September 11th, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Onboarding is the Key to a Terrific Candidate Experience – Sterling

What’s the most memorable day on the job? Many days are a blur, but one always stands out: the first. Of the many first days in my working career, I don’t think that anything could top my first day at Sterling. I didn’t have the typical day one experience. I was introduced to my new team as we spent two days attending a content marketing conference. The information that I took away from the conference let me jump right into my new job when I started my first day in the office.

For both the new hire and the employer, there is a lot is riding on the first day. Either all the expectations and promise of the interviews will come to fruition, or hopes will be dashed. At its most effective, onboarding tells a cohesive, compelling employer brand story. It engages and socializes the new hire from the moment they step through the door. And it lays the groundwork so that your new employee can become a productive, successful team member for the long haul.

Onboarding is a critical part of creating a great candidate experience for new employees. Sterling examines the successful components of onboarding a new hire from first-day paperwork needs to creating a 30/60/90 day plan for the candidate in the eBook HR’s Guide to Onboarding: From Decision to Day One and Beyond.

The Impact of Candidate Experience

Every single touch point that occurs between a job prospect and organization will define a candidate’s unique experience. Touch points include career website visits, application processes, conversations with recruiters, interview scheduling, career fairs and job offers. Organizations aim to deliver both a consistent and positive experience for every prospect. The desired collective impact is an across-the-board reputation as a strong recruiting organization, which will result in hiring better quality talent.

Based on findings in the 2016 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report companies that have memorable candidate experience:

  • Listen more
  • Set better expectations about the recruiting process (for candidates)
  • Hold themselves more accountable for candidate experience and talent acquisition performance, while measuring it regularly and consistently
  • Be perceived by candidates as having a “fairer” process – candidates believe they have been able to share why their knowledge, skills and experience deserves consideration for the jobs to which they have applied

Candidate experience has a direct impact on business from an organization’s reputation to its profitability. Candidates who had an overall negative hiring experience will take their alliances, product purchases and relationships elsewhere. Negative experiences impact the employer brand and can also diminish their ability to attract the “perfect” new talent for their company. As for the opposite, if a candidate had a positive experience, they will continue to increase a relationship with that potential employer. Candidates share their positive recruiting experiences with their inner circles (family, friends, peers) over 81% of the time and their negative experiences 66% of the time. Candidates also share positive (51%) and negative (34%) hiring experiences via social media (Glassdoor and LinkedIn).

Candidate Experience and Onboarding

Onboarding is the final stage in the hiring process. This stage includes sending the offer letter, providing employment background screening, onboarding paperwork and first day activities. Onboarding solutions have an immediate impact on candidate experience and overall organizational success. The time between the interview and the offer is a critical time. It is important to keep the timeline tight and on point to remain competitive in a candidate-driven market.

When onboarding goes well, the benefits from increased employee engagement directly impacts organizational success. When onboarding goes badly, employee morale and engagement is at risk. The 2016 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report describes strategic onboarding as including the following:

  • Forms Management: Ensuring new hires have filled out the correct forms to stay compliant and begin business-driven projects quickly.
  • Tasks Management: Making certain that new hires have everything they need and have met with the right people.
  • Socialization: Keeping new hires informed of the company culture and looped in with their manager and team.

Onboarding is just not a function of the Human Resources department. It takes a village to onboard a new employee. Good onboarding requires input from many different members of an organization from leadership to site leaders to IT and even marketing.

Great Onboarding Leads to Ongoing Employee Engagement

Employee engagement starts before the new hire’s first day. Companies with highly engaged workers have higher rates of customer satisfaction and fewer errors. Because employees decide within their first year whether to stay with a company, it’s critical that onboarding be a positive experience. Learn how to transform onboarding from a cumbersome, paper-laden process to one that engages top talent from the get-go by downloading Sterling’ eBook HR’s Guide to Onboarding: From Decision to Day One and Beyond.

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Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.