Candidates with pending employment start dates are more vulnerable than ever before. Anxiety can set in as companies deliberate over delaying or, in some instances, actually rescinding newly signed employment contracts.
Managing the candidate experience during this onboarding process is always important but is now more critical than ever.
Having caught up with one of my successfully placed candidates last week, I received a heartening account: his new hiring manager, a board member of a well branded Defence Services firm, had conducted bi-weekly calls with him during his three month notice period, increasing this to weekly calls most recently. Last week, the client provided the candidate with assurance that his position is still critical to the organisation, that the start date remains, and that he could onboard efficiently from home. So much so, a laptop/mobile etc were couriered to the candidate’s home, followed by an IT Support setup call. The candidate expressed that this service was above and beyond what he would normally expect, and, more importantly, that he felt fully invested in and would be even more committed and conscientious.
Conversely, there are companies not communicating with candidates at all during this phase, leaving headhunters to make the communication. There is nothing wrong here, as this is a crucial component of our service, however, involvement from the hiring manager is hugely beneficial, and is an opportunity to make an eternal impression on the candidate.
Usually we manage candidates through counter offers and changes of heart during this phase, but now, in addition, we are managing anxiety and adaptability. It is concurrently important for hiring managers to take responsibility for onboarding activities also. The following are a few useful tips to providing exceptional candidate experience in the lead-up to onboarding:
1. Communication: by all means use the headhunter to act as the middleman, but direct communication from hiring manager to candidate provides assurance, confidence and respect.
2. Managing expectations and being transparent: involve the candidate in the company’s journey through this time. The candidate may have good ideas to share.
3. Facilitating remote working in time: provide the candidate with tools and equipment as early as possible. The candidate will feel invested and valued.
4. Tone: Remain decisive, although be empathetic to any personal circumstances.
We all know what first impressions mean, and in this current time, they are critical. Everyone is under pressure managing their businesses as best as can be, but in the words of a well know brand: ’Every little helps’. Time spent communicating with and managing expectations with candidates creates a lasting impression, and you are likely to gain greater investment from in your newly onboarded hire.