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What are the rules for interacting with a new hire (before she starts)?

You need to woo all candidates until they start, says our advice columnist.

What are the rules for interacting with a new hire (before she starts)?
[Source photo: kieferpix/iStock]

Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the former COO of eBay, will offer candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at dearfounder@fastcompany.com.

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I just hired a chief people officer (head of HR). Should I ask her to start interacting with me before she starts?  I know they are trying to save her where she is.

-CEO of a company in the ed tech space

Dear CEO,

You just answered your own question! Yes, you need to interact with your new hire every day.

It’s important to be respectful, but you need to woo all candidates until they start—and more importantly, keep wooing them afterwards.

It’s great that her current company is trying to get her to stay. You should feel validated that you made a decision to hire someone who is so valued and appreciated. However, you must also understand that if she really is well regarded, there’s a battle going on and you need to show up and fight the good fight. Even if she committed to you, she’s still working for them, and they don’t want to let her go. Stay in touch during this period. You absolutely must be present.

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This is a really good opportunity for the candidate to learn. You can onboard her in advance as much as she’s willing and capable of doing. If she’s open to engaging before she starts, it will reduce ramp time once she’s officially on board. She will come in with knowledge and feeling included.

This was my experience when I began my job at eBay. I was still finishing my work at Gateway but was able to also get a head start at eBay, which including recruiting my team. Once I was officially there, we were able to hit the ground running.

It is easy to overwhelm a new hire, so be sure to ask for permission first. It all comes down to staying connected to the new hire and seeing things from his or her perspective—not yours. Be of service to help guide and coach them through the transition to your company.

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