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Hiring Employees Is Like Getting Married


So let’s talk about hiring. It’s important to understand that hiring employees is one of the most important jobs you’ll do as a business owner. The right selection will improve your customer service, enhance morale in the office, give you peace of mind and ultimately grow your business. On the otherhand, hiring the wrong employee – which is very easy to do – can be destructive to your business operations. The wrong employee can harm customer relations, ruin employee morale, and cost a lot of money and angst. And terminating that employee can be a legal quagmire that could cost more than time. (Should I mention that using Daybreak’s virtual services could help you avoid all that?). Ok, I guess I just did.

Some statistics:

– 30% of small business failure is caused by employee theft
– 25% of all MBA degrees claimed on resumes are false
– 45% of all resumes contain one major fabrication
– 34% of all job applications contain lies about experience, education and/or abilities
– 72% of all negligent hiring suits are won by the applicant
– And the list goes on…..

In other words, people often don’t tell the truth AND employees are expensive. So, if you decide not to use Daybreak’s virtual services, how can you improve your position? First the disclaimer: “We are not experts in employment law or hiring. The following information is based solely on our experience and should be considered as suggestions only. Refer to qualified legal counsel for definitive advice.” Now check out these recommendations:

  1. The first step should be to know the job requirements that you are looking for. Create a skills inventory, write a job description and set up experience requirements. (Consider interviewing employees currently doing the job to see what attributes they feel are important).
  2. Avoid the rush to hire because you’re desperate or have deadlines coming up. The wrong hire can make your deadlines seem trivial in hindsight.
  3. A pre-employment screening test should be performed before deciding on conducting a formal interview. There are many available, but be sure the one you choose is validated. At Daybreak, we use the services of Susan Quade and Joe Hoffman at Quade Consulting ( to administer web based screening tests. The initial test lets us know if we should even pursue an interview. If we choose to interview the applicant, the test also provides recommendations for specific questions to ask during the interview. After the interview, we administer another test which helps to fine-tune the applicant’s suitability to the specific job. Considering the cost of failure, we feel this is money well spent.
  4. The next step should be a background check. This can be arranged for a minimal fee and will give you vital information that may impact your decision to hire. It may also help to protect you in the event of a later problem by showing your due diligence.
    Depending on the position being applied for, drug screening might also be considered. Again, Quade Consulting can help with that.
  5. During the interview, try to create an environment that will encourage the candidate to speak frankly.
  6. Keep in mind that a job interview is no different than a sales presentation. They need to sell themselves, and you need to decide if you want to buy. You also have to sell your company to them, and they have to decide if they want to be a part of your operation.
  7. Questions to ask: Use a skills inventory to develop insightful questions. Try to create questions that are based on:

    – Behavior: “Tell me about the last time you broke the rules?” Etc.
    – Situation: “How would you handle a coworker who was cheating?” Etc.
    – Ability to think on their feet: “What is your greatest weakness?” Etc.

  8. Be very careful that you don’t violate the applicant’s legal rights. The following are the types of questions (believe it or not) to avoid. As silly as some of them may seem, the law is stacked against you if you pursue them. Note that this is a partial list and there can be exceptions to some of those listed:

    – Age
    – Do they rent or own a home
    – Do they have an arrest record
    – Use birth control
    – Have they applied for bankruptcy
    – Citizenship status
    – Disability status
    – Health status
    – Any mental health treatment
    – Marital status
    – Maiden name
    – Ask to see a driver’s license
    – Ask for a photograph
    – Nation of origin and/or native language, race, religion, etc.
    – Clubs/organizations they belong to
    – Pregnancy status or plans to have children?
    – Height & weight?
    – Military status
    – Gender and sexual orientation.

When it’s all done, there are no guarantees that you’ll make the right decision. However, following the above steps can certainly improve your chances. Just remember that hiring an employee is very similar to getting married: Both involve a lot of emotion, they’re both expensive, and they can both be painful to terminate!

Until the next time.

Jeff Mehl