Only about 10% of all recruiters do anything about ensuring their candidate will perform adequately or happily on the job. Their follow-up is limited to collection calls. That’s hardly the “after-sales service” that generates more business.
Those 10% are the highest billers, though. They give real meaning to the word “consultant.” Their candidates are successful, stay a respectable period, and refer others. That time they spend doesn’t interfere with placing — it increases it by investing in candidates and employers.
Frederick Harmon and Gary Jacobs wrote why in The Vital Difference: Unleashing the Powers of Sustained Corporate Success:
When an organization generally commits itself to the personal growth of its people, it can help create the right inner motives and external conditions for their development.
When the people grow, the company grows too. The individuals come to identify their personal seeking more and more with the company’s progress, and find personal fulfillment by giving themselves to it through service.
The first 90 days on the job are usually considered a “probation period.” It’s really an “incubation period” though. Few employers recognize that a new-hire orientation should last beyond the start date. Those that do rarely use an organized system to prevent a new hire from going haywire.
In Blow Your Own Horn, Jeffrey Davidson observed:
Most larger companies have formal or informal orientation programs for new employees. Orientation can offer a wealth of information about the organization immediately.
There are too many companies where the orientation lasts one hour — just long enough for the new employee to sign forms and hear about vacation and sick leave policies. A manual is shoved at the new people, who are then sent to their desks.
In these instances, employees learn about their companies by what is not said at the orientation.
This PTL will review the six ways you can help.
1. Ask The Employer About Its Orientation Program
The perfect opportunity exists when you first take the job order.
These are the questions we recommend:
NEW HIRE ORIENTATION QUESTIONNAIRE
- What does (name of employer) do on the hire date to inform the employee about benefits?
- What does (name of employer) do on the hire date to give the employee a positive perception about the organization;
- What does (name of employer) do on the hire date to help the employee with understanding organization reporting relationships?
- What does (name of employer) do on the hire date to help the employee know where offices are located?
- What written orientation materials are given by (name of employer) to the employee on the hire date?
- What does (name of employer) do on the hire date to help the employee answer questions about the employer, job, or working conditions?
- How is the employee introduced to his or her supervisor?
- How is the employee introduced to his or her coworkers?
- Is the employee able to observe how the department operates before he or she starts to work?
- Are the employee’s job duties explained fully before he or she starts to work?
- What department procedures are there to answer the new employee’s questions about the job?
- What department procedures are there to supervise the new employee’s initial work?
- How many people out of every ten hired at this employee’s level leave voluntarily or involuntarily within six months?
- What does (name of employer) do to welcome a new employee (parties, special recognition at meetings, mention in company newsletter, etc.)?
- What publicity does (name of employer) give the hiring of a new employee (memo, announcement, press release, etc.)?
The answers to these questions will probably convince you they were the right ones to ask.
If employers spent a fraction of the time orienting new employees that they spend terminating old ones, they wouldn’t be terminating those people.
Gordon Shea noted in Building Trust for Personal and Organizational Success:
There are many techniques for integrating people into the group, such as name tags and people whose assignment is to seek out newcomers. These often work well, but nothing can do the job as well as having every member sensitized to the needs of the new person. Groups that are truly sensitive and helpful integrate people effectively, and can get on with the job to be done.
They build truly trusting organizations.
End your questioning with the high-billers’ comment:
“How would like for me to help you develop a simple, effective, professional orientation program? I’ll charge you $ _____ and deduct it from the next placement fee.”
You could give this away, but employers follow advice more readily when they pay for it. Not only that, it will give the hiring authority an incentive to hire from you. In addition to the fee, you’ll develop contacts and inside knowledge about the employer that will really help you make placements.
Once you’ve got the supervisor cooperating, you’re movin’ your welcome wagon into the fast lane.
2. Host A Welcoming Party
It doesn’t have to be as fancy as most going-away parties. Just a little morning “coffee and donuts” reception at or near the employer’s business is fine.
When I was an HR manager, my most successful outside recruiter (still a client today) used to have a continental breakfast catered on Monday mornings in our department. We hired through him regularly.
While he could have simply asked us to invite the department to a local restaurant before starting work, he preferred the in-house visibility. That $200 or so was the best PR investment he could have made. It inspired more desire to hire than all the other closing techniques, gifts and free lunches combined.
If you’re not local, have the human resourcer or hiring authority arrange the event, and recommend a caterer or restaurant to you.
Just make sure everyone knows you’re the sponsor.
3. Media Coverage
The most obvious coverage is often overlooked — the company newsletter. A picture of the candidate, his supervisor, and a few top managers is the perfect employee relations piece.
Then there’s the newspaper in the employer’s city. Open it and you’ll see the faces of real estate agents, students and newlyweds. All it took was a picture, a cover letter (or press release), an envelope, and a stamp. Large, fee-paying employers can easily get honorable mention too. It’s more enduring (and endearing) than a website announcement.
An alternate is the suburban paper where the candidate lives. These weeklies need as much neighborhood news as they can get. Many will either take the candidate’s picture in their office or send out a photographer.
If you place locally, work out a volume discount with a neighborhood portrait photographer. Then refer the employer to him. Many won’t even charge a “sitting fee,” and the first portrait shouldn’t cost more than $35 for a 5″x7.” This is a reduced price because the candidates can be expected to order reprints.
The cover letter should read like this:
(name of publication)
ATTN: (name and title of appropriate editor)
Re: Hiring of (name of candidate) by (name of employer)
(name of employer) is pleased to announce that (name of employee) has just been hired as its (title of job).
Mr./Ms. will be responsible for (major duties, interesting projects, management functions, etc.). His extensive background in (specific areas) includes (former titles, employers, and related experience).
I have enclosed Mr./Ms. ‘s picture for your convenience, and would appreciate publication of this information in the (name of section) at the earliest opportunity.
