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Labor Law

Labor Law: Post-pandemic hiring practices

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Many employers are evaluating their hiring practices after the pandemic as they assess on-site needs, efficiency, use of artificial intelligence, outsourcing and general recruitment practices.

These are some solid best practices that employers should consider:

1. Post job openings and conduct an objective recruitment. Some employers have gravitated to promoting employees without posting roles. When a company fails to post roles, it creates division and a sense of favoritism. I see this in all roles — even when selecting interim or temporary assignments. Managers should be developing their talent so they will be prepared and successful in an open internal recruitment. There should be no sham or “post and fill” recruitments.

Some employers post internal recruitments for a couple of weeks and then open it to external only if an insufficient number of qualified candidates apply. Depending on the current representation of the workforce, employers are cautioned that only conducting internal recruitments can delay progress in the area of DEI.

2. Publish the salary range. It’s time to bring pay transparency to all roles. A new law that goes into effect Nov. 1 in New York City requires employers to post the salary range. Candidates deserve to know the salary range when they apply so that they can determine if it’s worth the effort to even seek out the opportunity. If the pay is truly “competitive,” then the employer should not be too concerned about posting the range.

3. Review the qualifications. Employers should be updating their job requirements and asking whether a degree or certification is actually required to perform the role and/or whether experience can substitute for educational requirements. Employers can expand the applicant pool by removing unnecessary “requirements.”

4. Be intentional, but don’t draw out the process. The No. 1 complaint I hear from managers and candidates is the process is too lengthy. Most blame HR, but many times it is the indecisiveness of management that causes the delay. Employers need to run a deliberate recruitment process and strategically determine who needs to interview the candidate and why. Candidates complain that they endure hours of interviews that includes lengthy project work. Some of this is unnecessary. Be efficient in the process.

5. Make the process easy and personalized. It seems like everyone is hiring — but no one is getting hired. Some feel that online applications have made it more difficult to get selected for interviews. Employers should test their process by having people in your organization actually play the role of a candidate and try to go through your own process. You might be surprised at how difficult it is to search for jobs, apply and get noticed/selected for an interview.

6. Conduct background checks. Too often, bad employees get passed along to other organizations because of a failure to conduct a background check, which not only hurts potential productivity but could also be a safety or negligent hiring situation. Require “references” given by the candidate to be professional references for those who worked with the candidate in some capacity (colleague, client, served on a board together, etc.). Employers should also always confirm prior employment, dates of employment, reason for leaving (if the employer will provide it) as well as graduation from college or graduate school. Inspect what you expect.

While some prior employers will provide only dates of employment, job title and possibly salary, employers should build into their process contacting prior managers to seek information about the candidate. Unfortunately, some candidates misrepresent or flat out lie about their educational or job experiences. Many employers use a third party to conduct background checks and, if they do, the employer must also comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

7. Make and communicate selection decisions. Candidates frequently complain that they have been ghosted either in the application process or following an interview. Let candidates know if they are not selected when you are made aware of that decision.

8. Pay fairly. The recruitment effort is not a chance to get a good deal. Pay consistent with what others in the role make based on experience, education and other relevant factors. Avoid relying upon prior salary as a basis to determine the pay. Virginia passed a law in 2020 that permits employees to share wage information without retribution by the employer. Many employees share their wage information with each other to hold the employer accountable for pay equity. Make sure you can justify all pay decisions.

Managers rely upon HR for their recruitment efforts but, in reality, they need to own their own recruitment. Managers should be continuously expanding their network so that when they have openings, they can tap into a diverse network of potential candidates and encourage them to apply for the roles.

Karen Michael is an attorney and the president of Richmond-based Karen Michael PLC and author of “Stay Hired.” She can be reached at stayhired@stayhired.net.

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