6 tips on hiring well

04/08/15 at 06:02 AM | Published Under Job Openings by Will Temby

Everyone seems to be hiring nowadays. But all-to-often employers find themselves wishing they had done a better job vetting a candidate before bringing them aboard.

Hiring, as any recruiter or HR pro will attest, can be tricky business, even for jobs that might not require tons of technical skills or years in a classroom.

Here are six ways to help you consistently get better results, whether you are new to hiring employees or have plenty of experience doing so:

1. Employment Application

Use an application for everyone. That includes current employees that might be applying, too. Consistent documentation will keep you out of trouble with discrimination cases. Ideally, the application will incorporate releases to do background searches, but third-party background check companies often require their own forms. There are some questions you can’t ask, so it is best to use a form that has been reviewed by someone with HR experience in your state. If your industry or situation is unusual, complicated, or if you want extra assurance, contact a lawyer.

2. Background Checks

Small businesses generally don’t do background checks on their employees unless they must, like a transportation company. Background checks are inexpensive insurance, though. It is not a bad idea to make it your policy to do background checks on a periodic basis, perhaps annually for all employees.

3. References

If you ask for them on the application when hiring an employee, check them. Many owners assume that an applicant wouldn’t put down a bad reference, and generally they’re right. But sometimes they do, and it allows you to confirm whether they have the skills you need. References also might reveal things not picked up on in the candidate interview.

4. Drug Testing

Many owners have a drug testing policy for applicants and current employees for safety reasons. But it is not a bad policy to have, in general. The key is to consistently apply the policy. Generally, it’s best to include everyone to keep from discrimination claims. Although it may seem obvious, you have to stick to your policy. No exceptions!

5. Skills Testing

Take the guesswork out of the hiring equation: test the skills that you can. There are many online sources to inexpensively assess a candidate’s skills, from software to phone skills and customer service. If it is a technical skill, consider a third-party certification. Many organizations offer its members certifications or check with your local vocational school. If you’re set on a candidate but they lack the certification, hire them for a probationary period to give them to time to obtain it.

6. Create a New Hire Packet

Although you may only hire one or two employees a year, having the documents in one place will make sure you don’t miss anything when you do. For each employee, you must have an IRS form W-4 and a UCIS form I-9. Optional items that will vary by employer include: Employment Application, Offer Letter, Background Check Release, Drug Testing Release, Employee Handbook Acknowledgement, Benefits Enrollment Forms, Direct Deposit Authorization Form, Company Equipment Agreement.


Apprentice Personnel has put people to work for nearly 25 years.


About the Author

Will-temby Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.

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