Reject With Respect: How to Decline Job Candidates

One of the less glamorous tasks in recruiting and human resources is the responsibility to decline a job candidate when he isn’t the best individual for a role. While it’s not easy or fun, it can and should be done with efficiency, professionalism and respect. After all, if you were in the candidate’s shoes, you’d want to know the final decision on your potential employment status with the organization.

Unfortunately, many employers procrastinate on or even skip this essential candidate communication due to apathy, a lack of organization and/or a poor system for managing candidate follow-up during the hiring process. Not only does this damage the company’s employment brand (and likely the consumer brand), but it also impedes its ability to source a sufficiently stocked candidate pipeline in the future. In fact, according to The Candidate Experience Study (WorkplaceTrends), candidates are 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified when declined for a previous position.

Put yourself in a position to professionally decline candidates by forming your candidate rejection strategies before you find yourself in the moment. Craft email template options, brainstorm bullet points for phone scripts and role play a “no thanks” conversation with a coworker. In this blog, I’ll share ten employment brand-friendly strategies for passing on job candidates.

1 – Set yourself up for success by setting expectations

I’m a huge believer in setting hiring process expectations with candidates so they understand

  • how long it may take to fill the job,
  • how many stages are involved,
  • whether they will receive an answer on their candidacy regardless of decision made, and
  • in which format the answer will be sent.

The desirable impact of this habit is that it forces you–as a recruiter or hiring manager–to stay accountable to telling candidates when they aren’t selected. You wouldn’t want to go back on your word and damage your professional reputation (or that of your organization) by dropping the ball.

2 – Personalize follow-up by hiring stage

Applicant tracking systems make it easy to personalize fields such as name, job title and company in email templates, and employers should create templates for each stage a candidate navigates during the hiring process. For example, while I rely on automated personalization in emails sent to candidates that don’t progress past the application, I make a personal phone call to a silver medal candidate who finished second after the final interview.

However, there are many nuanced approaches that fall in between those opposite ends of the hiring process. I explore them in the following sections.

3 – It’s not never, just not now

How many times have you interviewed a sharp candidate for a specific position who didn’t have the same amount of experience as the individual who finished first? Or, perhaps the personality of the silver (or even bronze) medal candidate wouldn’t have been the perfect match with the hiring manager involved?

There are situations when you really believe in the potential for the rejected candidate to do something at your organization in the future–the timing just isn’t right now. Don’t lose track of these individuals. Instead, engage them in a targeted campaign for future job opportunities, invite them to subscribe to your future job alerts and send them a thank you email with links to follow you on social and read your corporate blog.

4 – We’d love to leverage your strengths elsewhere

I’ve sourced candidates for many sales positions and I always encounter candidates from a wide variety of sales specializations. Some are amazing new client hunters, others excel at managing and nurturing an existing client base, and some would be better suited to driving client acquisition behind the scenes by developing lead acquisition techniques.

When I find a talented individual with the wrong specialization for my current role, I do my best to reroute her to an opportunity that better aligns with her strengths. If your organization is large enough, that may be as easy as inviting her to apply to other roles internally, or making it simple for the candidate by teeing up an introduction to another hiring manager.

If you’re not currently hiring for any other relevant roles, then tag that candidate for future consideration for other job categories with a meaningful status in your applicant tracking software. Then, periodically touch base with her to let her know she is of continued interest to your organization.

5 – You have potential, keep at it

When you encounter an inexperienced candidate with a long runway of potential future performance, invest in a targeted communication approach with that individual. Tag that candidate to receive communications about

  • how to prepare for your hiring process,
  • the skills and education you require in various job categories,
  • opportunities for internships and temp-to-hire roles, and
  • future hiring events such as open houses and career fairs where your organization will be represented.

Relative to the other strategies listed here, this tactic is a slow simmer; however, six months to two years down the road that greenhorn candidate may have professionally matured into the best option for your future job listing. Plus, the opportunity cost of nurturing her via email and social over time is usually far exceeded by the short-term costs of paid job board listings and external recruiter fees.

6 – Can I help connect you?

Sometimes the final group of candidates for a position are in a neck-to-neck race to the employment offer. While almost negligible differences may separate their final qualification for a position (e.g. the recommendation of a colleague, a slight difference in pay expectations, their availability to start by a certain day), there’s only one first place finisher.

Don’t lose sight of your opportunity to not only engage those not selected in future opportunities with your organization, but also your privilege to help connect them with your network in the hopes they may land something spectacular elsewhere. This could be as simple as an invitation from you to connect on LinkedIn so that you may facilitate introductions between them and your friends at other organizations.

