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What is full cycle recruiting and how should I implement it at my company?

What is full cycle recruiting and how should I implement it at my company?

Gabrielle DeMers

Customer Support

October 3, 2023

5 mins


What is full cycle recruiting?

An organization's success starts with its people. But finding, hiring, and onboarding the best talent is challenging. That's where full cycle recruiting comes in.

Full cycle recruiting (also known as full life cycle recruitment) is the process of finding new employees from recruiting to hiring. It begins with the need to fill a job position, then searches for candidates, then selects candidates through an interview process, and finally choosing and onboarding your new hire. The full cycle recruitment process consists of 6 stages: preparing, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.

6 stages of the full cycle recruiting process

An efficient end to end recruitment process is composed of the following main stages: preparation, sourcing, screening, interviewing, and ultimately the job offer.


Preparing is the first step in the full cycle recruitment process where you want to determine what you’re looking for in your new employee. Once you’ve defined who you’re looking for and what skills they need to have, you can use that information to create a job description.

Step 1: Define your candidate persona

Gaining a full understanding of your ideal candidate’s goals, experiences, and qualifications will help you identify potential candidates throughout the process.

To start, it's important to identify the skills and experience you need from a candidate to ensure they are a good fit for your organization. To define your ideal candidate persona, consider the goals of the position as well as any required qualifications or certifications.

Additionally, research industry trends to understand the current job market and determine if you need to modify or update your ideal candidate persona.

Step 2: Decide your job’s requirements and compensation range

Job Requirements

It’s important to align internally on what the requirements for the job will be. You’ll want to determine not only what hard skills are requirements (must haves) but also preferences (nice-to-haves) for the new role.

Compensation Range

Structuring your company or team's compensation, especially in the early stages, requires thoughtfulness and foresight. There are a few things you can do to help create a framework for compensation that helps you attract talent, compensate your employees equitably, and bolster employee retention.

💡Tip 1: Create a Compensation Philosophy

At Dover, we recommend that you create a Compensation Philosophy and communicate it to your current and future employees.

A compensation philosophy helps you articulate how employee pay — cash, equity, benefits and perks — is structured and the reasoning behind it. An example might be "we pay at the 50th percentile salary and equity for companies at our stage, and invest heavily in a fully competitive benefits package."

Communicating this philosophy is an active practice, and should start before a new hire walks in the door, so to speak: you should use the philosophy to build a hiring plan, to describe your culture, and as part of your offer. This helps you with your recruiting efforts because it helps protect your and candidates' time and prevents a situation where you get to the offer stage and find expectations are completely misaligned.

Consider a few factors when formalizing your compensation philosophy:

  • Company size, stage, location

  • Growth opportunities

  • Company values or principles

  • Benchmark heuristics

  • Equity vs. cash vs. benefits

For more info, check out Dover’s Strategy Guide on compensation.

💡Tip 2: Use Benchmarking tools

Use benchmarking tools like Pave and to set your compensation in place

Step 3: Write a great job description

A great job description should be action-oriented and easy-to-skim to attract potential candidates. According to an Indeed survey of over 2,000 job seekers, more than half say that the quality of a job description is “very or extremely influential” on their decision to submit an application. And with only 6 seconds to capture a candidate’s attention, your writing will need to be more effective than ever.

  • Include examples of how previous experience could be beneficial in the role and highlight your organization’s unique qualities such as strengths, culture, and benefits that set it apart from other companies.

  • Clearly define the expected outcomes of the job so the candidates can understand their responsibilities and the goals they are striving for. For example, rather than outlining what they'll work on generally, list what success would look like over the next 30 to 90 days.

    Expected Outcomes for Customer Experience Role
    • First 30 days

      • Shadow & Train - Goal is to get up to speed quickly culminating in leading your first customer meeting successfully

    • First 60 days

      • Accelerate - Become a fully ramped up Customer Experience team member

    • First 90 days

      • Excel - Contribute to key projects and impact customers experiences and outcomes

  • Assess whether your job requirements are must-haves or just nice-to-haves. Being more concrete about what is actually required to do a job well versus what would simply be bonus is critical for increasing the diversity of your applicant pool. A list of requirements often makes women and underrepresented groups self-select out of applying.