Should you wish any further information, please call me at (___)___-____.
Thank you for your assistance.
Very truly yours,
(name of human resources manager)
(title of human resources manager)
You should be able to write this easily for the employer. Use the job order and candidate’s resume for the information. Then the personnel person can just copy it. Consider including items about the candidate like:
- Hobbies, community activities, professional accomplishments, etc.
- Certifications, memberships, offices held, etc.
- Awards, books or articles published, patents, etc.
- Former residence location.
- Future goals.
A press release format is not recommended for this type of request, since it appears mass-mailed. No paper wants to duplicate a competitor’s news.
However, if the employer really wants to mass-mail press releases to local papers, the format looks like this:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Contact: (name of personnel manager)
(title of personnel manager)
(name of employer) is pleased to announce that (name of employee) has just been hired as its (title of job).
Mr./Ms. Will be responsible for (major duties, interesting projects, management functions, etc.). His extensive background in (specific areas) includes (former titles, employers, and related experience).
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Enclosure: Photograph of (name of candidate)
As you can see, the letter or release can easily be done by you directly. If so, be sure to include a sentence at the end like:
Mr./Ms. Was placed in (his/her) position by (your name) with (name of your organization). (He/she) specializes in the (name of discipline) field and can be reached at ______
When dealing with the press, Davidson cautioned:
Once you have made contact with the editors of the print media you have selected, send your news releases on a regular basis, perhaps monthly or quarterly. Never call the editor, seek a publication date or ask for clippings. This is the quickest guarantee for getting news releases filed in the trash.
Editors are busy people, and can easily be irritated by those who call to ask about news or press releases. In the long run, your chances are much better if you simply write a good release and keep quiet.
For more ideas, read Chapter 71 of Placement Management entitled “Your Public Relations.”
During the next month use the New Hire Orientation Questionnaire in Item 1 to determine which employers you can help most.
4. An Updated Handbook
Few employers have current, understandable, usable information in their employee handbooks. Since these are considered binding as contracts, outdated ones can cause major lawsuits.
The most wonderful words this lawyer reads are:
- Paternalistic platitudes about continued employment.
- Misrepresented missives about fairness in employee discipline.
- False phrases about working conditions.
You can easily update (or write) a good employee handbook for the employer. If you can’t revise an existing one, ask other candidates to send you theirs. Your local library should also have models and actual handbooks to give you ideas.
A complete model is contained in Chapter 6 of Placement Management entitled “How To Prepare A Policy Manual.”
Here are the headings of items you should cover:
|Goals||Employee Evaluation||Other Benefits|
|Relations with Other Employees||Telephone, Postage and Office Supply Usage||Holidays|
|Company Confidences||Expense Reimbursement||Vacations|
|Access to Trade Secrets||Compensation||Personal and Sick Leave Time|
|Orientation||Transfers||Equal Employment Opportunity|
|Probation Period||Insurance||Security Terminations|
It’s just not that difficult. I wrote that Policy Manual chapter in about four hours. You can enter it into your PC and just insert the right data for each employee.
5. Supervisor Training
Even when the orientation is thorough at the intake stage, the new hire is often abandoned. He spends his first day in a strange sleepwalk — wandering around aimlessly, bumping into department walls. And your invoice hasn’t even arrived.
Overlooking new faces is natural, because Monday mornings are the busiest time for supervisors. They’re in staff meetings, twice the mail is being delivered, and people aren’t showing up for work. Training and explaining is the last thing they want to do. The new employee is immediately ignored, and that first impression never really leaves him, All that recruiter rhetoric and company concern won’t keep him from mentally updating his resume the day he starts.
Why don’t you conduct a monthly in-house workshop for supervisors? We did it a hundred times when we were “consulting.” It’s a great way to protect your investment — that placement and the relationship with the employer.
Ask the HR contact to arrange the meeting in his conference room with PowerPoint, an easel and refreshments.
He can send a memo to all supervisors that reads like this:
TO: All Hiring Supervisors (date)
FROM: (name and title of HR manager)
SUBJECT: New-Hire Departmental Orientation Workshop
On (date) at (__:__) AM, we will be conducting a New-Hire Department Orientation Workshop.
This is designed to develop a consistent, systematic approach for your department to follow as the new employee leaves the company orientation in our office.
Our guest will be (your name), a consultant with (name of your organization). He is knowledgeable in helping organizations like ours improve employee productivity and reduce turnover. We will review the Human Resources Department’s format, the information presented, and the “new-hire packet” provided. Then we will discuss how you can continue the orientation process to help your employee sufficiently adjust to his or her new job. If you have any techniques or forms that have worked particularly well, please be prepared to present them.
We estimate the meeting will take no more than two hours, and refreshments will be served.
This important program will ensure that your new-hires have the proper attitude and direction, from their first day on the job. Please arrange to be there personally.
We look forward to your participation. Should you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks.
6. Consider Yourself a Paid Member Of The Employer’s Staff
That’s what the high-billers do. They’re careful with those they choose as “clients,” and are paid regularly enough to forget they receive contingency fees.
They recognize their role as a facilitator, knowing that they can’t take the credit. In fact, they give the credit to the in-house staffers — along with that fee credit for the amount they were paid for the project.
After you do a few of these new-hire orientation programs, you’ll see how easy and how much fun they are. But you’ll never really believe the magical results.
It’s a classic application of the “give to get” law of life. You teach, but you learn too. You learn about the employer, the people who hire, and the people they hire. This PR is more than just public relations — it’s personal relationships that take you into the world of professional recruiting.
More forms, checklists and techniques for orientations are contained in New Employee Orientations by Charles Cadwell. It is available on Amazon.
Post-placement professionalism. Positive pension planning.