As the economy slowly improves, and with the expected upturn in hiring volume it is a good time to take stock of your hiring practices in an effort to avoid costly lawsuits. Our strong advice is to leave your hiring to proven & trusted professionals such as TwoGreySuits. However, if you choose to go it alone, here are some things to consider when you are again hiring.
Review Your Application Form
Many companies have outdated application forms which can really work against them. You could be open to a human rights claim with harsh penalties applied to you. Any questions that relate to a prohibited ground under human rights legislation, such as a history of workplace injuries, a history of attendance, even asking the name of the secondary school attended could invite external scrutiny into your business or organization.
Study the Resume in Detail – Ask Probing Interview Questions
We often see employers who always take the resume at face value. Studies have shown that people tend to embellish their previous levels of responsibility and also their skill sets in their resumes. In our interviews we ask very exact questions about the candidate’s claims. We want to know exactly what their involvement was in an accomplishment, and we also ask for verification of this with contact information of people they worked with to verify (and we follow up on this). We are always leary of claims such as “increased sales 250%” or “rated in the top 5% of employees in the company”. If we cannot get a contact person or two to verify a claim, we simply ignore it. This is not to say the person is lying, but if they are making substantive claims and cannot back them up in any way, we will likely move to a candidate who can in fact back up their claims of previous successes. In fact, it is a learned skill to be able to form an opinion in an interview that the person is actually misrepresenting themselves, and frankly, we see this often.
This is an area which is very misunderstood in recruitment. References should be done to verify resume claims and interview responses. Equally important is finding out exactly why an employee left or was terminated from an organization. Recording reference information is critical. We use a 10 page document and follow a prescribed set of probing questions. In fact, our references are so thorough, we have gained new clients from the people we are calling for references. Most people giving references (the glowing ones) don’t realize that they open themselves up to lawsuits if they are found to be giving an inaccurate reference. In the US, many states now have something such as Fair Reference legislation, whereby a person will not be held liable for giving an accurate employment reference.
Listening Skills in the Interview
Listening skills in an interview are critical and often not up to speed in the interviewer’s case. Careful attention is required for words like, “we”, or “contributed” or “mutual agreement for termination”, etc. You must drill down and find out exactly what the person’s responsibilities and contributions were, not the group or department. When you tell a candidate in advance that all claims of accomplishments are required to be verified by a former manager, the interview landscape often changes. In fact, candidates that are embellishing their past accomplishments can be easily detected by a skilled interviewer.
Clearly State Your Expectations in Writing and in the Interview
Always provide the candidate with a detailed job description (no exceptions!). Clearly outline what is expected in the job in regard to productivity and meeting certain goals or timelines. Many candidates will over promise and under deliver. Your case for a just cause dismissal is much stronger when you clearly spell out the expectations in advance or as a condition of hire. Avoid at all costs oral promises. In fact, an offer letter should clearly state that there are no other employment provisions or compensation which is not specifically included in the offer of employment.
Most people think that the first three months of employment are probationary and that the employer can dismiss an employee during this time period for any reason and without any costs involved. Probationary periods which allow the employer to terminate without termination pay should be clearly stated in the employment agreement or letter of offer.
Employment Termination Provisions
It is a good idea to spell out the terms of employment termination at the time of employment acceptance. TwoGreySuits can help you with this too. Unprecedented damage awards are being awarded by the courts in amounts and areas that have never been seen before. A legal review sometimes is a good idea here.