Best Practices in Hiring

We all know how difficult it is to find and retain top talent in any industry.  While that is certainly a challenge, it is just as important to be mindful of putting the right steps in place to validate that the candidate you selected to work at your company has the experience, education and background you were searching for.  Here are some best practices to follow:

Use a Standard Employment Application

Every employer, whether big or small, should have each candidate complete an employment application.  The application allows for employers to give consistent, due consideration to all applicants about prospective employment opportunities.  It also gives an employer the opportunity to pre-screen and pre-qualify applicants based on the information provided.  Make sure the information you request/require for your applicants is the same across the board regardless of the position they apply for.  It is also important to keep in mind that there are federal and state laws that mandate how long employment applications should be retained for.

Check References

On the employment application, you should ask for a minimum of 2 personal and 2 professional references.  Take the time to contact at least one reference to reconcile the information provided by your candidate about their previous work history, salary, work habits, etc.  If you are not using an employment application to collect this information, it’s ok to ask your candidate to present you with references independent of an employment application.  Pay attention to the tone of voice that the reference uses when answering questions about your candidate.  That may be more important than the content of their words.  For example, when you ask a reference if they would ever consider re-hiring the candidate, listen for pauses.  If they pause and take a deep breath before answering the question, you should listen very closely to their answer.

Background Check

If you are not currently running a background check to verify information about your candidate, you should seriously consider doing so.  There are many background check vendors that offer a la carte services that would be suitable for your business.  If you decide to use a background check as part of the pre-hiring process, remember to ensure that you are following the protocol as established by the EEOC (“Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” – www.eeoc.gov.).  Most companies see an increase in applicant quality when using background checks which allows for less discrepancies with information provided by your candidates.

In addition to those best practices, some employers will ask their candidates to participate in a pre-hire drug screen.  This, too, is helpful in making sure that the person you are hiring is going to be a good steward of your company, use good judgement and most importantly, be reliable and available when they are needed to work.

Remember, a resume is just a marketing piece presented by your candidate.  Verify the information they provided you is accurate.  You can’t go wrong putting one or more of these best practices in place for peace of mind for the success of your business.

Tune in next month for more tips and information on recruiting and retaining your best and brightest employees.