10 Common Hiring Mistakes

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Hiring mistakes can drain your organization's resources, lead to poor hiring decisions, and distract managers from running business operations. Here are 10 mistakes your organization should be sure not to make so that it hires well. 

1. Not understanding the talent you need.

Knowing the skills, knowledge, abilities, and typical background of talent you are looking for helps you define the job and assess candidates according to the right criteria. It's also important to understand the innate traits and personalities associated with a good fit for a particular role. Spend time with your hiring managers and employees to understand the dynamics of the role and type of talent best suited to perform the job.

2. Insufficiently assessing all job functions.

Oftentimes a candidate is very strong on one key job function and this overshadows their weaknesses in others. If multiple job functions are critical, be sure that you are evaluating them comprehensively and not letting an overwhelming strength in one area lead to an inaccurate perception of the candidate's true breadth of capabilities.

3. Not checking references or pre-screening.

References are an ideal source of background information about a candidate, but are often skipped in the hiring process or used simply as employment verifications. Similarly, pre-screening can screen out individuals so that you don't need to invest resources in evaluating too many candidates. References and pre-screening can be helpful "eliminators" to screen out potential candidates and may provide insight into how employees performed in past jobs.

4. Not training your interviewer.

Many individuals with hiring responsibilities - namely hiring managers - have not been properly trained to interview. Not training interviewers can result in asking inappropriate and inconsistent questions or hiring based on subjective biases, first impressions, and a "gut feeling" instead of objective credentials. Creating hiring tools, such as pre-planned interview questions or guides, can also help.

5. Relying on the interview.

A single interview should not be your only assessment of the job candidate. Even the best interviewers are subject to biases and impressions. Having multiple interviews with several other employees and using pre-employment tests, references, and work samples can be helpful in evaluating a candidate for skill and culture fit. While it could be more time-consuming and costly, the more evaluators and types of evaluation you add into the selection decision, the more likely you are to make a better hiring decision which saves time and money in the long run.

6. Focusing too much on experience or education.

Focusing too heavily on experience and/or education can have its drawbacks. Experience and/or advanced degrees doesn't necessarily equate to top performance in a role and also aren't the only factors that can lead an employee to succeed. Frequently, these requirements can lead employers to disregard potential hires who may have less experience or education, but have shown results in their past roles.

7. Ignoring culture fit.

Unlike skills, you can't teach culture fit or change personality. Your organization should give significant consideration to a candidate's attitudes, style, behaviors, work ethic, and belief systems which impact their ability to be successful on the job and within your team. If you think the employee's style won't mesh well with their manager or team, this should be cause for concern.

8. Settling for less than the best.

Hiring too quickly (often from need or even desperation) can be a recipe for a poor hiring decision.  Additionally, if you only have a few candidates to pick from, be sure that you are truly hiring the right person and not just the best candidate from the few in which you had to choose. In both of these situations, you're frequently settling for a less than ideal candidate, which almost always leads to a bad hire.

9. Failing to consider satisfaction.

People typically only excel at tasks which capture their true passions and interests. How does the candidate talk about their past jobs? How do they react to the job duties discussed? What tasks have they not enjoyed in prior jobs? What are their long-term career goals? These are all helpful questions you can ask to gauge whether the candidate will be satisfied in the job.

10. Having unrealistic expectations.

Finally, it's not uncommon these days to see lengthy lists of qualification requirements in job ads. Not only can these requirements be unrealistic, but they also could be screening out potential hires. Be sure that these truly should be requirements for the job, or rather preferred qualifications, because the chances of you finding an employee that meets every one of your many requirements is usually not realistic.

Hiring mistakes will happen, but by making sure that you understand the talent you need, are evaluating candidates comprehensively, take into consideration job and culture fit, and don't inadvertently screen out potential top performers, you can greatly reduce the probability of a bad hire.

Additional Resources

Behavioral Interviewing
Asking the right questions and phrasing them the right way is integral to hiring the right person for the job. This workshop gives participants the skills they need to effectively plan for and conduct an effective behavioral-based interview. It also guides participants through effectively evaluating candidates so they can hire the best candidate.

HR University 

As part of HR University, a comprehensive course for those who are newer to the HR profession, one of the sessions (Staffing & Recruitment Practices) addresses time and money-saving ways of finding qualified candidates, steps to take once you have found a potential new employee, how to get your hiring managers to follow your plan, and how to link your hiring plans with your company's strategic goals.

