"hiring" Blog Tag

IA Waterloo - Will Ban the Box be your Waterloo?

December 4th, 2019 by Bridget Penick and Cara Donels at Fredrikson & Byron

Napolean bunny part still

So say you are Napoleon and you live in Waterloo, Iowa. And you are about to raise an army and go conquer stuff. First order of business is hiring your (literal) lieutenants.

Do you ask said potential lieutenant if they have a criminal record?  Of course not - having a criminal record would not disqualify a candidate from helping you vanquish a territory, and perhaps may even carry some skills you could use along the way.

Perhaps allow Bridget Penick and Cara Donels to temper your army-raising and conquering-stuff ambitions and lower expectations to somewhere around not breaking the law as they help you understand the new "Ban the Box" ordinance and provide four steps to help you prepare.

Can you require new employees not to bash you on Glassdoor?

November 19th, 2019 by Eric Meyer at FisherBroyles

Glassdoor logo

You know, like with an employment agreement and stuff like a non-disparagement provision, protected concerted activity and a savings clause (nothing to do with Santa Claus - good gracious, Dunkin' has just barley unveiled their official holiday lineup).

Eric Meyer will explain. Really.

Well, maybe not why @PeppermintMocha has an Instagram account and Gingerbread S'mores does not. Or maybe he can.

MD Reasonable accommodation: qualified > most qualified?

November 14th, 2019 by Fiona Ong at Shawe Rosenthal

Not greater than

When is the most qualified job candidate not the right candidate?

Fiona Ong shares the opinion of the EEOC, the Maryland Court of Appeals and the Maryland federal district court. And by opinion, we mean it is what ya gotta do. In Maryland.

Pre-Employment Testing

January 10th, 2020 by Frank L. Day, Jr., Mollie K. Wildmann

Ford & Harrison LLP

Steve Jobs, the former CEO and chairman of Apple, Inc., believed that his most important responsibility was hiring the best employees. Jobs understood that a company’s employees are its single greatest investment. Before a company invests in an expensive new piece of equipment, management will typically research the product, secure inf...

Pre-employment issues

January 10th, 2020 by Frank L. Day, Jr., Mollie K. Wildmann

Ford & Harrison LLP

Job app worst things

You know how sometimes someone asks you if you want the good news first or the bad news? And sometimes you decide to take the bad news first just to get it out of the way?

So why not just ask applicants to list the worst things they've ever done and get it over with because you know that it is eventually going to reach the light of day and this way you can be prepared. Right?

Or you could just take a deep breath and let Frank Day, Jessica Asbridge and Mollie Wildmann walk you through the process of preparing to hire someone.

IL Artificial hiring, salary history, required training, etc.

September 13th, 2019 by Hannah Sorcic and Adam Weiner at ReedSmith

Sweet n low

If you hire artificially, can you pay in Sweet N' Low?

Can you ask about an applicant's salary history? Is sexual harassment prevention triaining mandatory? Every year? Are non-employees protected from harassment by the law? Another mandatory annual reporting requirement every year?

Hannah Sorcic and Adam Weiner answer these questions (well, maybe not about paying in Sweet N' Low) and more.

Expired I-9 not expired (yet)

August 29th, 2019 by Elizabeth Coonan at BrownWinick

Upon further review 3

Taking a page from the professional sporting leagues, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decided the call that they made on the expiration date when they last printed the I-9 was in fact not correct.

Therefore, they simply changed the call. Wouldn't life be more agreeable if we could all do that.

Elizabeth Coonan explains.

Hiring, firing and discipline - a simple audit

August 21st, 2019 by Frank L. Day, Jr., Jessica Asbridge, Mollie K. Wildmann at FordHarrison

The following list of questions should serve as an introduction to a number of fundamental employment law concepts, and the answers to each question will enable users to determine if “best practices” generally are being followed. Of course, this list of questions will not ensure that full compliance with all laws and regulations that govern the employer-employee relationship, but...

Dumb questions and other interviewing do's and don'ts

July 19th, 2019 by Bethany Salvatore and Bryant Andrews at Cozen O'Connor

Why ya going to the airport

Interviewing applicants is not easy.

You want to learn information that will help you make a hiring decision while avoiding asking questions that you can't ask or at least aren't supposed to ask because if you do ask you could get in trouble or fired not to mention your company could get sued and fined.

This video provides can / can't / red flag / why for some common interview questions.

