How to Keep the Great Candidate You Just Hired


It’s a problem you may have faced at one point or another: You hire a great candidate, only to have them cut and run months into the position. On paper, and subsequently in person, they may have seemed like a good fit. However, the feeling was apparently not mutual.

The loss of a great employee shortly after they’re hired goes beyond face value. In fact, it may affect your bottom line: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employee turnover can cost anywhere from 30 to 200 percent of a worker’s annual salary. Overall, turnover costs the U.S. economy an estimated $5 trillion annually. How’s that for a wakeup call?

While quick turnover does happen, it can be prevented — especially if you onboard your new employees in the right way. Here’s how to keep them on your side:

Have an onboarding strategy

You need to have an onboarding plan in place long before your new employee’s first day. This plan should have a few important factors like company mission and goals, organizational culture, team dynamics, descriptions of individual roles, vital HR policies, and points of contact.

Another strategy to consider is to pair your new employee up with a seasoned veteran. This person can show the new team member the ropes of the organization, as well as how they can succeed in the position once they are settled. Your new employee will appreciate having an open door for any questions they may have.

Be transparent

Want to engage your employees while they transition into a new workplace? Be transparent. Don’t keep anything from them, like important policies or more efficient ways to perform tasks. Failure to do so not only makes their job harder, it can also make them feel unwanted or unwelcomed.

An easy way to be transparent is have regular meetings with your new hire, especially during the first few months. These meetings will allow you to talk about their progress, what they are doing right, and what they can improve upon. This may also make the employee feel more connected to their role because they get feedback on how they’re doing in real-time.

Help them grow

If you want to retain employees, you have to keep them in-tune with industry happenings. Professional development opportunities are a great way to help your workers to grow, because they provide employees with key knowledge that they may not have been aware of otherwise. Plus, it’s what employees want: A SHRM report found that, above all, candidates look for opportunities for growth and professional development when applying for jobs.

Professional development doesn’t have to mean sending your employees to expensive conferences across the country (though this is a great option if you can afford it!) You can hone their skills closer to home by enrolling them in industry classes, providing reading material, allowing them to use new software, or setting up a mentor program. While many of these options require a financial investment, professional development opportunities will help new workers to feel knowledgeable and grow in their roles, which directly contributes to the success of your organization.

Keep your promises

During the hiring process, you may have spoken to the candidate about a typical day for someone in the role. Maybe you also noted perks, promotional opportunities, bonuses, or even the advantages of working for your company instead of the competition. But come onboarding time, these promises actually need to be kept.

Think of it this way: If a client or your boss said they’d do something, but then continuously pulled the rug from under you, you’d be disappointed, right? Eventually, you’d probably check out and find something that has more follow-through, especially when it comes to improving yourself professionally. The same goes for a new hire. Keeping organizational promises gives employees the assurance that you care about them because you’re able to take the necessary steps for engagement and retention.

Retaining great candidates doesn’t have to be a chore. In the end, having an onboarding strategy, being transparent, providing development opportunities, and keeping your promises will help you to retain key players and maintain a thriving organization.

What do you think? How do you retain great candidates you’ve just hired?

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.


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