June 2011 - November 2011 The search is over; candidate has signed on. Now what?

The search is over. You have found the ideal candidate. He has accepted the offer - in writing. His references are complete. Background checks are done, and educational credentials have been verified. He has successfully resigned his position with his current employer, and has rejected their counter offer (phew!).

Now what?

Don't assume everything is set.

While your inclination might be to breathe a sigh of relief, and wait to welcome the candidate aboard on Day One, this approach may be risky. Why?

No matter how excited the successful candidate was upon accepting your offer, sometimes things don't work out according to plan. Counter offers occur even after employees have resigned, have been walked to the door and public announcements of departure made. Candidates often have second thoughts, especially in uncertain economic times like these.

Below are a few suggestions to ensure that your ideal candidate arrives on Day One as planned, and most importantly, delivers what you are expecting in that critical first year.

"Welcome! We're so glad you're here!"

You went to a lot of trouble to find this candidate - let him know how happy you are that he'll be joining your organization.

The hiring manager might consider calling the candidate to express how pleased and excited she personally is that he is joining the team. She might also invite him to lunch to discuss the upcoming initial months in the role, short and medium term objectives, and to share with him a little more about the team he'll soon be leading.

If someone more senior than the hiring manager was involved in the interview process, consider having him reach out to the new hire as well, so that he too can express his pleasure at the candidate's imminent employment with the new organization.

Handle the administrative details now.

If there are relocation issues to attend to, initiate these actions immediately. Issues can include the sale and purchase of homes, the physical move, spouse's employment issues, exploring children's schools and activities, eldercare and more.

  • Forward paperwork related to enrollment in any benefits plans and direct deposit of pay.
  • Draft internal and external announcements that the candidate has joined the company. Forward to the candidate for his review.
  • Organize direct phone line, e-mail address, business cards, system access, laptop and PDA so that all is ready to go on Day One.

Introduce him to his key support.

If the new executive will have administrative support, suggest that the two of them meet for coffee or lunch in advance of Day One. Perhaps the EA can begin to update the new manager's contact list. The new hire will also be provided with an opportunity to begin to forge a valuable relationship with this key resource. The EA might also begin to set up one on one or group meetings for the new executive to familiarize himself with members of his team in his initial weeks in the new role.

And finally....

Make lunch reservations for the new executive and his new manager for the first week.

Have the hiring manager diarize periodic formal and informal discussions/coffees/lunches to explore how the new executive is faring at certain points within the first few months.

In short, do everything the organization can do to reinforce the candidate's decision, to support his transition into the company, and to support his ultimate success.