The First Stage of Employment

Features - Labor

You know what your organization needs. Now staff it with the best candidates available in the market.

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October 15, 2019

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While determining your organizational needs you begin looking internally at who and where your best people are, and how you will go about recruiting and filling vacant positions. The recruiting and employment process begins when the need for additional staff or the replacement/refilling of an existing position is under consideration.

Most of the time owners and managers discuss the manner of filling a vacancy or the justification for adding a position in advance.

When you need to hire someone take a moment to analyze the following:

  • Why do I need someone?
  • What functions will this person perform?
  • How much will these additional costs impact profit margins?
  • How will I recruit for a qualified candidate?

Next, develop a job description. A complete and thorough description created by the manager is important because it serves a number of functions.

  • Analyze the manager’s reasons for the position
  • Analyze the specific essential and non-essential tasks of the position
  • Prepare the manager to search for specific qualifications necessary to successfully complete the tasks of the position

While job descriptions vary in format, they do have similarities. All job descriptions should include the following:

  • Job Title
  • Status (Exempt or non-exempt)
  • Department
  • Title of Supervisor
  • Summary of Job Functions or Duties
  • Specific Job Functions or Duties
  • Supervisory Responsibilities (if any)
  • Qualifications
  • Physical Demands
  • Work Environment

Application Screening

Applications and resumes should be carefully reviewed. Be sure the applicant has the minimum qualifications you set. If the job duties require accuracy and thoroughness verify the application was completed this way. Determine those applicants you will interview carefully.

Effective Interviewing

The company must determine who should interview prospective candidates. Employers must be cautious as to the type of information asked during an interview process.

Any questions regarding race, age, gender, marital status, disabilities, criminal record, finances, religion, national origin, and sexual preference are not job related and may be considered illegal. Know the rules in your state

With the exception of referencing, a personal interview is the single best means of evaluating the qualifications of a potential new hire.

Divide the personal interview into four parts: Put the candidate at ease, i.e., make friends; ask your questions; answer the candidate's questions; summarize final statements and indicate when you will get back to the candidate.

Proper preparation increases the likelihood the interview will be thorough. Set aside 30 or even 45 minutes to establish a rapport with the candidate. Also, limit distractions during the interview, especially phone calls.

Before the interview make sure you have a clear picture of what it takes to do the job. Review the application and ensure it is complete, and that you’ve confirmed all gaps in the employment history. Encourage the applicant to be honest with their responses and remember to “sell” your company.

If the applicant does not meet your basic criteria, diplomatically close the interview by saying that the most qualified applicants will be contacted.

Remember, every applicant could be a customer or the friend of a customer. Don’t make this a negative experience for the applicant.

Here are some steps to keep in mind to achieve a successful interview experience with a potential job candidate.

Build rapport. Introduce yourself, make sure the person is comfortable, and tell them a little about your job. Put the applicant at ease.

Give a brief history of the company. Provide no more information than would be found in a classified ad.

Encourage complete honesty. Tell the applicant you realize everyone makes mistakes, but if they are honest with you, you will be able to consider them for the job.

Gather information and let the conversation flow naturally. The more natural, the more honest and open the applicant will be

Be honest with the candidate. Make sure the applicant understands the type of job for which he/she is applying.

Close on a positive note and never tell an applicant he/she is not qualified. If you discover a major area of weakness in an applicant, lead the topic of conversation to a stronger area before closing

References and background checks

I recommend the company consistently obtains references from the candidate’s previous employers, verify those references and document the conversations. Remember, questions about disabilities or workers compensation benefits received as a result of on-the-job injuries may not be asked.

Background checks such as criminal record checks, drivers’ license checks, and drug testing may be needed according to the position or the company. Remember, before requesting a background check you must have the candidate’s signed release for this verification.

The Offer Letter

The company can provide the chosen candidate with an offer-of-employment letter. A suggested standard job offer letter follows. This document confirms critical “need-to-know” information previously discussed with the candidate including:

  • The position title
  • The position salary
  • The name of the individual who is the position’s manager
  • The starting date
  • The eligibility period for company benefits
  • Any special accommodations
  • Expense reimbursement policy if applicable

As Head Harvester, with the Harvest Landscape Consulting Group, Fred Haskett coaches green and white industry owners. He is also a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.