Selection Assessments

ERC’s assessment services, which use online and credible instruments, help minimize the uncertainty in employee selection by evaluating the skills, abilities, style, and career goals of job candidates in relation to your job requirements. Our services also include professional interpretation and feedback from our Management Psychologist, Don Kitson.

Project Assistance
ERC offers a broad range of HR consulting services and has expertise in developing selection systems, recruiting, and developing job descriptions. For more information about these services, please contact consulting@ercnet.org.

ERC members save money with our Preferred Partner Network Click here for details (link to partner page).

2012 Compliance Guide

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We’ve developed an easy guide summarizing what your organization needs to know to stay compliant in 2012. The guide includes a summary of several regulations that take effect as well as important legal issues on the horizon.

Regulations that Take Effect

Below are several major regulations and initiatives will took effect during the first few months of 2012.

Legal/HR Issue

Description of Regulation

Effective Date

2012 Income Tax Withholding Tables

Provides income tax withholding tables for 2012 here.

Immediately

Unemployment Benefits

Extends unemployment benefits temporarily through February 29, 2012.

Immediately

Tax Cuts

Extends current tax cuts temporarily through February 29, 2012.

Payroll system changes must be made by January 31, 2012

Social Security Withholding

Continues reduction in withholding rate to 4.2% (from 6.2%) temporarily through February 29, 2012. If an employer over-withholds in January, they need to make offsetting adjustments to employees’ pay by March 31, 2012.

January 1, 2012

 

Social Security Wage Base

Increases the Social Security Old Age Survivor's and Disability Insurance (OASDI) taxable wage base for 2012 from $106,800 to $110,100.

January 1, 2012

Minimum Wage

 

Raises minimum wage in Ohio to $7.70 per hour for non-tipped employees and $3.85 per hour for tipped employees.

January 1, 2012

Mileage Rates

Continues standard mileage rate of 55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations. Raises standard mileage rate to 23 cents per mile for medical or moving purposes.

January 1, 2012

Retirement Plan Limits

Raises the 2012 limit on the exclusion for elective deferrals in 401(k), 403(b), and 457(e) plans to $17,000, up from $16,500. For changes to other pension plan limits, click here.

January 1, 2012

W-2 Benefits Reporting

 

Requires employers who have an employer-sponsored group health plan to report the cost of coverage under their plan. This requirement goes into effect for some employers this year.

January 1, 2012

Health Benefits Summaries

Requires group health plan sponsors to create and distribute a Uniform Summary of Benefits and Coverage and Uniform Glossary.

Extended from March 23, 2012; pending notice of new effective date

NLRB Posting Notice

Extends deadline for posting notice regarding employees rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

April 30, 2012

 

Legal Issues on the Horizon

The following table summarizes several major legal issues that could lead to greater scrutiny and more regulations for employers in 2012.

Legal/HR Issue

Description of Issue

Tax cuts and job creation

Congress will determine whether to extend tax cuts through the rest of 2012 by late February. These cuts, along with the Jobs Bill which has been proposed, will aim to expand job creation and support businesses.

Constitutionality of health care reform

In 2012, the Supreme Court will be ruling on whether the health care reform law is constitutional due to conflicting rulings from lower courts, which could affect a number of provisions that take effect in 2013 and 2014.

Protection of unemployed individuals

Bills have been proposed at both state and federal levels to protect unemployed individuals from discrimination in the hiring process, and may gain ground in 2012.

Protection from retaliation

There has been notable interest in ensuring that employees are protected from employer retaliation when they file a complaint or cooperate with an investigation under federal law.

Improving hiring of disabled workers

The government will continue proactive efforts and attempts to improve the hiring of disabled workers and reduce discrimination against the disabled.

Clarification on FLSA and classification

The government will seek revisions to the FLSA for certain jobs, most notably workers who provide in-home services to the elderly and infirm. It will also continue to regulate misclassification of employees.

Retirement plan reform

The government is interested in ensuring that employees are saving adequately for their retirement and are exploring a number of options including additional disclosures, making investment advice more available, implementing automatic contributions, and restructuring tax deductions.

Regulating use of cell phone while driving

This past fall, OSHA and the Department of Transportation began an initiative to combat the leading cause of worker fatalities – motor vehicle crashes – and reduce distracted driving. Condoning/incenting texting while driving is in violation of OSHA, and use of a cell phone while driving may soon be as well.

User-friendly applications

The Department of Labor is leading a number of efforts to create user-friendly applications, interfaces, and tools for employers, job seekers, and other users to more easily use the information it provides.

