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Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Best Practice Hiring for the Small Business (Part 3 of 5)
Posted by Sarah Conroy on 11/15/2011 1:59:00 PM
This is Part 3 of a 5 part series. Posts 3 - 5 will offer ideas on tools and resources to address the checklist suggested in Part 1 of the series. For the full checklist, please scroll to part 1 of series. As mentioned, my focus here is on hiring from outside your company, but I strongly suggest you have a robust program for hiring from within and I will cover that in a subsequent blog post.
A Word About Social Media
Social media is a very broad term and many companies have now crafted policies to manage its use among employees both at the workplace and outside it. Its use as a tool to attract candidates is endless, but its use in applicant screening is controversial to say the least. Because it is still a relatively unregulated frontier, you will notice there are fewer rules controlling its use than when you use other screens like credit checks. An employment attorney will caution you to use all tools consistently and, of course, fairly. While full examination of this topic is much too broad for this post, I would suggest that until you are ready to have a comprehensive policy on using social media for recruitment, you caution your employees not to use these tools when evaluating candidates. You are free to question candidates during the interview process to give the candidate the opportunity to respond, but how you question and whether you ask all candidates the same basic questions is important. It is also in your interest as an employer to ensure you fully understand what you might learn along the way from any source in order to use the information properly. For example, if you do hire felons, you will want to understand how that felony applies or does not apply to the job under consideration.
Be sure you have a confidential application process. Whether electronic, paper or both, it is very important to ensure employment applications and supporting documents are protected from not only identity theft, but from those who do not strictly need to know the salary histories and other confidential information of applicants. You are sending a message to current employees and applicants with this process and how you show respect for both is essential. It is also important to treat all applicants in a similar fashion by ensuring you ask the same questions and do the same screens on all. You want “apples to apples” and you want to ensure your actions cannot be considered in anyway discriminatory. There is more detail in the links provided below, but be sure to think out in advance how will you record and retain the applicant information.
While applicant sourcing was covered in our last blog post, you will want to ensure your application form is up to date, elicits the information you want and does so legally. Here is a sample job application for comparison.
When writing your job advertisement, you will want to pull from your updated position description, ensuring you determine what is required and what is preferred. Describe the essential job duties, hours, percent travel, whether relocation will be offered, years of experience and education required. If compensation is variable, you will want to make that clear also (e.g. – commissions). This is the portrait of your new employee; be sure you know what you can bend on and what is essential going in so you can evaluate candidates consistently.
While you may not be required to, it’s good practice to keep an applicant log so you can learn about yourselves and how to creatively hire, encourage diversity and determine whether an applicant has applied before.
Up next, qualifying applicants…
Sarah Conroy, SPHR, CEBS
SHRM Maine State Government Affairs Director
Best Practice Hiring for the Small Business (Part 2 of 5)
Posted by S on 11/1/2011 1:53:00 PM
Ok, So You Are Ready To Hire, Now What?
As you consider all this, you will find it worth your time because you already know how important it is to get it right, especially if you have ever gotten it wrong. This means the first recommendation is to create or refine your hiring process based on what is decided to ensure continuity and recordkeeping. This post and the following two posts are aimed at offering some suggestions on the checklist in our last blog entry as well as a bit about the pros and cons of social media use in talent acquisition. While you are encouraged to have a process for internal transfer, I will focus on external applicants here. I will also leave the choice of staffing firms to you should you go that route and not cover that here. We will also save school recruitment for another blog.
I bet you have heard a lot of terms applied over the years to those being considered for employment. Depending on the size of your business and your use of the internet to find talent, these terms are important. While traditionally an applicant was anyone who applied for a job whether or not they were qualified and a candidate was someone who was qualified regardless of application status, the “internet applicant rules” that have come into being in recent years have caused HR to try to define an applicant as narrowly as possible to reduce recordkeeping responsibilities and other burdens. A good practice is to consider anyone an applicant who applies for and meets the basic requirements for the position as advertised.
There is a world of possibilities for advertising on the internet. Even if you use traditional print media, it likely shares with an electronic job board. There are also metasites that pull from everywhere so you can accomplish significant penetration with just a few postings. Here are some ideas for sites for all business types, you will also want to consider using associations and trade publications for very specialized outreach as well as targeting the state in which you have the opening if not Maine. I don’t have preferred partners, so I hope you will consider these and other great site, especially fellow Chamber members! Remember, these sites often offer mining as well as advertising so you can recruit the passive job seeker.
Of course there are many, many more sites. Here is another blogger’s post with more details. Talent acquisition is really something that occurs all the time. Companies recognize that great candidates come via many doors and it’s the ability to recognize the portals and the people that is key. As you likely know, your current employees are breathing billboards for your company every day and any effort to manage that will likely bear fruit. Because you care for your employees thus earning their loyalty and respect, every time you offer them logowear and send them out in community with great tales to tell to do good works, you have won the day, not only in attracting, but in retaining talent. You want to make it onto the great company lists like Best Places to Work and Glass Door.
Up next, a word about Social Media, then more suggestions on tools and resources to address the checklist suggested in Part 1 of the series.
Sarah Conroy, SPHR, CEBS
SHRM Maine State Government Affairs Director
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