During my college days it was standard practice of a group of us guys after we dropped our dates off at the dormitory around curfew to go to an all-night diner up the hill from the campus. We would push several tables together and chat until quite late (or early depending on your own definition).
One late night our table held the only customers left in the restaurant. The waiter surprised us by bringing a few pots of coffee and sat at the table and began to chat with us. During the conversation the waiter made a comment about recently being released from a local mental hospital. Human nature took hold and we all began to get a little nervous and not so inconspicuously slide away from the guest at our table.
The waiter saw our discomfort, laughed and made a statement that has stuck with me for the decades that have passed since then. His simple statement was “Think about it guys – I’m the only person at this table that has papers to prove that he’s sane.” Since that time I have sat in many business meetings and more importantly in interviews with prospective employees wondering what I really know about the person across from me. Does he have “papers”?
Hiring qualified productive employees is tough, tiring, and sometimes frustrating. But if done properly, hiring the right employee can be a rewarding experience. Here are eight tasks to consider when hiring a new employee.
- Write a job description. Having a job description helps you and the employee to know what you are seeking. If you do not have a job description take the time to create one. Many small businesses spend too much of their time seeking a utility player who can play every position on the team. While this may be a great option it is not likely that you are going to find this perfect employee. What are the critical roles and responsibilities that are needed by the company? How many of them can you reasonably expect the new employee to perform?
- Post the job notice in the appropriate media and site to get the best exposure for the intended audience. Just as you have determined the best way to get the word out to you target customer, your employee search will work best if you advertise in the venues that your best candidates frequently read. While the newspaper may work for some, many employers have found success posting their needs on trade journal and association websites. Some companies use employment agencies.
- Review/Screen the applications for best match to requirements of the position. In today’s market employers can get flooded with applications and resumes from applicants who do not meet the requirements listed for the job. Use trusted employees, family members or friends to help sift through the stack of papers. This can help in narrowing the search. In Florida, the CareerSource system has staff who will post job notices and screen the applicants for you. It is worth checking out – and there is no fee.
- Develop a specific set of open-ended interview questions. Using open-ended questions helps to increase the dialogue and move past a series of yes and no answers. Use the questions in each interview for consistency and to better define the difference between candidates. Questions can range from those that determine the depth of knowledge the candidate has in job skills as well as helping to determine attitudes and the fit within the team. Remember, every person inserted into a team sets up a new set of dynamics for the whole team so it is important to determine best fit as well as skills.
- Perform a background check of the employee. It can be cost prohibitive to perform a background check on every applicant, but it is imperative that screening is done on the desired candidate. Fingerprinting and references are standard practices in many companies across the country.
- Within three days of hiring verify the employee’s right to work in the United States. Form I-9 lists documents an employer must review to substantiate the citizenship and right to work in the US. The form must be filled out and kept on file for three years from the date of hire or for one year after termination if it occurs prior to the three years period. Employers can now use E-Verify to check on the eligibility of new hires.
- Register with the State’s New Hire Reporting Center. All employers are required to report newly hired and re-hired employees to a state directory within 20 days of their hire or rehire date. In Florida the registration can be done on the Florida Department of Revenue’s New Hire Reporting Center. In Florida the employer can register online through the Florida Department of Revenue’s Florida New Hire Reporting Center.
- Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Get Workers’ Compensation Insurance for new employees. All businesses with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis or through their state’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance program.
Hiring the right employee is great for the company, while hiring the wrong candidate can be costly. While expediency is sometimes necessary for the success of the company, take the time and the appropriate steps to ensure that you have hired the best possible employee.