I’ve employed this approach successfully in my own career when I wasn’t the final choice for an available position. In fact, I’ve sourced new clients as a result of the relationship I maintained with an employer despite being its silver medal candidate for a position. You never know when your path may intersect with an organization again.

7 – Circumstances have changed

Perhaps more frustrating than not finishing first is the feeling a candidate experiences when an employer decides not to fill an open position. After all, the candidate has already invested the time and energy in applying, interviewing and waiting only to not find out whether he was ever qualified to be selected!

While some employers will send a communication to candidates when circumstances prevent the company from filling the position, many have the opportunity to improve that message by commenting on whether the candidate should pursue the position should it become available once again. If a candidate was not a fit for the role even though the role wasn’t filled, be respectful of that candidate’s future time by thanking him for his interest and encouraging him to either develop himself more in specific areas or pursue different avenues in the future.

8 – Thank you with a parting gift

If you feel like parting ways with a job candidate isn’t the sweet sorrow you were seeking, then offer a consolation prize. NOTE: This isn’t for everyone and should be approached with a delicate analysis of the candidate audience relative to your consumer brand. However, particularly if you are a retail brand sourcing part-time positions for various locations, a parting discount or coupon can sweeten the sting of rejection.

For example, as long as I was communicated to and treated with respect during the hiring process, a thoughtful decline note that asks me to keep an eye on future positions and includes a coupon could prompt future job applications from me. In the hourly, part-time employment world, five dollars off my next pizza would encourage my continued patronage of a retail brand I probably already enjoy.

9 – What can we do better?

When we recruit in a vacuum, we can’t expect to improve our process or our hiring outcomes. Therefore, choice employers incorporate a continuous feedback loop into their recruiting workflow by surveying their job candidates.

The key to success with this approach is to customize the feedback request based on both the status and stage of the candidate. After all, an applicant rejected after an initial phone screen will have a different scope of experience than the final candidate who receives the employment offer.

Take action on the nuggets of wisdom uncovered in candidate surveys by stage and produce content that explains how you’ve improved the hiring process. And, because you’ve stayed in contact with previously declined candidates based on strategies mentioned earlier, your future conversion of these boomerang candidates will certainly improve.

10 – A reverence for referred candidates

In the same way that employers have a responsibility to follow-up with all candidates to preserve their employment brand, employers have a duty to follow-up with existing employees who refer candidates. While the explicit details of the employment decision may not be appropriate to share with the referring employee, a general comment about the candidate’s status in the hiring process will always be appreciated.

In addition to sending a sincere thank you to the employee, providing closure about the status of the referral will help ensure that employees continue to make an effort to promote your organization within their networks.


The communication strategy you employ within your hiring process is critically important to the long-term success of your organization. Keeping people respectfully informed of their candidate status will go a long way toward populating your talent pipeline in the future.

Download our hiring process questions guide

Are your employees treated kindly?

Employee engagement has been a popular topic over the past few years. Business articles, blog posts, webinars, ebooks…you name it, all have tackled the topic from many different angles. Frequently, it’s raised in discussing how Human Resources professionals can impact a business’s bottom line. So, of course, there are now software solutions offering to measure it.

But can you really measure something like employee engagement?

The Nutshell Effect

The idea of employee engagement is, like many other useful ideas, the victim of what I’ll crudely call the “nutshell effect.” This is where an innovative, nuanced idea–the product of much critical thought and consideration–is squashed into an easy-to-understand, conveniently vague definition.

The nutshell definition of employee engagement makes it possible to define almost any activity as part of employee engagement. This inevitably leads to the creation of employee engagement programs that are nothing more than a sprawling list of activities, many without a clearly defined purpose. Sure, you can measure all those activities, but do they really make a difference? Do we reach a point where if everything is employee engagement, nothing is employee engagement?

Don’t get me wrong, the nutshell version of employee engagement does have an advantage. Namely, it’s easier to pass the idea around. Imagine if the only way to share an idea like employee engagement was through a 40-page academic paper. Yikes! The vast majority would open it up, scan the headings, and toss it.

The nutshell version is useful because it exposes the idea to more people, faster. The problem arises when the nutshell fails to contain the essence of an idea. Too often, ideas and discussions around employee engagement–and the resulting initiatives–miss the mark by failing to reflect the essence of employee engagement.

The Essence of Employee Engagement

Rather than crack the nut of employee engagement, let’s boil it down to its essence! Then, instead of creating a new initiative with hundreds of planned activities, metrics, and supporting resources, simply ensure that your current activities align with and support the essence of employee engagement. So what is the essence of employee engagement?

Kindness. That’s the essence of employee engagement….let that sink in. Now, if you’re still here and you’re done rolling your eyes, hear me out.

