What are the Recruitment Stages of the Recruitment Lifecycle?

A simple and smooth recruitment process—where a company searches for, selects, and hires a new employee—is remarkably helpful for both the candidates and the HR teams. As intuitive as this claim sounds, many companies haven’t acted on it. Business surveys indicate that most job seekers still don't like the application process—they participate in the recruitment process because they have to. 

That’s a clear opportunity to improve the recruitment plan and make a lasting difference. Running simple recruitment stages is so influential to a hiring strategy that it can even drive retention up: Almost 7 out of 10 candidates who accept an offer after a sound recruitment process are more likely to stay with a company for three years.

HR teams that understand that simple recruitment stages help candidates will also win. They’ll work on well-defined recruitment process steps, which will immediately have a ripple effect on the business.

So, how do you simplify the recruitment process? Follow these steps to understand the stages of the recruitment lifecycle and why they’re so influential for an HR team’s success.

Why Is It So Important to Build a Strong Hiring Process?

An effective hiring process must be designed to achieve two elementary, but not easy, outcomes: attracting the highest possible number of job seekers while pulling suitable and qualified candidates. You can add a third dimension: Ideally, those candidates should accept the job offer, and stay for a while.

It sounds complex, but the key to getting this outcome might be keeping your entire process as the opposite of complex—offering a simple way to do things.

How is a simple hiring process so influential? Well, here are some reasons that can explain this:

  • A clear and professional hiring process creates a positive first impression for potential hires. It’s also more persuasive. 60% of surveyed candidates quit online job applications because they are too long or too complicated.
  • It works as an efficient filter. If you choose the right people from the start, you won't have to interview unsuitable candidates.
  • It allows you to evaluate whether a candidate fits your company's culture and values well. This leads to higher retention rates and a more attractive balance sheet. A wrong hire can still cost a company 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings. 

Well enough, but what is the best way to achieve these results? The answer lies in the eight recruitment stages that we will introduce in the rest of this article. The next hiring manager will appreciate this method.

The 8 Recruitment Stages in a Successful Recruitment Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are eight recruitment stages you need to follow to reach the right candidates. Follow this recruitment lifecycle guide to make your internal recruitment process simple, smooth, and measurably great.

1. Understand Hiring Needs, the Context, and Specify the Right Candidate

Your first recruitment stage will be to assess what the “right candidate” means for your company. It starts with realizing what the business calls for and what the position to fill should be called. The job title says a lot about the role: Is it a field sales specialist, an inside sales rep, or a sales manager? Notice how the third position brings to mind team leadership responsibility. This is your first item: Realize where your talent gap is and put a name to that open position.

There are also some external limitations you have to consider before you define your hiring manager needs. Some of them are:

  • Company size: Company size will impact who gets involved. A startup might want every candidate to speak with the founder, but that’s a bottleneck. Bigger companies might leave the process to human resources. Every company should count on a clear pipeline, though.
  • HR experience: If your HR team is excellent at connecting with talent but lacks experience writing job descriptions, consider giving them resources like AI to write descriptions for them.

Economic context: The state of the job market also affects your recruitment process. If job seekers are not looking for your kind of role, maybe you should adjust it to what they want—like more work-from-home days.

2. Write the Perfect Job Description

Now that the hiring team knows what they're looking for, and have considered external factors, it’s time to write the perfect job ad. This recruitment stage requires some experience because you must make a good impression and present the job honestly. It's not about attracting a single application but targeting the “best matches.”

The primary information that your job ad must include is:

  • Company name and description
  • Job title
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Qualification and skills
  • Location
  • Salary. Also known as compensation and benefits. Consider adding “bonus” language with a clear explanation of how they’ll get it.

Is including the salary a good idea? Yes. Remember that, in some states, including New York, featuring the salary is mandatory. In any case, you should still mention the salary, explicitly. Data shows that when employers included wages in job titles and descriptions, people applied for jobs 12% more often than if they didn't. Additionally, employers received 40% more applications when they added “bonus” language. In the recruitment stages, including a salary can make your candidate keep on or go.

When you include the salary, you’re offering your candidate a no-nonsense message, which people are drawn to. 

So far, we have the skeleton of your ad. Your checklist can be as in-depth as you want. You can add core values. But most applicants will just skim through them. They still matter greatly to candidates, so you can leave those for the interview. If you have trouble putting together a good job description, consider using AI tools such as Jasper or TalentHR’s integrated job description writer.