E-Verify

In 2012, more states will likely require the use of E-Verify to determine employment eligibility.

If your organization needs more assistance, guidance, or detail with regard to these or other compliance-related issues, here are several additional resources and services, provided by ERC, which you can consult:

  • HR University: A series of workshops for HR professionals which includes a session on Employment Law Fundamentals and compliance best practices.
  • Supervisory Series: A series of workshops for supervisors which includes a session on Employment Law that provides supervisors with tools to help them maintain compliance.
  • HR Help Desk: Contact hrhelp@yourerc.com to ask any HR or compliance-related question and receive answers, guidance, and research. Service offered to ERC members only.

Study Identifies Leadership Success Factors for Women

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Study Identifies Leadership Success Factors for Women

ERC’s Preferred Partner, CareerCurve engaged in a research initiative featuring interviews with 108 female senior leaders across the U.S. to identify the factors executive women consider critical to their success and accomplishments.

Factors identified through Career Curve’s study include:

  • Women earn their way to the top.
  • Women must be intentional about building and communicating their value.
  • Women should identify and enlist sponsors and mentors.
  • Women need to seek assignments and promotion to positions that have profit-and-loss responsibilities.
  • Women must stay invested in personal and career growth initiatives.
  • Family life is managed versus balanced for successful female leaders.

The study’s findings not only summarize the financial and economic impact of women’s leadership in the workplace, but also provide a number of insights on key actions that women can take to attain top leadership roles.

Additionally, the study recommends several factors to consider when establishing leadership development training programs for women.

Leadership Development Training Programs

Leadership Development Training

ERC offers a variety of leadership development training programs at all levels of the organization, from senior leadership teams to mid-level managers to first time managers and supervisors.

Train Your Employees

Payroll Tax Cut Temporarily Extended

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In 2011, Obama signed The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011, which temporarily extended the payroll tax cut of 2% and the Social Security tax withholding rate reduction from 6.2% to 4.2% through February 29, 2012.

The new payroll tax rate was to be implemented by employers no later than January 31, 2012. If employers over-withheld any Social Security during January, they needed to make an offsetting adjustment to employees’ pay by no later than March 31, 2012.

Source: CNN

12 Tips for the 2012 Workplace

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The new year is just a few short days away, and it brings with it a number of challenges and opportunities to enhance your workplace. Here are 12 things to consider as your business heads into 2012.

1. Proactively manage the legal landscape

The legal landscape is becoming more complicated to navigate and employers are increasingly being hit hard with expensive fines and discrimination charges, per a recent report which noted a record number of discrimination charges and fines filed by the EEOC. Discrimination against the unemployed and disabled as well age discrimination are just a few pressing issues the government will be targeting in 2012 that employers should note.

2. Change your hiring strategies

Can’t find the talent you need? The current skills shortage is not expected to change anytime soon, so consider rethinking how you’re hiring. Perhaps your skill and experience requirements may be inadvertently screening out potentially great top performers that fit your culture and have growth potential. Or, you may need to explore different sourcing and branding tactics to attract the talent you need.

3. Focus on top performance

Make creating a better performance management system and approach one of your strategic priorities in 2012. Additionally, build your managers’ abilities to execute results and manage/support employees’ performance. A solid approach to performance management will increase the likelihood that your organization has a successful year.

4. Develop leaders

2011 was a year in which many organizations focused their efforts on leadership and management development and 2012 will be no exception. Organizations are increasingly growing their internal talent, preparing them for their next roles, and ensuring that their businesses have appropriate succession in place.

5. Keep a watchful eye on employee benefits

Employee benefits regulations are changing – and not just surrounding health insurance. Changes to retirement plans, family leave, and sick time are all issues the government has explored in the past year and will continue to target in 2012. Make sure your organization is prepared for the trends that will affect employee benefits in the coming year.

6. Create a long-term wellness strategy

Health care costs will remain a major challenge for employers in 2012. One-off wellness initiatives or activities will not suffice in managing costs effectively, so it’s advisable to create a long-term wellness strategy, based on the needs of your workforce, that will help your organization better manage health care costs and usage for years down the road.

7. Leverage social media

In 2011, the use of social media rapidly rose in the workplace. If your HR department hasn’t started to leverage the power of social media tools yet, it may be missing out on opportunities to find exceptional talent and boost learning and development – not to mention help your own career. Mastery of social media is, without question, an HR competency you’ll need for future success.

