As important as it is to be very selective when hiring, you also must do it fast! If you move too slowly, you will lose your new hire. The two watchwords of your selection process should be rigorous and fast.
Even if you succeed in expediting your selection process, make a solid offer, and receive an unconditional acceptance, your prospect is still not safely on board. Offer and acceptance does not always an iron-clad deal make. That’s the new normal of hiring today. Sometimes people just change their minds. Sometimes they get cold feet. Perhaps a better offer comes their way. Or it may not be another job offer—life changes can happen in an instant.
More often, prospective hires lose the interest that was generated during the attraction and selection process. Following the flurry of highly-engaged communication—from the interview, to the offer, to possible negotiation, to acceptance—a sudden lull can sometimes be jarring for the applicant. At worst, it makes them question their decision to accept your employment offer. At best, you fall off their radar.
Either way, you run the risk of losing that new hire before they’ve started. There are so many competing demands for our attention, after all. How is anyone expected to believe an employer truly values them if there is a noticeable drop-off in communication after the deal has been made?
Sometimes there is an unavoidable lag between the time an offer is made and accepted and day one of the actual job. Maybe the employee needs to finish school, or the employer must complete a security screening. Whenever possible, avoid these delays. They are minefields of vulnerability in which a perfectly good hire can go bad.
No matter how long the delay between acceptance and day one, here are a few ways to keep your newly hired employee engaged and excited about joining your organization.
Maintain a high level of communication. Consider the way your marketing team might keep a prospective client or customer interested in your services and products. Do the same for your new hire! Stay in touch by scheduling a series of interesting, engaging, useful communications—not just from HR or some other anonymous corporate office, but rather from the hiring manager and the team the employee will be working with. Using this intervening time as a way for managers to jumpstart their 1:1s with this new employee can make a huge difference.
Send plenty of background material on the company. But also consider including mugs, shirts, pens—anything that your new hire can use to show off their new job to friends, online and in-person.
Send actual assignments for them to complete and return. These should not be pro forma assignments, but assignments that will help new employees jumpstart the orientation process when they arrive. Are there any ongoing matters in which you could include them? What forms will they have to fill out when they arrive? Are there personnel lists you can provide? But please, for everyone’s sake, don’t ask for anything too time-consuming.
Have key people on the team send introductory emails. Have people introduce themselves and explain where they fit on the team and what, if any, working relationship they are likely to share.
All of these communication options have the effect of making your newly hired employees feel they are actively transitioning to the work: they are accepted by their new workplace and are being integrated into the team. It also gives them a tiny bit of a realistic job preview.
Meanwhile, never forget that day one is going to be the most important day for this new employee, so prepare for it as if the success of the hire depends on it—it might.