Small Things Matter

Kindness may seem like a “small thing” to the C-suite. I get it. It’s a fluffy idea from a profession that has long been accused of bringing fluffiness to the table. “We can solve our employee turnover and productivity challenges by being kinder to one another,” the Director of HR proclaimed…before being summarily dismissed and forever shamed.

But Emily Dickinson wrote, “Take care of the small things, and the big things will take care of themselves.” You may not agree with this, but it’s hard to deny that there is some wisdom in it. The wisdom comes with understanding why we call some things “small” and some “big”, and how those things impact our work.

It’s small…because it can be overlooked and its impact is minimal. It’s big…because it cannot be overlooked and its impact is significant. That seems straight-forward enough. But what happens if you have the same “small” things to do everyday…or several times a day? Suddenly, the impact of overlooking such things becomes big and can possibly undermine the big things themselves.

Everyday Kindness

The challenge of successful employee engagement is in taking care of the small things, everyday, with kindness. But what exactly is kindness? Kindness is “helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped,” according to Aristotle.

So an employer may send out an employee engagement survey, implement a few initiatives, or offer new perks and, through the process, stumble upon an apparent increase in employee engagement. This “increase” will rarely be sustainable, however, because the actions that led to the increase were, by design, intended to increase engagement.

Kindness is a selfless gift, not an investment. So if you’re seeking a true ROI for your canned employee engagement initiatives….you’re not going to like what you see. Meaningful employee engagement cannot be measured, however you can measure the products of effective employee engagement, which happen to be productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction–terms that the C-suite cares about.

How to Be Kinder in the Workplace

Kindness as an organizational value must be present in order to effectively engage employees, which will in turn increase important measures of an organization’s health. Sorry, there’s not checklist or secret hack for this.

It’s not good enough to paste this value on a wall or mention it in a 30-page employee handbook. It must be actively practiced and valued among all employees. Most importantly, leaders must model kindness and begin to think, “what’s good for my employees is good for the company,” as opposed to “what’s good for the company could be good for my employees.”

People aren’t numbers. They aren’t machines. They aren’t market forces. People are defined by their thoughts and feelings that occur every day, all day–many of them outside work. And to the degree that an employer can positively impact the thoughts and feelings of its employees by cultivating an environment and culture of kindness, it will succeed in engaging employees. All other ideas–tactics, apps, events, swag, etc.–only succeed if they imbue, project, and come from a place of kindness.




Summer Vacations and Work Productivity

June and July see many members of our ExactHire team take time off to enjoy a well-deserved vacation. This can leave things a little quiet around the office. For some organizations, this situation could lead to decreased productivity or low morale–FOMO can be a powerful thing. For our team, however, we continue to place importance on making things fun for those remaining in the office. That’s why our MondayFundays continue no matter what!

This summer, our team enjoyed a couple new MondayFunday events that were introduced by our newly elected (they actually volunteered) Fun Committee: Jessica and Nancy. This dynamic duo wasted no time in creating a buzz around Monday.

June – Office Corn Hole

To kick off their fun committee term, they organized a good ol’ fashion “Corn Hole” Tournament (also known as “Bags” to those outside Indiana). To go along with the theme, we all enjoyed freshly popped popcorn that Nancy prepared before our competition. And to everyone’s excitement–at least to mine–two growlers of beer from Upland Brewing Co. added to the collegiate atmosphere.

Using Nancy’s corn hole board, our team began another battle for the Golden Vase. Initially, it seemed that no one would score a single point. Thankfully, though, Kathy got the scoring started with a fine toss that landed softly on the blue and white, Indianapolis Colts themed board.

I followed with two points, which Jeff then matched with two of his own. It looked like overtime would be required–I could taste my first victory! But Nancy knew those boards well. Sporting a fearsome game face, she shut everyone down with a single toss and a three-point corn hole.

Nancy’s win represented her second consecutive Monday Funday victory. For this one, she opted to leave the stylish Golden Vase in our open work area. She said that The Vase clashed with her interior design at home. This was met with skepticism, since we all knew The Golden Vase could serve as the centerpiece for any home. Soon, we learned the truth…The Vase was meant to serve as a sign of her mastery and continued Funday dominance.

Jessica and Nancy really nailed it with their first Fun Committee event, however they also created a new challenge…how on Earth could they follow that up? Luckily they did not disappoint.

July –  Office Bowling

Once again, our office was about half-full with vacations in full-swing and Darythe having recently relocated to Germany. This left Nancy all by her lonesome to manage the MondayFunday event. Our invitation came via email the week previous…the subject line: “spare us your time” was flanked by little bowling pin GIFS. 

