When to Introduce Recruits to the Company Handbook


image_28According to Sarah E. Needleman of the Wall Street Journal, the hiring process is one of elimination, getting rid of unsuitable candidates to end up with the best choices [1]. Along the way, there are screenings of cover letters, application reviews, personal interviews and even studies of past employment. Many hiring managers wait until after a candidate has been hired before showing them the company handbook, but that might be a mistake.

Benefits of a Company Handbook

A company handbook, which in today’s digital world need not always be printed and bound, does the following:

• Shows employees where to go for HR help
• Introduces the dress code or behavior policies
• Explains management and leadership techniques
• Showcases benefits for employees

However, a company handbook can do a lot more than serve as a map for new recruits. In some cases, like the investment firm The Motley Fool, the company handbook was made public and served as a recruitment tool [2]. By outlining perks of employment as well as an irreverent, appealing company culture, the handbook actually brought in more candidates for future positions.

Introducing the Company Handbook Before the Interview Phase

Because a company handbook can reinforce the brand of a company, introducing the handbook to top talent can encourage a desire to want to belong to an organization that leads the industry or is simply a fun place to work. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a company or employee handbook can also include details like any standards of conduct, compensation protocol and vacation leave policies [3]. Recruiters will notice that these are often key questions and issues brought up at interviews. Streamline the interview by offering candidates access to the company handbook in the days or weeks prior to a face-to-face or video meeting.

Reintroduction on Day One in the Office

When new recruits show up for their first day of work in a new position, having a physical copy of the company handbook is often a smart idea. Include a page or document, typically called an employee acknowledgement page that can be signed by the employee verifying that it has been read and agreed to [4]. It’s a good idea to offer to meet one on one to discuss any aspects of the company handbook that are confusing or unclear to the new hires.


[1] http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703808904575025250789355156

[2] http://www.businessinsider.com/how-one-company-is-using-its-employee-handbook-as-a-recruiting-tool-2014-8

[3] https://www.sba.gov/content/employee-handbooks

[4] http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/06/what-to-include-in-employee-handbook.html