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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While there is no “correct” HR-to-staff ratio, one HR professional per 100 employees is a generally accepted starting point. But HR-to-staff ratios have become less precise—and harder to interpret—due to the economic downturn, layoffs and the continued growth of outsourcing. Still worth measuring?

As you hire employees to replace the ones who leave your organization as the economy improves, you might find that experienced, mature workers are willing to work as interns to get their feet in the door. Nearly a quarter of employers said workers with 10-plus years of experience who are age 50 or older are applying for internships, according to a CareerBuilder poll.

Online tools can be highly valuable in recruiting and selecting the best candidates and screening out bad hires. Despite the potential advantages, those activities come with potential employment law risks that are still evolving due to the relatively recent emergence and growth of social media. Some of the obvious and not-so-obvious legal risks:

Know how sometimes you “click” with your colleagues while other times you don’t? This phenomenon might actually have a real neurological basis—what you might even call a “mind meld,” after the fictional practice from the TV series “Star Trek.”

Sometimes, the employee not hired is the one who causes the most legal trouble. A San Francisco law firm is facing a discrimination lawsuit after it declined to hire a young lawyer who had interned there. Her suit alleges that Howard Rice discriminated against her on the basis of gender, national origin and race when it decided to defer and later rescind her associate contract.
Q. Our company would like to review applicants’ credit information when we make hiring decisions. Can we do this?

Common sense says that if a manager hires someone knowing that she belongs to a protected class, the manager probably won’t turn around a few months later and fire the new employee because she belongs to that protected class. That’s why you should make it a policy that the same managers who make hiring decisions also make termination decisions.

Q. Several recent hires have suffered work-related injuries shortly after starting to work for us. As a result, our workers’ compensation premiums have soared. Our CEO, in an effort to avoid this problem, has directed managers to hire only “careful” workers in the future. Is this legal?
Q. We’re going back and forth on this question: On an employment application, can we legally ask about an applicant’s prior conviction record or arrest record?
Q. We want to hire an applicant, but received a letter from his employer stating that working for us would violate a confidentiality agreement he signed with that employer. Since he doesn’t have a noncompete agreement, can we hire him?
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