Dover’s job description generator feature helps you prepare and get started on the right foot


Sourcing is the second step in the full cycle recruitment process where you want to find qualified candidates for your role. This typically involves posting your job on job boards, reaching out to people in your employees’ networks, and sending cold outreach to candidates who have the skills you’re looking for in the role.

At Dover, we have tools to help with sourcing.

  • Sourcing Autopilot finds and emails prospective candidates for you, making outbound recruiting completely effortless. You simply define the criteria you’re looking for in a candidate and Sourcing Autopilot can automatically email personalized outreach to qualified candidates.

  • Sourcing Copilot is an AI-powered Chrome extension that allows you to source and email candidates directly from LinkedIn.


Screening is the third step in the full cycle recruitment process where you go through applications and conduct initial screening calls to ensure that your team is only meeting with candidates who are a good fit for the position.

Step 1: Resume Screening

Resume screening is perhaps the most time consuming part of the process, but is a necessary step in determining which candidates will make it to the interviews. You will want to parse though each resume carefully to choose only those people who would be a good fit for the job.

Dover’s ATS helps with Resume Screening

Step 2: Phone Screening

Phone screens allow you to:

  • Check for potential dealbreakers early on (e.g. availability, relocation, proficiency in your tech stack, etc.)

  • Ask for clarification on information in candidates’ resumes or LinkedIn profiles

  • Evaluate candidates’ verbal communication skills (in some cases, test candidates for their ability to speak foreign languages)

  • Get to know candidates

  • For passive candidates, learn about their goals and desire to switch companies

For initial screens, you'll want to create a standardized list of questions that you ask each candidate in the same order. Why? Studies show that asking questions in the same order for all candidates results in higher predictive validity on job performance and lower individual interviewer bias.

In other words, you’re less likely to assess candidates on a “gut feeling” versus their actual response to each question. This tends to point to affinity bias or the idea that we gravitate toward people like ourselves in appearance, beliefs, and background. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be friendly or polite, but if you were more chummy with one candidate over another, it could cloud your perception of who is actually qualified for the role and whom you simply enjoyed talking to.

Standard logistical questions that Dover Interviewers use during phone screens.


Selecting candidates is the fourth step in the process where your team conducts interviews and determines who will move forward in the process. It’s a tricky step because this is a team effort. Everyone on your hiring team plays a part in assessing candidates and alignment here can make or break the hiring process.

Step 1: Establish what selection criteria you’re looking for

The core team (hiring manager, recruiter, leadership) should also establish what qualities the best candidates should have. It is extremely critical to get everyone on the same page during the process.

How you should assess candidates varies significantly depending on what role you’re hiring for.

Here’s an example for a Software Engineering Manager:

  • strong competency with software engineering (at a senior level)

  • deep management experience

  • mentored junior engineers

  • worked with cross functional stakeholders

  • meets our company values: moves fast, compassionate, customer first

Step 2: Design an interview plan

It's important to establish your interview process including how many stages of interviews you want candidates to go through. Your interview process should include enough stages to find the best candidate for your company while providing a positive candidate experience throughout the interview process. You can build your interview plan in your Applicant Tracking System. If you don’t already have one, try out Dover’s free ATS.

Dover ATS Interview Plan

Step 3: Create interview questions and scorecards

Based on the qualities you’re looking for, the next step is to Create an interview rubric and keep it somewhere where it can be easily accessed.

If you’ve never hired for a role or hired in general before, the best way to develop a rubric is to ask folks at other companies what they’ve found to be critical in assessing different personas and ensuring they make a great hire. You can check out Dover’s interview process best practices or our guides to hiring account executives and sales representatives, CSMs, designers, engineers, marketers, and product managers.

Dover's ATS lets you add feedback forms / scorecards for each interview stage.

Step 4: Make scorecards accessible to all interviewers

Once you have a rubric, the next thing to do is make sure it’s accessible to everyone in the organization. A great way to do this is to have a centralized ATS where interviewers can answer questions about candidates in a structured manner. It ensures that every candidate is getting graded against the same rubric.