Those expecting a trip to the local bowling alley, however, were sadly disappointed (but likely more relieved). We would keep things in the office for this match. Using her toddler’s bowling pin set, Nancy set up a makeshift alley right next to our office putting green. And after a small argument between Christa and Jeff regarding pin placement and the foul line, we were ready to roll.The winners would be determined by the highest score after two frames.

Jeff led off with 9-1 spare. Nancy rolled an 8. I matched Jeff with a 7-3 spare. Kathy rolled a 0-10 spare. And Christa also picked up a 9-1 spare.

In the second frame, Jeff scored a 9, Nancy rolled a spare, and I took the lead with a 9-1 spare. Once again I was in position to win my first Golden Vase! But Kathy and Christa remained…

First off, Kathy approached the line. She stared intently at the tiny pins. Her first frame was a little shaky, but she got the points she needed, and now she was determined to win. With a great windup she rolled her first ball…it had the speed, lots of speed…TOO MUCH SPEED! It missed the pins completely and crashed into the wall, echoing down our shared hallway. An Edward Jones representative was surely cursing us, but this did not deter Kathy. With even more power, she rolled her final ball…this one looked to be on track with lots of speed, but it took a bad bounce and again crashed into the wall. This time we heard a scream from the Edward Jones office, but we paid no attention to that Monday hater.

Finally, it came down to Christa. My heart beat fast as I considered the prospect of my first Golden Vase.

Her first roll knocked down only 3 pins. I crossed my fingers and made a deal with my future self–if I could win the Vase I would make a donation to charity.

Christa took her time getting set for her final roll. Displaying perfect form, she released the ball smoothly and on line for a spare. For a split second I thought I would narrowly miss winning again.

But the ball moved ever so slightly to the left as it collided with the pins, knocking only three down. I had won my first MondayFunday competition!

After nearly two years of heartache, the Golden Vase was mine! I immediately texted my wife to tell her the great news and to discuss how we would re-arrange our mantle. Along with the Vase, I received a very special award…a signed certificate verifying that I was the winner and an “epic bowler.” I was overjoyed!

As you can see, we take fun seriously at ExactHire. It can be easy for summer vacations to interrupt an organization’s momentum. It’s hard for employees who remain in the office to focus on the work at hand, and morale can quickly begin to slide. By continuing our MondayFundays through the summer, regardless of who’s in the office, we are able to keep spirits high and ward off the negative effects of FOMO. Our work remains fun–even if it’s not a sunny vacation.


The Eagle Has Landed: Employee Onboarding

Competition for talented employees in today’s job market is fierce. The balance of power has swung in favor of the talented job seeker. And since these job seekers have multiple job opportunities to consider, they’re not just looking for a job that pays the bills; they’re looking for a work experience that enhances their lives.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) August 2015 LINE Report, recruiting difficulty reached a 4-year high last July, which also made it 15 consecutive months of increase. In response to this ongoing challenge, many organizations are taking a closer look at their strategy for recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent.


Let Me Fly You To The Moon

Small- to medium-sized businesses are investing in employer brand marketing that attracts applicants and persuades candidates. They are adding “perks” and “fun” to enhance their work culture. They are saying and showing all the right things during the recruitment and hiring phases. And that is all right and good. But too often, new hires are experiencing a disconnect between the marketing (pre-hire) and the reality (post-hire).

Some employers are over-promising, but most are simply too slow in delivering on their promises. Regardless of the cause, the disconnect is driving employee turnover. In the past year, nearly 43% of job turnover consisted of workers with less than 6 months on the job.

Houston, We Have A Problem

If an organization promises the moon to candidates, but then forces new hires to wait a year before getting them there, then that organization has a problem. And that problem most likely lies in new employee onboarding–the period of time between job offer acceptance and a new hire’s complete assimilation into a new organization.

Poor onboarding does not inspire new employees, and it certainly doesn’t enhance their lives. Employers have 90 days to convince new employees that they have accepted a job with the right organization; after that, those new hires will likely begin looking for another opportunity. Examples of ineffective onboarding include:

  • Initial days of work exclusively focused on new hire paperwork 
  • Cold welcome from co-workers
  • Choppy workflow and vague guidance or instructions
  • Heavy, intensive training with little time to socialize with coworkers
  • Role is unclear or widely differs from original description
  • Lack of resources or proactive provisioning
  • No training plan or preliminary goals
  • Miscommunication between stakeholders (those charged with onboarding new hires)

Most of these symptoms of ineffective onboarding can be traced to one of two root causes: the organization does not have enough time to commit to employee onboarding; or the organization does not value onboarding.

