Publicizing a Job Opening
Once you’ve determined that you need to hire someone and figured out what you need done, you’re ready to let the world know about your job opening.
There are several ways to do so:
- Advertising. The most common means of advertising is in newspapers. Newspaper ads are relatively inexpensive and get good response and quick turnaround. Trade journals are more expensive and generate less response, but can be used effectively for highly paid, highly skilled professionals.
- Writing good job ads. There are some things you should include in your ads, and some things you should not include, particularly if you’re covered by antidiscrimination laws.
- Personal recruiting. This involves going to places such as schools to find and attract job candidates. It can also include personal referrals.
- Outside services. If you tend to hire frequently or you need to hire several employees at once, this is a good route to use because they do a lot of the legwork. It can be expensive, though.
- Evaluating your choices. We provide some pointers on situations that might favor one method over another.
Screening Job Applicants
Once the word is out that you have a job opening, expect to get phone calls, in-person visits, and resumes in the mail. But what do you do once the calls, letters, and people start coming in?
- First, determine whether the person is indeed an applicant. If you’re hiring your first employee, chances are that anyone who expresses interest in any way is an applicant. If, however, you have 15 or more employees, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires that you keep all records of all applicants for a full year, so determining who is an official applicant and who isn’t becomes more important.
- Decide how to respond to applicants. It’s always a good practice to acknowledge everyone who applies for the job, even if you decide that they aren’t suited for it.
- Decide on the type of information that you are going to require from applicants and how you are going to get it. Do you have an application you want them to fill out or are you going to rely on resumes? Which other types of application materials could you ask for?
- Determine if you’re going to test your applicants. A few industries and jobs require certain testing, but most are at your discretion. What you need in an employee will determine what, if any, testing you want to do. Refer to the job description, if you have one, and see if any of the requirements necessitate testing.
How Do You Interview Applicants?
Once you’ve gathered the information you need from applicants and you’ve reviewed it, you’re ready to start making some appointments to interview the most promising candidates.
Most people believe that they are good judges of character. Just a short chat with a job applicant and they can tell you whether he or she is hardworking, honest, creative, and loyal. Of course, it’s usually not that easy.
Assessing applicants’ qualifications by talking to them is a highly subjective method of choosing employees. However, used in partnership with other screening methods, such as applications and background checking, it can be an extremely useful selection tool. After all, one of the most important qualifications a person must have for any job is the right personality to work well with the supervisor and co-workers, and you can’t get that information off a resume or application.
But, first you need to:
- Plan for the interview, by deciding where to have the interview and choosing an interview format.
- Know how to conduct the interview, by understanding your role as an interviewer, and knowing what to ask and what not to ask.
Doing a Background Check
After you’ve collected information about applicants and done several interviews, you’re ready to check the background of your most promising candidates.
Because so many people misrepresent their background and credentials, it is important to do at least a little checking to see if what the applicant says about his or her background is true. A lot of employers don’t do any checking, and they often regret that decision. The applicant may be unqualified for the job or may have some personality trait or past experience that causes problems for you later.
Moreover, if your applicant will have contact with other employees or with customers, an important reason to do that checking is to avoid negligent hiring claims. If you have an employee who turns violent and harms either a customer or another employee, you could be slapped with a lawsuit if reference checking would have kept you from hiring that person.
If you have employees who have or will have significant contact with the public, customers, patients, or children, you’ll want to be particularly careful about doing a thorough background check, including a check of criminal records to the extent permitted by law.
For more information regarding how to do a proper background check, consider the following:
- General guidelines for reference checks
- Employment references
- Personal references
- Education records
- Credit reports
- Driving records
- Criminal records
- Documentation of the reference check
Making the Hire
After you’ve interviewed your top candidates for a job and checked their backgrounds, you must decide which one you want to hire. Use the notes that you’ve taken in interviews to help you.
Now you’re ready to make a job offer to your top candidate.
A job offer may be made orally—either in person or over the phone—or in writing. I recommend you do it over the phone, so you get a quicker answer to the offer and so that your chosen applicant doesn’t get snapped up by some other employer while your written offer is still in the mail.
No matter what the form of the job offer is, the principle is the same. Do not make promises or statements that can be construed as promises, that you cannot or do not intend to keep. Those statements can sometimes lead to expensive litigation if you later decide to terminate the employee.
When a job offer is extended, it should include the following information:
- Position offered
- Location and working hours
- Salary (although sometimes salary must be negotiated before the applicant will accept)
- Starting date
- Any papers or information that should be brought on the first day of work
- A date by which the applicant must respond to your job offer, so you can move on to the next candidate if your first choice doesn’t accept
While making a job offer is usually a positive experience, there are some areas to be mindful of and things to beware of. Don’t create an employment contract with an offer.
What Do You Do After the Hire?
After you’ve made the job offer and the candidate accepts it, you can begin to take steps to:
- Complete the required paperwork (i.e., I-9, W-4, insurance application, credit card application, a copy of the employee handbook, etc.).
- Set up personnel files.
- Orient the employee.
- Review your recruiting and hiring process.
- Provide the proper training for their specific job responsibilities.
- Make them a feel a part of the team.
- Hold reviews after 30 days, 90 days, and six months. (These can be brief interviews to find out how happy they are…after all, it cost enough time and resources to hire them in the first place.)