How to Ghostbuster a new hire or applicant

January 26th, 2019 by Richard Meneghello

Aside from the obvious (hire only licensed parapsychologists, don't cross the energy streams of your proton packs, locate a vacant firehouse and a restorable 1960s ambulance, avoid Gozer), Richard Meneghello provides 10 practical techniques to Ghostbusting, including:

  • group hiring
  • increase transparency
  • be honest
  • shrink timeframes
  • sell yourself.

Bad hire! Bad, bad hire!

October 11th, 2018 by hrsimple


Just like a dog, a hire can be bad for a multitude of reasons, including the hirer (trainer), the hired (dog), everyone's expectations (in both cases some praise and/or a treat), and the environment (workplace/home).

HR Dive is here to help (with the bad hire*):

"Sooner or later, even the most seasoned HR professionals will admit it: they've made a bad hire. For some reason, a person will fizzle out on the job, even though his or her stellar credentials promised a perfect fit with your company. Whether this is an entry-level person or a senior executive, the impact of a bad hire on a department or company can be devastating. So what do you do?"

HR Dive walks you through the process after you accept it was your bad (hire):

  • more common than you think
  • why is it a bad hire
  • reforming a bad hire
  • when to say goodbye
  • avoiding future bad hires

* for those of you with a bad dog (my trainer reminds me that it isn't the dog, it is in fact me), some help from BARk.

Help hiring holiday help here

October 9th, 2018 by John Monroe and Kristina Griffin at FordHarrison

As you can tell by the “seasonal” aisle of your local drug store, holiday season has begun! The seemingly endless stretch of celebrations from October to January brings with it a whole cornucopia of HR issues – including the use of seasonal workers.

Your personal guides / goblins / gobblers / elves, John Monroe and Kristina Griffin, have five basic practices that will get you to the other side of January.

  1. I-9
  2. review timekeeping
  3. local PTO and benefits
  4. how long do you expect them to hang around
  5. train everybody.

Only 90 days until we flip the calendar. You're welcome.

Mr. Freeze unveils National Security Freeze tagline: "They can't steal your identity if it's frozen"

October 24th, 2018 by Fisher Phillips


This just in . . .  Mr. Freeze of the 1960s Batman TV show has just been named by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection as the national spokesperson for "National Security Freeze".

That's the snazzy name the BoCFPB has conjured to remind employees they have additional protections from identity theft.

And believe it or not, it requires employers to update their background check forms. 

Reached in his garage as he was psyching himself up to defrost his chest freezer, Mr. Freeze issued the following statement: "Simply replace your old Summary of Consumer Rights with the revised model form. And how come I didn't get an Ice Cannon like Arnold Schwarzenegger?"

Employment agreements – what to do before you do

August 20th, 2018 by Judy Yi at Polsinelli

Employment Agreements should be called Agreement Employment Agreements because the agreement comes before there is employment for use after employment.

Here are five factors you should consider (so maybe they should be called Consider 5 Agreements Employment Agreements):

  1. complexity
  2. restrictive covenants
  3. term of employment
  4. change in control
  5. post-termination


Background checks of the future are continuous

August 16th, 2018 by Spencer Waldron at Fisher Phillips

If continuous background checks are in your future, you need to consider the following in the now:

  1. You get what you pay for - and you can't always get what you want, or so say The Stones.
  2. Cost/benefit - worth the time/effort?
  3. Consent / legal compliance issues - is consent continuous as well?
  4. Policies and practices in place? - sure, right, you already have everything in place. Right?

Who are you? Why are you here? Personality testing?

August 3rd, 2018 by Matt Anderson at Troutman Sanders

Personality testing (think Myers-Briggs and a string of capital letters) can provide you with a sense of an applicant's attitudes, motivations, style of interacting, emotional makeup, etc., but at the very least, it allows you to get to know an applicant outside of an interview.

HOWEVER . . . beware the risks, especially potential discrimination and privacy concerns.

Technology driving the hiring process

July 31st, 2018 by hrsimple

Interviewer: So where do you see yourself in five years?

Applicant: I'd say my biggest weakness is listening.

Maybe the questions you ask haven't changed (and maybe not the answers you get either), but the process of hiring – ZipRecruiter, downloads, videos, Indeed, resume filters – has.

The Chicago Tribune discusses the technology and how it is transforming the hiring process – algorithms, chatbots, cutting costs and turnover (from our authors Littler), eliminating bias, AI, and optimism (from Johnny Taylor, CEO of SHRM).