Many small- to medium-sized businesses are stretched on time–that’s likely why they’re hiring in the first place. And it’s also likely that these missteps will be corrected as the organizations grow and gain greater efficiency in onboarding. On the other hand, if an organization is ineffectively onboarding employees because it doesn’t find it important, then it’s unlikely improvement will be gained, and the results of that can be devastating.

SHRM places the direct costs of rehiring for a position at 50%-60% of an employee’s salary. Indirect costs can rise to 200% in some cases! Clearly, poor onboarding damages more than an organization’s reputation or employee morale, it impacts the bottom line.

All Hands On Deck

Onboarding is one of the most overlooked and undervalued areas of the employee lifecycle. This is likely because the definition of onboarding–its length, its content, its purpose–has varied between industries, organizations, and even departments within organizations. To improve the onboarding process, an organization’s leaders must first gain a common understanding of the purpose and desired outcomes–a vision–for the onboarding process. From there, it’s a matter of building a plan for employee onboarding process improvement that serves the shared vision.

ExactHire has published a free ebook, All Hands On Deck: A Guide To Employee Onboarding Process Improvement, that offers guidance on the best practices for employee onboarding, including:

  • Expanding your onboarding definition
  • Identifying common problems
  • Making a business case for change
  • Calculating the ROI of onboarding technology
  • Laying the framework
  • Implementing innovative ideas
  • Maintaining a continuous feedback loop
  • Spotting trends in onboarding process automation

This resource is designed to help organizations gain a competitive advantage by realizing the opportunities of best-in-class employee onboarding.

We Have Liftoff

Smart organizations are seeking to improve their employee onboarding processes. With effective stakeholder engagement, documented process milestones, and an infusion of automation technology, these organizations are increasing onboarding efficiency. As a result, employee turnover is reduced and new employees are becoming productive more quickly. All of this positively impacts employer brand, while also driving business outcomes.

ExactHire offers hiring and employee onboarding software to growing small- to medium-sized businesses that are looking to efficiently attract, hire, and retain exceptional talent for continued growth. To learn more about ExactHire’s HR solutions, please submit a brief contact form.

Feature Image Credit: DSC_0699 by Phaedrus (contact)

ExactHire Named a Nominee for 2016 TechPoint Mira Awards

It was a big year for the ExactHire team in 2015, full of many exciting developments including the addition of brand new positions and a steady stream of product enhancements. The positive momentum is continuing as we’re thrilled to announce that the Indiana technology growth initiative, TechPoint, has named ExactHire a nominee in the Innovation of the Year category for the 2016 Mira Awards.

In its 17th year, the Mira Awards annual program honors “The Best of Tech in Indiana” each year. This season, 98 nominees in 14 award categories were selected from 168 applications by an independent judging panel comprised of 40 subject matter experts who evaluated and ranked the applications.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the tech community in Indiana, and we’re honored to be included in the following list of ground-breaking Indiana organizations:

Innovation of the Year

To learn more about the TechPoint Mira Awards and the organizations represented in each category, click here.

Want to bring more efficiency to your recruiting, onboarding & hiring processes? Schedule a demo today.


5 Steps To Getting More Qualified Applicants

Finding the right candidate from a small pool of applicants is no easy task. Many times, hiring managers must settle for the “best available”, and sadly this often leads to new hires that simply don’t pan out. Before you know it, that hiring manager is looking to fill the same positions each year; effectively making them the “turnover manager”.

Turnover is inevitable at some point, but great hiring managers seek to minimize it by hiring individuals who are a fit for both the position and the company. This is not easy, as it requires searching for applicants who possess “something special” that cannot be easily found by parsing resumes or sometimes even by conducting an interview. So when these individuals are found, it’s important to not lose them.

The following steps will help your organization develop an applicant pool that consistently delivers more qualified applicants and, over time, minimizes employee turnover.

1. Maximize Channels

Believe it or not, many hiring organizations–of all sizes–are not promoting their open positions through all available channels. While being on every channel may not be practical, collaboration between Marketing and HR is vital in order to maximize awareness of job openings. Good recruiting software will include tools that easily leverage an organization’s existing channels, while also unlocking dozens more. And the best recruiting software will automate these job postings to multiple channels with just one click.

2. Promote Your Authentic Employer Brand

There is nothing worse than a job description or career page that appears generic–and I’m not just talking about the cheesy stock photography. Employers who want to hire and retain the best talent must work hard to cultivate and promote an enviable employer brand. This employer brand should be based on the foundation of a positive, authentic work culture that permeates all aspects of an organization–including the job descriptions and career page.

