When hiring employees, negligent hiring practices can doom the process. Learn from your colleagues’ successes – and avoid their pitfalls.

Smart interview questions, well-written job descriptions, and sharp interviewing result in hiring employees that work out well, AND make you look good in the process.

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Some managers and supervisors can’t leave well enough alone after they terminate an employee. When the former employee files a lawsuit, they try to find a way to strike back. That can be a disaster! That’s why you must make sure bosses understand the consequences that may flow from a single act of vengeance or anger.

Q. Can I implement a rule against hiring people who are overweight?

Judges rarely second-guess the decisions of employers that use reasonable methods to hire or promote the best candidates. By using objective criteria and documenting the selection process, savvy employers win most cases.

Here’s one of the easiest ways to reduce your chances of losing a race discrimination lawsuit: Make sure the same person or group who chose to hire an employee in the first place also makes the decision to terminate her. That makes it much harder for the employee to show she was fired for a discriminatory reason.

With so many companies focused on downsizing to contain costs in a down economy, many employers have failed to prepare for a pending change that will significantly alter workforce demographics. Beginning in 2011, the first of the baby boomers will turn 65. As the rest of the roughly 70 million baby boomers follow, we’ll see a major shift in the age of our society—and our workforces. This shift will have a significant impact on employers.

If your business relies on hiring casual laborers and you routinely pay a set price for a day’s work, don’t assume your workers are independent contractors. If one of them falls or is injured, chances are a court will conclude he’s an employee due workers’ compensation benefits. If you don’t carry workers’ comp insurance, you’ll be on the hook for big bucks.

Question: “My company does not have a dedicated receptionist and has assigned receptionist duties to four assistants. It’s difficult for the four of us to get our regular work done with the added duties of answering incoming calls, transferring calls and logging them into the customer management system. How can we persuade management to consider hiring a full-time receptionist without jeopardizing our own jobs?” — Upset in the West

Here are a few interviewing tips from Bob Edwards, who hosts a show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio: Prepare well. Make your subjects feel comfortable. Listen closely. Stop and reroute the interview if the person keeps saying the same thing. Let the candidate do the talking ...

 Q. “What would be the best way to tell an employee we don’t want to hire her daughter? We’ve had her as a temp, but never would’ve hired her for a full-time job.” Here's how readers of our HR Specialist Forum answered that question:

The cost cutting and headcount reductions might not be over yet, but as the economy begins its slow recovery, HR pros are reporting fewer layoffs, a renewed focus on retention—and even a talk of pay raises! Still, the flush workplace of 2006 isn’t likely to rush back into vogue. Here are 12 lingering adjustments—all with comp and benefits implications—that could outlast the recession:

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