Category Archives: Hiring

crowd of working people

Accidental HR (SM) – Size Does Matter!

I know, I know, you all want to believe that size doesn’t matter.  But when it comes to the number of people you employ, it really does matter! There are certain regulations that you need to abide by as your employee count grows. There can be serious consequences if you don’t follow the rules, so be sure you know them! Oh and remember that handy dandy Acronym Chart that we had? That will help you when reading this chart! Continue reading

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profassional woman sitting in office meeting

First Day, Best Day

First days are nerve-racking. You want to make a good impression, but you know no one and don’t know your way around the office. It brings back memories of the first day in a new school. Who will you eat lunch with? Where will you eat lunch? It’s a feeling that can often be forgotten, until you’re in that position.

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job applicant search

Dip Your Toes in Various Applicant Pools

Sometimes it’s easy to get too focused on certain areas for hiring. You know to go to career fairs and colleges to recruit. You use job searching websites like a pro. But are you overlooking some serious contenders? Thinking outside the standard corporate box can lead you to some truly exceptional candidates.

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office task illustration

New grads, new client pool

The end of school and start of summer means that new applicants are entering your talent pool. It’s an exciting time, both for your company and for the recent graduates. There’s an abundance of tips for the new workforce, but tips for hiring managers aren’t as obvious, which is way it’s so important to remember good interviewing tips as the employee.

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business coffe meeting

Don’t Be Afraid to ‘Ban the Box’

You may have heard of a movement called “Ban the Box.” You know the question where applicants have to answer if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime? Well, this new regulation wants to remove it from applications. And I’m okay with it.

Here’s why. I’m going to do my due diligence when hiring someone regardless of whether they check a box or not. I’ll check their references and even perhaps check a person’s background if there is a bona fide job need. There are ways for me to find out that information if needed.

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professional man taking notes

Refocus Your Focus

Wouldn’t it be nice if after you got your business up and running smoothly, it could just stay like that? Us too! However, even with the perfect team you’ve assembled, the marketing plan that promises to score major clients, and a steady and strong foundation of client relationships, life is sure to throw some unpredictable curves your way: your top sales agent wants to go back to school, your accountant retires, your in-house attorney moves. But rather than fall down a rabbit hole of worry and stress, use this time to refocus and recenter on your company’s core mission, vision and values.

We all know that finding the right person for the job is critical, not only to fill a position but also to maintain the office culture. Office culture is what keeps employees happy and reduces the drama in your office. So, when the time calls to bring in a new player, I prefer to see recruiting in terms of sourcing, a way to find the right person. Don’t hold out for the one perfect, miracle candidate. Instead, start a list of very good candidates who meet most of your desired boxes.

The best way to find those potential new hires is not only to know the skills you’re looking for, but also how to find the best candidates who can do what you need them to do. To accomplish this, you need to know the hard skills (the actual tasks) the person will be performing, and you need to consider the soft skills (the characteristics or traits) that will ensure their success in your organization. The trick is finding the person who best aligns with the soft skills and your core values. You can train someone how to do a handbook review, but teaching someone that HR is fun, well, that’s a passion that the candidate must possess.

For more information on finding the right candidate, visit to schedule your free consultation.

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hand typing on keyboard

Orientation / OnBoarding

“Onboarding” is arguably the most important part of the hiring process. It allows for employees to take some time to get up to speed, helping them become rock stars at their jobs.

The week before they start, you might give an employee a tour of the building and facilities, including restrooms and fire escapes or a walking tour of the surrounding area and nearby restaurants and services. You can provide a packet with an overview of the company perks and benefits, a list of the job descriptions, or a chart showing how departments and positions are interrelated. You can send them a training or orientation schedule so they can ask questions before arriving.

The more we address the small items ahead of time, the more at ease they’ll be when they walk through that door, and the faster we can get into the heart of their job responsibilities on the very first day. Remember, choose someone to provide orientation for your new employees and choose wisely. It’s often best to remove yourself from the process and enlist another employee who will be working closely with your new hire.