3. Provide An Applicant-Friendly Experience

With wide awareness of your organization and its job opportunities in place, it’s now time to focus on where the rubber meets the road: the application process. This is the time period where an organization begins building a relationship with applicants. And the first and most important component in any relationship is trust. By providing an applicant-friendly experience that imbues the positive qualities of your employer brand, an organization can go a long way to building this requisite trust. From there, make it easy by:

  • Providing transparency (let applicants know what’s ahead)
  • Staying on track (meet the expectations you set with applicants)
  • Utilizing online applications (yes, some companies still ask for hard copies)
  • Automating duplicate entries (no one wants to enter the same information twice)
  • Making it easy to apply for multiple or future openings (an ATS can help with this)

4. Express Why You (The Hiring Organization) Want To Stay Connected

Inevitably, there will be some very good applicants that simply cannot be hired. How a hiring manager deals with these applicants will determine whether or not a talent pool for future hiring can be developed. An applicant status message of “Thank you for your interest. Please check back for future job openings” will simply not cut it.

While many HR professionals may feel that a canned “rejection” message is all they have time for, a little more effort at this point can save a lot of time down the road. Tell those qualified, “something special” applicants exactly:

  • Why you found them impressive
  • The types of opportunities that may exist at your organization in the future
  • How you would like to stay in touch with them (and give them options for this).

5. Stay Connected With Your Applicant

Assuming you’ve implemented the above, the final step is to simply follow through with what you said you would do. And this is done by going back to Step 1 and, where possible, segmenting communications for the the “something special” talent pool. Here are some examples of what that could look like:

  • Personalized invitations to apply for specific positions before they open
  • E-newsletter specifically created for previous “something special” applicants
  • Storing applicant information in an Applicant Tracking System for easy re-apply
  • Brief, personalized emails that include company updates
  • LinkedIn/Facebook group for prospective hires (Ex. “ACME Future Directions

Getting More Qualified Applicants Begins With Building Relationships

Developing relationships with previous applicants is key to creating a high quality talent pool for hiring. These relationships do not need to include frequent interaction, but they must be marked by consistent value and sincerity. In this way, a growing organization is never challenged to find “something special” in a sea of “meh” applicants. And that, in turn, will go a long way toward minimizing employee turnover and its associated costs.


ExactHire provides hiring solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses that are seeking to hire the best talent for their organizations. To learn how ExactHire can assist you organization, contact us today!


Feature Image Credit: New York – Overhead Traffic Lights by Pete Bellis(contact)

Monday Funday

Case of the Mondays, anyone? Mondays get a bad rap for being the first day of the week and being somewhat mundane in general. Everyone is back in the office to regularly scheduled meetings and phone calls instead of enjoying weekend fun with friends and family. Blah!

Luckily, I work at a company that believes in building and growing a fun culture. I was recently named the Fun Ambassador here at ExactHire, and my Fun Committee includes two other coworkers. We decided to recognize the workiversaries and birthdays of our team on a monthly basis during Monday Fun-day ‘Funventures’.

Monday Funday

Last week, we celebrated our first monthly–nay, inaugural– “Monday Fun-day”, and we set the standard high. Glorious cupcakes were secured from a local bakery, helium balloons were brought in for a burst of color, and musical comedy was provided in the form of a couple Jib-Jabs in honor of our workiversarian and Birthday Boy.

The highlight, however, was an office chair race. The racetrack was defined with rainbow duct tape that was placed around the kitchen area of the office and down the hall.  We had 9 participants (3 employees not present) and 1 clear winner who finished with a time more than one second better than 2nd place. And–importantly–no injuries!

A Case for Culture

Of course, not every organization can or wants to host monthly office chair races–we just happen to be wired for this. But as employers seek to hire the best talent, it’s becoming more important that they find ways to differentiate themselves from other employers. For some, this means office chair races; for others, perhaps a zipline adventure. Regardless, creating time for employees to blowoff steam and have FUN together is an effective approach to creating a working environment where people want to work. This helps in hiring talent, and it also helps in retaining employees.

Let us know how you have FUN at your workplace by adding a comment below. Our Fun Committee is always looking for ideas!

Official Office Chair Race Results

  1. Allen 08.98
  2. Tom 10.70
  3. Randi 12.59
  4. Jessica 12.93
  5. Susan 12.96
  6. Darythe 13.10
  7. Christa 13.49
  8. Jeff 14.03
  9. Eric 17.16

Stay tuned to see more ExactHire Funventures!


