by Anne Donovan
As we emerge from the economic turmoil of the past year and a half, many employers find themselves preparing to add employees to their organizations to meet increasing customer demands. As businesses grow, there are several key objectives for employers to keep in mind to ensure they are hiring the right people. Following are some best practice techniques for any organization’s hiring process:
The application process
Requiring candidates to complete an application rather than simply turning in resumes ensures that you can gather all the information you need to fully assess a candidate’s background and suitability for hire. Applications bring uniformity to a pile of widely varied resumes and allow you to quickly review gaps in employment, criminal background history, and other key factors that you will not see reflected in a resume. A well created application will also include a section requesting a testimonial to the validity of the information listed on the application as well as the applicant’s permission to conduct reference checks. As in all things human resources, documentation is your best defense for the decisions you make.
Ask the questions nobody else will
Probe the candidate for reasons why they had gaps in employment. If they are currently employed, find out specifically why they are looking to leave. Ask them, “When we call Joe, your reference for your work at XYZ Company, what would he say about your work ethic?” This gives them the sense that you will be calling their references and will ensure their honesty. Asking specific and detailed questions confirms or dispels the picture their resume and job application paints.
Verify information the candidate included on their resume and application. At this stage, your human resource department is checking the validity of information. In an age of heavy litigation, companies are reluctant to share information beyond name, date of hire and termination, and title. If this is the case with all of your candidate’s references, go back to them and ask them to provide you with someone within the organization who can provide them with a personal reference of some sort. This may not be possible in a company with a very streamlined reference process, but it is always worth a try.
Check the candidate’s criminal background
Instead of relying on your instincts and the candidate’s word, there is no better way to protect the company from negligent hiring practices. There are a variety of agencies available to handle the criminal background check process in a manner both legal and professional. But prior to running a check on a candidate, make sure you have established your company’s criteria for hire (no felonies, non-violent crimes only, zero tolerance, etc) in a manner that can be uniformly applied to all candidates and that complies with state and federal regulations . Additionally, employers are required to follow the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which outlines specific disclosures and authorizations that are necessary to obtain from applicants prior to processing these checks. Finally, make sure the criteria, once established, is communicated out to all hiring managers.
Following these simple but crucial steps will enable employers to make the right decisions during the hiring process; backed by solid verifiable information and uniformly applying the same criteria to all applicants to insure a legally sound and positive hiring process.
Reference: “How to Avoid Hiring a Bad Egg,” by Colleen Debaise