Hiring

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. We are inundated with applications for the few open positions we have. Many are from applicants who’ve been out of work for over a year. Can we exclude them automatically or do we have to come up with a specific reason—such as stale skills—for each one we reject?
Just as communication at the beginning of a marriage can indicate if it will end in divorce, the foundation established early on with a new hire is crucial to productivity, engagement and retention. Onboarding programs yield the best results if they cover these five areas: clarification, connection, culture, compliance and check back.
For tough or oddball questions, it’s not whether job candidates get the right answers, but how they tackle the problems. Are they creative? Can they think on their feet?
With job markets tight and employers shunning applicants with long, unexplained résumé gaps, the ambitious unemployed are opting for unpaid internships. On the surface, that looks like a win-win: The employer gets free labor in exchange for valuable training. The intern also builds skills and prevents big résumé holes. But before you get carried away by the prospect of marvelous production for virtually no cost, let’s have a reality check.
The students thought they were signing up for a cultural exchange program in which they would travel to Pennsylvania to work and experience life in Hershey. Instead they ended up working in warehouses preparing Hershey products for shipping. Along with members of the AFL-CIO, they recently protested outside the warehouse facilities.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to expand the ways in which employees who are passed over for promotions can sue. It turned down a request to allow a lawsuit alleging that previously denied promotions could be considered as evidence of bias in later promotion denials.

Employers that develop clear, fair and transparent hiring processes seldom have to worry about losing a failure-to-hire lawsuit. That’s true even if they end up using so-called subjective reasons for not hiring a candidate. Simply put, judges are impressed when it looks like a potential employer bends over backward to ensure it doesn’t discriminate.

Employers sometimes think that if they hire “independent contractors,” they won’t have to worry about things like benefits, overtime and the like. But some make the mistake of ­assuming that merely because those workers sign contracts stating that they’re not employees, that’s enough. It’s not.

Today’s tight economy has prompted many employers to try to reduce costs—including overtime—by classifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees. That hasn’t escaped the notice of the U.S. Department of Labor, which has stepped up efforts to deter misclassification.

Q. Our company has an office in Philadelphia. Can we ask about an applicant’s criminal and arrest record when recruiting employees to work there?
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