Isn’t it true that nationwide employers can interview and hire employees for their California offices so long as they follow federal hiring laws? In a nutshell, no way. Hiring in California presents a host of nuanced, state-specific rules that often add up to “don’ts.” We list a few for you below.
Wouldn’t we like to know if a potential applicant has ever criticized a former employer, or whether their online presence gives evidence of illegal activity or violent, discriminatory or unethical behavior? Or just poor judgment? What if they belong to political groups, like the Tea Party or the ACLU?
With the economy still shaky in many parts of the country, small businesses continue to use part-time workers to staff their operations. Part-timers may cost less than full-timers, because they aren’t entitled to overtime pay or health benefits, but they can pose other challenges.
“When you’re not full-time, you feel different, and if you feel different, your productivity and morale might be impacted,” says George Boué, vice president of human resources at Stiles, a Florida-based real estate company.
Boué has blogged about effective strategies for managing temps and part-timers. Here are five of his tips:
- Hold meetings when part-timers are present. Don’t exclude part-timers from meetings that pertain to them or expect them to come in for a meeting on their day off. “Nothing is worse than not being involved in a meeting that would make them feel left out,” Boué says. “Ensure that other team members are respectful of the fact that someone is part-time.” Including part-timers in important meetings makes them feel like they’re part of the team.
- Set aside time to keep part-timers in the loop. Sometimes significant developments occur outside of meetings, and it’s important that part-timers know about these changes. Don’t expect part-timers to know what happened on their day off or assume that someone else will catch them up. “What I typically do is set aside five minutes or so where I meet with my part-timer and bring her up to speed on anything that’s taken place over the past day,” Boué says.
- Maintain a consistent schedule. Some restaurants or retail locations change their employee’s shifts on a weekly basis, which doesn’t go over well with many employees, especially those piecing together several jobs. “Employees don’t like to have their schedules changed, because they’re changing their personal time,” Boué notes. “You should try to stick to a particular schedule out of consideration and give the individual enough advance notice [when it changes].”
- Create policies for part-timers. “If you’re going to have part-timers, it’s a good idea to have brief policies about the benefits that part-timers can have,” Boué says. That way there’s no ambiguity over what benefits part-timers get (which is often a function of hours worked), and no one feels they’re being treated differently.
- If you plan to hire someone full-time in the future, say so. Some part-timers, such as college students or the semi-retired, appreciate working a few shifts without being committed to a 40-hour work week. But many part-timers haven’t been able to find the full-time employment they want due to a tough job market, and they’d quickly jump ship if offered a full-time job. According to Boué, there’s not much you can do about that retention risk unless you (truthfully) plan to hire someone full-time in the future and communicate that plan to your part-timer.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Veterans' Employment & Training Service (VETS) announced that it extended the 2012 deadline for federal contractors to submit their VETS-100/VETS-100A reporting forms from September 30, 2012 to October 31, 2012.
Interns can be an excellent source of inexpensive — or even free — labor for small businesses. In the ideal scenario, everyone wins: Your company gets a helping hand, and the intern gains professional experience.
The days of hanging a Help Wanted sign in the store window are disappearing. Job seekers and employers are turning to more modern methods, from LinkedIn to social networks, to find each other. But whatever your hiring scenario, you probably still request resumes from serious applicants. Once those resumes start flooding your in-box, how do you sift through the pile?
Although most small-business owners may know exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate, there’s a tried-and-true art to reading resumes that can’t be replaced by newer science, such as keyword screening, says Jennifer McClure, president of Unbridled Talent, a consulting firm that specializes in HR and recruiting.
So, what’s the best way to read a resume in 2012? The Intuit Small Business Blog asked McClure to provide a few pointers.
ISBB: How has the practice of reading a resume changed in recent years?
McClure: While the science of resume review has certainly evolved in recent years — electronic submission and review, keyword screening tools, resume parsers, etc. — in my opinion, the art has remained relatively unchanged. Recruiters who find the best talent are those who read between the lines to identify accomplishments and results as well as potential, versus inexperienced or poor recruiters who match keywords, random experience requirements, and unrelated competencies. Strong recruiters also realize that job seekers aren’t professional resume writers and can look past small imperfections that aren’t relevant to future success.
What’s the first thing a small-business owner should read when reviewing a resume? Second? Third?
When reviewing resumes, I’m always drawn to the objective statement or professional summary first. Ideally, applicants should make sure that the information at the top of their resume is targeted (who they are, what type of role they’re seeking, and why they’re a great fit for that role) and succinct, no more than one to three brief sentences. A well-written, targeted objective can start the resume review process off on a “this is a potential candidate” note. A generic or poorly written one, such as “team player looking for a company where I can apply my skills to help them grow,” opens the door to the No pile.
Second, I look at the most recent job title and employer to see if the person has held a similar role or is on track for the position I’m trying to fill. For example, if I’m looking for a CFO, I’m thinking “possibility” if I see titles like CFO, VP of Finance, or Director of Finance. But if I see Accounts Payable Clerk or Cost Accounting Manager first, then I would assume the person is not a fit — and even more so if the most recent position is not even in the fields of accounting or finance.
