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.

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.

With the enactment of the Franken Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2010, Congress and the Obama administration have begun an assault on employers’ use of mandatory arbitration as an alternative to court trials for resolving workplace disputes and claims. Employers have been asking whether other alternatives to jury trials will exist in the absence of arbitration. One alternative that companies can consider: entering into waivers of civil jury trials with their employees.

Some employers don’t want to hire applicants who haven’t succeeded elsewhere and create a blanket no-hire rule for any applicant who isn’t eligible for rehire by a former employer. If you’re tempted to do the same, make sure you enforce the rule uniformly and don’t make exceptions.

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.

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?

The change-up is one of the most potent pitches in baseball. Likewise, a change-of-pace interview question can give HR and hiring managers keen insight into a job candidate’s analytical, creative and organizational thinking. Here are 15 of the most intriguing interview questions from the more than 14,000 submitted by job candidates last year through Glassdoor.com:

Issue: Many HR professionals run one-person departments that struggle to handle up to 150 employees or more.
Benefit: By managing a solo operation well, you illustrate expertise that's attractive to ...