Using a feedback forms to ask the same questions helps create a consistent and fair interview process for all candidates which allows the hiring team to make informed decisions. This is particularly helpful when you have multiple interviewers for the same interview stage. Below is an example of a behavioral interview at Dover.

You don’t have to buy an expensive ATS to do this. You can easily set up a table in a tool like Notion, Google Sheets or Airtable. Alternatively, you can try out Dover’s Free ATS where feedback forms are built in.

Step 5: Interview candidates and conduct a debrief

After the final interview with each candidate, conducting a debrief with all of the interviewers is a great way to align about the candidate to determine whether or not you should make them an offer.


Hiring is the fifth step in the full cycle recruitment process where you’ve narrowed down the field of candidates and decide to make them an offer. During this process, there may be some negotiation and this can be a very sensitive part of the recruitment process. Be prepared for any questions that the candidate may have and know what your company is prepared to offer before you speak to them.

Advice from Dover about making an offer

You should always present a verbal offer before sending a written offer. This gives your candidate a chance to ask questions and gives you a chance to offer additional context and read their reactions.

We recommend taking a transparent approach to closing. If they’re savvy, a lack of transparency is fatal because the candidate may think you’re trying to hide something. If you’re not willing to share “here are our biggest challenges”, or if you’re dodgy about your revenue, you’ll lose credibility big time. The best people you want to work with will see right through it.

After presenting the offer, ask this simple question — “We’re all SUPER excited to work with you. Is there anything else we can do to get you onboard?” — sometimes you get a simple answer and may even be able to close them on the spot.

Check out our recruiting best practice guides on:


Onboarding is the final stage of the full cycle recruitment process and is unique to an end-to-end recruiting. Onboarding your new employee includes welcoming them to the company, introducing them to the team, and scheduling them for training and orientation.

Once you’ve extended an offer and the candidate has excepted, you want to make sure that your new employee feels like they’re a part of your company. New employee onboarding should include welcoming, integrating, and training your new hire within your organization. Make sure to introduce them to team members, familiarize them with company policies and procedures, and provide them with job-specific training so they can hit the ground running. The primary goal of onboarding is to ensure that the new employee feels supported, acclimated to the work environment, and equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to contribute effectively to the organization. This process plays a crucial role in facilitating a smooth transition for new hires and fostering their engagement and productivity from the beginning of their employment and plays a critical role in setting your new hire up for success.

With many companies adopting remote-first work policies, Dover created this guide to remote onboarding at startups with a few simple steps to create a remote-friendly onboarding experience.

5 benefits of full cycle recruiting

There are five key benefits to a managed, end to end recruiting process that has been thoughtfully structured and tracked over time:

1. Cost-efficiency

While full cycle recruiting requires more effort than traditional recruiting methods, it is actually a cost-efficient approach since hiring the wrong candidate can be far more costly in terms of time and resources.

2. Increased visibility

With better tracking and metrics around candidate engagement, response rates, hiring times, etc., you can easily spot areas to optimize or restructure.

3. Lower time-to-hire

Better candidate experience through timely follow-ups (and automation) means that applicants move through your hiring process more efficiently.

4. Improved team collaboration

A well-organized and automated hiring process allows for better communication between recruiters, hiring managers, and other stakeholders.

5. Reduced bias

Automation of certain parts of the hiring process can help to reduce unconscious biases and ensure a more diverse selection of candidates.

How Dover can help you implement full cycle recruiting

When you use Dover’s free ATS, it comes with full cycle recruiting best-practices built in. When you kick off a job, you can select a role type from a library of 200+ roles and Dover can help you create your job description, phone screen questions, and interview plan.

Alternatively, you can work with Dover’s expert Embedded Recruiter team that have helped 500+ customers make 2000+ hires. Dover’s Embedded Recruiter can own full cycle recruiting for a role, or work with your internal team to drive individual operational processes such as sourcing, interviewing and more. Book a call with Dover

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