In the Transition From Candidate to Employee, Collaboration Is Key

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Every candidate on the job market is looking for the perfect position — and that’s harder than it sounds. Looking for a job is a full-time job of its own. Job seekers head into the market every single day to ensure they’ll get the role they truly desire. Even though it’s a very tiring and time-consuming process, candidates put up with it because they know they will be rewarded in the end.

On the flip side, employers are doing a very similar thing: They’re looking at the talent market every day in search of the perfect candidate, the person who can fulfill the duties of their open role with limited supervision, minimal training, and great results. Employers and recruiters constantly tweak their job descriptions, messaging tactics, and outreach efforts to find the optimal way to engage and attract that individual who will be the perfect fit for the company and its culture.

It can be just as time-consuming to search for the perfect candidate as it is to search for the perfect job. Perhaps we should reconsider how we understand the recruiting process. Candidates and employers are, in a sense, two sides of the same coin. Maybe we should think of it as a far more collaborative process, one in which each side aims to help the other reach its final goal.

That approach could have a powerful impact on the hiring process — especially when it comes to the transition from candidate to new hire.

Transition Is a Two-Way Street

Consider what happens when a candidate lands the position of their dreams and the company gets the person it has been waiting for.

The candidate makes the transition from job seeker to employee. After all the hard work of applications, screening, and interviews, they are now part of the team. Similarly, the company has finally placed a great fit in the open role. After sifting through endless resumes and vetting tons of prospectives hires, the company finally arrives at someone who can do the job and thrive in the culture.

But the journey isn’t really over yet for the company or the new hire. There’s still the matter of the new hire learning to fit in, build relationships, and acclimate to the company’s workflow. The new hire and the employer both want the employee to fit in as if they’ve been a part of the team from the very beginning. That calls for a collaborative process.

For the new hire’s part, they need to start by observing what their new colleagues do and how they behave in the office. They need to approach their new company with an air of confidence, positivity, enthusiasm, and a little inquisitiveness. The employer can play a key role in helping the new hire do just that.

For example, the employer should assign a buddy or mentor to show the new hire around the office and introduce them to everyone. The new hire should also learn where they can go for help or to have questions answered. That knowledge goes a long way toward getting a new hire to stop feeling like they’re the new kid on the block. The goal is to make the new hire feel welcome.

The new hire should also show a willingness to learn more about their job, their responsibilities, their colleagues, and their new organization. They should keep an open mind when it comes to advice and suggestions from colleagues who have been with the company for a number of years. After all, they know the ropes and are essential to learning the ins and outs of the business.

Feedback Goes Both Ways

The employer should also take steps to help the new hire get their feet wet with new procedures and operations. While it’s important for the new hire to get to work on the job they were hired to do, they also need to acclimate to the broader context of the company. The new hire should have clear opportunities to engage in various company procedures, perhaps with the assistance of their buddy or mentor.

Mistakes will happen, of course — and both the new hire and employer need to keep this fact in mind. Use the inevitable mishaps as learning opportunities. Employees should be open to constructive criticism, and their teammates and supervisors should be willing to offer such criticism in an empathetic way. Everyone wants the new hire to do well, and receiving feedback is key to their improvement.

As the new hire gets accustomed to their new company, the organization should also give them opportunities to provide feedback of their own. New employees can bring a wealth of fresh perspectives to help their companies improve how things are done.

Finally, the new hire needs a goal in place for what they should achieve in the next 3-6 months. This will give the new hire a clear objective to meet, and it will give the organization concrete expectations for the new hire’s performance. As with everything else, the goal should be a collaborative process, with the new hire and the employer working together to set a goal that everyone can agree on.

Dr. Kanya D. Hubbard is owner and operator of Dee Jones, Inc.

By Kanya Hubbard