Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hiring Staff: Common Hiring Mistakes

Welcome back to the final installment of a four part mini series of blog posts on hiring staff! Please check back each week for a new entry.

Not checking references. With the applicant's permission, contact their list of references to find out if he or she has the proper skills and attitude for the job. Sometimes employers will not discuss the job performance or attributes of ex-employees, but they should be willing to confirm the employee's name, date of employment, title and salary. It is always helpful to ask whether the employer would consider rehiring that person. They can give a straight "yes" or "no" answer, without elaborating.

Not consulting the right people in-house. If the new hire will be working closely with other employees, you may want to solicit their input before making a hiring decision. When current employees have the chance to meet with a prospective candidate, they may have an easier time developing a productive rapport with "the new person."

Not treating candidates with respect. Be courteous and respectful to each person that you interview. Remember, even if you don't end of hiring that person, they may be a future customer and will definitely tell others about their perceptions of your business. Or, you may have need of that person's skill set in the future so it's good to leave them with a positive impression. Always thank the candidate for his or her time and interest. Finally, explain the selection process and offer a realistic time frame for when a decision will be made.

Failing to put everything in writing. Once you've made an job offer and it's been accepted, put everything that you negotiate with your new hire (salary, job description, the parameters for bonuses and performance evaluation criteria, start date, non-compete clauses, etc.) in writing.

Picking the wrong temp agency (or independent contractor), if you go that route. You should carefully check the reputation of several temp agencies (or independent contractors), before selecting one with whom to do business. Find out how long the service has been in operation and what its performance record has been. Check with other clients to see if they like the agency. Reputable agencies are happy to provide client references. Also, ask if the agency is insured – for workers' compensation and general liability. Finally, contact the BBB for a reliability report on the company or contractor.

FINALLY, Keep ‘em Happy! 
You've taken the time and trouble to hire a qualified employee, one who can add value to your business and help your venture to succeed. Do not assume that your job is done! A major personnel cost for any size business is employee turnover. Your goal now should be to retain that employee. If you don't take the time to nurture a new hire and make clear your expectations, you will spend even more time, money and effort on the other end having to find a replacement.

Treating your employee fairly and with respect will help to ensure a productive working relationship that is of benefit to you and your business. Satisfied employees are usually energetic and tend to be highly motivated. In addition to paying them a competitive salary, there are other factors key to employee retention. Keep them informed and engaged; let them know you value their contributions; give acknowledgement for a job well done; clearly communicate your expectations and offer regular feedback on their job performance; and, provide the tools and training resources they may need to do the job right and to advance in their field of expertise.

The U.S. Department of Justice (www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.html) offers information on hiring under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.eeoc.gov) offers facts and guidance on various forms of employment discrimination.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov) was created specifically to assist and counsel small businesses. Its Web site offers information for small businesses on managing your business for growth, and includes tips on how to select the "right" person for your business.

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