As they acclimate, follow up with them. Ask them how everything’s going and listen to them sincerely and address their concerns immediately. This is a great way to not only ensure that they are learning and growing into their new position, but also ask for candid feedback on existing processes and policies. Often, an outside perspective can bring beneficial recommendations.

With healthcare reform and benefits needing to be in place by the 90th day, a lot of companies have converted to a 60-day orientation or introductory period to coincide with the benefit waiting period.

Regardless of the length of time, be sure to take advantage of this period. If they’re right for you, you’ll know. If not, move them along or move them out.

Need help moving employees onward and upward, or over and out? For a free consultation, contact

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wanted ads section in newspaper

Hire Slow, Fire Fast, Step Carefully, Act Decisively

The Ad

Determining exactly what you need and putting it down on paper is like a playbook for a winning football game. It will help you write your recruitment ad, determine the questions you’re going to ask during screenings and interviews, evaluate how the individual has done in the interview, and, ultimately, make your selection. You’re setting yourself up for success, making the hiring process easier, and adding efficiencies into the process.


Have you ever been convicted of a crime? When looking at a criminal record report, look only at pertinent information from the past seven years (may vary by state – check with your employment attorney). Unfortunately, some of the criminal reports show everything, and it’s hard to not look, but ignore it if it’s not relevant to the job! In today’s era of the internet, criminal records are public information and accessible. Facebook and social media can be helpful to having an insight into a potential employee. However, is this legal?

Job Descriptions

When it comes to successful human resource management, job descriptions are the hub of the wheel. Everything else that you deal with comes out of that single document, working in concert to form a functioning unit. Lose one or two spokes, and you can hobble along. Lose the hub and you’re in the ditch. Exempt and non-exempt status is based upon the job duties, regardless of the job title.

What you don’t know could cost you.

You can recruit all you want, but your recruiting won’t be successful unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. Unless the person understands exactly what their responsibilities are, you won’t have a successful onboarding/orientation period. Without solid job descriptions, coaching and mentoring lose their focus.

The Interview

Phone screening helps you fill in details and get additional information before deciding whether or not to continue to the next level of the hiring process. They take up a lot less time than a face-to-face interview. However, when you have selected your top candidates, nothing replaces the handshake, smile and eye to eye contact.

Your employees are the heart of your company. For support and advice to request your free consultation.

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two businessmen having a discussion

The Top Interviewing Methods to Find the Right Candidate

The art of interviewing is more than sitting in front of a potential candidate and firing questions at him or her; it means getting an in depth understanding of a person’s skills, personality, and desire to succeed. The interviewer should know a lot about the person they just spent time with, not just from the questions that are asked, but from the information the interviewee provides during the interview. In general, the person asking the questions should only be speaking about 20 percent of the conversation; the rest of the conversation should come from the interviewee as this is the only way to get to know this candidate that is expressing an interest in joining the company. There are several interviewing methods that can be used aside from the traditional one-on-one interview; utilizing these methods may be of benefit a company that has a position to fill.

Interviews with Pressure

One-on-one interviews are often easy enough for the interviewee to get comfortable. If a candidate needs to be seen under pressure, try the group interview. This process involves several people interviewing the candidate at one time. This will help to showcase the candidate’s ability to operate under pressure and even multi-task as the candidate has several questions asked in a short amount of time from multiple people. If the position being filled is one that undergoes a great deal of pressure, this is a great way to see how that might be handled by the candidate.

If even more pressure is required in order to see how a particular candidate would handle the stress of a certain job, a stress interview might be in order. In this interview, the person asking questions, drills the interviewee until the desired answer is obtained. The more the candidate talks around the question, the more the interviewer directly asks the question, asserting increased levels of pressure with each additional question. Many people buckle under this type of interview which helps managers quickly eliminate them from the candidacy pool.