8. Manage the effects of change

During the past few years, many organizations have moved towards leaner workforces and processes, but few have managed how those changes have adversely affected employees and their cultures. Use 2012 to deal with the effects that these changes have caused on the workforce, redefine your culture, and re-establish your organization’s direction.

9. Use HR analytics and technology

HR metrics, analytics, and technology have become the gateways to creating a more efficient and effective HR department. Relook at what your department is tracking and the systems it is using. Chances are that you can leverage open-source systems, cloud technology, and other tools to automate processes and improve internal customer service.

10. Enhance global competencies

Global competencies are a sought-after skill by employers as they expand their markets globally. Whether its managing expatriates and bilingual employees, identifying legal risks abroad, or determining what to pay your global employees, as your organization expands globally, it will be critical for HR to enhance its organization’s capacity to manage global talent in 2012.

11. Make retention and engagement of top people a priority

Hopefully your organization emerged from 2011 with its top talent intact and engaged. If not, use the beginning of 2012 to create a strategy to retain your workforce and ignite engagement. Nip the problem in the bud quickly, otherwise, you could face unintended consequences of disengaged employees and high turnover throughout the next year.

12. Do your part for the region

Whether it’s hiring an intern or a recent college grad from a local university, providing an opportunity to an unemployed individual, or giving back to one of our community’s non-profits, do your part to improve economic development in our region and support our local communities.

 

Additional Resources

Leadership & Management Development Training
ERC offers a variety of training programs for leaders at all levels of the organization, from executive to mid-level manager to first time managers and supervisors. Our leadership development programs help move leaders from the traditional command and control role of judging and evaluating, to one of ensuring accountability through creating a supportive and motivating work environment.

HR Consulting
For assistance with various HR projects in 2012, including but not limited to, performance management system design, organizational design and development, HR metrics, employee engagement surveys, succession planning, and more, please contact consulting@yourerc.com.

Your Plans for Hiring Military Personnel

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There's a growing movement to help our nations veterans find work. ERC Preferred Partner CareerCurve is interested in your organization’s plans related to attracting returning military personnel to employment opportunities. 

They are conducting a survey, as a precursor to offering support to those employers seeking to align their hiring process to meet the unique needs of veterans looking for civilian employment. Your response would be appreciated.

Please use the link below to participate in this survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CareerCurveMilitaryHiringSurveyYT8JQKV

Healthy Holiday Catering through Food for Thought

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 On December 1st, 2011, Food for Thought was invited to share Holiday decorating tips with Fox 8's Good Company. Food for Thought offers several great holiday catering options, including the ERC Health Approved Menu for healthy catering options!

ERC Member Discount

ERC Members receive discounted delivery fees based upon their Northeast Ohio geographic location. Please identify yourself as an ERC Member when placing your order.

ERC Preferred Partner, Members Awarded with Weatherhead 100 Award

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ERC Preferred Partner CareerCurve was recently awarded a 2011 Weatherhead 100 Award. ERC wishes to congratulate CareerCurve as well as several of our members on this great achievement. The following ERC members were also recently honored with the designation of being among the 100 fastest-growing organizations in Northeast Ohio.

  • TOA Technologies
  • Knotice
  • Findaway World
  • Fathom
  • Cleveland Corporate Services, Inc
  • NineSigma, Inc.
  • PartsSource, Inc.
  • US Endoscopy
  • Vocon
  • Turning Technologies
  • Lexicomp
  • MobilityWorks
  • OEConnection LLC
  • Fleet Response
  • Fredon Corporation
  • Group Transportation Services, Inc. (GTS)  

Northeast Ohio Employers Serve their Communities This Holiday

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According to the 2011 ERC Holiday Practices Survey, many Northeast Ohio employers are using the holidays as a time to give back to their communities and others in need. The survey shows that 40% of Northeast Ohio employers are coordinating community service efforts over the holidays in 2011. Community service efforts are more commonly organized in non-manufacturing and non-profit organizations as well as larger organizations, based on the survey's findings. Sixty percent of non-manufacturing organizations and employers with over 500 employees report coordinating holiday community service efforts.

The most common community service efforts in which employers report participating include Adopt-a-Family, Toys for Tots, food and gift drives, volunteering at a food bank, and monetary donations to local charities.

"Our research consistently shows that Northeast Ohio employers make an impact on their local communities through their generous fundraising efforts, charitable contributions, and active participation in volunteer efforts and community service,” says ERC's Director of Research and Membership. He adds, “Community efforts don't just positively benefit the community. They can also serve as a means of attracting employees, building teams, and adding a sense of meaning to one's work.”

