ATD Blog

Recruit in a Way That Reinforces Your Messages

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This is the third in a series of five posts about a total onboarding program. Our fundamental premise is that onboarding is the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the organization.

We now turn our attention to recruiting itself; specifically, what you must do to recruit in a way that reinforces your messages about the position and the organization. We suggest three steps: 

  1. Create a powerful slate of potential candidates. 
  2. Evaluate candidates against the recruiting brief while preselling and pre-boarding. 
  3. Make the right offer, and close the right sale the right way. 

Create a Powerful Slate of Potential Candidates 

Take charge of the employee acquisition process by developing and implementing a comprehensive marketing plan that starts with your target and moves through where you are going to fish for new employees, what tools and resources you will use, and important timelines and milestones. Communicate, demonstrate, and live your employment brand every step of the way.

Don’t fall into the trap of recruiting sequentially. Work candidates in parallel so you end up with a slate of viable candidates. That way, you don’t have to close the sale with your lead candidate if it’s not 100 percent right for everyone. 


Evaluate Candidates Against the Recruiting Brief While Preselling and Pre-Boarding 

While candidates can focus on getting you to offer them a job and then take a step back to evaluate the opportunity, you must buy and sell at the same time. Make sure you are recruiting and interviewing in a way that communicates your employment brand. We use a strengths-focused, targeted selection approach to interviewing with good success. We complete the interviewing process with formal post-interview debriefs, information gathering outside the interviews, and post-interview follow-ups with candidates to learn even more (and set up closing the sale later).


Consider the interviews as part of onboarding. You can’t be one type of organization while interviewing (buying) and then turn into another while trying to close the sale. 

Make the Right Offer, and Close the Right Sale the Right Way 

You know your organization is awesome. Just remember that a potential new employee may need to be convinced. So treat the offer as just one part of a strategic sale. The way you handle this and support your offeree’s due diligence efforts will affect what the candidate thinks about you and your organization, with implications far beyond whether the answer is “yes” or “no.” You want offerees to say yes if taking the job is the right move for them, their supporters, and the organization over time. You want a “no, thanks” if it’s not.

Focus on finding the right fit, not closing the sale. If it’s not right for everyone, it’s not right.

About the Author

George Bradt has a unique perspective on transformational leadership based on his experience as a business leader, consultant, and journalist. He progressed through sales, marketing, and general management roles around the world at companies including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and J.D. Power’s Power Information Network spin-off as chief executive. Now he is a principal of CEO Connection and managing director of the executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis.

George is a graduate of Harvard and Wharton (MBA), co-author of four books on onboarding, including The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, and co-author of a weekly column on, The New Leader’s Playbook.

About the Author

Ed Bancroft is part of the executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis, which helps new leaders and teams get done in their first 100 days what would normally take six to 12 months, jump-starting strategic, operating, and organizational processes and reducing new leader failure rates from 40 to 5 percent. He is co-author of Onboarding, The Total Onboarding Program, and The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan.

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