The Most Forgotten Part of the Hiring Process

You found three highly qualified candidates. You conducted a thorough interview process with four experienced leaders who all asked behavior-based questions. You assessed each candidate based on a pre-determined set of job-based skills. You gathered feedback from all four interviewers. You selected the candidate who seemed to be best suited for the role, and you extended a compelling job offer. The candidate accepted the offer and agreed to a start date of two weeks later. Congratulations – the hiring process is complete! Or is it?

Too often, “hiring” stops at the point of offer acceptance. In reality, the candidate is not a full-fledged, contributing member of the team until they have been properly on-boarded. Actually, the best candidates are still at very high risk until they show up on Day One and complete their new hire paperwork. That is because their current employer may work hard to get them to stay, and that might include a compelling counter offer. To increase the likelihood that a top hire actually shows up, hiring managers should spring into “closing the sale” mode. That should include the following activities:

  • Congratulations contacts from all interviewers and from others on the team
  • Informational material about the job and the company that will reinforce that the candidate’s decision to join your company was a great one
  • Material about the on-boarding plan which shows enough structure that the candidate will feel good about the training she will receive
  • Pre-Day One completion of any new hire paperwork that can be completed remotely

Once the new hire starts, it is imperative that her early experience be a great one. As one of my most influential mentors says, without a good on-boarding plan, “…you can’t expect the candidate to live up to the potential you saw during the interview process.” Studies show that a substantial share of employees who leave, do so within the first few months of employment. Research conducted in 2014 by BambooHR indicates that the following are important components of a solid on-boarding plan:

  • clear guidelines on roles and responsibilities
  • personal involvement of the direct manager in the training process
  • assignment of a qualified buddy or mentor
  • helpful co-workers
  • recognition for early success and early contributions

Once the new hire is trained to do the job and is functioning successfully, you may consider the hiring process complete. Until then, the high quality candidate on whom you spent considerable time and energy to attract is at risk of leaving or falling short of his potential. For the best hiring results, don’t forget to include high quality on-boarding in the process!


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