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Retaining Your New Talent | Tom Hoult

Posted on August 2023

male recruiter with picture in the background of a man shaking another man's hand
Tom Hoult, Senior Managing Consultant, explains the necessary steps to counter ‘buy back’ and ensure you retain new hires throughout the period of transition between an accepted offer and the start date.


Buy back is an occurrence that many organisations know all too well: you work your way through a recruitment process, appoint a great candidate and then, a month or two down the line, you hear from them to let you know that they’ve been counter-offered or persuaded to stay by their current employer and won’t be making the move.

As anyone who has transitioned between employers will understand, it’s an unsettling time; you’re constantly asking yourself if you’re doing the right thing and whether the grass really is going to be greener. As an employer, it is important to not unwittingly allow – or in the worst case, be the cause for – these emotions to proliferate in the candidate’s mind, especially since most candidates moving from a permanent post will have a long time (three months!) for these doubts to grow into something material.

When you’re lucky enough to have attracted the best candidate for the job, it should be expected that their current employer and other prospective employers will be doing everything they can to either keep them or attract them elsewhere. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure you're building commitment from offer-acceptance stage through to the candidate's first day:


Follow up

The worst thing you can do after a candidate has accepted your offer is to spend the next three months ignoring them. Remember that every day between a final interview and a candidate hopefully starting in the role is another day of them feeling more detached from the opportunity and you as an organisation. Find out the candidate’s contact details and give them a call to let them know how pleased you are that they’ve accepted the position and how much you’re looking forward to working with them. Make sure that there is an open line of communication between you and the candidate so that they feel they can come to you with any questions or problems that they might have along the way. This small investment in the early days of someone’s notice period can make all the difference in maintaining a strong level of commitment.


Meet up with them for an informal chat

Arrange to go for a coffee or drink with the candidate prior to them starting. The interview process is a great tool by which to ensure you’re taking on someone who can do the job, but how well you’re able to manage that person over the months – or hopefully years – ahead and get the very best out of them will come down to how well you understand them. This is the perfect time to begin building that understanding and really get to know the person behind the CV. Laying the foundations for a good relationship at this early stage will make those first few weeks of settling into the role much easier for you and for them.


Arrange their induction day for part way through their notice period – three months is a long time

Set up their induction session for part way through the notice period, around a month or so before they start. It will help bring your organisation to life in the mind of the candidate and have them feeling like they're a part of the team before they officially join. This can alleviate any last-minute doubts about the move they’re planning to make and leave them feeling reassured and even more committed to their new post.


The first day

By this point you’ve done all the hard work and the candidate has joined your team; whether they’re joining you in the office or on a remote basis, put a card on their desk or send something to their address with a welcome note from you and the team. Some chocolates might go down well too! If you’re lucky, they might even create a LinkedIn post or tell their friends and former colleagues about just how welcome they’ve been made to feel and this could lead to lots of other great candidates applying too.


You do have time

Many people reading this will be thinking, 'This all sounds great, but I have not got the time'. The simple answer to this is that you do. Doing all of the suggested actions in this article will likely take up around two hours of your time. The cost of beginning the entire recruitment process again? Probably closer to twenty hours.


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