Skyrocket Your Career! Subscribe to John’s “Got A Minute” video newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

In our last post titled Companies Must Disclose, Not Withhold, we discussed the importance of starting the onboarding process early—during the recruiting and hiring Startstages—and of being honest and upfront with potential candidates. Here are four recommendations for integrating the recruiting and onboarding functions:

  1. Insist on a comprehensive position description.  Not that dull and generic document that reflects the legal description, but a detailed narrative that accurately describes the company and its values, its culture, scope of responsibility, performance deliverables and any hurdles that might limit or preclude success.

    For a housekeeper or kitchen assistant, this document might be two or three pages.  For a CEO or other senior executive, the document is more than likely going to be in the neighborhood of 30 to 60 pages and will including biographical profiles of the key leaders and direct reports. 

    Our research of position descriptions developed by other search firms covering major assignments shows that the average position description is between 8-12 pages – hardly a comprehensive explanation for a CEO or senior leadership candidate.  Internal recruiters provide even less disclosure than their third-party counterparts do.  This minimalist approach to disclosure almost always creates more questions than answers.

  2. Ensure that the onboarding program is values-based.  Process and content must be built around the critical core values of the organization just like the Position Prospectus/Position Description and the in-depth candidate screening process.
  3. Begin the onboarding process discussions with candidates during the recruitment process. The scope of the program and the company’s expectations regarding how the new employee will participate is neither optional nor is it just some necessary evil requirement that must be completed before beginning the real work.  Recruiters should make it clear to the successful candidate that he or she will be evaluated based on the quality of their participation.
  4. Solicit questions from the candidates concerning corporate core values, performance expectations, decision-making style, etc. and track this information so that it can be used to tailor elements of the onboarding program.  Company personnel cannot be shy about asking a candidate these tough questions.  A one-size fits all onboarding program, especially at the management and executive level, does not work.
  5. For lower level recruits, make watching a CEO values video concerning the organization’s commitment to quality, safety, service, ethical conduct and respect for one another a critical part of the interview process. Include the requirement that each potential candidate acknowledge seeing and understanding the message.

Once a candidate has accepted an offer, it is really too late to begin the process of onboarding.  In fact, tailoring and integrating the onboarding program to the recruiting process is essential.  Get your recruiters involved, soliciting their input.  It will enhance the quality of your program.

© 2012 John Gregory Self