When many people think about employee onboarding, they think the first step is employee orientation. At WhyHR, we believe successful onboarding starts way back at the beginning of the hiring process. For us, onboarding includes pretty much everything that happens to get that employee in the door, including the policies and procedures in place for hiring employees. Successful onboarding includes job descriptions, job postings, how you source employee candidates, the interview process, and how you communicate throughout the process.
Who are the trolls and how do mythical, cave-dwelling creatures apply to human resources? At WhyHR, we define trolls as people who set out to take advantage of companies or who create a negative work environment once hired. Trolls can be anyone from a candidate who lies on their employment application to a person qualified for the position but whose work ethic or personality doesn’t fit well within the company. Your best opportunity to eliminate the trolls is to prevent them from ever being hired by ensuring a solid onboarding process from initial policy creation through final job offer and orientation.
Let’s take a closer look at the steps in the hiring process and the important factors for successful onboarding to eliminate trolls at each step.
Job Analysis and Position Descriptions
If you’re hiring for an existing position, have you conducted a complete job analysis of that position to ensure you’re looking for someone with the right experience and skills? If the position is new to the company, have you fully explored the job description and how that position fits in the big picture? The position description needs to fully encompass the job duties and how that position helps fulfill the company’s overall mission. A thorough position description also ensures you clearly communicate exactly what skills the right candidate should possess. Your position description should also clearly indicate if references, a background check, or a drug test will be required for employment. Sharing this information up front will result in some potential trolls choosing not to apply.
Once you have the right position description and post the job opportunity, it’s time for a job application. Has your standard job application been reviewed by a lawyer or a qualified human resources professional? Are all questions on the application legal to ask? Are you missing any important questions? Have you asked about the candidate’s education and any felonies? Do you know what information can be used to deny employment legally? The job application should reiterate that a background check or drug test will be required of candidates, if applicable.
You’ve reviewed the applications and have selected candidates to be interviewed based on the qualifications outlined in the job description. The interview provides an important opportunity for you to assess the candidate’s qualifications and their fit with your company, but it’s equally important to share information about the company with the candidate during the interview. You should discuss the company’s mission, values, and expectations for employees with each candidate and give them an opportunity to ask questions openly. Open conversation during the interview may help some candidates realize it is not the right opportunity or right fit for them, thus eliminating another potential troll.
Job Offer and Contingencies
At the conclusion of the interview process, you should have a top candidate who will receive a job offer. As with all other steps in the onboarding process, it’s important to make sure your offer letter covers everything that should be covered. If employment is contingent on passing a background check or drug test, be sure the offer letter uses contingent language. The offer letter should also clearly indicate the start date for the employee and outline the process for the employee accepting the offer.
Now we get to the part that most people call onboarding — the employee’s first day and the orientation process. Companies that take a more comprehensive view of onboarding have already set the stage for success by clearly defining the position, discussing with candidates how the position impacts the company’s mission, and ensuring they have asked the right questions throughout the process to hire the right person for the job. New employee orientation provides an opportunity to build on that foundation. While reviewing company policies in the handbook is important, orientation should also encompass goal setting and other activities to get the employee started on the path to success.
You may be wondering why we haven’t talked about checking references yet. In recent years, reference checks have become less and less common, because many companies have policies that prohibit discussing former employees. We still recommend that you ask for references on the application and review those references to evaluate their relationship to the candidate. If a candidate worked at one company for five years but did not provide a reference from that company, we recommend asking about it in the interview. In this case, references become a conversation starter to assess the candidate’s honesty, rather than a list of questions to be asked of a former supervisor.
Have you been the victim of trolls? Do you need help eliminating the trolls earlier in the process or dealing with trolls in your workforce? Call WhyHR today to talk about strategies for eliminating the trolls through successful onboarding.