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Candidate Onboarding - Where to Start?

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over 3 years ago by Gareth Foden

It’s reported that one in three people experience poor onboarding when they are joining a new business. One in three. Wow. As someone who is hiring, just think about all the pain that goes with finding that person. All of the time, money, and blood, sweat and tears. Then they start, and due to bad onboarding you have already given them reasons to think that this isn’t right for them.

As a recruiter, I hear great onboarding stories and hear horrendous onboarding stories. I hear vanilla ones as well, the ones that people forget the moment they leave the room. So, how can we combat this and put our best foot forward, I hear you say? Well, say no more…

It all starts with the interview. This will sound crazy, and you may think this is so obvious that it's pointless to even write it. But here goes… Don’t lie. If you lie to get someone through the door, you are setting yourself up for failure. Simple. Now, understand this: I’m not saying be critical of your business to the point that they think it’s the worst place they have ever seen and would never step foot in the door again. But do tell them about the opportunity to address challenges within their role. "Yes, our business isn’t perfect and we are aware of some of the challenges. We see this role solving some of those challenges by implementing X, Y and Z". No lies. Just honest, transparent opportunity. 

Right. You operate with transparency and honesty and the candidate accepts your challenge. This is where your induction starts. As a recruiter, I will tell you first-hand that time kills deals. Resigning from a job can be the most daunting thing many people will do. So please, please, please try to be there for your new employee. Give them a call and ask them how they are doing. Ask if they would like to pop in and meet the team? Tell them you’re having a couple of drinks on Friday and it would be great if they could come along. Do anything that would suit you and your company, but keep in contact. The chances are that after a resignation, your chosen candidate will be asking themselves if they have done the right thing – show them that they have.

Next, get your tech and merch ordered ASAP. Laptop, phone, keyboard, pens, papers, phone list, brochures, merchandise, employee profiles, chocolates, mug, business card holder – you name it, get it ordered. There's nothing worse than turning up on day one and nothing being ready. Then, send diary requests to the people you want your new employee to meet on day one. Plan it in, and make sure you talk to people face-to-face to check that they know what you need from them and that they understand the plan.

Once everything is set, sit back, grab a brew and phone your future employee to check they are okay (again), and then confirm the start time with them. It's also worth pointing out dress code and what people typically wear. It may sound silly, but people worry about these things.

Day 1, 10.00am, they arrive (always ask them to arrive later than you). Their desk is set, laptop waiting, phone plugged in, and there's merchandise everywhere. Show them to their desk. Introduce them to people. Walk them around and make them known to everyone who is available. The more the merrier. Remember your first day in a job? You will forget 99% of the names but the face is at least familiar. Show them where the tea and coffee is, how to work the annoying vending machine and the best sandwich shop in town. Make them feel like you actually want them there.

Execute your well-planned induction covering the history of the business, future growth plans, and in what way their role and team is crucial to your success. 

The small details count. If you’re a line manager, give them your mobile number, take them for regular one-to-ones and set an appraisal date three months from now. Engage your new super hire. Create the environment where they will motivate themselves.

The detail behind the actual onboarding is a different blog all together, but hopefully this highlights that you have the power to make that candidate journey brilliant from the second they sit in that first interview, or even beforehand.

If you’re keen to ensure your onboarding runs like clockwork then I’d be delighted to hear from you: gareth.foden@delverec.com.