Recruitment life cycle, also known as full cycle recruiting, is an entire process of talent acquisition which is initiated by identifying the need for a new hire and finishing with the completion of joining formalities.

However, between the initial and final actions of the recruitment life cycle, there are many other steps managed by a recruiter – who can be either an internally employed recruitment specialist or this role can be outsourced to a recruitment agency.


A full life cycle recruitment is mostly applicable to expanding small and medium-size businesses. They are the type of organisations where the HR and Recruitment departments do not function as silos so the same hiring professional plays a role in all steps of the recruitment life cycle.

Common steps of the recruitment life cycle

There is no only one set of universally accepted steps that the recruitment life cycle is comprised of, but the following are the steps that are most commonly used:

  • Identification the need for new employee
  • Understanding the vacancy and defining the profile of an ideal candidate
  • Creating or updating a job description that will attract the best candidate to apply
  • Advertising the vacant position to appropriate places (internal and external job board, carer websites, social networking sites, and the like)
  • Managing the response – screening applications
  • Booking and conducting phone interviews
  • Shortlisting applicants for face-to-face interviews
  • Arranging interviews between the candidates and the concerned head/s of department
  • Selecting a final candidate
  • Performing reference and background checks
  • Making the offer to the selected candidate
  • Onboarding the new hire – completing the joining formalities

Systems that manage recruitment life cycles

Since there are a lot of steps in the recruitment life cycle, there is also a lot of responsibility bestowed upon the hiring managers. To help them manage every stage of the recruitment cycle, some of them use a recruitment/hiring software to track the applicants, keep records of their interview notes, send them a job offer and communicate with them.