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5 Ways to Onboard Your New Hire Successfully

A key part of maximizing leverage for any business is making good hiring decisions. A stellar new hire generates impact for the team, value for the business, and an opportunity for leaders to broaden their teams’ scope. Yet good hiring decisions are hard to make.

Yet the hiring process does not end with an offer. In fact, the most critical part of the hiring process comes AFTER the offer is made.

There are two elements to this: first, closing the candidate and second, setting them up for success in onboarding.

This lesson is included in Reforge’s Product Leadership program. Want to learn more about making good hiring decisions, including implementing a high quality, standardized interview process that helps hiring managers make good decisions? Get a Reforge membership to access all 22+ programs.

Why a Great Onboarding Process Starts with Closing the Candidate

Strong candidates are in extremely high demand. You need to sell the role, team, and company to them as much as they need to sell themselves to you.

A structured and organized interview process helps with this by communicating to the candidate that their work experience will likewise be structured and organized. But hiring managers still need to invest in closing the candidate once the offer is made.

It's important to understand that this is simply not about negotiating compensation. Choosing a job is an important step in a career roadmap. Candidates will only accept an offer if the role, the company, and their manager will move them towards their long-term professional and development goals.


As part of the closing process, the hiring manager must seek to understand the candidate's career goals and paint a picture for how the role and the hiring manager themselves fit into those goals.

This includes helping the candidate understand the type of work they will do, the scope of responsibility they will have, the resources they'll have available, and the commitment of both the company and manager to their growth.

Checklist: 5 Onboarding Success Strategies

If all goes well at this point and an offer is extended and accepted, it's important to set your new hire up for success with a thoughtful onboarding process. This is where great leaders can turn a promising candidate into a superstar high performer.

Onboarding is as crucial as interviewing, but few managers take the time to develop a sufficient onboarding experience to set new hires up for success.

The onboarding process will vary from company to company, but some of the best strategies include:

1. Provide a Meet & Greet List

Provide a list of people to meet within the first two weeks. This should include key people from the team your hire will sit on, stakeholders they'll work with on a regular basis, and one or two senior leaders to allow the new hire to start building leadership relationships.

2. Assign Mentors

Assign a peer mentor and a leadership mentor. The peer mentor is another employee with a similar role at the organization — for a new product manager, their peer mentor could be another PM at the same level. Their goal is to help the new hire better understand their role and answer all the "stupid questions" a new hire may not want to ask their boss or a senior leader.

The leadership mentor is a Director- or VP-level leader who can help the new hire understand the company’s strategy and navigate their career.

At smaller startups, a single mentor can work, since most people are wearing multiple hats anyway. In this case, mentors need to be mindful to give new hires the space to ask the "stupid" questions that are vital to ramping up but may seem basic to existing teammates.

3. Provide a field manual

Include an overview of the strategy, recent launches, key metrics, acronyms, schedules and processes, list of essential tools and how they are used, and a link to the archive of recent experiments and test results.

4. Provide a list of important meetings

A painfully common onboarding mistake is leaving new people out of critical team meetings. This reduces their ability to make the right decisions and form the right relationships.

5. Set up social gatherings

This is especially important in a remote environment. It could include a team lunch, online trivia night, etc. The goal is to help new hires get to know the team and recreate some of the social vibe of being in an office together.

Great leaders know that the long term benefits of standardizing the interview process and putting structure around the post-offer and onboarding process are worth the up front investment. After all, a company's success is defined by the people it hires. Leaders can only drive impact if they hire and nurture great teammates that generate leverage for the leader and value for the company.

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