A Small Employer’s Guide to Hiring the Right Employee

Categories: blog

At some point, most small businesses become small employers. But how does a small business, which has generally been run by one or two owners who have each spent time performing the roles of President, Customer Service Representative, Bookkeeper, and Handyman (or woman), make a smart and efficient hiring decision?

Creating a Job Description

Sure, it’s easy to know when you need “help”, but identifying the precise help you need is a bit more difficult. A good place to start is to first determine the job duties you need performed. That will form the basis of a detailed job description. Do those job duties require any specific skills or education? If so, write them down. Once completed, you should be able to identify the position of need. Give the position a title, but be mindful that a position’s title should be related to the job duties. Note: It would be wise to run this newly created job description by an employment attorney to determine whether the future position is exempt or non-exempt (meaning eligible for overtime) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

Posting the Position

Now that a job description and job title have been created, it is time to post the position. Many small employers use indeed.com, monster.com, or craigslist.com to find applicants. Each are good sources which will generate a substantial number of candidates (some good and some bad). And, if you are “social media savvy”, you may even be able to post job openings on Facebook, Twitter, or other similar media outlets to garner an applicant who already has interest in your business.

Choosing Interviewees Wisely

Now that your e-mail account has been flooded with resumes, you must thoroughly review them to determine who is the best candidates are for an interview. This can be a daunting task, but it can also be easy if organized properly. Create a checklist of those skills which are mandatory for the position. Now, quickly eliminate any candidate who does not have those pre-requisites. For those which remain, eliminate those applicants with other obvious flaws such as those who were not thoughtful enough to perform a spellcheck or to correctly identify the name of your business in his or her cover letter. By now, many applicants will have been weeded out, with only serious candidates remaining. You will now need to disqualify candidates based on a combination of experience, potential, and – yes – your gut instinct. If the person does not seem like a good fit for your business on paper, there is a very good chance he or she will not be a good fit in person.

Interviewing Carefully and Candidly

Before interviewing candidates, it would be wise to discuss the “dos and don’ts” of interviewing with an employment attorney. The size/number of employees you have at your business can be determinative as to whether a question you intend to ask may violate the law. Even if you are hiring your first employee, learning how to ask professional/permissible questions is advisable, as it will put the interviewee at ease and give him or her confidence that you follow the law. After you’ve learned what not to ask, focus on what you can ask an interviewee. You will be surprised that the “legal filter” has not eliminated most business-related questions. These questions should be just that – designed to see if the interviewee will be a good fit for your business needs. When interviewing, do not be afraid to candidly identify your true expectations (such as long work hours or weekend work). This may eliminate weaker candidates and it will not be a shock to the person who is eventually hired when they start work.

Selecting the Best Candidate

After conducting several interviews, it is time to narrow down candidates even further. Your next step should be to review job applications and conduct reference checks. Reference checks can be helpful to determine whether the all-star interviewee is all they have claimed to be, including a hard worker. For instance, you may find that the person touted their strong work ethic during the interview actually left work right at 5:00 each and every day.

Congratulations, after taking into consideration all of the above, you are ready to make a job offer!

If you have to make a hiring decision and want to make sure you are acting lawfully throughout the process, please contact Wilson McCoy at (407) 803-5400 or info@wilsonmccoylaw.com and allow one of our experienced attorneys help your company with hiring and all other business needs.