Lessons from soccer? A checklist to recruit & onboard the best job candidates

A Senegalese soccer player left his championship-winning club of six years to join a top-tier rival in Germany.

You don’t need to know anything about soccer (or football for you Brits and Europeans) to understand who Sadio Mané is or how he was courted to Bayern Munich.

What you will understand is the recruitment and onboarding tactics that the new club used to sway world class talent Mané away from his successful team.

Then, you’ll be able to translate the lessons from the pitch to your organization. To recruit and onboard your next top job candidates.

Lessons from soccer: A checklist to recruit & onboard the best job candidates

How to recruit the best talent & onboard like the pros

Here’s some backstory: Sadio Mané, a Senegalese soccer player at the English Premier League club Liverpool, had won several titles and scored 120 goals in 269 matches in just 6 seasons for the team.

His former manager said, “As well a Liverpool legend, he’s one of the all-time Premier League greats.”

Earning roughly $5.2 million a year, Mané had it made in the shade at Liverpool.

When he was courted by European rival and German championship-level club Bayern Munich, it wasn’t the money that stood out to Mané. In fact, it was the onboarding process and the club, which professional athletes rarely remark on.

Mané was blown away by the fans and their hospitality. “The people welcomed me, especially here at the club, which gave me another boost in motivation.”

Sometimes, employment decisions aren’t entirely rational. “We are all far less rational in our decision-making than standard economic theory assumes,” famous economist Dan Ariely stated. What would make a man leave his current employer where he’s so successful?

But what Mané experienced at Bayern Munich makes sense. 10 years ago, he played for another German club and visited Munich as an opponent. “People are very respectful and nice. That really impressed me and played an important role [in my decision].”

10 years later, Mané distinctly remembers his interactions with the club and how they made him feel.

What lessons can you take from this employee onboarding experience? 

For one, you must treat every step in the recruitment and onboarding process with extreme detail and care if you want to hire the top talent your company deserves. 

Who are you interacting with today in your candidate experience who you may not get this time around, but you desperately want to onboard sometime in the future? Providing a memorable candidate experience is more than just getting top talent in this moment in time, but in the future as well.

Effective onboarding isn’t about a gift basket, onboarding software, and a shiny new computer. No.

A successful recruitment and onboarding process shows off your company culture, values every interaction with top candidates, and makes them feel like a million dollars. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Because when you make people feel welcomed, engaged and valuable, they remember you.

An onboarding checklist to welcome your new hires

So, how can you recruit and onboard like the pros? 

Throw out your traditional onboarding playbook. Below is an employee onboarding checklist you can break out every time you hire a top draft pick.

Field of Talent onboarding checklist

✔   Interview your top candidates

Today’s job seekers may interview with up to ten or fifteen companies at once. What are you doing to go above and beyond and stand out from the crowd?

Remember interviews are just as important for your top candidates as they are for you. The hiring process is a tryout – a two-way street. They need to know their employer cares for them, values them, and pays them their worth.

With modern tools like PivotCX, Field of Talent can help you personalize and speed up your hiring process. Not bad! Get your free consult here.

✔   Extend the offer (of a lifetime!)

Let your candidate know that this offer is special. It’s an opportunity to grow together, to honor their personal and professional goals, and to value them and their family. 

For job seekers, the interview process is long and hard. Receiving an offer is a big deal. Act like it! Paint a picture for them what life looks like if they accept your offer.

Hint: It should be greener grass.

✔   Celebrate their acceptance

You know that eccentric Oprah gif: You get a car, you get a car, you get a car! That’s how you should react when your top draft pick accepts your offer. 

Relay your excitement to your new hire. You’ve done it. You’ve gotten your top draft pick. Congratulations!

Now, it’s time to get to work. The onboarding process has just begun.

✔   Bridge the gap between acceptance & first day

Especially important to your top draft pick’s success at your organization is bridging the gap between their acceptance and first day on the job.

They worked hard to finally receive and accept an offer. They may want to rest and take a few weeks off before starting.

Three words: Communicate. Communicate. Overcommunicate.

We’ve highlighted the importance of communication and how a lack of clarity can be your onboarding’s downfall. Three quick tips to improve your comms:

  • Prioritize frequency, clarity, & transparency
  • Meet them where they are
  • No ghosting

Introduce them to their team. Send a care package to their family. Invite them to company events without any expectations. These are just a few ways to onboard before onboarding.

✔   Reduce first day jitters

The first day of a new job is inherently anxiety-inducing. Change is scary.

Set expectations for your new hire and make sure they know what they’re getting into. Surprises cause uncertainty. And uncertainty causes anxiety. 

Effective onboarding programs prepare new hires for day one and reduce the odds they’ll turnover.

What do your new hires need to know about your organization, their team, and their role before starting their first day?

Do not encourage them to work before their work begins. But acknowledge that a little studying and homework can go a long way in preparing them for the road ahead.

Day 1 should be a masterclass in white glove service. Reduce their anxiety and discomfort while allowing them to relax, get to know the culture and their new teammates more intimately, and envision their new professional life.

✔   Orient, not bore-ient

Welcoming your new hires to your organization should be fun. It’s a new opportunity for them – a chance to do meaningful work and recommit to their goals. The room should be full of ambition, hope, and faith in the direction you’re going.

Too many organizations dampen that mood with a stale orientation class. Yuck.

How do we consume information in the 2020s? Video. Can your leaders film a video summarizing your mission and goals showing your team is bought into the vision? Or better yet – a direct conversation with each team’s leader to better understand the company and its structure.

That’s not so hard, is it? Plus, sleek onboarding software (like learning management systems) allows you to personalize your training content to increase comprehension even more. Booyah!

Again, this is your opportunity to stand out from their former employers. The last thing you want is for your top draft picks to re-encounter a nightmare onboarding experience from their past and say, “Oh no, not this again.”

✔   Extend onboarding & engagement past Day 1

Create frequent touchpoints beyond Day 1 to make sure their onboarding experience went smoothly and you’re continually improving it for future new hires.

Extending your new hires’ onboarding isn’t just a great chance to gather feedback. But it’s a more thoughtful way to introduce them to their environment – mission, culture, teammates, goals, processes. Instead of slamming years of new information and history down their throat in a single day.

All but guaranteeing new hire retention in the process. Check!

Use this time-tested employee onboarding checklist to recruit and welcome your next round of new hires. And create a jaw-dropping onboarding process for your top candidates. They’ll be amazed at your careful attention to detail throughout their time of stressful, big life changes.

Sadio Mané chose the organization that made him feel at home. Your recruiting and onboarding processes are an opportunity to stand out, provide a memorable candidate experience, and get the top draft picks you deserve. Just like Bayern Munich.

Top talent only lasts 10 days on the open market. Is your hiring process set up to make decisions that fast? Field of Talent can help. Get your free consult here.

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Lessons from soccer? A checklist to recruit & onboard the best job candidates