Following Up On Your New Hires

Ever wonder what happens to the people you recruit after they begin their jobs? Strange as it may seem, most recruiters never actually follow up on the progress of their recruits on the job. I call it “dropping them over the wall and running away.”

Why Follow Up?

Failing to follow up on your hires runs counter to one of the most fundamental aspects of any system improvement process: the need to follow up and get feedback on your work. Remember that high turnover, frustration, and low productivity are direct results of not talking to (or listening) to new hires. But there are many other reasons why a recruiter should follow up on the candidates they recruit. Some of them include:

  • To identify which sources produce the best candidates.
  • To make sure you “placed” the candidate with the right manager in the right position within the organization.
  • To gather information that will help you improve and refine your current recruiting approach.
  • For personal gratification…just to know that your recruiting worked.

If you view your job as a recruiter as one who supplies productive and successful employees to the organization, your job doesn’t stop after the hiring decision is made. You must continue the process after the candidate starts work if you want to ensure that a “good hire” becomes a “good employee.”

Steps in Following Up on Your New Hires

If you decide to follow up on your candidates, there are two phases of the process. The first phase involves a questionnaire or interview with the candidate on their first day. The goal here is to first identify what worked and what didn’t in the recruiting process, and second to capture referrals (potential candidates from their last firm) from the new hire. The second phase of the process involves following up with candidates at least twice during their first year on the job. This on-the-job follow up can be done either through a direct interview (telephone or in-person) or with a questionnaire. Both of these follow-up questionnaires can be supplemented with other tools, which might also help new hires adjust. These tools might include holding focus groups with new hires, utilizing “new hire” list servers and chat rooms, or forming “affinity groups” (clubs for new hires) to increase communication and the amount of help provided to new hires. Another option many high-tech firms use is to set up “anonymous” internal websites where employees can post concerns and ask questions without fear of retribution.

Should They Be Anonymous?

These questionnaires are designed to help the firm better manage its new hires and, as a result, I recommend that these questionnaires be open, so that you can identify the person involved and fix any problems they have personally encountered. However, some prefer to use anonymous questionnaires, on the premise that they get more honesty that way. Questionnaires can be given to all new employees, a random sample of new hires, or they can just be used for “key” hires and for key positions. The most important thing to remember during this feedback process is that it’s wise to solicit direct feedback ó but it is even more important that you then actually act on it! Asking for advice and then not responding to it is a far worse “crime” than not asking at all. Information should be fed back directly to the employee’s manager, to recruiters, and to the orientation staff.

Phase I. Information gathering on their first day on the job or during orientation (There is one questionnaire with two separate parts ó Part A and Part B)

Part A. “Help us improve our recruiting effectiveness” questionnaire.

  1. How did you learn about this job? What source or recruiting tool convinced you to apply?
  2. What other firms did you seriously consider? (Please list in descending order of your interest.)
  3. What part of our recruiting effort impressed you the most? The least?
  4. What other firms made you offers? How did those offers differ from ours? (Can we have a copy of your other offer letters?) What aspect of our offer was most (and least) convincing?
  5. Who else should we recruit from your former firm? What is their job title and their strengths? (Please list the names in descending order of their value as potential recruits.) Will you help us recruit them? (Yes/No)
  6. What other employees “look good on the surface” at your former firm, but wouldn’t be a fit here?
  7. (Optional) What are the best business and technical practices at your former firm? (Please list in descending order of importance.)

Part B. “What motivates/frustrates you” questionnaire. Help us understand you, and how you prefer to be managed.

Employees at our firm have a shared responsibility (along with their managers) to help ensure that every employee is as productive and motivated as possible. Because you are new to this position, you can help us to understand how to manage/motivate you so that you can do the best work of your life. Although this form is an important first step in that process, it is imperative that you continue to help your manager and your team leader to understand what your goals are and how we can best help you reach them.

  1. For what reasons did you accept this job? (Please list in descending order of importance.)
  2. What are your initial concerns about this new job? (Please list in descending order of importance.)
  3. Why did you quit your last job? (So we can avoid similar errors.)
  4. What are the things that normally frustrate you on a job?
  5. What were the changeable aspects of your last two jobs that you liked the least? (Please list them in descending order of importance.)
  6. What motivates you to do great work? Categories of motivators include rewards, recognition, challenge, making a difference, control, learning and growth, and open communications. (Please list them in descending order of importance.)
  7. Where would you like to be in your career in three years? (Please list in descending order of importance.)
  8. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being most satisfied), how satisfied are you with the recruiting process? Your current job?

Phase II. “How are you doing?” follow up. Provided periodically during their first year (generally after one month and at least once more during their first year).

“What’s Working And What Isn’t” Questionnaire

Help us understand how you are doing and what might be frustrating you. You have been with the firm for a while now and it’s time for a “spot check” on how you (& we) are doing. Can you give us some feedback on how you are doing so that we can “refine” our recruiting, orientation and management processes?

  1. What are the things you like best about your job? (Please list in descending order of importance.)
  2. What are the things you like least about your job? (Please list in descending order of importance.)
  3. What are the things you like best about how you are being managed? (Please list in descending order of importance.)
  4. What are the things you like least about how you are being managed? What frustrates you? (Please list in descending order of importance.)
  5. Where would you like to be in your career by the end of your second year? (Please list in descending order of importance.)
  6. Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve our recruiting and orientation process?

Thank you for your time!


After compiling the results of these questionnaires, it’s important to utilize them to help improve source selection, orientation, and fit assessment. Also remember that on top of getting candidate feedback you are capturing candidate referrals, as well as showing new hires that you care. If that’s not reason enough to do follow up questionnaires, then do it for personal pride. Don’t you just want to know if all of your hard work produced results?

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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