Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Academic Divisions > College of Business and Entrepreneurship > Kansas Small Business Development Center > Hiring
Whether you are hiring your first employee or are faced with finding a replacement employee, the process of recruiting and selecting qualified employees can be daunting. In today's tight labor market, recruiting qualified candidates to choose from is a struggle for many small businesses (see the Tips & Tactics publication, Recruitment Strategies for ideas). Once you have a pool of possible job candidates, you must go through the process of reviewing applications, interviewing, testing, evaluating, etc. so that an objective, legal and appropriate selection decision can be made. From hiring a part-time, hourly employee to selecting for top management positions, following the steps will help you make an informed, objective decision.
There are 3 main phases in the process of hiring a new employee:1) preparing for the interview, 2) conducting the interview, and 3) making the selection decision.
Preparing for the Interview
Job descriptions. Developing job descriptions and search criteria before resumes/applications are reviewed is the most vital part of the hiring process (see the SBDC Tips & Tactics publication, Job Descriptions, for more information). Job descriptions result in objective criteria against which every applicant is evaluated. Not only does a job description list the tasks and duties required of the job, but it also outlines the requirements necessary to successfully perform the job-including the knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics necessary of job incumbents. The persons responsible for the hiring decision must familiarize themselves with these job requirements and have a clear profile of the ideal candidate, i.e. what technical skills, job knowledge and "life skills" (reliability, ability to cope with stress, tolerance of ambiguity, etc.) should the ideal candidate possess. Evaluation of candidates then is based directly on whether or not they meet the requirements of the job and how closely they match up to the ideal candidate profiles. Selecting a candidate on this basis will not only help ensure an appropriate fit with the candidate and the job, but will also reduce your risk of discrimination litigation.Initial Screening. Regardless of how pressed for time you may be, it is critical that you set aside time for reviewing applicants' completed job applications/resumes. This step allows you to draw some preliminary conclusions about the person's job suitability as well as identify key areas in which you will need to get more information from the applicant. Using an application form in the pre-screening process (rather than, or in addition to, a resume) will help ensure that the information gleaned from this pre-screening process is consistent among job candidates.Structuring the interview format. As alluded to earlier, both job application forms and interview questions must be structured so that all inquiries are job related. This is critical to avoid being accused of violating EEO laws. The most effective way to ensure that information obtained from a job interview is job related, is to use a structured interview format. The format should include the following:
Not only will this type of structured format provide legal protection, but will also provide the interviewer consistent information across job candidates on which to base the selection decision. In addition, a structured format which provides adequate information to candidates about the requirements of the job and the organization may cause certain candidates to "self-select out" of the candidate pool.
Conducting the Interview
You will want to avoid the following interview pitfalls:
Making the Decision
Using additional selection tools. In addition to interviewing, many companies use additional selection tools and tests to determine an applicant's suitability for a job. Although these tests can provide further information for employers to make a sound decision, they must be used with caution. Any kind of tests that an employer uses (whether they're written tests or physical tests) must be tested for validity. In other words, they must be proven to measure skills and abilities that are job relevant.
Check references and backgrounds. Information provided by applicants on a job application, resume or during an interview may be exaggerated or downright false. It is important to do some investigating to verify this self-reported information. A thorough reference check should be conducted prior to making a job offer, and, when appropriate and job related, background checks should be done.
Once you make the hiring decision, be careful what you say orally and in writing when you make a job offer to any applicant. The positive statements you make to an applicant about long term opportunities can come back to haunt you if you later fire that person.
It's courteous to let unsuccessful applicants know that you've hired someone else for the job. A short letter informing the rejected applicant of your decision is the least painful approach. Keep the letter simple and upbeat and keep a copy in your files along with the employment application.
Portions excerpted from "Managing Human Resources in Small and Mid-Sized Companies." American Management Association, 1995.
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