Interviews to Determine Soft Skills/Traits

Not all jobs are based on what skills a candidate possesses. Of course, this is a key part of having the position, but sometimes traits or soft skills weighs more than skills. Hard skills, for example, typing, answering a phone, or filing can be taught, but personality skills are innate. The behavioral interview helps to determine the traits of a candidate by asking questions that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no.” Questions that a person might be asked to answer in a behavioral interview include “Tell me more about your job at XYZ Company,” or “Tell me why you decided to enter the finance industry.” These types of questions require the candidate to tell a story about themselves. The interviewer can then pay attention to how the question is answered to determine the soft skills of the candidate.

The interview type chosen should be the same for every candidate for a particular position. This is the only way to ensure that a proper comparison can be made. In fact, in order to ensure a proper evaluation, every candidate should be asked the same questions. This gives the interviewer ample opportunity to effectively compare everyone on the same level. It is not fair to compare one person based on a one-on-one interview and another on a group interview. One was under pressure while the other might have been completely comfortable with the one person interview. Keeping everything uniform can help to elicit the best response from interviewing, providing companies with the best candidate in the end and keep you out of a potential discrimination claim.

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What Employers Should Know About ‘Ban-the-Box’ Laws

ban-the-boxWould you ever hire a convicted criminal to work for your company? How about a person who has been adjudicated through the courts, or an individual who has served time? Each of these phrases essentially means the same thing – that a person has been found guilty of a crime in a court of law.

The problem is that how you word this question (as we just saw) – as well as what kind of crime a person has been convicted of, what kind of sentence they received, and when in the past they were convicted – can all have a dramatic impact on your perception of their potential hireability.

Protecting Employer Rights while Improving Opportunities for Candidates

Approximately one out of every twelve Americans has at some point been convicted of a crime, and nearly one out of three adult American males has been arrested at least once. In a nation as judicially active as ours, it’s not hard for a very wide range of people to run afoul of the law.

From ‘stupid mistakes’ in the teenage years to minor but legally significant convictions for traffic errors, the number of ways to become a convict in the U.S. is dramatic. And a recent study identified more than 38,000 punitive regulations and provisions that make it difficult for people to overcome the impact of carrying a criminal conviction in areas ranging from employment to housing, and from voting to obtaining credit.

Eliminating the Question about Criminal Convictions from Employment Applications

One standard practice on virtually every employment application for has been to include a checkbox or yes/no statement next to the sentence, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” And in response to this question, many employers have historically eliminated applicants who answer in the affirmative.

As a result, a national movement called “Ban-the-Box” has sought to eliminate this practice and achieve reform in this area of hiring in order to improve access to employment.

As of August 2014, 66 cities and counties and 11 states as well as the District of Columbia had passed ‘Ban-the-Box’ legislation. While legislation varies between jurisdictions, generally speaking these laws:

– Require employers to remove the check box on employment applications asking whether the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime.

– Require hiring managers to put off asking about a candidate’s criminal history until after an interview has been conducted or a provisional job offer has been extended.

In addition, some states also restrict employers from using criminal history as a sole disqualifier for employment; require employers to notify a job candidate if they are rejected for consideration on the basis of their criminal history; provide a copy of the documentation used to determine the presence of a criminal history to the candidate for their review; and/or restrict employers from making a hiring decision on the basis of criminal history unless the record has a rational relationship or clear connection to the duties of the position being sought.

States in the Northeast who have implemented some form of Ban-the-Box law include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia has also implemented its own Ban-the-Box ordinance, applicable within the city’s jurisdiction. This is a good example because even if your company is not based in one of these jurisdictions , should you have a remote employee, sales rep or field office in one (such as Philadelphia), you are subject to these laws.

How One Ban-the-Box Ordinance Works

So, what does this mean for you as an employer? Let’s take the Philadelphia ordinance as a good example. In Philadelphia, Ban-the-Box regulates employer hiring practices as follows:

– Requires employers to remove questions about criminal convictions from job applications.

