On March 15, myStaffingPro presented an hour-long, educational Bloomberg webinar by employment law lawyer, Tanya Bovee, and Paychex hiring experts, Jessica Hubbard-Davis and Grant McClellan, detailing the hiring process and potential legal cost traps for employers.
The webinar is now available for free, and makes an excellent, in-depth introduction to the hiring process for current and future HR leaders. Below are the primary steps of the hiring process addressed in the webinar—we highly recommend watching it in its entirety.
1. Write your Job Posting and Advertise
Job postings should be written with care—accuracy is essential. Before writing an external job posting, you should write an internal job description, listing the essential functions of the position. Hiring managers should confirm the accuracy of those essential functions.
One you have that in place, review (or create) the external job posting, focusing on listing the day-to-day job duties and essential functions of the position. Be sure to also determine the position’s exemption status under the FLSA and any applicable state laws, and list the status in the posting.
When posting your advertisement, be sure to list an accurate job title, explain the specifics for how a potential new employee should apply, identify your company as an EEOE, and target a broad geographic area and demographic mix. Job postings should also be written in such a way as to avoid screening out protected classes, and should be in compliance with applicable ban-the-box legislation.
2. Prescreen Applications
Once job applications and resumes begin to arrive, it’s time to begin sorting them. Review your job posting and look for candidates that have experience that matches the job duties and functions you listed. Note that it’s important to have a signed employment application from potential new hires in addition to a resume (even though it often duplicates information). Be sure to use an employment application that has been reviewed for compliance with applicable laws.
Most employers follow up job-posting-to-resume matches with prescreen phone interviews. Prescreen phone interviews should last approximately 10-15 minutes. You should ask the same questions to each applicant so that you can compare answers. Be sure to avoid inquiries that could screen out protected classes. When taking notes during your phone interview, do not take your notes on resumes or application forms.
3. Conduct Interviews
After you’ve further narrowed the field of applicants during your prescreening process, you’ll want to conduct structured in-person interviews with potential employees. Start by deciding who will be conducting the interviews, and where they will take place. Review job descriptions and applications before the interview. During the interview, all your questions should be job-related and generally open-ended. As your interview is ending, inform the applicant of the next steps in the process, and don’t make any promises.
Some questions you can ask job applicants about are:
- Reasons for leaving a previous job
- Work schedule
- Previous work experience or anything about their previous employer
- Career interests
- Their past job duties and training
- Their education and qualifications related to the position
- Any job-related professional associations they belong to
Some questions you should avoid asking a job applicant:
- Age, date of birth, religion, race, sex, nationality, or genetic makeup
- Marital status
- Number of, or ages of children, or childcare arrangements
- Loans, financial obligations, wage attachments, or personal bankruptcies
- Arrests or convictions
- Disabilities, past injuries or diseases
Once the candidate has left the room, it’s a good practice to immediately review any notes you took during the interview, complete an employment interview evaluation, and verify whether answers a candidate gave match key facts.
Some job positions may require other forms of evaluation, like assessments. If that is the case, be sure to seek legal advice before performing any testing. You’ll want to ensure that your assessments comply with anti-discrimination laws.
4. Make a Hiring Decision
Hiring decisions are a human process, but there are still some basic questions you should always ask before making a job offer to a candidate.
- Do you have enough information or do you need to schedule second interviews?
- Is the candidate qualified to complete the essential functions of the job? If not, could they do so with an accommodation?
- Does this person seem to be a good fit with the company and its culture?
- Did you check their references, and did they confirm the candidate’s qualifications?
Take your time in getting to “yes” with all your questions. It’s estimated that the average cost to repair a bad employment decision is 1.5 times the cost of that employee’s salary. Your employees are your company’s greatest asset.
5. Extend an Offer
Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time for that exhilarating moment when you can offer your most qualified candidate a job. It’s best practice to allow the hiring manager to extend the offer. You should always follow up a verbal offer with a written confirmation. (That confirmation should not include a contract or guarantee of employment for any length of time.)
It is a best practice to include at-will disclaimer language as well. If the offer is conditional based on completing a background check or drug test, this should be indicated. Employers are encouraged to consult with legal counsel when drafting offer letters or sending confirmations of verbal offers of employment. It’s also a best practice (and good marketing) to inform other candidates that you’ve extended an offer to someone else.
6. Conduct a Background Check
Background checks are an uncomfortable, but valuable step to take after you’ve extended an offer. Background checks must be job-related and compliant with applicable laws, including using a separate signed authorization to conduct the background check. Other federal and state requirements will apply and the fines for non-compliance can be significant. Types of background checks may include criminal records, social security number traces, credit checks, or driving records, where permitted. Employers may consider using a third-party to obtain background reports, but should continue to be knowledgeable about the legal requirements of this process.
7. Complete the Hire
Once an offer is accepted and background checks have been properly completed, it’s time to bring your employee to work. Completing the hire involves keeping, completing, and maintaining required documentation in compliance with federal and state regulations. This may include but is not limited to records of public advertisements, job applications, job orders, records relating to refusal to hire, W-4 forms and the completed Form I-9. Your HR team should also have an onboarding strategy in place, which includes completing paperwork regarding their compensation and benefits.
Keeping Track of Applicants
If all the steps involved in hiring a new employee seem complicated and make you nervous, it’s because they are and they should. Potential pitfalls underlie much of the hiring process. As companies grow and begin to hire en masse they look to technological solutions to automate the process and make the recruiting process more efficient.
myStaffingPro is an enterprise-level applicant tracking system for HR professionals. Recruit candidates, and seamlessly flow them through interviews, offers, background checks, and onboarding with our trusted software solution.