Wrapping Up 2011: A Year-End Checklist for HR

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We've compiled a checklist of common year-end HR tasks spanning compliance, benefits, payroll, salary administration, and general HR planning to prepare for 2012. 

Compliance

  • Review your policies and procedures and make sure they still apply and/or comply with changes to laws and regulations that occurred throughout the year.
  • Conduct an HR audit, preferably with a third-party. Make sure your HR and filing systems are in compliance.
  • Review record retention guidelines and dispose of appropriate records before the new year.
  • Review job titles and revise job descriptions for employees whose jobs, duties, or roles have changed within the course of the year. Be sure to also check FLSA exemption statuses to make sure these are still accurate.
  • Add critical HR filing and reporting deadlines to your calendar. 
  • Prepare for any regulatory updates that go into effect January 1.

Benefits

  • Make sure that new disclosure requirements and summary plan descriptions for retirement and health plans have been incorporated.
  • Revise benefits levels per IRS 2012 limits for defined contribution and benefit plans.
  • Review limitations on deferred compensation and check for excess contributions to qualified plans, especially for your highly compensated employees.
  • Determine which employees have life insurance over $50,000 to report taxable imputed income for taxable group term life insurance.
  • Check social security withheld to determine if an employee exceeded the 2011 limit. If so, make an adjustment or refund.
  • Re-evaluate your benefits package, including disability, life, and health insurance policies and obtain competitive bids.
  • Remind employees to spend the remaining balances on their flexible spending accounts before the end of the year so that their leftover money is not forfeited. You may consider reminding employees of reimbursable expenses. For a list of these, click here.
  • Send COBRA rate increase notifications to COBRA participants, if applicable.

Payroll/Salary Administration

  • Make sure employees review their W4s if they have changed their status during the year or anything else that would change payroll withholding.
  • Review taxable fringe benefits for W2 reporting, as these must be reflected in payroll for W2 reporting.
  • Distribute W2s by the end of January 2012.
  • Update employee address, demographic, and emergency information, including municipal information for local tax filing.
  • Have salary conversations with each of your employees and provide expected 2012 compensation in writing.
  • Issue final year-end paychecks which include year-end bonuses and holiday/overtime pay.
  • Adjust payroll to reflect changes in salary/wage adjustments, merit increases, minimum wage increases (note: Ohio minimum wage will increase January 1), and changes to benefits withholding.
  • Integrate new federal and state withholding tables. Remember that the temporary payroll changes which went into effect in 2011 are set to expire unless the federal government decides otherwise.

Planning

  • Distribute vacation and attendance calendars/planners to your supervisors and managers.
  • Determine your organization's 2012 holiday schedule and post or communicate it to employees. 
  • Plan, update, and post any critical  company activities or events for 2012.
  • Ask supervisors to assess current staffing levels in their departments/teams and submit job requisitions. Also take note of pending retirements, terminations, and expected turnover.
  • Conduct a training needs assessment and establish employee training and development plans for 2012. 
  • Review employee performance reviews and determine which employees...
    • are eligible for promotion
    • need additional training or skill development
    • require a performance improvement plan
    • should be terminated
  • Schedule recently promoted supervisors or managers for new supervisor training.
  • Plan your most critical projects for 2012. If you don't know what you should focus on, consider conducting an employee engagement survey in the first quarter to uncover areas of the workplace your department could improve.

Additional Resources

HR Project Assistance
For assistance conducting HR and FLSA audits, revising and auditing job descriptions, workforce planning, employee engagement surveys, and a variety of other HR projects, please contact consulting@yourerc.com.

Benefit Plan Audit
Do you have 100 or more employees enrolled in your defined contribution plan(s)? Your plan is required to be audited, and must accompany your 5500 filing. Now is the time to save! ERC members receive a No-Cost 2011 Benefit Plan Audit, and can lock in your 2010 rate for the next five years, through our exclusive partnership with Skoda Minotti. Click here for details!

Employee Handbook Service
As you revise your policies and procedures, keep in mind that ERC and Employer Risk Solutions Company (ERSco) offer a unique and innovative service exclusive to ERC members that provides an employee handbook for private employers that is easy, legally compliant, customized and affordable. For more information about this service, click here.

Training
Schedule your employees for training sooner than later! For a list of training topics offered by ERC, which can be customized to your organization's needs, click here. Or, to register your employee(s) or yourself for an upcoming public training event in 2012 offered in our Workplace Center, click here.