Dr. Strangelabor or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Millennial

June 25th, 2018 by Patricia Dammann, VP Programs & Operations/OD Strategist at Institute of Organization Development

OK, so your Mom told you not to hate anyone, but raise your hand if millennials do cause you angst, Weltschmerz (word-a-day baby!), and/or an occasional shake of the head? 

They are also changing everything, including in the workplace: sharing their salary (horrors), needing constant feedback (think Johnny 5 input), transforming googol from a number to company to a verb (and misspelling it), and learning online instead of in a stuffy unlit conference room (actually, I'll take the Starbucks wi-fi, coffee and a slice of the iced gingerbread loaf).

Patricia Dammenn helps you understand what millennials crave in the workplace, and what you can do to keep them hanging around.

  • Onboard
  • Feedback
  • Engage in the company culture
  • Reverse mentoring
  • Career planning

Did Bartleby the scrivener write his own job description?

June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple

Well, maybe he didn't necessarily write the job description, more like he personalized it.

And a personalized job description should make for a more engaged employee, n'est-ce pas?

Vivek Patel from SAP shares in the Harvard Business Review something that all of us know, whether HR specialist or not: employees are engaged by engaging jobs. And the best way to make sure that each job is engaging to each employee is to fit jobs to employees instead of fitting employees to jobs.

The best time to apply job personalization? The best candidates? The best approach?

And who is Bartleby the scrivener?

Hiring under the age of 18

July 27th, 2018 by Natasha Sarah-Lorraine Banks at Fisher Phillips

It's almost summertime, which means hiring teenagers, the heat is on the way, and the summertime blues.

So if you are considering hiring a teen / youth / minor / kid / adolescent / whippersnapper, be sure the heat is not the US DOL and the blues aren't fines and the possibility of jail time. Natasha Sarah-Lorraine Banks at Fisher Phillips suggests:

  • Get a USDOL-sanctioned age certificate.
  • Clearly outline the job duties.
  • Inform employees of the specific tasks each minor-worker should not perform.
  • Ensure each youth-employee is properly supervised.

There's more in the full blog, including no-can-do occupations and an age restriction matrix.

Bonus: Eddie Cochran and the Summertime Blues.

Looking for employees: an untapped source of talent

June 12th, 2018 by SueAnn Morrow, Ph.D., CESP, University Center for Excellence in Disabilities at the University of Iowa

This blog is courtesy of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and can be found on their website here


Can individuals with disabilities benefit your business? Research, as well as my personal experience, says yes.

Multiple studies show hiring individuals with disabilities is good for your bottom line. While there were some differences by sector, a study by DePaul University comparing employees with and without disabilities in similar positions found employees with disabilities had longer tenure, fewer scheduled and unscheduled absences, and their job performance evaluations were almost identical. Spending less time in the hiring process and fewer disruptions in production are good for the bottom line.

Employees with disabilities can be loyal, reliable and hardworking. An additional benefit of employees with disabilities in the workforce is . . .

Non-exempt employees – what counts as wages?

June 12th, 2018 by Jill S. Kirila, Meghan E Hill and Shennan Harris at Squire Patton Boggs

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), “wages” paid to an employee are defined to include money, but may also include “facilities” such as the reasonable cost or fair value of board, lodging, or other facilities similar to board and lodging which are customarily furnished by the employer for the employee’s benefit.

Examples of other facilities are:

  • meals provided at company cafeterias
  • tuition provided by a college to student employees
  • general merchandise provided at company stores
  • transportation provided to and from work by the employer.

The FLSA permits employers to pay wages . . .

Do new hires have to be a culture club fit?

June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple

Culture  club  fit

Do new hires have to be a culture club fit? Patty McCord, former chief talent officer of Netflix doesn't think so. READ THIS deep dive (3500+ words) from Patty, SHRM and Harvard Business Review. 

In Patty's words: "The process requires: 

  • probing beneath the surface of people and their résumés
  • engaging managers in every aspect of hiring
  • treating your in-house recruiters as true business partners
  • adopting a mindset in which you're always recruiting
  • coming up with compensation that suits the performance you need and the future you aspire to."

But it is a whole bunch more than five bullet points.

This is for start-ups to multi-nationals. Again, READ THIS.

