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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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No law bars employers from conducting criminal background checks. However, conducting checks when it isn’t necessary not only wastes resources, it may increase the risk of being sued. The same is true of credit checks. Two lawsuits challenging the fairness of background checks serve as cautionary tales for employers.
When it’s time for company leadership to tap employees to work on a new, interdepartmental project, whom do you think they’ll pick? And if the company is forced to restructure and lay off, who would least likely be sacrificed? The cross-functional whiz, or the employee who works in a silo?

Administrative professionals could be a secret weapon in helping companies bounce back from the recession. New research by OfficeTeam and the IAAP shows admins are moving beyond their traditional roles to take on responsibilities in areas such as cost control, technology and the use of social media, hiring and corporate social responsibility.

It’s perfectly legal for an employer to decline to hire or promote someone even if he’s the only applicant. In fact, it may very well be a good business decision to wait under those circumstances.

Have you reminded managers and supervisors that they should keep their dress professional when conducting interviews? If not, do so. Attire that’s too casual—especially if it features a potentially offensive logo or design—can easily lead to a discrimination lawsuit.

At some point, an unsuccessful job candidate may challenge your decision not to hire him. Then you will have to justify your selection process. The more objective criteria you use, the more likely a court will agree not to second-guess your decision. But if you add subjective elements to the process, you may end up being charged with discrimination.

The U.S. Supreme Court in late May unanimously sided with a group of black firefighter applicants who alleged that the city of Chicago’s employment selection process had a disparate impact on them. The court said the timing of Title VII lawsuits doesn’t depend on when the alleged discriminatory act first occurred, but on when the employer acted on the results of that discriminatory act, even if that’s years later.
In age discrimination cases, employees only have to show they were replaced by someone younger, or otherwise discharged because of age. You will have a much easier time showing that you had a legitimate reason unrelated to age for terminating the employee if you can cite specific business reasons to back up each part of your decision-making process.
If you use independent contractors, make sure they have the freedom to work for other clients and largely set their own schedules. Those criteria are important for determining whether someone is eligible for unemployment.
Q. I constantly run into this problem: I prescreen a candidate who seems like a perfect fit for the job description. But when I send the person to the hiring manager for an interview, I’m told to keep looking for someone better. This is frustrating to the managers, the applicants and me. Any suggestions on how I can improve my screening?
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