Feature Image Credit: 4/365 monday
by Robert Couse-Baker

A Simple Onboarding Cheat Sheet

As summer comes to an end and everyone’s schedule gets hectic with school, fall activities and new work projects, finding ways to simplify and focus at work are a must!  There are countless tips out there for enhancing your employee onboarding process (think employee retention), but here is a quick “cheat sheet” to make sure you’re doing the big things–and a few little things–that make the process easy and effective.

Complete New Hire Paperwork…Painlessly

Just like starting school or with any new job, there are a lot of forms to be filled out. Going paperless will help you get through these quickly and easily.  Onboarding software makes this process streamlined and painless for all involved.

Ready New Hire Workstation…Before The First Day

When a new employee arrives, make sure they feel at home with their work area, not just sitting in an empty cubicle. Have office supplies ready  and laptop and any other hardware already set up so that they are not just sitting around watching you get these items together. This will show that you are excited about their arrival to the team!

Inform Staff About The New Hire…All Staff

Make sure every member of your staff–regardless of role–is aware of the new hire’s arrival. Encourage interaction and support of the new hire so that they will feel part of the team immediately.  This will be a positive for everyone. The sooner a new hire is  comfortable and acclimated, the more efficient the organization can be!

Welcome New Hire To Your Organization…Social, Fun

Be fun! And be yourselves! Host a carry-in lunch, or order in bagels the first day to help break the ice. You want the new hire to enjoy open conversations (this is easy to do over food!), rather than feel  bombarded with inquiries. Also, invite current employees to celebrate the new hire via company social media pages. They can post with fun hashtags #newhire !

Provide Ongoing Support…Resources to Thrive

Resources for learning the job in the first few weeks, as well as for continued professional development, are vital for new hires. Also, have a plan of attack for the training period, and be able to provide an outline or schedule of this plan to the new hire. They will feel more at ease with what to expect during the first few weeks. And after the first few weeks, be sure to keep new hires informed of opportunities for continued improvement through professional development and job evaluations.

Hopefully this list helps you do the bigs things (and a few small things) to effectively onboard new employees. Great onboarding will lower costs and boost moral within your whole organization, so it’s worth your investment.

To learn how onboarding software can compliment your current onboarding process, visit ExactHire to checkout a demo, or contact us to learn more.

The Onboarding Game

Employee onboarding is no game; it’s serious business. But sometimes our well-planned processes breakdown, and it seems as though employee onboarding experiences are determined by a roll of the dice. Will everyone on our onboarding team execute this time??

*fingers crossed*

It can be maddening for HR professionals when inconsistencies creep into the onboarding process. I like to compare it to the board game, Chutes & Ladders. So in the spirit of that classic board game, I’d like to offer 5 dangerous ”Onboarding Chutes” and 5 helpful “Onboarding Ladders” that can determine whether your onboarding process is a winner.

The Chute: Weak Pre-Boarding

This is the first mistake you can make with a new hire–and it could also be your last. You’ve put so much time and effort into finding the right candidates. It was a hard decision. But after coming to an agreement on compensation, you finally hired the perfect fit for your organization. You’ve come so far!

But now, you decide to take it easy and relax. You go radio silent with your new hire for the next two weeks.  Your “perfect fit” hire is left wondering whether your organization is really the perfect fit for them.

The Ladder: Bridging The Gap

Rather than leaving new hires out in the cold for two weeks, invite them in as soon as they accept your offer. The time between job offer acceptance and the first day can be used to strengthen the employer-employee relationship and get a jumpstart on required HR tasks.

Determine which forms or documents can legally be completed before an employee’s first day, and then offer the new hire the opportunity to complete these ahead of the first day. If you use onboarding software, many of these tasks can be done from home–without paper and pen. This will free up the new hire’s first day to include exciting and engaging activities.

Beyond paperwork, organizations can bridge the gap with creative welcoming gestures. A “welcome card” signed by future co-workers arriving via mail? An invite to a company after-work social? A quick, quirky “welcome video” shot with an iphone? Grand or tiny, welcoming gestures that occur before the first day will elicit excitement from new hires.

The Chute: No Written Training Schedule

Your new hire has arrived! Yay! You pull out all the stops for your new hire in those first few hours: bagels and coffee, grand facility tour, co-worker glad-handing, and big-wig sit-downs. The whirlwind welcome ends with the new hire arriving at a clean, nicely appointed desk. The computer is ready. Email is set up. Now what?

If the new hire’s next five hours and the remainder of the week are characterized by a hodgepodge of ad hoc meetings and supervisor drop-ins, then your impressive welcome may be all for naught. New hires need to learn and do a lot quickly–this can hardly be avoided. But to leave them in the dark is a step–or several steps–in the wrong direction.

