The old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is true in a personal context, but it is also true from an organisational point of view. When a company makes a critical hire, particularly at the senior executive level, that person will begin forming his or her impression of the organisation immediately. This is why making the transition and on-boarding processes as smooth and simple as possible for the new recruit should be a key priority for companies today.
An early and critical step following any instrumental hire should be the referencing and background screening process. Our on-going engagement with the Talent Acquisition and compliance community across the first half of 2014 has highlighted an increasing demand for a high touch approach to pre-employment screening for senior level hires.
RMI has set up standardised screening processes to efficiently manage volumes of new hires entering an organisation, but we are now seeing the market call for a different approach when it comes to engaging senior level candidates. In our research with our own client base on the on-boarding of senior level executives, we found three recurring themes: Communication, Transparency and Transition.
The referencing and screening process has evolved dramatically, with a developing emphasis on reducing turnaround times through automation. The push for streamlining processes is valid; however, one element has fallen out of the equation and that, put simply, is the human touch. Where screening volumes are high, due to mass recruitment exercises or even natural attrition, automation is necessary in order to achieve the fastest turnaround times. However, our feedback reveals that those in senior and leadership positions prefer a more tailored approach – greater communication and one point of contact have been identified as a necessity.
Organisations have reported that senior candidates should be managed through the referencing and screening process with an open and personal touch. They would like to see initial contact via telephone to provide an overview of the process, requirements and expected timescales. During on-boarding clients are keen for these candidates to receive additional updates, and most importantly that any of their incoming queries are responded to with urgency.
A smooth transition is essential to reinforce the clients’ employer brand. Senior hires are generally busy, and they are reluctant to spend valuable time completing forms, repeating information that has already been provided to a new employer. Equally, prospective employers want to ensure the on-boarding process for new hires at this level is hassle-free. These candidates are also quite often tied in to long notice periods, making it crucial that the screening provider manages the transition without adding additional time to the on-boarding process.
Leadership candidates are individuals that Talent Acquisition professionals have spent a significant amount of time and effort sourcing. Companies have also invested senior stakeholder time in interviews and have potentially spent money on flights and/or accommodation. These are all investments that an organisation does not want to see jeopardised by a cumbersome on-boarding process, or by first impressions that leave the candidate dissatisfied with the organisation they are considering joining.
In response to market feedback, RMI has put in place a high touch solution for senior hires, which addresses these concerns. The five cornerstones of our ‘Select Executive Service’ are:
- Designated Senior Executive from RMI as a point of contact to guide senior level hires through the screening process (direct e-mail address and phone number provided);
- Taking on the administrative element of pre-employment screening for the candidate;
- Liaising with the candidate’s Executive or Personal Assistant on scheduling and requests for information/documents;
- High frequency of contact to advise of progress, next steps and expected completion date;
- Managing all screening in line with the candidate’s notice period to prevent delays.
Under this process candidates are reassured, knowing that there is an assigned person overseeing the end-to-end process and that an update on their on-boarding is always just a phone call or an e-mail away. This allows candidates to plan their transitions better, knowing that everything is in order and a tentative timeline is in place. From the company’s point of view, the process is handled as seamlessly as possible, creating a favourable first impression and enabling the new hire to begin contributing to the organisation in the shortest timeframe. From the candidate’s perspective, the company is seen to be taking care of them and making their transition as smooth as possible. Keeping both sides of the equation happy ensures a win-win for both companies and candidates. For more information on the Select Executive Service, please contact Mervyn Ho, Tel: +65-96925008, Email: Mervyn.firstname.lastname@example.org