It is common in graduate recruitment that there can be huge time gaps between your offer and their start date. In some cases this can be as long as 12 months. Keeping your hard won graduates engaged during this time is more important than ever especially with graduates taking multiple offers.
How do you stay front-of-mind and reduce the likelihood of the dreaded no-show?
Think about an event you have planned for lots of people – maybe a works do, wedding, birthday or holiday. I expect there were a few people who you thought were potentially likely to drop out. What did you do to reduce this likelihood? The same goes for your graduates. It needs careful attention.
Losing graduates who have already accepted can be very expensive and time consuming. You’ll have to recruit again, extending the time to find a replacement, with the knock-on effect of reducing team productivity.
Here’s seven tactics from our experts who have learnt from helping recruiters manage their entire recruitment process from start to finish paying careful attention to pre-boarding.
1. Get the contract signed ASAP - With only a verbal acceptance you risk losing momentum so get the contract and other paperwork posted or emailed immediately. Ask that it is returned just as quickly with a self-addressed envelope. If you can invite them in to sign the documents in person then you also have an opportunity for a photo like football teams do when they sign a new player!
2. Broadcast their acceptance of the job - Creating a buzz around your new hire makes them feel special and reinforces their commitment to show. Here’s how;
• make a formal announcement of their acceptance on internal newsletters and social media.
• ask the graduate to make their own announcement by updating their LinkedIn and social media profiles.
• notify their references that they have accepted. Chances are the references will make contact to congratulate the graduate.
3. Get them off the jobs market - Whilst there is no guarantee they will stop their job search you can ask the question. Your intention is to minimise your offer being rescinded so make it clear you expect them to keep their commitment to you. If you can afford it, a sign-on bonus (or after one month’s service) may lock them in.
4. Send a Welcome Pack - Make sure this truly makes them feel welcome! The welcome pack should aim to show that you trust them and are invested in them 100%. Make sure you highlight;
• the reasons why the graduate was initially attracted to the role and why your firm is preferable to others.
• planned activities that demonstrate the team have timetabled these and are counting on their attendance. This could be a welcome team meeting, lunch or a group picture. If possible, having a senior figure or MD greet them on day one can reinforce the importance of their attendance.
• helpful information that reduces high-anxiety concerns. This could be the timetable of the first day and week, scheduled training sessions, location of their desk, login details, email address, the dress code, parking, keys, etc.
• include their new business cards and details of your social media they can join. A simple WhatsApp group for new starters can work wonders.
• include FAQs that you have collated from previous graduates.
• one point of contact they can call with any further questions or concerns.
5. Assign a Mentor or Buddy - Show the graduate that your firm is committed to supporting their staff from the get go. Get the person you think is most suitable to be a mentor or buddy and make an introduction. Reassure the graduate that everything is in confidence and that they have their back at all times. This action alone will really go far with someone transitioning into the workplace for the first time.
6. Build their network for them - As all good recruiters know from Tuckman’s stages of development, creating the earliest bond in teams is key to performance. Start by sharing team members LinkedIn profiles and encourage them to connect. If there is an internal network such as Microsoft Teams or a WhatsApp group then add them.
7. Explain the negative impacts from a no-show - Ok this is a guilt trip but graduates may be unaware of the damage a no-show can have on the company. If they have any hesitations after this conversation they may come clean about their intentions. Points to cover could be;
• the amount of time and money that was spent on their hiring.
• the added time it takes to restart the hiring process.
• the damage to team morale caused by the extra workload and the effect on results.
• the negative impact on the reputation of their manager and recruiter.
You may have your own tried and tested methods but I hope these tactics have given you pause for thought and are something you may add to your pre-boarding strategy. The ROI in money and time in doing so are extremely high.