​What happens after a contract is signed? Job done? Think again!

Fantastic! After 3 months of recruiting for your next Sales superstar, Head of Engineering, Product Manager, Marketing Executive, or whatever the vacancy may be, after hours of interviewing and negotiations, you couldn’t be more relieved to have filled it! Right?

My team and I know that feeling all too well. We fill vacancies for a living; targeted searches, interviewing multiple candidates on a day-to-day basis, taking on exciting briefs, tough to fill briefs, replacement briefs, etc. Finding the right person who ticks all the boxes is hard and time consuming. That’s why once you get that offer accepted and contract signed, don’t let this fool you that it is a “job done”, until your candidate starts.

As we know, the world has become virtual since the dreaded Covid-19 that hit us in 2020. This has not only created balance in people’s lives, but it has changed office dynamics and cultures. We aren’t seeing our teams in person on a day-to-day basis anymore, apart from the odd check-in in the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon. But let’s not deny it, we are all a bit tired of staring at people's faces on a screen all day, so it is harder than ever to engage with your teams on video.

Luckily, face to face is coming back to some extent, and we can at least see our teams from time to time in the office, but interviews are still very much being conducted through a mask, on Zoom or partially on Zoom, and the odd interview in person. Hiring managers have had to make decisions based on Zoom interviews only in the last year, which is a bit nerve-wracking at times and can also make processes drag out.

What’s more, we are living in a very candidate driven market right now. Since little to no hiring was done in 2020, companies are now full steam ahead with hiring and it is competitive. Without a doubt, your team will be reached out to by Recruiters and Hiring Managers daily to discuss new career opportunities. Your “new” employees who are signed to join you in 3 months, 2 months, or 1 month, will still be receiving those messages as well. The message? Start your onboarding process the day that the contract is signed!

Here are our top tips:

•Depending on the notice period, you will rely on your Recruiter to check in with them before the start date, but it is important that you, as their Manager do as well.

  1. Send your Onboarding Guide / Pack asap – including prestart date Check-ins. You want to involve new employees into the business to some degree before they start, so they know that you are invested in them from Day 1. Certainly, don’t give them any work to do! But, let them know you are looking forward to having them on board and what their first week might look like.

  2. Where possible, meet for breakfast, lunch, coffee, or casual drinks pre-start date or post the contract being signed. If they’ve only met you virtually, it is really hard to get to know someone over 3-4 hours of interviews that have mostly been about the job, and less about them personally.

  3. Meet the team/peers, where possible. This can be in the interview process but connect after as well. Let your team know who is joining and when.

  4. Make sure you have offered them a desirable work package (within reason). Why low ball if you don’t need to? Your chosen candidate is working in a competitive and candidate driven marketplace, and if you offer them less than they are ideally looking for (again, within reason), not talking about 40% salary increases here - you want them to feel their worth from Day 1. If not, they may continue to entertain job opportunities on the side to find their worth.

  5. Make sure you are honest in the interview process about the role and talk about what you love about your role! Candidates enjoy a personal touch to an interview, and who better to hear it from than a hiring manager?

You always want a candidate to take a role for the right reasons, we also want the role to be right for them, so identifying a match early on is really key. Note down the most important parts to the role so they know exactly what is expected of them. This is really important vs. just looking at their skill set.

As ever in life, and recruitment, some instances of dropouts are unavoidable, a candidate may genuinely have been approached for their once in a lifetime dream job, or had a big change of heart. There’s nothing we can do about that. However, what we can do is our best to avoid these situations and make candidates feel valued and welcomed to a new company the day they sign a contract.