The Ladder: Proactive Transparency

A written training schedule sets expectations–expectations for the organization and expectations for the new hire. This provides context and confidence for new hires, as they are able to see the big picture and anticipate how best to manage their free time. It also reflects well on the organization, in that it illustrates thoughtful planning and adds transparency to the onboarding process.

A training schedule can cover the first few days, weeks, or even months. The length will vary based upon the unique needs of the position and organization. The important thing is that it’s designed to be accurate and useful; otherwise, the schedule will confuse new hires–the exact opposite of its intended purpose.

How to present it? Hard copy schedules will work, but electronic documents that are hyperlinked to relevant digital resources will save time, paper, and money for your organization. Going paperless will also provide a more seamless experience for your new hire. Bonus points!

Download ExactHire's Employee Onboarding Checklist

The Chute: Internal Communication Breakdown

So everything is sailing right along with the onboarding of your new hire. A warm, enthusiastic welcome? Check. A written training schedule that outlines the new hire’s next few weeks and is in the hands of said new hire? Check.

The blue ribbon is as good as yours!

But then something quite unexpected happens. Larry from IT forgot to order and set up your new hire’s computer before leaving for his month-long spiritual trek in Nepal. Larry from IT!!!

Apparently, Larry didn’t get the memo or email, or hear in the weekly stand-up meeting, that a new hire was coming onboard during his absence. Whether it was the mode of communication or Larry’s understanding of his role in onboarding, the ball was dropped.

The Ladder: Clarity In Role and Expectations

Too often, employee onboarding is looked at as an HR function. True, HR takes the lead in creating, reviewing, and improving the process. But employee onboarding must be owned by everyone in the organization–especially Larry in IT.

Communication breakdowns are the result of either an ineffective mode–email, memo, voicemail, etc.–or unclear roles and expectations. Barring technical difficulties, it’s most often the latter.

Building an efficient and effective onboarding process is not enough on its own. All stakeholders in the process must understand the role they play and the expectations that come with that role. And when it comes to expectations, these need to be as specific as possible–meaning deadline driven. Namaste, Larry in IT.

The Chute: All Work And No Play

With a fine-tuned onboarding process, your mind might explode with ideas for leveraging new efficiencies. Some onboarding stakeholders may set their eyes on the time-to-productivity metric and urge you to pack in more time for training. This makes sense; the faster a new hire is up to speed, the sooner your bottom line benefits. But there is a danger in that approach.

If you work your new hires to the bone, you might find that another important metric is negatively impacted–your employee turnover rate.

The Ladder: Work Hard, Play Hard

With the cost of re-hiring equal to roughly 20% of a new hire’s salary, HR professionals are wise to consider leveraging onboarding efficiency to provide opportunities for training (work) and social interaction (play). This approach balances the two important metrics of time-to-productivity and employee turnover rate.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

The Chute: Monotonous Inefficiency

Sometimes organizations boast very consistent and reliable onboarding processes that result in adequate outcomes. And adequate is good. But don’t you want to be the best? Number one?!

If your onboarding process consistently and reliably provides new hires with a tower of forms and documents to read, sign, and submit…you’re good.

If your onboarding process is characterized by co-workers who consistently and reliably request, remind, and follow-up on required onboarding tasks via email…you’re good.

But if your process consistently and reliably results in a “meh” experience for new hires…you’re not the best.

The Ladder: Paperless HR

A paperless onboarding process is characterized by efficiency and highlighted with excitement.

When you eliminate stacks of paper, automate form completion, and enable e-signatures, new hires spend less time on monotonous tasks.  Similarly, when you eliminate document production, automate task reminders, and enable e-countersignatures, your onboarding stakeholders save time too. That’s where the excitement comes in!

With all the time saved through the use of onboarding software, there is now the opportunity to inject more fun into the the onboarding process. And if you have an efficient, consistent and reliable process that is FUN…you’re looking at “best” status.

Competent HR professionals understand how vital the onboarding process is to maintaining a healthy employee lifecycle–one that spans years and not mere months. However, too often an organization’s well-planned employee onboarding process morphs into a real-life game of Chutes & Ladders. Sure, even the best organizations will have unforeseen circumstances (chutes) that cause process inefficiency, but when those chutes outnumber proactive, value-added measures (ladders), the organization risks being the loser.

Onboarding success should not be a game of chance. Success can be ensured when organizations take the time to plan and gain employee buy-in for an onboarding process that engages and inspires new hires early and often.

ExactHire offers HR technology to help small- to medium-sized business recruit, hire, and retain top talent for their organizations. To learn how you can add efficiency and excitement to your employee onboarding process, contact us today!

Feature Image Credit: Chutes and Ladders by Thor(contact)