Jan B. King

Article Summary:

Here are the five most essential hiring practices.

Hiring Practices

Recruiting and hiring are often done in haste, leaving the company to repent in the long run. Today, there's a reason to be concerned about negligent hiring. Negligent hiring means you and your company can be sued if one of your hires injures other employees, especially if you could have foreseen a problem but did not do a thorough check of the new employee before hiring.

The following list of five essential hiring practices establishes the minimum you should follow:

1. Require outside testing.
Allow a competent, impartial professional interviewer to administer both paper and pencil and verbal tests. Professional testing firms can administer valid psychological tests for intelligence, stability, even determinations of addictive or dishonest personalities, as well as skills tests of important technical abilities in your workforce. I find testing often validates a suspicion I already had but wasn't yet ready to come to terms with.

2. Conduct a rigorous personal interview.
This includes asking general attitude questions, how you would manage your boss questions, how you would manage your staff questions, questions relating to the applicant's understanding of the financial workings of a business and your department's role in the business's overall success, questions relating to the applicant's ability to set goals and his or her expectations about achieving goals, questions relating to specific skills required for the job, and general communications required by the job.

3. Arrange a peer group interview.
This part of the process encourages applicants to speak more freely and helps determine how comfortable they will be in working with their peers. Follow up with a meeting of everyone involved in the hiring decision to determine if there is a group consensus about the applicant's suitability for work at your company.

4. Do a background check.
Don't neglect this, even if it is an employee's cousin or your competitor's best salesperson. It's very easy to set up an account with an investigative firm online and to relatively quickly and inexpensively find out if the applicant has a criminal record or a history of DMV problems, lawsuits involving previous employers, workers' compensation claims, and so forth.

5. Do a reference check.
You can conduct these over the phone, but they may involve a request in writing. Reference checking is less effective than it used to be, although you may still find a few people who are willing to talk. Most former employers play it safe and verify only dates of employment and salary.

Document that you took all of these steps and you've gone a long way toward protecting yourself against a charge or negligent hiring. And more importantly, you've taken the first steps toward finding an employee who can trust and with whom you can establish a successful employment relationship.

Jan B. King is the former President & CEO of Merritt Publishing, a top 50 woman-owned and run business in Los Angeles and the author of Business Plans to Game Plans: A Practical System for Turning Strategies into Action (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). She has helped hundreds of businesses with her book and her ebooks, The Do-It-Yourself Business Plan Workbook, and The Do-It-Yourself Game Plan Workbook. See www.janbking.com for more information.

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