Third, my eye is drawn to numbers on a resume. I’m looking for accomplishments and how a person has created positive change or impacted results in their previous roles. Bullet points that include dollar signs, percentages, and the like are ideal. What doesn’t catch attention? Listing job duties and phrases such as “responsible for,” “participated in,” “managed,” and so on.
What are the biggest warning signs I should watch out for?
Resumes that include gaps in employment, especially long ones, are typically suspect. The mind starts to ask natural questions about what happened. Why did the person leave their last job? Why were they unsuccessful at obtaining another job prior to leaving that position or in a reasonable time frame thereafter? Life situations and depressed economic conditions may have resulted in some legitimate gaps in employment. However, it’s incumbent upon the applicant to answer the obvious questions up front and fill in the gaps on the resume.
How can employers who are short on time and staring at a giant stack of resumes get through the pile efficiently?
I’d never recommend speed-screening resumes. Hiring decisions are too important and potentially long-term. It just doesn’t make sense to cut corners during this process. That being said, to use time more efficiently during the resume screening process, I recommend reviewing all of the resumes submitted in one sitting, if possible, and, based upon initial impressions, tagging them or placing them in three categories: Interview, Possible, and No. This can be a quick way to identify the resumes that warrant a more in-depth review, although you may miss an undiscovered gem or two by cutting corners.
It’s 5:18 a.m. and the phone rings. Your morning chef is on the line with awful news: She won’t be coming in to work today. Sick. Hungover. Won the lottery. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. You have 350 guests arriving at 10 a.m. for a high-profile wedding brunch — a make-or-break moment for your restaurant, perhaps your biggest engagement of the year — and you need a chef.
Don’t know what to do? You should. Situations like this happen all the time. The employee you’re counting on to open up shop, to fix the ice machine, to watch a classroom full of toddlers, etc., isn’t going to show up today, on very short notice.
You could call a temporary employment agency, of course, but for many small businesses that’s not an option. Temp agencies tend to be pricey, and some prefer to do only volume business or to work only for large companies with massive credit reserves. What’s more, temps may be unfamiliar with your industry, your business, and even the job at hand. You risk getting a short-timer whose under-performance could harm your reputation — something that you simply cannot afford.
So, what do you do? Here are three tips for hiring temporary employees to avoid permanent problems:
- Plan. You knew this day would come, so don’t let it surprise you. A temporary workforce should be part of your business plan. You never have one position to fill; you have three. Every time you hire an employee, recruit two temporary workers for the same job.
- Process. Don’t manage your temporary payroll with cash under the table. We all know where that can lead. Hiring temporary employees requires special paperwork and agreements. The basic forms to have ready include the I-9, the W-4, state withholding forms and agreements, a temporary employment agreement letter, training agreements (we’ll get to that in a moment), and a valid temporary employee contract. The latter will bring clarity should issues of unemployment compensation arise. Temporary employment contract templates abound on the internet, but always check with your business attorney to be sure the agreement you use is legal and binding in the state(s) where you employ people.
- Prepare. Trial-by-fire is not the way for temporary employees to learn the job. Begin training them the minute you hire them, right alongside the regular employee. Call them in for any new training, and schedule regular refresher training. If you don’t hold regular refresher training sessions for all employees, schedule it now. And when you get that big job, notify your temporary employees that they must be prepared — and standing by — should something happen to your regular staffer(s).
Of course, these tips are not a comprehensive guide to using temporary employees, but they will certainly start you down the path to managing employee absences smoothly with minimal disruption to your business.
Considering the importance of sales to any small business, you don’t want to improvise when it comes to hiring salespeople, says Jim Dunn, a sales training expert for Whetstone Group, and co-author of the e-bookCommon Sense Selling: A New Look at How Successful Salespeople Sell. “If you don’t have guidelines in place, you’ll be winging it, with predictably poor results.”
Hire the right freelancers and you’ll be able to complete projects on deadline and under budget. Hire the wrong freelancers and you’ll end up with a disaster, one that costs you time and money.
News of job interviewers demanding Facebook passwords from applicants caused a media storm. Top news outlets published numerous reports about job applicants being asked to give their Facebook passwords to hiring managers during job interviews so the potential employer could inspect personal profiles on the applicants’ Facebook pages.
California employers should think twice about engaging in this practice during the recruiting and hiring process.
As discussed in HR Allen’s social media white paper (sign in required), peeking at an applicant’s Facebook page could reveal information to the person conducting the interview that the person is prohibited from asking about, such as religious affiliation or sexual orientation.
What if the employer learns from the Facebook page that the applicant is pregnant? The employer now opens itself up to a discrimination lawsuit if the employer does not hire the applicant. The applicant may argue that the reason she was not hired was because the employer learned she was pregnant from her Facebook profile and discriminated against her. Further, an individual’s privacy rights under the California Constitutions may be violated.
Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan issued a statement warning that Facebook may take action against employers who demand passwords. “We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers, or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action … ,” Egan said, citing concerns that the demands violate Facebook’s terms of service.
Two U.S. Senators asked the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether the practice of demanding passwords violates federal laws. See the full letter.
Tags: Ask for Facebook password, Employee privacy, Employer Facebook password requests, Log into Facebook, Recruiting, Requiring applicants, Social media and recruiting, Social media recruiting, HR Allen Consulting Services, Hiring, HRCalifornia