of remuneration, benefits and professional growth. You may then be certain that you can negotiate effectively to safeguard the interests of both the enterprise and the candidate.

Related: When To Negotiate Your Salary (With Tips And Examples)

6. Onboarding

The last phase in a recruiting process involves onboarding new employees. Onboarding a new employee entails introducing them to the teams they may work with and setting up appropriate orientation and training sessions to help them understand the work culture and the demands of the job. Congratulate new employees on joining the team and try to inculcate a sense of belonging. Consider indicating your willingness to assist them with any queries they may have while they adjust to their new role.

Related: What Is Onboarding For New Employees? Tips And Importance

Characteristics Of A Full Life Cycle Recruitment Process

These are some important characteristics of a full life cycle recruitment process:


The likelihood of unnecessary delays is low when one person is in charge of supervising an entire recruiting procedure. Such a recruiting process may be successful if the individual in charge can organise their workflows, work spaces, materials and information well. In a full life cycle recruitment process where a hiring manager addresses all stages of the process for a candidate, the manager becomes accountable for the outcomes of the recruitment process and the suitability of a selected candidate.

Related: Accountable Leadership: Definition, Importance And Tips

Candidate experience

Having a single point of contact throughout the entirety of a hiring process is helpful for candidates. Candidates can maintain contact with a ‌professional who can lead them through each stage of the process while addressing queries and concerns. This can comfort potential hires during a stressful job search scenario. Being present throughout the entirety of the process also gives recruiters the opportunity to create strong working relationships with each candidate. Recruiters may be able to communicate with applicants in a personalised manner and enhance their experience.


There are limitations to the number of prospects a hiring manager can work with, when they are involved in every step of a hiring process. When a hiring manager handles a large number of applications simultaneously, it may impact candidate experience and time-to-hire metrics negatively. Full life cycle recruiting is most suitable for small firms or for roles that require a high level of specialisation.

Varied skill demands

Larger firms typically employ personnel with specialised knowledge of a particular stage of the hiring process. Depending on the size of the company, hiring managers may supervise a recruitment team that includes a talent source, a recruitment assistant, several recruiters and a panel of interviewers. This is because there are particular knowledge and skill requirements for addressing each stage of a hiring process.

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