Once a new hire steps through the door, it’s not rare for recruiters to lose touch with them almost entirely as HR takes the reins. It’s not that you stop caring about the folks you’ve brought on – you’re just busy trying to fill your other open requisitions. After all, that’s your job; HR managers are the ones responsible for keeping employees happy and engaged once they’ve been hired.
So as the goal changes from recruiting to onboarding, a hand-off from recruiters to HR managers seems like a logical next step. A 180-degree transition like that, however, overlooks the huge opportunity recruiters have to help new hires efficiently and effectively settle into their roles, which is ultimately in everyone’s best interest – not just the interests of HR and hiring managers.
Recruiters and HR Managers Need to Combine Forces
An employee who feels comfortable and productive early on is much less likely to leave than one who doesn’t, and considering that most companies require new hires to stick around for a certain amount of time before they count toward a recruiter’s quotas, that’s a big deal. Beyond that, recruiters have an obligation to make sure that the experience they sold the candidate on in the first place is accurate. If not, then your company is an open target for negative Glassdoor reviews, high turnover, and a damaged employment brand. Suffice it to say, recruiters have a vested interest in onboarding success.
But as a poet once said, “No recruiter is an island.” It’s easy for recruiters and HR to unintentionally silo themselves, especially as a company’s headcount increases, but to ensure the best onboarding experience possible, neither recruiters nor HR managers should go it alone. Instead, they should partner up for mutually beneficial results.
Invite HR to the Interview Table
Even before a candidate is hired, one of the most helpful things recruiters and HR can do is develop a combined hiring and onboarding plan. This should list everything from initial outreach to the 90-day review while assigning ownership every step of the way. (It may also be helpful to look into tools to help manage the workflows of each party involved.)
During the early stages, it makes sense for recruiters to be the primary contact, but that doesn’t mean that HR shouldn’t get involved. Once a candidate advances to the second or third round of interviews, for example, then HR should make a point to join the interview team. The earlier HR managers get involved, the more likely they are to establish trust with candidates if and when they get hired, which is critical for a successful employee/HR relationship moving forward.
In a perfect world, HR managers would interview all final-round candidates, but I know that schedules have a way of filling up at the last minute. So if HR reps can only join interviews every once in awhile, make sure that candidates interviewing for leadership roles are given top priority.
Maintain the Connection
Once a candidate has accepted an offer and the onboarding pendulum swings toward HR, it makes sense for that department to take over most of the day-to-day tasks, but it’s also a perfect time for recruiters to play a supporting role. It all goes back to that trust I mentioned earlier: Since you’ve been the main point of contact up until now, new hires are going to feel most comfortable with you. If you can be there to welcome your newest team member on their first day, give them a quick tour, and maybe even sit in on a few of their onboarding sessions, you’ll set the stage for a smooth transition from “candidate” to “employee.”
Even after the start date, you can leverage the rapport you have with new hires to make sure that their experience is everything they thought it would be. Scheduling a coffee or grabbing lunch after the first couple of weeks and then months is a great way to get the real scoop on how things are going. New hires sometimes feel like painting anything but a 100 percent rosy picture to HR could reflect poorly on them, but with a recruiter as their trusted confidant, they’re much more likely to be honest. Ask new hires how they’re doing so far, what they think of the company, and whether their experience has matched their expectations. If anything’s amiss, you can share that info with HR managers (given that you have the employee’s permission), who have the know-how and resources to fix it. And if everything’s going great, you’ll have one more selling point for future candidates.
Given that recruiters have traditionally been so focused on acceptance rates and numbers of hires, it can be tough to shift gears and focus on what happens after the offer letter has been signed. But when HR and recruiters team up to create a better, more holistic new employee experience, you might just see a boost in retention, performance, length of employment, and more.
When it comes to attracting new talent to your company, success tends to beget success: If you can help your new employees be as productive and happy as possible from the get-go, you’ll find that more and more people will want to be a part of your team. And with first-rate employees making the difference between a good company and a great company, you won’t just be doing your job better – you’ll be contributing to your company’s overall success.
Rachel Bitte is chief people officer at Jobvite – a.k.a., “head honcho of finding and keeping the geniuses who work here.” She has more than 18 years of human resources leadership and process excellence experience, and she has a proven track record of working closely with executives to lead engaged, high-performing workforces. In her free time, she is all about anything outdoors that burns calories, including road riding, mountain biking, snowboarding, and backpacking – she’s very excited about anything that replaces the calories found in great drinks and good food, specifically international cuisine.
As Jobvite’s chief people officer, Rachel brings with her a wealth of HR experience – particularly in the tech industry – with a focus on change leadership and talent management.
“I’m passionate about human resources and how business success and hiring go together,” Bitte says. “I’ve been lucky enough to explore all different sides of the field throughout my career, from customer care to business initiatives. Now, at Jobvite, I’m able to tie aspects from all of my previous experiences into one position.”