TruPay Hiring Digest


HiringThe human capital management lifecycle begins with recruiting and hiring talent. As more organizations make the connection between hiring the right people and achieving success, HR leaders are increasingly approaching recruitment and hiring as a crucial competitive differentiator. Facing a more competitive global business landscape, with available talent spread across multiple generations, the challenge to hire the best team for the job has never been higher. 

With employers looking for the talent of tomorrow in a global, multigenerational workforce, they must think about recruiting in new ways and work to leverage technology and sourcing strategies that improve recruitment and hiring.  By identifying the right skills, competencies, behaviors, and tendencies you can ensure the best candidates are hired. In the latest edition of our Hiring Digest you will find articles dealing with this complex, and increasingly crucial, topic.


Avoid the $50,000 Hiring Mistake

Hiring Mistake

It goes without saying that employers want to recruit and hire the best talent in their industry. From attracting great candidates, to moving them smoothly through the application and onboarding process, and creating a positive view of their company right from the start.

But what if internal processes aren’t set up to support efficient and effective hiring? Do HR staff have the support they need to manage screening, hiring, administration, and reporting? Are they able to consistently comply with company policies and procedures throughout the recruitment and onboarding process? Are they capable of avoiding costly hiring mistakes?

The consequences of getting recruitment and applicant tracking wrong can be significant:

--More than half of employers say that a bad hire has had a negative impact on their company, whether from lost revenue and productivity or damage to employee morale and client relations.

--Twenty-seven percent of U.S. employers report that a single bad hire can cost more than $50,000.

--The longer it takes to get a new hire onboard and ready to work, the longer it takes for that employee to add value to an organization. A recent survey found that 61 percent of respondents have a four-week or longer hiring cycle, and 20 percent have an eight-week or longer cycle.

Adding an automated, integrated recruiting solution to a workforce management application gives employers enterprise-level technology for staffing their organizations with the best people for the job. Today’s premier recruitment and applicant tracking solutions for SMBs simplify the process of recruitment by offering automated hiring tools and integrated reporting that help them keep track of applicants and select the most suitable candidates.

You Should Know (and Avoid) These Forms of Interview Bias

Interview BiasThe hiring process involve several key components, one of which is the interview phase. Interview bias can result unintentionally. Even the most seasoned of interviewers may fall victim to some common interviewing bias. Managers need proper training to conduct interviews that are non-discriminatory in nature, and to avoid exposure to discrimination claims. In addition, awareness of these biases can make interviewers more effective in selecting the right candidate. Some forms of bias are described below.

  • Stereotyping. Stereotyping involves making generalized opinions about how people from a protected class such as sex, religion, age, race, etc. appear, think, act, feel or respond. For example, assuming a male would prefer being employed in a construction job over a teaching job.
  • Inconsistency. Some managers utilize different sets of questions to interview for the same job position amongst different individuals. For example, asking Hispanic candidates about their bilingual skills versus Caucasian applicants is not a recommended practice.
  • First Impression. First impressions can leave a lasting impression. Sometimes during the interview process, the interviewer takes the first thing he or she notices about the candidate and forms his/her opinion regarding the applicant on the first impression. This bias may benefit or harm the candidate’s chances of selection.
  • Halo/Horn Effect. If the interviewer finds one good trait, he or she will favor the candidate (halo). When the interviewer finds one negative trait, he or she will see that to be a disqualifier for the position (horn).
  • Contrast Effect. Contrast bias is present when candidates are compared against each other rather than evaluated based on the job requirements. The tendency is to base a candidate’s individual ranking on one's position relative to others in the group. If the interview pool consists of a number of outstanding candidates, an average candidate will not be selected. But in a substandard pool, the average candidate may appear to be highly qualified.
  • “Similar to Me”. The “similar to me” effect occurs when the interviewer identifies with the candidate on a personal level, rather than evaluates the candidate on job-related criteria. For Example: The candidate attended the same university as the interviewer.
  • Cultural Noise. This occurs when the candidate’s responses are not factually based, but are socially acceptable answers. Basically, the applicant tells the interviewer what they think the interviewer would like to hear or will help secure the job.

