What is full life-cycle recruiting? Top strategies for building a foundation of success

Magda Cychowski

An organization's success starts with its people. But finding, hiring, and onboarding the right talent can be a challenge. That's where full life-cycle recruiting comes in.

Full life-cycle recruiting (FLCR) is a comprehensive end-to-end approach to finding, hiring, and onboarding talent that helps drive organizational success. From identifying the right skills and experience for a role to helping new hires hit the ground running, FLCR can make a big difference in an organization's ability to achieve its goals.

What is full life-cycle recruiting (FLCR)?

Life cycle recruiting is an effective strategy for cultivating and bringing in top talent to help meet your business goals. An FLCR approach looks at the entire recruitment process from start to finish, including defining what talent is needed, searching for qualified candidates, interviewing and selecting the best person, and onboarding the new hire. This makes it a more thorough system than just seeking out individual candidates — putting organizations in a better position to secure high performers who will stay committed over time.

Core components of life cycle recruitment include:

  • Establishing overarching recruiting and hiring objectives with one's leadership team for the entire hiring process

  • Liaising with hiring managers to understand specific needs across every hiring stage

  • Sourcing ideal candidates with traits and skills that align with one's job descriptions

Stages of the full cycle recruiting process

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


Defining your candidate persona

Gaining a full understanding of your ideal candidate’s goals, experiences, and qualifications will help you craft an effective job description and 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. 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 candidate persona.

Writing 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 out what success would look like over the next 30 to 90 days.

  • Assess whether your 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 a major 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.

Download our ebook on how to write great job descriptions for more actionable tips and best practices.


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 who you simply enjoyed talking to.

Interview and assess candidates

Before beginning your hiring process, it's important to decide how many stages of interviews you want applicants to go through, and what signals you and your team should be looking for.

Some areas to consider are:

  1. General demeanor

  2. Past experience or career trajectory

  3. Professional requirements you care about

  4. Any areas of concern

Create a 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. We also created a series of scoring rubric templates across the most popular personas startups hire for — check it out here for inspiration and a starting point.

Job 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. In-person or over video is best. Just like in sales, we always present pricing proposals in person or over video, because watching body language is key. Are they smiling? Are they leaning forward? Are they excited?

Additionally, this is your chance to help them understand their equity and compensation package, especially if they’re newer to working at startups. If they don’t have a great understanding of equity, you can educate, which builds trust.

  • Ask: Can I walk you through your equity and compensation options? Do you understand dilution? Liquidity? Do you understand 409A price vs preferred price?

We recommend taking a transparent approach to all of 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”, “here are the milestones we need to hit to raise our next round”, “here’s our runway”, 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 (i.e bumping their base by $5k or paying for an online course they want to take). If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

6 benefits of full life-cycle recruiting

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

1. Cost-efficiency

While FLCR 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.

6. More efficient use of resources

Choosing a recruiting CRM platform can enable you to automate administrative tasks such as scheduling interviews or posting jobs saving recruiters time and energy that can be used on more critical tasks.

4 strategies to build an organizational foundation of success with full cycle recruiting

Building a foundation of success with full life-cycle recruiting (FLCR) can help your organization maximize results when finding, hiring, and onboarding talent.

Here are four key strategies that organizations should implement to take full advantage of FLCR:

Consider hiring a full cycle recruiter.

A full cycle recruiter can manage the entire recruitment life cycle from sourcing to onboarding and training. They likely come from a smaller company or have had to manage the entire process themselves in previous positions.

They should be skilled in identifying and targeting the right talent, creating job postings, reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, and selecting qualified candidates. In addition, they can assist with writing job offers and negotiating salaries.

Full cycle recruiters also work closely with hiring managers to ensure all team members are aligned in their expectations of the new hire's role and responsibilities. This helps avoid any misunderstandings or confusion down the road when it comes time for onboarding.

TL;DR: A single point of contact is a tremendous benefit for improving the candidate experience. It is easy to understand how having one individual helps a candidate feel better about the employer.

Utilize diverse sourcing techniques

Finding qualified talent for your open position efficiently and effectively requires:

  • using different niche job boards,

  • attending relevant industry events,

  • and building relationships with professional networks, online groups, and university career centers

This helps you uncover sources of quality talent and allows recruiting teams to cast a wider net for potential candidates.

Supplementing the full life-cycle process with modern tech

in today's hiring market, it's impossible to send enough emails to generate the responses needed to make a hire manually. On average, we see that most early-stage companies need to send at least 250 emails to generate 5 interested responses. Tools such as applicant tracking systems or CRMs can help make it easier to track potential candidates and provide an efficient way to communicate with them throughout the recruitment process. They can also automate more tedious tasks, like scheduling, screening, or email follow-ups.

Create a unified candidate experience across the full life cycle

A huge part of candidate experience is ensuring that applicants receive consistent and accurate information that sounds like it's coming from you, in your brand and tone.

Automating follow-up emails to remind candidates about upcoming interviews, providing real-time feedback on their progress, and even conducting virtual tours of the office can be really effective strategies for driving engagement throughout the process.

At the end of the day, having a great recruitment process allows you to do more with less effort while also increasing your chances of finding the best talent.

With these strategies in place, full life-cycle recruiters have the tools to keep their business ahead of the competition by bringing in better talent faster and more efficiently.

And with recruitment tools like Dover, which combines automation with the power of personalization, it’s easier than ever for companies to find qualified candidates who will be well-suited for their job openings. Learn more about how Dover can help you hit your hiring goals and get started today.