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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.

We’ve all heard the good news about the economy: that the recession is crawling to a resolution and things will slowly get back to normal. Most of the executives I know don’t believe it. Now that we have reduced our workforces, frozen salaries, eliminated bonuses and suspended 401(k) matches, the question remains: When the recovery does occur, is any of that going to change?

Most managers rely too much on a list of standard interview questions for which most applicants have canned responses. Instead, try these queries, each designed to get applicants to really tell you about themselves and their skills. Plus, read the winning entries from our just-concluded HR Professionals Week question: What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever experienced in a job interview?

Because employment laws and your business are in a constant state of flux, it’s critical to keep your personnel policies up-to-date. As spring approaches, one item on every HR professional’s spring cleaning list should be a review of the organization’s employee handbook. In light of recent legal changes, be sure your policies include these updates:

Q. I am considering putting a policy in place to prohibit hiring any job applicant found to have an arrest record. Are there any legal risks?

Could an oversized waistline put your future career at risk? Career columnist Anita Bruzzese says, “If you’re carrying too much weight—enough to be considered overweight or obese—then you’re a concern to employers.”

Q. I’ve never required background checks on any job applicants. To get a better understanding of whom we’re hiring, I’ve retained a professional screening company to begin vetting our candidates for things such as criminal convictions. Are there any specific protocols we should be following?

Does it matter if we misspell words or use abbreviations in email messages? Opinions are mixed. Everyone, however, agrees that when you’re working on written correspondence or an important document, it has to be flawless. Can you spot the grammar and writing errors in the sentences?

Employers seeking Internet-savvy candidates have been flocking to social media sites in the past year. But employers (and their lawyers) are discovering a hidden problem in that recruiting-by-Facebook strategy: Depending too much on the sites could leave your organization vulnerable to age and race discrimination lawsuits.

Some employees are light-fingered, and it isn’t always easy to catch them stealing. Loss-prevention staff often presses hard when interviewing employees they suspect are pilfering. That’s appropriate, as is reporting the case to police. As the following case shows, aggressive questioning during an initial investigation doesn’t equal malicious intent.

It’s in your best interest to detect employee drug abuse early and root it out immediately. But that’s easier said than done. Keeping your workplace drug-free means knowing how to spot the problem and effectively respond to it—without violating employees’ legal rights and creating legal liability.