Attendance policies

June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple

Needless to say, a company can’t operate (let alone succeed) if the employees aren’t showing up to work. But how do you ensure that your workforce will consistently report for duty? One good step is having a clear attendance policy. Communicating clearly about what are acceptable reasons to miss work, how these requests should be made, and what does not qualify as an excusable absence can prevent a lot of confusion and make employees more accountable. The key to communicating these guidelines is a well-written and enforced “No-Fault Attendance” policy. This kind of policy may even boost employee morale by minimizing resentment on the part of some employees toward coworkers who suffer no consequences for being chronically absent.

Here is a deeper look at what such a policy should cover.

Hiring interviews

June 12th, 2018 by Frank Day, Robbin Hutton and Jessica Asbridge at Ford Harrison LLP

The employment interview is the most used and often the least valid selection device used by management.  Too often interviewers are ill prepared and may be influenced by irrelevant personality factors to determine who is best for the job.  That is why we suggest having more than one person interview each of the candidates.  Of course, each interviewer should be trained on the “hows” of conducting an interview.

Preparing for an interview
When interviewing candidates, it is helpful to remember the following four points:

Vacation policies and time off

September 18th, 2019 by hrsimple

Not all employers provide employees with vacation time, but for those who do it is wise to have a clear, well-enforced policy in place to prevent confusion and help employees understand what steps need to be followed in order to use their time off. If employers decide to to provide time off they need to make sure to do so in a uniform manner and apply the same regulations to each employee. Written vacation policies are the easiest way to communicate the requirements for taking time away from the office and to express in no uncertain terms what the employees responsibilities are for their time spent away, i.e., if they need to find a replacement for their duties or schedule their time in a certain manner. The sample policy at the end of the article can help you get started.

Employment references

June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple

Finding new employees can be stressful. Sure, an applicant will say they are a hardworking overachiever, but are they being honest? That's where reference checks come in. For most positions, it is beneficial for an employer to request and contact previous employers to check on perspective employees as it can protect the employer in any future negligent hiring claims. But what is the right way to get a reference? And what is the right way to give a reference for your own past employees?

Employee handbooks – getting a handle on your policies

June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple

While there may be no state or federal law requiring an employer to have a handbook, there are a number or reasons why they are in an employer’s best interest. 

  • Usefulness. It is beneficial for there to be one definitive source on the terms of employment. If an employee ever has a question as to what is acceptable or not, they know where to turn.
  • Communication. An employee handbook gives an employer the opportunity to speak clearly on important issues. Handbooks can be a podium for employers to speak out against issues like sexual harassment, workplace violence, bullying, or drug use.
  • Clarity. Employee handbooks create consistency and uniformity in an environment where many people may be involved in the management process. Uniformly enforcing policies cuts down on discrimination claims by ensuring that all employees are treated equally.
  • Protection. In the case of a trial, jurors have been found to favor companies that have clearly communicated and enforced company policies ­– even if the employee didn’t follow them. The fact that the employer has communicated their disapproval shows an act of good faith.

A job worth doing is worth doing well

A handbook isn’t necessarily a get out of jail free card. Like any tool, if you don’t use your handbook properly it can end up hurting you.

  • Keep your employee handbook up-to-date. If your polices are outdated, they may prove inaccurate and useless. Say you have a policy that only prohibits talking on a cell phone while driving, but doesn’t mention texting. An employee has the right to assume that behavior is permissible, and you might be found at fault if an accident occurs.
  • Be sure to avoid promissory language. If your handbook discusses specific timelines, creates expectations of benefits, or doesn’t clearly outline that employment is at-will, courts can find that it acts as a binding contract.
  • Don’t make the handbook into an encyclopedia. Outlining how employees should file for unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation claims can do more harm to your business than good. Avoid discussing any internal practices, and just stick to the rules and regulations your employees need to know about.

Where to start

While there are any number of policies an employer can chose to include in their handbook, there are a few that are must haves.

  • Introduction to the handbook/at-will employment statement
  • Disclaimer
  • Equal employment opportunity policy
  • Harassment policy
  • Family and medical leave policy
  • Conduct policy
  • Acknowledgment form

Employee personnel files

January 14th, 2019 by hrsimple

As an HR professional you are no stranger to paperwork. It seems that for every employment action – applying, interviewing, hiring, disciplining, on and on – there is a specific form that needs to be filled out. Making sure you complete the paperwork properly is only half the battle though. Once you finish completing a form, you are faced with a whole new issue: what to do with it.  Being the smarty that you are, you know that proper documentation is key in protecting your company in the unfortunate case of a lawsuit, but knowing what needs to be kept where and for how long and who can see it can be kind of tricky. Let’s take a minute to go over the basics.