In this post, we’re going to outline how you can design an effective onboarding process, including:

Why does onboarding matter?

When it comes to employee onboarding for a recruiter, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

For starters, they are the face of your brand – A great recruiter will be interacting with hundreds – if not thousands – of job applicants every single month. They are the first interaction these applicants – and potential employees – will have with your brand. If they are not passionate about the company and knowledgeable about the positions they are recruiting for, this will reflect badly on your brand.

The other big reason why you should invest in onboarding is that it is cost-effective. If a recruiter has a terrible onboarding experience, don’t get the information they need to be successful in their role, or feel like second-class citizens in the organization, they will leave for another job. And it is expensive to hire and train new employees.

In fact, it costs more than $4,000 to hire a new employee. That’s before factoring in the time and money for training and onboarding.

How to onboard a new recruiter in your organization

Start before their first day

Contrary to what you might think, onboarding a new recruiter actually starts when they are still going through the hiring process and not on their first day on the job.

This makes sense if you think about it. A recruiter is going to be screening candidates for your company day in and day out. The first experience they are going to draw from is how their hiring process was handled when they applied for a recruiting job at your company.

So, you should make sure you are providing a great candidate experience from the minute a recruiter applies for the job online to the interviews and the offer letter.

Build out and maintain all of your recruiting systems and processes

One of the most important things you can do to improve your recruiting and onboarding experience is to systemize it.

At the bare minimum, you should create SOPs and processes for any repeatable tasks, such as:

  • Writing a job description
  • Writing a job ad
  • Where to post the job ad
  • When to schedule interviews
  • Sending the offer letter

Pro Tip: Check out this guide for tips to help you document and automate these processes.

By documenting these processes, this gives your recruiter a good foundation to start from. They can see how things have been done as they ramp up before they start improving or changing any processes.

The other crucial element of building out your recruiting processes is making sure it is integrated into your recruiter’s daily workflow. This means that if a recruiter is primarily going to be spending their day going between your project management software and applicant tracking software, all of your processes should live there. This increases the likelihood that the recruiter will stick to the process each time, which creates a consistent experience for candidates.

Create a memorable first day

As we alluded to earlier in this article, you only get one chance to make a first impression with a new recruiter. In addition to their own hiring experience, the next most important experience is their first day on the job.

You want to make them feel welcome and supported without overwhelming them with all of the information.

This is where having a detailed agenda for the first day can be beneficial. Here are some key items to include:

  • Introduce them to their team
  • Schedule an intro chat with everyone on their direct team
  • Send a company-wide welcome email or Slack message
  • Get all of the administrative paperwork out of the way, such as W2s, health insurance, and 401k forms
  • Have the CEO or a long-standing, friendly executive in the company share a presentation on the company’s mission, values, and team culture

Pro Tip: One thing you can do to take this a step further is to send them a welcome gift pack. This can include some company swag, a handwritten welcome letter signed by their team, and even some baked goodies.

Assign them a buddy

Being the new guy or girl on the team can be stressful. Assigning your new recruiter a buddy that they can chat with, learn about the team culture (and work gets done), and ask any questions they have can go a long way.

In addition, their buddy during their first few weeks can lead by example.

If they model your company’s values, this will carry over to your new recruiter.

Shadow others in the organization
Similar to sales, there is only so much a recruiter can learn from reading through your SOPs and processes and sitting through presentations.

That’s why baking in a ton of time for a recruiter to shadow others on your team – ideally another recruiter – can be extremely beneficial.

In fact, for the first 2 weeks on the job, all of their free time should be spent sitting in on candidate phone screens, interviews, and in interview debrief sessions. This allows them to observe what questions you ask, how hiring decisions are made, what rationale is used.

Then, once they are a couple of weeks in, they should start handling phone screens and interviews but with an experienced recruiter shadowing them over the next few weeks. This allows for hands-on coaching and training.

Provide in-depth training on internal software and processes
This is almost too obvious to include, but as they shadow others in your organization, this is also a great time to provide any necessary training on any software they will be using on the job.Another great tactic is to calculate Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), which is an important metric for retaining great talents.

Set clear expectations and KPIs upfront

By the end of their first month on the job, you and your new recruiter should agree on their KPIs. By including them in this process, this is a way to give them a sense of ownership and added accountability.

In addition, having clear expectations of what a great recruiter looks like it reduces the need to micromanage.

Ask for regular feedback

Finally, since this is a front-line role, make sure to ask for feedback from your new recruiter early and often. This should ideally happen at the minimum at the end of their first week, first month, and at the 90-day mark.

These are not only great times to check-in with them but also give you the opportunity to ask for suggestions for how you can improve the recruiting and onboarding process moving forward.


In sum, onboarding a new recruiter shouldn’t be an afterthought. The more time and thought that goes into creating an optimal onboarding process, the more likely the recruiter will have a great experience, stick around in the company for a long time, and be an evangelist for your brand.

Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Jessica Malnik
About Author: Jessica Malnik
Jessica Malnik is a content strategist and copywriter for SaaS and productized service businesses. Her writing has appeared on The Next Web, Social Media Examiner, SEMRush, ProcessKit, CMX, Convince & Convert, and many other sites.