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Harris Fanaroff on onboarding new hires, recruiting in a downturn, and standing out as a PM candidate
Product State Q&A
Harris Fanaroff is the Founder of Activate Onboarding, and the Global Head of Client Relations at Pontoon Solutions. He is the former VP of Client relationships at OKA, and a former small business owner.
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EC: What is the key to effectively onboarding new team members?
HF: The big 5 are -
Building that connection immediately upon acceptance
Getting to know them personally
Identifying what motivates each person
Creating 30/60/90 day goals and holding them accountable to hitting them
Providing recognition often, and how the new hire wants to be recognized
The cost of losing an employee early in their tenure can be up to 1.5x their salary.
It’s so important to get this right from the start.
Strong onboarding contributes to faster time-to-productivity, easier recruiting, increased connectedness within the organization, and reduced employee turnover.
Of course, you have to be as intentional about keeping them on board:
EC: How should hiring managers approach leadership recruiting during this ‘down year’ in tech?
HF: Always be recruiting and thinking about who you want on your team even before you have an opening.
Create those relationships before you need them.
There is so much more opportunity right now because of the layoffs that are happening. Better talent is available and the world of remote work makes it easier to get talent wherever. You need to make sure you are building that pipeline before you need it.
A couple of my favorite ideas:
Ask recent new hires for people that they would recommend
Incentivize them for bringing on successful new hires
Be quick with your new hire decisions - don’t string along candidates
Engage with their LinkedIn / Twitter content if they are posting to show you are interested
EC: With so much competition in the market, how may relatively new product managers stand out to get hired into their second or third role as PMs?
HF: Build genuine connections with people, get to know them BEFORE you need the job.
Plant many seeds as you never know when one will grow.
I would also encourage PMs to find ways to provide value even before you are hired.
In the interview process, ask them about some of the things they are struggling with, and give your quick recommendations about how you would go about solving them.
Some out of the box ideas well:
Send a hand-written thank you note
Write up your own 30/60/90 day goals
Reach out to 3 other people in the company outside of those that you are interviewing with
I also go more in-depth into my favorite ideas here.
“The cost of losing an employee early in their tenure can be up to 1.5x their salary. It’s so important to get this (onboarding) right from the start.”
- Harris Fanaroff
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