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Onboarding through “The Silent Period”

The Pietrack Press

Onboarding through “The Silent Period”

If you Google “Onboarding Best Practices”, you will find a ton of great ideas on what to do when your new employee starts. Proper onboarding is extremely important and most companies do an adequate job once the new employee starts. The area where companies and hiring managers can most improve is within the time the offer is accepted and the start date. I call this “The Silent Period.”

With the talent gap widening, a fierce war for top-talent has begun. More and more companies are doing whatever possible to keep their A-Players, and counter-offers are definitely back as a common-place practice. The old recruiter adage is that more than 60% of those who accept counteroffers leave or are terminated within six to twelve months, and 50% restart their searches within 90 days. As a recruiter, the words “counter-offer” are nightmarish. As someone anticipating a new employee, they should be equally as frightening. So, how can we work together to prevent such a devastating thing from happening? Let me share some ideas about what we can do to bridge the gap between offer-acceptance and start date.


One way to continue the momentum created in the interview process is to congratulate the winning candidate on their joining the team. Make them feel like they won something that others were seeking. This first step is best done over email.

The Bonding Call

Within a couple days after the Congratulations Email, put a call out to the candidate. Congratulate them again, and let them know that you are releasing the other candidates. This is important because it shows that you are fully committed to them, and it implies an expected reciprocation. Here is language that we encourage hiring managers to use in this call: “______, we are so excited that you have chosen to be a part of our team, and I want to echo your commitment by releasing the other candidates. Before I do that, I need your word that you will not consider a counter-offer from ________, and that you will release yourself from other interview processes that you’ve been in. Do I have your word?” Whenever we’ve had managers say this to their new employees, we’ve never had one take a counter-offer. It’s powerful.

Qualities that Show Quality

As their future manager, the number one quality that you can show in this time period is empathy. This is a very stressful time for the candidate, and as their new manager, you can really ease their anxiety by setting clear expectations about the period between acceptance and start date. Be comforting, empathetic, and show them you care about the stressful situation they are facing.

“The Silent Period”

As we just discussed, heading toward the unknown causes apprehension. It is naïve to leave your candidate insecurely standing in silence during this time, because it allows for buyer’s remorse, doubt, and speculation about the silence to creep into their minds. Their former company, even with the reasons they had for leaving, is comfortable to them and may end up being a safe-haven if they don’t hear from you during this period. The war for talent is at its peak at this time, and often new manager will rest on their laurels thinking the deal is done. So, welcome them, and don’t allow the war to be lost in the final hour. Any contact during “The Silent Period” is a good contact, whether it is an email, a quick conversation about benefits, to talk shop, to get an opinion, or a call just to see how things are going. These gestures will keep the candidate mentally engaged on your organization instead of focusing on their former company and the drama that has ensued following their resignation.

When was the last time you asked your recruiter what they are going to do to prevent your candidate from taking a counter-offer? I have only been asked once in my whole career, and it is completely a hiring manager’s right to know. Next time you work with me or the recruiter of your choice, make sure you ask.

I hope this information has been helpful, and I urge you treat “The Silent Period” with the upmost importance. Since a company’s number one asset is its people, taking extreme care at this point can help you win in this war for talent.

~Michael Pietrack

About the Author: Michael Pietrack is a leading executive recruiter in a the Pharmaceutical Industry and arguably the top recruiter in the Medical Affairs space. His specific expertise is recruiting in Field Medical Affairs placing Medical Science Liaisons, and therefore, he has been dubbed “The MSL Recruiter” (www.TheMSLRecruiter.com).

What is TMAC Direct?: TMAC Direct is an executive search agency that serves the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries. This boutique firm fills critical staffing needs on a retained, partially retained, or contingency basis. TMAC Direct is the direct-hire recruiting division of The Medical Affairs Company, commonly known as TMAC. Together TMAC and TMAC Direct, provide an unmatched staffing service in the Medical Technology arena, whether the hiring needs are on a permanent placement or outsourcing basis.

Keywords: MSL, Medical Science Liaison, Medical Affairs, Medical Director, Recruiter, Staffing, Search Firm, Executive Search, Headhunter, Recruiting, Recruitment, Consultant, Consulting, Agency, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, MSLs, Medical Science Liaisons, Field-Medical, GMA, Liaison, RML, Firm, Consultancy, TheMSLRecruiter, TMAC, TMAC Direct, The Medical Affairs Company, Life Science, Medical Technology, HEOR, Health Economics, Outcomes Research, Integrated Delivery Network, Integrated Delivery System, PBM, Tip, Tips, Advice, Best Practice, Best Practices, Trend, Trends, Hiring, Interviewing, Interview, Hire


1 Comment

  1. […] Conversely, failing to see preboarding as an opportunity to engage, prepare and welcome your new hire into your organization and you end up with what Michael Pietrack smartly calls “The Silent Period” in his blog post. […]

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