Common Onboarding Mistakes that Can be Driving Candidates Away

March 22, 2023

It’s often difficult to pinpoint which stage of your recruitment process is most harmful to your efforts. At times, even the most well-designed of hiring campaigns can struggle in the test of talent acquisition simply because of one process hindering progress for the entire operation.

More often than not, companies begin losing candidates at the onboarding stage because of a few very common mistakes that can be easily avoided.

1- Lack of information or direction

A recurring complaint among young professionals when joining a new company pertains to the lack of direction or information provided during the onboarding stage. It’s a common factor that companies now work hard not to overlook, but generally speaking, it serves little to no purpose to keep a new hire in the dark. Yes, they’re new, and yes they have a lot to learn about the company, but that shouldn’t stand in the way of organized orientation and oversight.

It falls to the direct manager to make this happen. Their expertise and knowledge of the inner workings of the company as a unit are invaluable. Communication with a direct manager or someone on the senior management team allows candidates to be more productive, receive better feedback, learn the ropes, and improve their work to better fit the company’s goals.

Depending on the role, defining goals, milestones and KPIs can help in this regard. While it’s more difficult to apply this to creative and editorial roles, it’s still possible to set specific goals for each employee. It takes a bit of back and forth to define, but it helps with tracking individual progress and role development.

2- Lack of dedicated support

This might seem fairly obvious, but it’s still important enough to point out. Onboarding new employees requires dedicated support. The ultimate goal is to provide the candidate with the tools, training, resources, and all that’s needed to get the job done.

The candidate’s direct manager should have a training & development plan laid out before the talent in question even joins the company ranks. Not only that, but tools, resources, and role budget must also be well-defined, and remain subject to change or modification as the candidate becomes more and more acquainted with the company’s operations.

Perhaps the most tragic of all these mistakes occur when the candidate’s input isn’t taken seriously. Here I would cite Steve Jobs’ double-edged sword of a philosophy stating that “It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do, We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” And for all intents and purposes, when managers overlook a candidate’s pitched ideas and contributed innovation, they’re failing both the candidate and the company itself. As such, it’s extremely beneficial to give those stray and strange ideas some consideration.

The other side of that double-edged sword is the expectation. When employers set unrealistic expectations and milestones for the candidate simply because they “believe that’s what is expected”, they are actually hindering progress rather than driving it. Employees, and especially new hires, need to be able to set their own pace as per the company’s requirements. Setting unrealistic expectations would do nothing but spread stress, pressure, and prevent the candidate from performing optimally. And though employers may not see it, they could be gradually driving great hires away.

3- Spotting Onboarding Issues

Troubleshooting the onboarding process can reveal deep-rooted issues to which the company could have been oblivious. Moreover, it’s far more organized and effective to prepare a checklist of the different elements constituting a healthy onboarding process for the HR department to go through.

Although our own internal process at JB Hired dictates that candidates are carefully examined long before they reach the onboarding stage, double-checking for the following factors is a must, as it helps assess the candidate’s journey through the transition.

Cultural fit

Recruiters should be able to identify whether or not the candidate would be a good cultural fit during the interview process. However, This is usually most apparent during the first few months of employment. During the onboarding stage, HR professionals have a chance to see the candidate actively participate in the company’s operations and observe just how smooth of a transition the onboarding process has been.

Direct contact with seniors/management

Every ship needs a captain, and every captain needs a first mate. There’s a chain of command to any organized entity, and it’s crucial for every single employee in the company to know exactly who plays the role of their direct contact within the management team.

It’s certainly unreasonable to expect a new hire to find their own way navigating an unfamiliar team. For the onboarding stage, it’s crucial to give these candidates the support and direct training required to perform as expected. A chain of command is also a very enticing factor for candidates, as it showcases the company’s structure and defined processes.

Furthermore, defining processes for communication can help the company better understand its professional needs and allow the HR department to assess the onboarding stage as candidates make their way through it. This way, it’s easier to experiment and make adjustments as needed or as observed.

That’s why we’ve made it our job to see placements through. JB Hired’s team remains involved with candidates throughout the onboarding stage and consistently follow up with both parties (employer & candidate) to ensure that these critical few months are a smooth transition, a well-defined process, and a successful hire.

These overlooked elements constitute some of the more important metrics that our agency tracks. Our goal is to see our talent fulfill expectations, fit into the client companies, and smoothly make the journey from candidate to employee.

In case you’re looking for qualified talent to help you on this aspect, get in touch with JB Hired and source the talent your digital transformation needs!