Candidate journey - engage from the start

Written by
Changeboard Team

02 Dec 2011

02 Dec 2011 • by Changeboard Team

Purple Your People series

Our first article looked at ways of improving your external reputation as an employer in order to attract the right talented people for your organisation; in turn helping you achieve business success. This piece explores the next step.

Selection: choosing the right talent

Unless you recruit the right person in the first place, you face an uphill struggle to engage them, help them to achieve maximum potential and productivity and retain them.

By now you will have a good selection of applications for your available role which you need to sift through to create a shortlist. Using the one page CV and 10 bullet point method as suggested in the last article will have helped greatly in this process. Another shortcut would be to use a good recruitment consultancy or headhunter; however these are both costly options.

We would recommend delegating the initial sifting process to a bright, focused and detail-orientated person. As long as this individual’s carefully briefed and works to clear criteria, this gives the candidate a fairer chance than they would have from a busy leader trying to fit it in.

Second stage interview

Once you have your shortlist, it’s time for the interview. Prepare properly and structure your interview. Ask a variety of great questions including open ones, situational, and ‘Columbo’ questions – these are dumb questions that allow further probing in a non-confrontational way.

You’ll then be able to take a number of people through to second interview stage. Here you should have a very straight, adult-to-adult conversation with the candidate. You may ask them to complete practical tests such as numeracy or an inbox exercise, and we would suggest including the use of psychometrics here – allowing an in-depth look at the shortlisted people which will help you plan the second interview to maximum effect.

Once you’ve found your ideal person call them up and make an offer.

The Big E: whys & hows of employee engagement

It’s a fact that the sooner your employees become engaged they will be more productive, happier and more likely to stay with you – delivering better brand and business results.

The 2011 CBI trends survey highlighted that 7 out of 10 employers consider improving employee engagement as their priority. But what is employee engagement?

The Big E is more than motivation and job satisfaction. It is a state of mind where employer and employee understand and honour their commitments to each other. This cannot simply be demanded as part of the job.

Engagement is brought about by the employee’s desire to act in the best interests of work and colleagues, which is triggered by the employer’s delivery of the people promise – the ’deal’ offered to employees including values, experience, leadership, culture and collective benefits.

The Big E should be measured and checked regularly. Yes it might be daunting at first, yet fully understanding how your workforce thinks and feels about you as an employer and organisation will help improve competitive advantage.

This doesn’t have to be an expensive process (we even have a free engagement survey for up to 100 people at, just ask the right questions so that when it matters you can be there for your team(s); creating random acts of kindness and support; all of which will add to or top up their ‘E factor’.

Clocking up Big E points before people join you

The Big E can and should be started way before people commence work with you. You can clock up Big E points at each touch point – from when a job advert is reviewed and responded to, when a really friendly voice invites them for interview on the phone, through to receiving their job offer from the same friendly voice, then two days later receiving a well thought out induction plan full of rich experiences to help them really get under the skin of their new employer.

You could also include pre-work challenges, such as researching your key customers or reviewing your website and making recommendations, so they can feel involved immediately and begin to understand your culture e.g. achievement focused and involving.

Doing this, along with supplying information about their first few days with you, helps individuals feel part of the team from the off, meaning they can hit the ground running when they actually begin.

And if you have work social events going on, invite them along. They can get to know their team and colleagues in an informal environment – again taking the pressure off on day one.

Imagine what an opportunity you are missing if you don’t do any of this…

Welcome: making the most of induction

Inductions help settle new team members into their role and the organisation. It’s also an important time for engaging and retaining that individual – research has shown new recruits take just 100 days to decide whether they will stay and for how long.

Inductions are a massive opportunity to start as you mean to go on. You can set the scene and clarify expectations on both sides. However, more often than not the whole process is inadequately planned, hastily executed and the opportunity is lost.

Therefore it’s vital to think about the induction from the moment your offer is accepted. Make sure it is filled with rich experiences which help the person settle in, understand you and your business and get to grips with their new job role.

Purple your People has a long list of things you could include in this time – most importantly however, is involving lots of people in the process to make the welcome a big one. And make sure reviews are built throughout so you can check you are providing everything that individual needs and expects so their first 100 days are great.