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.

Here’s one of the easiest ways to reduce your chances of losing a race discrimination lawsuit: Make sure the same person or group who chose to hire an employee in the first place also makes the decision to terminate her. That makes it much harder for the employee to show she was fired for a discriminatory reason.

With so many companies focused on downsizing to contain costs in a down economy, many employers have failed to prepare for a pending change that will significantly alter workforce demographics. Beginning in 2011, the first of the baby boomers will turn 65. As the rest of the roughly 70 million baby boomers follow, we’ll see a major shift in the age of our society—and our workforces. This shift will have a significant impact on employers.

If your business relies on hiring casual laborers and you routinely pay a set price for a day’s work, don’t assume your workers are independent contractors. If one of them falls or is injured, chances are a court will conclude he’s an employee due workers’ compensation benefits. If you don’t carry workers’ comp insurance, you’ll be on the hook for big bucks.

Q. My company wants to begin substance-abuse testing of employees that it suspects are under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the workplace. We already have a drug- and alcohol-free workplace policy. Is there anything else we need to do to allow us to test employees for illegal drugs or alcohol?

Some HR departments are notorious for keeping every stack of paper indefinitely, while others fail to keep enough. Neither approach is acceptable, and it’s up to you to maintain a happy medium that complies with the law. Proper record-keeping is one of an HR professional’s core duties. Knowing what legally must be kept and for how long are important aspects of that duty.

Question: “My company does not have a dedicated receptionist and has assigned receptionist duties to four assistants. It’s difficult for the four of us to get our regular work done with the added duties of answering incoming calls, transferring calls and logging them into the customer management system. How can we persuade management to consider hiring a full-time receptionist without jeopardizing our own jobs?” — Upset in the West

Here are a few interviewing tips from Bob Edwards, who hosts a show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio: Prepare well. Make your subjects feel comfortable. Listen closely. Stop and reroute the interview if the person keeps saying the same thing. Let the candidate do the talking ...

 Q. “What would be the best way to tell an employee we don’t want to hire her daughter? We’ve had her as a temp, but never would’ve hired her for a full-time job.” Here's how readers of our HR Specialist Forum answered that question:

The cost cutting and headcount reductions might not be over yet, but as the economy begins its slow recovery, HR pros are reporting fewer layoffs, a renewed focus on retention—and even a talk of pay raises! Still, the flush workplace of 2006 isn’t likely to rush back into vogue. Here are 12 lingering adjustments—all with comp and benefits implications—that could outlast the recession:

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is preparing to crack down on employers that stiff workers out of overtime pay—and now it’s hired extra staff to find and punish employers that break the law. As enforcement gears up, we've got resources you can use to make sure you're in compliance.