Hiring a new employee is an important task for any business to undertake. While expansion is an exciting time, rushing into the hiring process can hinder or even prevent the acquisition of a valuable associate. Patience and due diligence are two of the most important factors in a successful hire.
So follow along as we guide you through the necessary steps to take when hiring.
1. Hammer Out Exactly What You’re Looking For
Don’t just decide, “I need to hire a designer.” Before you begin your search, write down the details of the position you’d like to fill. Elaborate on what you will expect that employee to achieve and the characteristics and skills you are looking for.
Having a detailed job description will help both you and potential candidates evaluate whether or not they are a good fit before they apply. This will save time for both of you in the long run.
2. Leverage Your Networks
The first place you should look for prospects is the networks of your employees, colleagues and friends. Tell people at work about the position you’re looking to fill, and ask them to spread the word. Asking your employees to spread the word about an open position presents them with an opportunity to help someone out and strengthen their own relationships.
Leveraging your existing networks also gives you a chance to recruit for free. In addition, it offers a first line of defense when it comes to vetting candidates, as your employees and colleagues probably won’t refer unmotivated applicants.
3. Post to the Right Job Boards
There are countless websites for posting job openings. These include Indeed, SimplyHired, Monster, Craigslist and more. You can also manage your job posts in one place with a job-management service like ZipRecruiter.
If you’re looking to fill a freelance or contractor position, try sites like Elance or Odesk. Also consider posting on industry-specific job boards that fit your field (e.g. the Dice job board that focuses on the tech space).
If you want to try your hand offline as well, consider your local newspaper’s jobs section or a college campus job-board bulletin.
4. Interview for Characteristics and Character
An interview offers you a chance to ask the right questions. It helps you evaluate not only a prospect’s qualifications, but their integrity, personality and how well they’ll fit into the culture of your company.
Not sure how to evaluate good character? Consider any red flags (like being unprepared or rude), and keep an eye out for them during the interview process. If you have doubts about a candidate, don’t compromise, and move onto the next one. The wasted labor and time that you invest trying to make them fit will do more harm than good in the long run.
5. Research Your Candidate (Beyond the Resume)
The extent to which you look into your candidate’s background is up to you. Most hiring managers strongly encourage doing a background check, but what that entails may vary.
The first step is to reach out to several of their references. Inquire about their performance as well as the terms of their departure from their last job.
Another advisable step is to verify the eligibility of your candidate to work in the U.S. Ask for your candidate’s Social Security number, and specify on your job application that you will verify an applicant’s eligibility to work after they are hired. This way, you will be compliant with rules set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission while signaling that you’re serious about finding the right candidate.
Another step some employers choose to take is getting a consumer report from a credit-reporting agency, such as Equifax, TransUnion or Experian. Review the Federal Credit Reporting Act to learn more about the limitations of gathering this type of information. If you decide to look for any possible criminal records, note that access to these records varies from state to state.
If a full-on background check seems too drastic to you, consider simply Googling a prospect’s name and looking at what you find. Blog posts and public information on social networks may help paint a picture of this candidate outside of the rosy self-portrait they paint on their resume.
6. Give an Offer
An offer letter constitutes a legal proposal of employment. It sets forth the potential terms of that employment (such as job type and compensation). It also allows you to explain any necessary training as well as any documents or identification the employee needs to bring on their first day. This should include forms of identification that ensure a candidate’s employment eligibility (i.e. a passport or a resident card), and identity (i.e. a driver’s license or federal ID card).
7. Make It Official: Sign the Agreement
The Employment Agreement is the contract wherein the employer and the employee agree upon the conditions of employment. These conditions include details like salary, benefits and the responsibilities of both parties.
It’s important that all hires sign an agreement, including contractors as well as paid and unpaid interns.
8. Protect Your Intellectual Property
Once the employee has signed their agreement, it’s important to protect any ideas generated by the employee during their time with you, as well as any insider information they may have been exposed to during their period of employment.
Most employers will have employees sign separate agreements to safeguard the company’s existing and forthcoming intellectual property. Such agreements instill employee confidentiality, non-competition or invention assignment.
Whatever its name, a signed agreement may also help prevent former employees from using that information when working with a competitor. Most importantly, make sure that your chosen agreement establishes that the company owns any inventions or intellectual property related to your business and developed during employment.
9. Orient the New Hire With an Employee Handbook
When the employee arrives on their first day, make sure that they fill out an IRS Form W-4, which establishes how much income tax to withhold from their wages. You should also have them fill out the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and record their full name and Social Security number if you have not already done so (note: you will need this for their Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement).
Finally, have your employee review and sign an Employee Handbook. This is essentially your company rulebook. It sets forth the policies and procedures all employees must follow. It should also include details regarding company holidays, disciplinary procedures and discrimination policies.