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Making Good Hiring Decisions in Good Times and Bad Times (Part 1 of 2)

Making Good Hiring Decisions in Good Times and Bad Times (Part 1 of 2)

Date Published: 2011-04-01

There is no question about the fact that hiring the right employee for your company can be a daunting and time consuming process.  Unfortunately, many employers fail to recognize the overall benefit of having good hiring procedures in place prior to recruiting for a vacant position.  Oftentimes, hiring decisions are made based upon a perceived need to fill a vacant position immediately and a misplaced belief that there is no time to worry about developing a job description, interview questions or to conduct background checks, including checking references.  Au contraire.

The lack of sound hiring procedures significantly increases the likelihood that an employer will hire someone who should not be hired because that person does not have the right skills, is not a team player or has a bad attitude about life and work in general.  Hiring the wrong person can have a devastating effect on an employer’s business and employee morale.  Based upon my near 20 years’ experience as an employment lawyer, I firmly believe that approximately 95% of individuals who become problem employees after they were hired would not have been hired in the first place had the employer followed sound hiring practices.

Sound hiring practices, at a minimum, include:

  • developing the job description for the position that not only identifies the tasks to be performed, but that also identifies skills and character traits (e.g. team player) before running an employment advertisement;
  • developing interview questions that are designed to elicit information about the candidate’s background skills and work attitude and the underlying reasons for any gaps in employment;
  • conducting background checks and verifying the information provided by the applicant, including verifying past work history and education; and
  • pre-employment drug testing.

Taking the time to hire right in both good and bad economic times will increase revenues and profits over time.  Keep in mind that a problem employee will generally, on average, consume about 80% of the time that a manager spends on employee relations issues in a work day.  Think about it from this perspective:

Assume for the purposes of this example that your company has 20 employees.  If a manager spends 50% of her day addressing employee relations issues for all 20 employees, based upon the 80-20 rule, she is spending approximately 62% of her employee relations time on one employee and the balance, or 38% of her time, on 19 employees.

Not only do problem employees use up a significant amount of an employer’s resources, they create financial exposure for the company in many ways.  For example, loss of customers, loss of good employees, lost productivity and profits.

Next month, Part II will discuss sound interview practices.

A note to the reader:  This article is intended to provide general information and is not intended to be a substitute for competent legal advice.  Competent legal counsel should be consulted if you have questions regarding compliance with the law. 

Questions regarding the content of this column or past columns or suggestions for future columns may be e-mailed to Christina Harris Schwinn at christinaschwinn@paveselaw.com.  To view past columns written by Ms. Schwinn please visit the firm’s website at www.paveselaw.com.  Ms. Schwinn is a partner and an experienced employment and real estate attorney with the Pavese Law Firm, 1833 Hendry Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901; Telephone:  (239) 336-6228; Telecopier:  (239) 332-2243.