Recruiting good employees is maybe one of the most important and difficult responsibilities a business owner has to perform. Take a quick look at the employment classifieds and you can see how great the demand for good employees is in this community. Even so, finding the right person to fill a vacancy is challenging for all organizations, especially small businesses.
First, it is an expensive and time consuming process that involves locating persons who are qualified to perform the responsibilities of the position, interviewing applicants, checking references, and selecting the best candidate. There are a number of studies indicating the average the cost of replacing an employee that doesn’t work out is approximately 1.5 times the annual salary, so wise selections are important. Second, there are federal and state laws that offer traps along the way that limit the process.
This article attempt to address some of the recruitment and legal issues business owners face in order to help them meet this important task.
Step One – Know what you’re looking for. Many poor employment decisions begin with a lack of planning. My wife uses a list when she goes grocery shopping. She does this in order to achieve her menu goals. When a friend of mine goes hunting he knows exactly what he is hunting for. He’s not wandering around the woods with the thought of shooting anything that moves. He knows exactly what he is hunting. Many business owners do little or no planning and frequently end up picking a warm body to fill an important position rather than a qualified individual.
The plan starts with a good job description. It identifies the name of the job, indicates if the position is an exempt or non-exempt position, includes the qualifications an employee must have in order to do the job, and provides a detailed list of responsibilities the employee must perform. The job description provides the goal (or the target).
Step Two – Know what to ask. Have a list of questions that will help you evaluate the qualifications of the applicants and the answers you’re looking for. Candidates are becoming ever more sophisticated in answering interview questions, so business owners must rethink the questions they ask to bypass canned answers. Therefore, try to avoid hypothetical questions; they usually get the canned answers. Ask questions that make the person to tell you about something he/she has already done.
Here are some possible questions:
- Describe your job responsibilities?
- Tell me about a typical day?
- How do you judge the quality of your work?
- What special skills do you have that would help you do this job?
- How does your work relate to that of others?
- You indicated in your answer that you are organized, exactly how would I see you demonstrating that in your work?
- Have you ever been asked to resign?
Make sure you listen for clear precise answers and watch for inconsistent non-verbal behavior, since nearly 90% of the believe-ability of the message is non-verbal.
Make sure to avoid questions that would be considered illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Americans with Disabilities Act. Here are some questions that would not be acceptable to the EEOC:
- How old are you?
- Why would someone your age want such a job?
- Are you married?
- Do you have children?
- How long do you plan to keep working?
- Where do you live?
- Do you have any disabilities?
- How many sick days did you use last year?
- Have you ever been arrested?
Step Three – Know the person. You must check the references and background information of those you are interested in hiring. Companies can be sued for negligent hiring. Beware! The “Employee from Hell” is lurking, and could become your employee!
References – Checking references is time consuming so check the references of the final candidates. Use waivers to help get past the “No Reference” policy. Even so this may be difficult. This roadblock is real and a discouraging problem. It is followed because companies have been sued for giving unfavorable references. The application is the best place to have the release waiver. Ask for job related information only. Don’t ask for judgments, just ask for facts.
Background Information – The information you seek must be job related. Again have the applicants sign a release to obtain such information before carrying out the search. Typical searches include: criminal background checks, credit investigations, and driver’s license and driving record checks. You must give a conditional offer of employment before requiring physical examinations and drug tests. In some cases with “Ban the Box”, a conditional offer of employment is also required before performing a criminal background check, even if you perform those checks on publicly accessible sites.
Step Four – You must make the selection. Try to be as objective as possible; however, once you have performed all the objective aspects of the recruitment process, don’t ignore your gut feelings. They will often be the final piece of the recruitment process that determines success or failure.
Final Thoughts – Following these steps is not a guarantee but the experts in this field indicate that by doing so you will increase your success rate from about 47% to about 72%, which is a real improvement for most business owners. Simple, no! Hard, yes, but they are worth the effort.
We highly recommend a recruitment process and have created a simple GuidedHR product to assist you in creating one.