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A Guide to Onboarding as a Salesperson

As an Account Manager, you know it’s hard work to secure and serve new clients. You have to be skilled at developing relationships, and intuitive when it comes to matching the right candidates to your openings. When this process comes together, it works like a charm, and all involved parties get what they need.

However, getting a signed offer is only half of the equation. You still have to get to the actual start date, and work with internal and external stakeholders to move the candidate through the onboarding process. Often there are many hurdles to clear between the offer and a candidate’s first day. And as the Account Manager, it’s your job to make sure it all goes smoothly.

Here are some tips for making it through this critical phase successfully.

Get the Client’s Onboarding Requirements as Soon as Possible

From background checks and medical screenings to employment checks and education verification, onboarding requirements are typically lengthy and vary between clients. If a candidate fails to complete a step (or fails a step!), their start date can be delayed or called off altogether. 

Getting that detailed list of requirements from the client can be surprisingly hard – after all, they’re busy – but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s not essential. Ideally, you’ll get the onboarding requirements as soon as you start working with a client so that by the time there’s a signed offer, you’re ready to go with the next steps.

While you may feel like you’re bugging the client if you keep asking for it, the reality is that your persistence is in the client’s best interest. Having that list in hand early on ensures that you can orchestrate all of the necessary steps on time.

Stay in Constant Communication with the Client

Candidates aren’t the only ones nervous about this process; the clients are anxious too. They’ve invested a lot of time in interviewing and selecting the perfect person to help them, and they know better than anyone that the deal isn’t done until the candidate shows up on their first day with HR’s stamp of approval. Many problems can come up during the onboarding process that would invalidate the candidate and send the client back to the beginning.

You can’t do much to ease that anxiety. After all, you have no control over what turns up during onboarding. The one thing you can do is stay in constant communication with the client, sending them updates as often as possible.

Send a quick note any time you get news about one of the onboarding steps. Let them know when the drug screening comes back, and no red flags turn up during reference calls. Even check in when you don’t have news; telling them that you’re still waiting on the candidate to submit employment information is better than making them wonder if something is wrong. 

The client will be reassured to know that the process is moving along and that they can still expect the candidate to start on time. On the flip side, they’ll want to know right away if there are any problems, too.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be the Squeaky Wheel

You’ve heard the expression “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” right? Being a successful Account Manager sometimes requires some squeaking.

So much about this onboarding stage leaves your success dependent on the work and timeliness of other people. You need HR to initiate the proper screenings, complete the job, and send you the results. You need the recruiter to get the candidate to submit the paperwork and show up for any tests or procedures, and you need the candidate to do it all.

From looping in HR to coordinating with the recruiter and the candidate, many people are involved – and thus, there is a lot of room for error. All of these people are getting pulled in many different directions, and what is your top priority (getting this candidate through onboarding on time) isn’t necessarily their top priority. That’s why it’s your job to prompt them, remind them, and follow up with them. Yes, you’ll probably feel annoying – and yes, it’s necessary. Everyone will appreciate your efforts to keep the ball moving forward so the candidate can start on time.

Don’t Lose Your Sense of Urgency

The sense of urgency is palpable when you’re awaiting an offer. However, you can’t relax once the offer is accepted. Remember that you’re a salesperson at the end of the day, and the deal isn’t done until the candidate starts working. 

Maintain your momentum throughout this latter half of the process to ensure the candidate makes it to the finish line and your client gets the employee they’re banking on. Being pushy is how you can best support your clients, which will keep them coming back again and again.

The most satisfying part of being an Account Manager is knowing that you are improving the lives of both the candidate and your client. Hiring is stressful, and you provide valuable assistance by making sure you match the right people to the right job. Don’t drop the ball in the final stretch of the process; devote the proper time and attention to the onboarding stage to ensure your client gets their great new employee on time.

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