What Is a Behavioral Interview?

Behavioral InterviewDeveloped thirty years ago by industrial psychologists, behavioral, or competency-based interviews have rapidly grown in popularity in interview processes. Behavioral interviews focus on past performance and behaviors which will help an interviewer determine whether a candidate will be a successful employee within an organization.

The behavioral interview provides a candidate the opportunity to exhibit his or her competencies such as skills, abilities and knowledge through specific examples of prior experiences. This helps provide a basis of the candidate’s actual capabilities rather than what the interviewee believes he or she may achieve in the future.
In the behavioral interview, a job candidate will have to support his or her work ethic with real-life examples, detailing how specific situations were handled in the past.
The behavioral interview is generally not about potential scenarios; rather, it relies on real-life experiences which will help a hiring manager determine whether the candidate will be a good match for a role and how he or she may respond to the environment and tasks in the position. The following tips will assist a hiring manager in utilizing a behavioral-based interview process:

  • In order to gather valuable information during the interview process, hiring managers should utilize consistent, behavioral-based questions for all candidates interviewing for a specific role.
  • Employers should ask probing questions that cannot be responded to with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.  Specific examples should be requested.
  • “Would you handle this situation similarly in the future if presented with it again?”  The answer to this question will provide the interviewer with feedback as to whether the candidate is able to apply knowledge and utilize creative and alternative methods to improve upon processes.

Interviewing Compliance Video

Help Your Employees Avoid Hiring Discrimination With This Advice

Hiring DiscriminationEmployers should focus on skills and qualifications during the interview process. Employees are protected from discrimination based on having a disability. This also includes having a record of a disability or simply being perceived as disabled.

It’s important not to make assumptions about a candidate's ability to perform their job based on their having disclosed that they have a disability or other health condition. An employer can ask all candidates if they are able to perform the job either with or without accommodation; as a best practice, however, consider asking this on the written application rather than during the interview. If a candidate at the post-offer stage requests an accommodation to perform the essential functions of their job, then engage them in the interactive process to determine whether you could provide an accommodation.

Employers should counsel employees who conduct interviews not to solicit or document information that a candidate discloses regarding their inclusions in any protected class (e.g. disability, sexual orientation, national origin). This will help avoid the appearance that such information was a factor in the employment decision, thus avoiding claims of hiring discrimination.

Continue to focus on the skills and qualifications of the candidates that you have. If you do choose another candidate, you should able to justify the decision based on those comparative skills and qualifications and be able to show that the chosen candidate was truly a better fit.

How Do Introductory Periods Work?

Introductory PeriodsAn introductory period is a period of time put in place for an employer and a new employee to evaluate each other and determine if the employment relationship is a good fit. 

For employers who have an introductory period, we recommend using the time to provide thorough onboarding, enhanced training, and extra coaching. It’s also a good idea to have a review at the end of the period to discuss how the first few months went and what your mutual goals are for the employee’s continuing employment. However, if there are any performance issues, we recommend addressing them as they occur rather than waiting until the end of the phase.

An employee who is performing poorly may be let go during or at the end of the introductory period. Or, if the employee’s performance is "on the line," they could be given a performance improvement plan at the end of the process with strict expectations about what improvements are needed to remain employed. However, it’s best not to extend this process. Doing so could appear discriminatory. 

It is important to know that the introductory period generally has no additional legal protections for either the employer or the employee. It doesn’t change the at-will relationship or allow employers to terminate employees for discriminatory or other illegal reasons. Regardless of how long someone has been employed, it’s always a best practice to ensure that any performance or disciplinary issues are well documented prior to letting them go.

What to Look for When Hiring Millennials

Hiring MillennialsOne of the biggest challenges companies face when recruiting and hiring millennials is what’s often referred to as the skills gap.  Employers are looking for a specific set of skills in their employees but can’t seem to find any applicants who fit the bill.   Part of the problem might not be with the lack of qualified candidates, but with the expectation that these perfect potential employees should exist at all. 

