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December 14, 2017

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How to Protect Your Placement

Congratulations! Your job offer was accepted and the candidate plans to start in two weeks. Time to throw a party, right?

Well, not just yet. Despite the good news, the transition from old job to new needs your careful attention. Otherwise, things could go very, very wrong. If you’ve ever experienced what’s known as a falloff, you’ll know not to break out the champagne or go crazy with your MasterCard until the candidate reports to work and survives the guarantee period.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your placement in the interim. Here are four potential minefields to watch for and how to deal with them:

1. Counteroffers. At this stage, the vetting has been done, so it’s too late to disqualify a risky candidate. I’ve found the most practical post-acceptance defense is to prepare the candidate emotionally for the blowback he or she is likely to receive on resignation day. If you simply describe the employer’s predictable sequence of shock, indignation, interrogation and flattery in a matter-of-fact way, you’ll help diffuse the employer’s attempts to keep the candidate from leaving.

2. Buyer’s remorse. It’s only natural for a job changer to engage in second-guessing, even after the offer’s been accepted. To guard against a change of heart—and the meddling from friends, relatives and co-workers—it’s a good idea for the recruiter, the new hiring manager and/or the HR staff to keep the candidate focused on the future, not the past. For example, the candidate can be assigned a project prior to his or her start date; or asked to do some research so as to hit the ground running.

3. Logistical problems. Try as we may, we can’t plan for every contingency or anticipate every hiccup. I would advise staying in touch with the candidate to make sure all aspects of the transition fall into place, particularly if the new job involves relocation, a security clearance or any other box to check. And by all means, pay special attention to the needs of family members or significant others. Their well-being is integral to a successful transition.

4. Onboarding issues. Even honeymoons can get off to a rocky start. That’s why it’s best to check in with both the employer and the candidate several times during the first few weeks on the job. If the company is in your local area, you can take your candidate and the employer to lunch. By all means, keep your eyes and ears open to any signs of miscommunication, misunderstanding or negativity.

A while back, I got the sense that the hiring manager at the new company was unhappy with my candidate’s performance a week after his start date. As it turns out, the candidate had simply misunderstood a particular aspect of his role. After the employer’s concerns were brought to the candidate’s attention, the problem was corrected and the manager was satisfied. Had I not sniffed out the discontent, my candidate would probably have been fired.

Naturally, there are many things we can’t predict or control during the twilight zone between an offer acceptance and a start. But at the very least, we should keep a watchful eye on what’s happening and do everything possible to provide for a smooth—and uneventful—transition.

Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, CDs and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction.