Simplify your onboarding workflows with Connected Recruiting
You’ve done the hard work of attracting and engaging your candidates, and they’ve accepted a job offer. But the Connected Recruiting journey isn’t over yet. Now, it’s time to onboard your talent.
With a shift in the job market, where vacancies are decreasing and candidate applications are increasing, agencies are now focusing on the quality of talent over quantity. Agencies now need to build processes that are more efficient and cost less in finding the right candidates with the right skill sets for the job – and ensure those candidates don’t drop off during the onboarding stage.
To talk about building a streamlined onboarding process for modern-day talent, I sat down with James Baker, VP of Services Delivery at Kyloe Partners, and Simon Topper, Head of Partnerships at Referoo. Check out a recap of our conversation below, or watch the recording, to dive into common onboarding hurdles, key metrics to measure, and how AI and automation will shape the future of onboarding.
Challenges in onboarding
Because onboarding processes require credentialing, background checks, documentation, reference checks, and plenty of other boxes to tick, ensuring the entire process is as streamlined as possible is crucial to improving the candidate experience. Topper mentioned that the onboarding process is often still manual, with agencies relying on spreadsheets or even paper-based processes. As a result, speed is critical in this step.
Though many agencies know they need to streamline their onboarding process – and improve the candidate experience – it can be hard to know where to start. What are the small wins you can start with? What are the larger challenges you need to tackle? For Baker, onboarding means ensuring you’ve done the hard work for the candidate so they don’t drop off in the time between accepting an offer and their first day.
“We know how many offers candidates are fielding,” Baker said. “And we know that all else being equal between your job and a similar job, the easier process for candidates to complete is often the one they’ll take up.”
Best practices for successful onboarding
How you onboard depends on your candidates. If you’re a healthcare recruitment agency, your onboarding will look much different than an agency with a light industrial focus. Regardless of your organisation’s size or sector, there’s one rule of thumb that Topper advises to keep in mind: “If it’s not on a smartphone, you’ve lost the battle.”
Allowing candidates to complete onboarding steps as needed from their smartphone empowers them to take charge of their own recruitment journey. This shift to remote onboarding aligns with a shift we’ve seen in the last few years to increasingly digital processes. Until recently, Topper noted, Right to Work checks still had a manual step that required showing up in person with an ID. However, recent legislation allows for full-time, permanent, digital Right to Work checks so that the entire process can be done online and remotely.
Topper also highlighted the importance of automating manual, tedious steps in onboarding. “That allows you to focus on people skills: liaising with candidates, impressing your clients, and closing your deals,” Topper added.
When choosing what to automate, start small, Baker said. Everyone wants to improve their candidate experience, but to avoid biting off more than you can chew, start with a specific issue you want to address and go from there, he added. For example, if you want to reduce your non-starters, implement some basic but consistent automations, like generating an automatic contract of employment integrated with DocuSign and sending it out as soon as you make a placement.
Automations can even be as simple as sending check-ins during the weeks before or on your candidate’s start date. Asking if they’ve completed specific onboarding steps, offering to set up a quick phone call, or even wishing them luck on their first day can go a long way in keeping that channel of communication open and providing a high level of customer care.
Baker also emphasised the importance of data quality. If you’re working with a candidate you’ve placed before, for example, ensure that you have their credentials in your database – and their expiration dates are updated – so you’re not asking for the same credentials twice. “That’s going to annoy me if I’m the candidate and I have to provide the same information twice,” Baker said. Your database is your competitive advantage – make sure you’re using it to make onboarding easier for your candidates and your team.
Metrics for success
How can you ensure that the changes you’re implementing are actually streamlining your onboarding process? This is where metrics come in.
Topper emphasised two key metrics: the proportion of offers to placements and the time it takes to place a candidate. To correctly measure these metrics – and improve on them – he stressed the importance of having reliable data and a single source of truth. “Ensure that every part of your process is in Bullhorn and that you’re able to report on the metrics that mean the most to you,” Topper added.
To find other ways to improve how you onboard candidates, all you need to do is ask. Collecting candidate feedback is a great way to find those pain points and streamline them. Topper suggested asking for feedback from those candidates who weren’t placed successfully so you can better understand their perspective and determine why their placement didn’t work out.
“We’re an industry that talks to candidates, all day, every day,” said Baker. “Candidates are the lifeblood of our industry, and we’re good at talking to them. So talk to them. Ask them what’s frustrated them in the past and how you can improve this process.”
The next big thing in onboarding
“I’d be foolish if I didn’t mention AI,” Baker said when discussing what the future looks like for onboarding. “In the short term, AI is likely to improve, save time, and add consistently to our approach,” he said. However, he noted, the power of AI can only go so far if your data isn’t updated and accurate. For example, AI can help automate on a systems level, like sending you a list of matching candidates when you add a new job to Bullhorn – but those candidates won’t populate if you don’t have their skills and information accurately updated in your database.
Topper also pointed out that AI may play a significant role in candidate self-management, with candidates using AI as personal assistants to alert them to jobs or roles that may best suit them. “It’s just a smoother application of the processes we already know,” he said.
AI may also change how agencies approach credentialing, empowering candidates to have a credential wallet that allows them to securely control and share their credentials. “It will smooth out that process and ensure compliance is easier to access,” Topper said.
We’re just at the beginning of what AI can do, and every recruitment agency is asking how they can leverage it. But both panelists agreed: have your processes and your data in place so you’re ready to use AI and automation-driven solutions to their fullest potential.