Identify Potential

If you find yourself consistently struggling to fill certain positions, try looking for potential in your applicants instead of focusing solely on work experience.  For example, your candidates’ cognitive aptitude, or their ability to think critically, solve problems, and digest and apply new information, is a much better indicator of future success in a role.  In fact, cognitive aptitude is three times more predictive of success in a role than prior experience.  It’s particularly useful when evaluating long-term potential, because it provides an indication of learning ability. You’ll have a much easier time identifying top millennial talent if you consider how far an applicant could go in your organization instead of only focusing on where they’ve been.

Take Their Experience Seriously

That being said, you should still be interested in the experiences your applicants have had.  You can learn a lot about a candidate by asking them about their educational experience, volunteer work, and any insights from previous jobs even if they don’t seem directly related to the position they’re applying for.  You can get a window into what kind of worker someone will be from how they learned, improved, and evolved from their experiences, even if they don’t necessarily seem job-related. Try asking your candidate to describe what they learned from their very first job or how they feel their prior experience has prepared them for the job they’re applying for. The point is to make sure you’re hiring someone who has proven their ability to learn and adapt from the experience they have had.

Recruiting and Hiring Report

Hiring a Temp Employee to Be a Regular Employee

Hiring a Temp EmployeeWhen hiring a temp employee to be a regular employee, an employer should take into account certain considerations. In terms of benefits eligibility, vesting, and accruals, recent class action lawsuits have cautioned employers to think about the effects of hiring a temp employee and their fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). For example, you may be required to account for all the time (including the period of temporary service) an employee started working for your business to:

  • Calculate and award retirement eligibility and vesting credits;
  • Track an employee’s vesting eligibility credits;
  • Properly provide information about vesting and eligibility credits; and
  • Notify an employee’s right to appeal benefits decisions.

So, employees who change from temp to regular status should be credited with any service time worked for the company. This service credit determination may also affect eligibility for other benefits, such as vacation as well as seniority-based selection towards time-off requests during the holidays next year. Make sure you have a system in place to record and track the hours worked by a temp worker, and you will be in a much better position to hire the person a part of your regular workforce.

When to Take a Chance on an Inexperienced Applicant

Inexperienced ApplicantEvery hiring manager receives applications from people who are clearly unqualified for the job. Sometimes, however, a candidate with no direct or seemingly-relevant experience applies for a position and, for some reason or another, captures their attention. If you’re open to hiring inexperienced applicants, here are a few signs of potential future excellence:

Cultural fit: If the applicant shares your company values and believes in its mission, they’re more likely to go the extra mile for the success of your organization.

Eagerness and ability to learn: Unfortunately, inexperienced applicants usually lack training and on-the-job experience. What they might have is an eagerness and a proven ability to learn new skills and job duties. If you suspect this is the case with an applicant, ask about situations in which they had to master something new and rose to the occasion.

Translatable skills: If you’re hiring for a job that requires specific technical skills, you may have a hard time finding applicants with those exact skills. The better candidates may be those without the exact skills you need, but whose skills could, with a little training, be applied to the position. 

No bad habits to unlearn: Experienced candidates sometimes come with bad habits. They’ve been doing the work you need for a long time, and they may be used to doing their work in a way that’s inefficient or doesn’t mesh with your workplace environment. If you’re concerned about a candidate’s set ways, you may have more luck with a candidate whose habits you’ll be in a position to help form.

Re-hiring Former Employees

Re-hiring Former EmployeesRecruiting in today's tight labor market is tough. That's why opportunities to re-hire former employees can be valuable. When re-hiring former employees, a company has some discretion here as to whether to collect a full rehire packet or not. We generally recommend that the employee fill out the paperwork again. Keep in mind that there may be documents signed that expressly end when employment is terminated. It is also best to re-issue employment offers so that the rehire is properly documented.

It is always safer to have the rehired employee fill out more paperwork than have them not receive the updated version of a document or have them miss required forms, especially if you are in a state that has extensive new hire paperwork requirements. That said, if the employee is rehired within a few months (or some other very short time frame), you could review the employee's file and see what employer forms haven't changed. In either case, the employee will surely need new benefits enrollment paperwork if they are eligible.