3. Source your Talent

Now that you have your ad, you should choose where to run it. To find your candidate, you can start with employee referrals. Almost 9 out of 10 surveyed recruiters considered referrals as the best way to hire. They’re also remarkably inexpensive compared to running ads, so you should set up an Employee Referral program. 

In every case, you should now run all your ads on the same page, and the best way is to have a customized Careers page. The easiest way to do this is with recruitment software such as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The ATS lets you create the Careers page and then funnels candidates across the entire recruitment lifecycle.

You can also rely on specialized job boards that conduct a reverse hiring process for vetted candidates. They'll be reviewing resumes for you. That usually goes for tech roles.

4. Screen the Candidates

It’s time to narrow down the pipeline to the top of the funnel. We mentioned how a good recruitment stage is influential in the long run. Screening is one of those recruitment stages. Those who have screened their new employees are 24% more likely to have employees who do better than those who just interview them immediately.

Automation can make it easier to handle many applications and make the candidate's experience easy and clear. An ATS that screens resumes and sifts your candidates by keywords can save you much time. You can then jump to pre-screening interviews and background checks, which are not mandatory but work for evaluating skills.

Remember to balance automation and personalization. Use technology to do repetitive tasks and sort through resumes, but don't let it replace human interaction. Also, checking socials for screening is a good idea, and you should do that manually. Your recruitment stages can always have some slight manual input if it's not time-consuming.

5. Start Interviewing

The recruitment stages now start to yield your future employee. You should now move your smaller pool of candidates to the interview process. Interviews should be kept short. If you’re going to invite non-recruiters to interview potential candidates, too, assist them with a list of crucial questions.

In every case, you should try to automate your job invitation process, ideally with the same tool that allows you to run the job ad and the candidate to apply and then to have a profile. During the interview, make sure to ask your candidate, especially those who’ve made it further down the funnel, if they’re seeking other opportunities or if it’s just this one.

6. Run the Selection Process

Narrow down the short list of candidates who fit the job to the final person. Of all the recruitment stages, this one seems superfluous—why not just jump to hiring? You need to communicate with those who didn’t make it.

When you run your recruitment and selection process, you leave people out of your lineup. They should get the news from you. Determine who will be left out, and rank your first three candidates. And yet, just yet, don’t write to any of them, just in case.

7. Send the Offer and Hire

You know who you should hire. Now, send your offer to the candidate that made it to the top of your list. If you’ve followed the recruitment stages, your offer should be so predictable that your candidate will sign it almost without reading it. The job, the salary, the expectations—it will all be there as advertised.

If you are caught off guard and the candidate turns it down, carry through with an offer letter to the second pick. Once you get your signed offer, remember to communicate with everyone else who participated, brief them, and thank them. They invested their time in your process. If you have the right tech stack, getting in touch with them will be simple (and you won’t accidentally leave a candidate out).

8. Onboard the New Hire

Many HR professionals will consider onboarding as a detached recruitment stage that’s not in the recruitment lifecycle. This comes from a technical shortcoming: HR professionals will often be required to switch to a different tool to proceed with the onboarding process. It is not only a nuisance, but also a reputational issue. Candidates won’t like being required to sign up and enroll all over again with a different tool.

It’s always better to onboard the candidates with the same tool they’ve been using to interact with your company. Once they start and are shipped their laptops and IT, HR teams should ideally be able to check on the employee’s inventory through an asset management tool.

Use the Right Tech Tools for a Simple Recruitment Lifecycle

The key to creating a positive candidate experience is to connect the recruitment stages. The hiring process should seem seamless and simple, with each transition smooth. If you get this right, each step will come together into a very positive process—and a glad-to-accept-your-offer hire.

One of the best ways to follow the recruitment stages in order is by using the adequate tech solutions, especially a single solution that allows HR teams to:

  • write an ad with AI
  • run it on their Careers page
  • screen the candidates automatically
  • communicate with the suitable candidates first to start the interview process
  • and then hire and onboard them

TalentHR provides these features. Our solution includes an ATS system and simplifies the recruitment lifecycle, including the employee management that starts after the hire. With customized Careers pages and AI-generated job descriptions, TalentHR gives new hires a welcoming recruitment-to-onboarding experience and spares HR a tangle of tasks. Register now for free.

To learn more about start-to-end solutions for business managers and HR teams, visit TalentHR.

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