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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The Washington Redskins’ hiring of an “offensive consultant” looked to some like a pure play to undermine the head coach. The Redskins owner rationalized that his hired hand was “another pair of eyes.” That only works, though, if the coach wants another set of eyes. Since that wasn’t the case, the owner appeared to be perpetuating infighting and chaos. Result? A case of “toxic management.”

Do you "play favorites” with certain employees? Most managers would probably say “no,” but people often harbor unconscious perceptions that can influence day-to-day decision-making and job reviews of the employees they manage. Several factors unrelated to employee performance can impact evaluations conducted by managers.

Sometimes, it’s best to just come clean. Even the best HR pros make mistakes when promoting or hiring employees. When that happens, and another employee sues, alleging that the hiring or promotion process was tainted by discrimination, it may be a good idea to admit that mistake to the court or the EEOC.

One of the cardinal rules of hiring is that you should ask all applicants the same questions. But even good rules can sometimes be broken … when it makes good sense. For example, if you are interviewing both internal and external applicants for an open position, it’s perfectly logical to ask internal applicants some different questions ...

Here’s advice that bears repeating to everyone involved in hiring and firing: Never opine that you’d prefer someone of the opposite sex to do a job. Word will get around … and you’re sure to get sued.

Test your knowledge of recent trends in employment law, comp & benefits and other HR issues with our monthly mini-quiz ...

If you have children in college, hiring them straight out of college into the family business could be a big mistake, even if they’re fabulous contributors and even though the economy stinks, says entrepreneur Allen Fishman.

Managers and employees have opposing views of privacy when it comes to employees’ off-duty postings on social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. In a recent Deloitte survey, 60% of executives said they have a right to know how employees portray their companies online, but 53% of workers said their off-duty posts are none of their employers’ business.

Employees who typically moonlight as sales clerks and warehouse workers to pick up extra cash for the holidays could have an especially hard time this season because so few retailers are hiring holiday help. Tip: Don’t turn away a good candidate for being overqualified for a seasonal job.

The ADEA makes it illegal to discriminate against people age 40 and older in hiring, terminations, pay, promotions, benefits and any other terms of employment. Here are the key areas where age bias claims typically pop up:

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