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.

Q. We would like to hire an applicant who used to work for a similar company, but he has a noncompete agreement with his former employer. We think the noncompete is way too broad—it lasts for three years and prevents him from working anywhere in the country—and we do not believe the work he will be doing competes with any activities of his former employer. Can we go ahead and hire him?

If you’re considering hiring inmates through a work-release program, carefully weigh whether you will have to pay them as regular employees under the FLSA, or whether you may be able to pay them less. According to a recent 5th Circuit decision, prisoners specifically sentenced to hard labor may not be covered by the FLSA. Their employers may pay them less than minimum wage, and they’re not eligible for overtime pay.

Some discrimination cases have a way of resurfacing even after you thought you had settled the matter. That can happen when the litigious employee reapplies for work. If you’re going to settle a case, consider including a clause that guarantees the former employee will never apply again. That might have been prudent in the following case:

Q. In our experience, employees who take public transportation or rely on rides from others are more likely to be tardy to work than those who own their own vehicle. Therefore, before hiring an applicant for employment, we would like to make sure the applicant has a reliable method of transportation to work. Would it be appropriate to inquire, for example, whether the applicant owns a vehicle?

Smart employers have well-developed and organized hiring and promotion processes. Not only do they have them, they follow them carefully. That’s critical because when people don’t get jobs they want, they often suspect discrimination. And then they sue, whether they have a good case or not.

The company that owns the Beauty Smart chain of salons in Henderson, Oxford and Durham has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to end what the department called “pattern and practice national-origin discrimination” that violated the Immigration and Nationality Act.

If you have hiring and firing responsibilities, you may worry from time to time whether you could be held personally liable for your decisions. Now a Texas appeals court has answered that question—at least in situations involving the firing of someone who refuses to engage in an act she believes is illegal. The court said there is no personal liability.

Employees of Newark, Del.-based W.L. Gore & Associates are drafting new colleagues—by starring as themselves in videos about the company on a recruiting web site. The maker of GORE-TEX waterproof breathable fabrics and other textile, industrial and medical products enlisted employees for its “Join Gore & Change Your Life” campaign.

Question:  “After our company was acquired, the environment became very negative and unpleasant. Many employees were being asked to leave. I felt that I should take control of my career, so I gave eight weeks notice and departed on good terms. However, I did not have another job lined up. Now I’m wondering if I’ve made a fatal career mistake. I have had many interviews, but no job offers. When asked why I left, I say, "I felt my skills were not being fully utilized, so I decided to move in a different direction".  Is this the best way to explain my decision?” — Worried

Q. I just found out that an employee filed for bankruptcy. I’m concerned, because she works a cash register and has access to money. Can I fire this employee?