Illegal Interview Questions

DON'T Review Social Media Accounts of Job Candidates. Here's Why.

Social Media AccountsThese days, many employers review social media accounts of job candidates as part of the hiring process. What they may not realize, is that this practice can expose them to risk in the form of discrimination complaints, should they choose to not hire a candidate.

We strongly recommend against reviewing a candidate’s social media accounts during the interview process. By doing so, you could be exposed to information about the protected classes to which your candidate belongs. For instance, if you went to their Facebook page, you might discover their race, age, or religion. If your ultimate hiring decision was challenged, you would need to prove that those characteristics were not a factor in your decision. 

We recommend basing hiring decisions only on the information you obtain through the application, resume, interviews, and reference checks. The goal of the application and interview process is to find the most qualified candidate for the position you're trying to fill. You shouldn’t need to get into the private lives of candidates to make that determination, and the risk of doing so makes it inadvisable in any case.

Does Your Non-Compete Agreement Contain These Four Things? It Should.

Non-Compete AgreementAll employees will discover and learn aspects about their jobs and about your company that may become a particularly sensitive issue when an employee leaves the company. Depending on state laws, employers can add a certain amount of protection through the use of properly written non-compete agreements, especially when hiring employees.

In determining whether or not entering a non-compete arrangement makes sense for your business, the agreement should:

  • Be crucial to protect the interests and survival of the business.
  • Not limit the employee in a manner that goes beyond what is reasonable to protect your business interests. (Example: If your CPA firm focuses on clients in Arizona, then restricting the former employee from practicing in Florida would be deemed unreasonable.)
  • Not subject the public with a loss of access to the former’s employee’s service or skill.
  • Be a legitimate binding contract such that the former employee receives something in return by signing such an agreement (i.e. monetary compensation).

Six Tips for Non-Compete Agreements

Non-Compete AgreementsFrom an HR perspective, be sure to think about the following six tips for non-compete agreements and how they fit into your hiring process: 

  • What are the appropriate restrictions?  Specifically pick the restrictions that make most sense to adequately protect your company. The most common types include a non-compete, a client non-solicit, an employee non-solicit, and / or non-disclosure. 
  • What is the scope of the restrictions?  In some states, overly broad non-compete conditions can be detrimental against employers because courts will refuse to recognize the overall agreement even if the clause in question is only slightly too broad. Also, take into account the location where the employee may be working.
  • What is the nature of the job position?  A non-compete agreement should protect the company’s legitimate interest, such as confidential information.  Tailoring the duration, scope, and geographic restrictions of the covenant to the particular position and circumstances of the employee (or category of employees) is likely to enhance the enforceability of the agreement. 
  • How is confidential information secured? Take reasonable measures (e.g. password protect computers) to identify and communicate with employees as well as protect what is considered confidential.  Upon termination, require employees to return any company document or information, including devices (e.g. laptops or cell phones) that may contain confidential information. 
  • What is the duration that the agreement can be enforced?  In the event of a breach, include language (if allowable) that can automatically extend the duration of the non-compete agreement. 
  • Is the non-compete agreement complete? Simply, after all the hard work put into creating, reviewing, negotiating (perhaps), and then finalizing the agreement, make sure that it is clearly signed and dated. 

Preparing for a New Employee

New EmployeeThere are at least four important steps to take care of before your new employee arrives at the office:  

  1. Communicate the terms of employment in a written letter. In addition to providing salary, benefits, reporting and other information, the letter should tell your new employee when, where and to whom to report on her first day.
  2. Assemble the materials your employee will need to get started. These include tax forms, the employee handbook, and an employee roster. These materials can be assembled in a binder or folder stamped with your company name or logo.
  3. Plan out the first day and create a schedule. The first day may include an orientation meeting with you (we recommend an hour), an office tour, and meetings with other team members or managers. Printing a copy to give the employee when she arrives and circulating copies to any managers the employee will be meeting with is a great way to make sure things run smoothly.
  4. Prepare your employee’s new work area. Make sure the workspace is clean and organized, and equipped with the basic tools your employee will need from day one.