How to Effectively Select and Onboard Staff

How to Effectively Select and Onboard Staff

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As you know, personnel is the most important asset for a business. The human resource makes up the brain trust and knowledge management that is shared, developed and passed on to others throughout an organization. Staffing is an important function; and filling a role, if done properly, will ensure that the fit of the candidate and the company culture is good which sets the foundation for a potentially along-lasting professional relationship. There are multiple steps that one should take to ensure that candidates are thoroughly evaluated and aligned with the company ethos.

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Vetting Candidates

Before you can begin vetting candidates, you must develop a true job description and a needs assessment. With that information, it becomes much easier to initiate an effective recruiting campaign. Additionally, selecting the right platforms is important to ensure that you reach potential candidates where they look for opportunities.

Current software programs can review, evaluate, and make candidate recommendations based on keywords found in resumés. While this process can save recruiters and HR managers time, some candidates do fall through the cracks and are not considered for positions that they could be a good fit as the software programs only use keywords to establish compatibility and are not able to look beyond the words in the resumé to see a candidates drive. Regardless, of the methodology used to review resumés, when selecting potential candidates for interviews, one must make sure that the job description, job post and a candidate’s goals at least have a fundamental agreement.

I do not look for a perfect fit for a role in a resumé alone as I believe sometimes effort, dedication and commitment can overcome experience. Take a smart person who is willing to learn new skills and is dedicated to continued improvement; he or she could be a gem in the rough and able to learn the role and excel with the company. Key traits that I typically look for are: positive attitude, willingness to listen, learn and to work hard.

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The interview process tells you a lot about an individual candidate that the resumé may not. For example, an interview can demonstrate how much a candidate appears to genuinely be interested in the actual role.

1. Signs of Interest - Clear signs of interest level include how much research a candidate has done about your organization and a hiring manager if that information is included in the job posting. Preparation of answers to predictive potential questions - when candidates spend time to research company information it can demonstrate their willingness to go above and beyond their required task.

2. Beyond The Resumé - The interview also demonstrates candidates' communication skills and confidence. Do they listen when someone else is talking, or are they willing to talk over other people to make their point? Confidence is a major factor in anything we do in life and in a career, one must be confident in his or her ability to get the job done. Sometimes if candidates are not confident during an interview, that could be a sign that the candidate may not be a good fit for a role. (NOTE: Nervousness can sometimes be mistaken for lack of confidence but should not be treated the same. People can be nervous when interviewing for a job because they really want it.)

3. Questions are Good - Candidates that ask detailed questions, give cues that they are very aware of your firm and that the candidate truly has an interest in not just the job for which they are interviewing, but also the organization in which they could potentially join.

Recently during an interview for our internship program, I was thoroughly impressed when the candidate asked, "What are Phoenix Lifestyle Marketing Group’s core values?" This is a potential intern that has the intuition to ask a question about a firm’s values to ensure that her values are aligned -- take a second to think about that. Whether an entry level or a senior candidate, when an applicant asks questions that indicate they are intuitive, understand the role and have learned your organization's history and milestones; it assures hiring managers that the candidate should be seriously considered for a role at the firm.


As important as it is spending time vetting candidates and investing in recruiting tools, it is equally important to onboard new employees efficiently and effectively. You do not want to spend a great amount of time, effort, energy and resources in selecting the right candidate then fail to onboard them correctly.

Here are some ideas about how to effectively onboard new employees.

1. Have a Plan - You should have a plan for the New Hire, there should be a training program in place regardless of the position, level, or title. This training program should include learning the company‘s core values, understanding the company’s history and identifying key personnel that the New Hire will interact with.

2. Have a Process - There should be a clearly defined process that every employee should follow from the time they are offered a job and begin work. This process can take on many forms and many names - I call it the 'First Seven Days." The first seven days are crucial to ensuring that New Hires are given the tools to be successful in their new role.

  • Day 1 - Should always start with introductions, meeting the staff, setting up email, voicemail and receiving the company handbook. Oh, and making sure the New Hire’s payroll is setup properly!
  • Day 2 - New Hires should become familiar with the company systems, learning how to navigate through the digital infrastructure and obviously meeting more people.
  • Day 3, 4, and 5 - New Hires should just be understanding how business is done. This should include 'side-by-side' role specific training as well as one on one meetings with senior staff as well as junior staff that report to the New Hire.
  • Day 6 & 7 - New Hires should be getting comfortable on the new job, remembering the office layout or how to use the video chat functions to call HR for virtual work environments. By now the New Hire knows key protocols and should have a good understanding of who works at the company and the hierarchy so that the following week they can hit the ground running and get started working their dream job.

3. Ongoing Training - After onboarding and initial training, consider an internal continuing education program that will keep your team’s skills sharp or cross functional training that will elevate your team’s capabilities. Making ongoing training a priority will only increase your firm’s competitive edge. Assign class to you staff to facilitate for the team to hone public speaking and presentation skills. Here are ideas for classes:

  • Excel – Formulas
  • PowerPoint – Designing Presentations
  • Professional Writing
  • Managing your Personal Brand

No matter the onboarding system you choose, it should be aligned with your company values, reflect your corporate culture and clearly outline the plan to ensures that all new team members have the necessary tools and resources to set them up for success in their new role.