I have become a big proponent of onboarding. 

At JohnGSelf Associates, our search process, which has been described by candidates and clients alike as one of the most in-depth and thorough in the search industry, begins with a comprehensive Position Prospectus.  We cover everything from the organization’s cultural DNA, to performance expectations, political hurdles and a complete review of the organization’s performance. 

The search process is, by virtue of time constraints, very compact.  We believe it is important to help the candidate understand the challenges and the cultural nuances of the
client organization if they are to be an effective leader in the new environment.   By the same token, we help the client adopt a more disciplined approach to executive search that is sadly missing in so many engagements.  Without this onboarding orientation to the search process, both candidates and clients are at risk.

The search industry’s average for a position description is between eight and 12 pages. At JohnGSelf Associates, our documents run from 28 pages for a relatively problem-free, straight forward assignment, to more than 64 pages for a complex CEO search.  Why?  Because our candidates say this document provides important insights that are enormously helpful as they move through the interview process and, if they are successful, helps them prepare for day one.  Of course there is so much more to onboarding.  

I agree with George Bradt and his colleagues: onboarding must begin before the search is initiated.  Moreover, the client team must be committed to transparency and full disclosure throughout the search and the pre-employment phase. 

At JohnGSelf Associates, we see the executive search as a transformational event, not just transactional, and that is why our process is built around the principles of onboarding.  Our results, significantly better than the national average, demonstrate that onboarding
should be a best practice in all sectors.

Contextual Onboarding