Recruitment Basics Part 4: getting off to a good start

If you have been following along with this four-part series on recruitment basics; you will now have shortlisted your applications (with reference to the matrix you originally prepared).  You will also be clear on the skills and attributes the position requires, you will have thrown out your lure and narrowed the field and finally ……

You’ve landed the big fish!

Let’s assume you have found the best person to fill the role in your organisation.  Stop.  Hold the champagne!  The project is not at sign off yet… next steps are:

  1. Offer and acceptance: offer verbally asap, followed up in writing.  Developing an agreement that meets both your needs and the employee’s needs.
  2. Phoning (in person) those short-listed candidates that you did not select.  Next time you go to the market, you don’t want to be remembered as the company that doesn’t care how long unsuccessful applicants are waiting and hoping.
  3. Welcome and introduction.  Just as we did in parts 1, 2, and 3 we need to state some stuff that seems obvious.  But remember often it is the obvious that gets overlooked.

Welcome them to the pond

Day one is in your diary, but:

  • Does everyone else know they are coming and on what day and what exactly for?
  • Are business cards ordered and sitting on their desk?
  • Do they even have a desk and is it clear of everyone else’s overflow and smelly gym gear?
  • Who has been appointed to show them around and explain stuff?
  • Have they planned to show them the toilet location, emergency instructions and passive/aggressive handwritten notes explaining the ‘unspoken/unfollowed rules’ of the shared kitchen?
  • Are the key points backed up with a written manual? Do they have a copy and a planned quiet time to peruse it? Is your policy manual welcoming and friendly or prescriptive and legally focused? Have you ever read it? Be honest!  If not, maybe that is the best sign it needs a rewrite.

I know a woman who used to be painfully shy: one of her first jobs was with a large organisation in a building with lots of twists, turns, and corridors.  No map of the premises was included in the induction manual and she was too shy to ask directions.  She did not know where the toilets were and ended up using the public ones in a nearby park for the first week.  Sure – this is an extreme example, but it highlights the importance of getting the basics right.

Also, remember that junior new starters may need more hand-holding than senior people.


From your new starters psychometric profile (see blog part 3)  you will already have valuable information on their personality and preferences.  Use this information to personalise their induction.  Many organisations have put a lot of work into a one-size-fits-all induction process.  Although this ensures all the boxes are ticked, do customise it with the specific inductee in mind.

Get them swimming

The more your new starter knows about the role and what is expected of them the quicker they will become productive.

Have you allowed enough cross over time for the person leaving to train them?


If it’s a new role, who has been appointed as trainer?  Have the trainer’s other tasks been reallocated or are they supposedly squeezing this training into their already full timetable?

Procedure manual …has yours been tested on someone who knows nothing about the role and therefore isn’t making assumptions that fill in the gaps?

How much information did you give them to study prior to the start date, while they were really curious?  Think about teaching them to swim in your pond starting before they start drowning.

Above all be prepared to put time and resources into the first few weeks to ensure a successful long term outcome.

Check out more free advice

For New Zealand readers our Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has tons of useful information on their site, including a multi-choice quiz to test you on your knowledge of the employment basics.

I hope you have enjoyed this series.  At popular request, several topics covered briefly during this series, will be expanded into their very own blogs (e.g. interviewing, references checking and psychometric profiling).  Any other requests – drop them in the comments or contact me.

Yours as ever,

Claire, The Barefoot (SME) Recruiter.

Footnotes, links and all that Jazz

The full series on recruitment basics includes:

Note from the future: I later provided two bonus blogs (free of charge) on:

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