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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In past recessions, furloughs—requiring employees to take a certain number of unpaid days off—were mostly limited to blue-collar workers. But this downturn is different. In the past two years, everyone from tech firms to state government has furloughed their white-collar employees. Experts offer the following options for furloughs:

When HR director Kris Dunn is in recruiting mode and gets your phone’s answering machine, he uses the occasion to judge you as a leader. “Good energy and kind of dynamic-sounding in your voice mail greeting? Cool. I’m more interested,” he says.

If your organization is typical, you’re relying more heavily on internal promotions than in the past. And as greater numbers of existing employees compete for coveted “inside” jobs, expect a corresponding rise in the number of failure-to-promote lawsuits. HR people and managers are aware of the legal dangers in hiring outside applicants. But many forget that internal promotions also carry risks.

A jury will decide whether Wackenhut Inc. discriminated against Lord Osunfarian Xodus when the security firm turned him down for a security guard position. Xodus, a Chicagoan who practices Rastafari, claimed he lost out on the job after he refused to cut his dreadlocks for religious reasons.

Q. We would like to administer personality tests to job applicants. Would this violate the ADA? A. Personality tests are a good example of the types of policies likely to be affected by the recently passed ADA Amendments Act of 2008 ...

You’re required to offer job accommodations to employees with qualifying disabilities. But if an employee has a medical condition that requires frequent bathroom breaks, does that count as a “disability”? The answer is a clear “yes," especially this year …

Common sense and experience can help you make decisions, but they’re not enough. An expert can provide options. But only the decision-maker knows all the circumstances, so make sure you have a reliable method for reaching a decision. Seven steps to help you get there:

Starting Sept. 8, federal contractors and subcontractors must begin using the government's E-Verify system to confirm their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. After a year's worth of court delays, the Internet-based employment-eligibility verification system is now mandatory for companies doing business with Uncle Sam.

If you have a fairly informal application process, now’s the time to firm it up. The prolonged economic downturn means you’re receiving many more applications and résumés than normal. And that means more potential for lawsuits from unsuccessful job-seekers.

Lots of employers win sexual harassment lawsuits, but not until they have had to air their dirty laundry in public—and pay for the privilege, too. That’s one reason to insist on a professional workplace free of sexual innuendo and harassing behavior. HR performs one of its most valuable services when it impresses on management the high cost of winning a sexual harassment lawsuit ...

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