– Requires employers to avoid asking questions about criminal convictions during an applicant’s first job interview.

– Requires employers to delay performing a criminal background check on a given candidate until after the applicant’s first job interview.

– Requires employers to never make employment decisions (including termination decisions) on the basis of a closed case that did not result in a criminal conviction.

At same time, the Philadelphia ordinance allows the following practices by employers:

– Employers may ask a candidate about a criminal record after an application is received and after a first interview has been completed.

– Employers are not required to guarantee a job to a person with a criminal conviction.

– Employers are not subject to civil monetary or other judgments when a candidate files a human rights complaint with the City of Philadelphia, although employers may be fined by the City of Philadelphia itself. In addition, the Philadelphia ordinance exempts employers with fewer than ten employees, or those employers engaged in government criminal justice functions such as law enforcement, prisons and courts. It also specifically enables employers to evaluate and research criminal background for any position in which state or federal law proactively requires such action by the employer.

Preparing Proactively to Stay in Step with Changing Laws

Over the next 2-3 years, many analysts following the field expect a majority of states to enact Ban-the-Box laws, which means that the smart thing to do is to prepare now and make changes in your hiring practices across the board.

Smart steps to take now may include:

1. Removing criminal conviction questions from your standard application form.

2. Making sure that all existing versions of your standard application form are updated and revised accordingly, and that all prior versions are destroyed or deleted.

3. Implementing a written hiring policy that includes specific guidelines for when questions about criminal history are appropriate to ask. Remember that employers may legally identify criminal history information during a standard background check, so verbally asking this question may or may not be necessary depending upon your hiring process and specifics.

4. Providing guidance to all hiring personnel on how, when and what to ask (or not ask) regarding such questions, and requiring written indications (on a form or report) that a given candidate’s application has been received, and that a first interview has been performed/completed.

5. Implementing a written procedure for responding to the identification of a criminal history either through voluntary verbal indication by the applicant, or through the background check process. This should include any procedures you may wish (or be required) to institute regarding notification of the applicant.

6. Ensuring that hiring decisions are not made solely on the basis of criminal history, and that any decision to disqualify a candidate based even in part on this factor are documented and clearly connected to the job requirements and objectives.

7. Reviewing documented hiring procedures and standards to ensure that policies do not indicate that convicted persons should be eliminated from consideration across the board. These so-called ‘blanket’ statements could subject an employer to liability and the potential of a lawsuit from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

8. Ensuring that your organization stays informed about proposed and enacted Ban-the-Box in the states, counties and local jurisdictions in which you do business – including locations where you have a field office or remote personnel. For example, the State of Maryland has passed a Ban-the-Box law but within that state, a number of counties are considering ordinances that may apply additional regulations to employers above and beyond the state’s requirements.

Some trade organizations have responded to the Ban-the-Box movement with counter efforts designed to slow, stop or reverse such legislation. These include the National Retail Federation, some chambers of commerce and a number of other business organizations nationally, as well as at the state and local levels.

However, regardless of how you may feel about the issue, the important priority is to ensure that your hiring processes are prepared to operate effectively in an environment of change on this issue. By proactively implementing Ban-the-Box strategies now, you can stay ahead of the shifting seas of regulatory change; increase internal awareness within the company on this important issue; and enable your organization to transition effectively so that your team becomes comfortable and effective with a new approach.

Selected Sources:

Ban-the-Box Movement Goes Viral

Ban-the-Box: An Overview for Private Employers

Growing ‘Ban-the-Box’ Movement Impacts Hiring Practices

What it Means to ‘Ban-the-Box’

Paying a Price, Long After the Crime

“Ban-the-Box” Employment Law Gains Ground in 2014

Ban-the-Box: Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations

Editor’s Note: This article provides general information based upon HR Best Practices and does not constitute legal advice. Consult a human resource professional or speak with your attorney for questions specific to your circumstances.

This entry was posted on by HR Resolutions.