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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Q. When, if ever, can our company legally ask an applicant about his or her religious affiliation?
Stevens Transport, a Dallas-area trucking company, has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle EEOC charges that it refused to hire a paraplegic man for a management position due to his disability.
Marymount Manhattan College’s refusal to hire a 64-year-old choreography instructor for a tenure-track position has left the New York City liberal arts school tap dancing around age discrimination charges.
The EEOC is investigating the Marylou’s Coffee chain, looking into its apparent practice of hiring attractive young women. According to the Fisher Phillips law firm, “the EEOC’s big adventure raises a troubling question: Is the EEOC trying to establish that it’s illegal for an employer to prefer attractive employees over unattractive ones?”
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned many of the provisions in a controversial 2010 Arizona immigration law. The impact, according to the Foley Lardner law firm, could be a chilling effect on state immigration laws.
The current version of the Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Form carries an Aug. 31, 2012, expiration date. The feds are considering changes to the form, but said employers should continue to use the current version until further notice. Follow our link for the official word from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Most managers want to choose the best candidate for the job. But assessing what constitutes “best” can often feel a bit subjective. That’s OK. Just make sure you can point to objective factors that back up your choice, e.g., experience, education or even the most recent performance evaluation.

Both written words and oral promises must be chosen carefully to avoid creating either actual or implied employment contracts during the hiring process. Employee lawsuits can erupt when managers make promises in an interview that can't be kept, create job offer letters that leave no room for flexibility, or inadvertently oversell the potential for monetary rewards creating an implied employment contract.

Interview questions must not only produce useful information for making informed hiring decisions, but also stay on the right side of employment laws. Anti-discrimination acts make it imperative that interviews focus on applicants' abilities, not their personal characteristics, whether they involve disability, pregnancy, age, sex or religion.

Q. Our company doesn’t want to consider applicants who send in unsolicited résumés. We are trying to come up with a legally sound definition for “applicant” so we can write an official policy. Any suggestions?

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