Recruiting & Hiring
"When you're hiring, you're creating the future of your company."
--Donn Lobdell, Senior Director, Alcon Surgical, Inc.

Good hiring does not happen by accident. It is the result of careful planning. The purpose is to get away from hiring by "gut feel," or because we like someone, and to move to a more rational and structured selection process. A poor hiring decision can cause great harm to your company. For one thing, poor hires are hard to terminate. Employment law and circumstances, even in so-called "at will" states, may restrict your organization's ability to quickly terminate poor performers, so your company may be saddled with a poor performer indefinitely.

An increasing problem these days is trying to terminate potentially violent employees who should have been screened out in the hiring process. A poor hiring process can let disturbed or psychopathic people into your workplace--and then moving them out of the organization can be very difficult and dangerous, because they often make threats of physical violence to managers and workers. This is a problem your company should avoid at all costs.

A well-planned hiring project includes at least four (4) parts:

    PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEWING, preferably by a team of different interviewers
    at different times, then a discussion as to consensus
    Thorough REFERENCE CHECKING of previous employers and co-workers
    And in some cases, BACKGROUND CHECKS involving such things as civil
    and criminal history, credit history, worker's compensation claims, and whatever else
    might be pertinent to the job.

(NOTE: Certain facets of a background check may require the candidate's written permission. And they should not be used where they violate state or federal employment law or applicant's rights. Be sure to consult with your company's employment attorney before using background checks on a hiring project.)

We can help you and your company in any phase of the recruiting and hiring process and we can do all or part of it. Companies have used us in every possible way, from simple assistance in identifying core competencies and writing a job description to complete sourcing of candidates and full-blown retained executive search. Here are a few of our specialties explained in more detail:

1. Legal Advice

Hiring is a complicated process these days. In Colorado, for example, there are at least 100 laws on the books that govern employment. They are very specific, and substantial, and they cannot be violated without potential of considerable penalty or damage to your business in the form of unionization, lawsuits, poor morale, or workplace violence. CareerLab's employment lawyers can advise you on key legal issues and they can review your recruiting and hiring policies to be sure they comply with federal and state law.

2. Writing job descriptions

We can help you nail down what you really want, which is often difficult. Employers tend not to know what they really want--or else they want everything in one person. They want Superman or Superwoman--and such candidates don't really exist. We can help craft a job description that is practical, simple, complete, and in-tune with employment law. Is yours a realistic job for one person, or have you written a set of specifications that can't be found in one human being. Are you looking for Superman? Or Superwoman? Does the job description comply with all current employment laws, Title VII and ADA, for example? We can help you nail it down.

3. Applicant Screening

We collect resumes from newspaper and trade journal ads, from Internet postings, through networking and other sources--or, you can simply hand us a pile of resumes you don't have time to review. We quickly screen the resumes per your requirements, interview the most likely prospects by telephone, and conduct initial face-to-face interviews with the most promising candidates. We present the six top candidates to you and your staff for final interviewing. We help you set criteria as to what to look for, and we can help you build a set of final interview questions that will provide the answers you need to make a wise decision for your organization.

4. Pre-employment Assessment & Testing

We advocate some form of career assessment and testing for every corporate hire, from entry-level to the CEO. Testing is an inexpensive way to learn things about candidates that might otherwise take weeks or years to surface--if they surface at all. A career questionnaire is like a blood test: it gives you valuable black and white information quickly. Testing tells you things that job candidates WON'T reveal, because they want to show themselves in the best light. Testing tells you things candidates CAN'T reveal, because they lack self-knowledge. For example: You might ask a candidate, "On a scale of 1-10, what are your Microsoft ACCESS skills?" The candidate might say, "Somewhere between 7 and 8." Testing shows the candidate's skill level is a 2. What happened? Either the candidate is misleading you, or you have a 2 who thinks she's an 8--a very common phenomenon in hiring. Candidates don't really know their own strengths and weaknesses, and this can come back to haunt you as an employer. A testing package is always designed for the specific position you're hiring, so it might be a good idea to talk to us personally about the specific position you have in mind. We can design the perfect test package to find the best candidates--those who will succeed in your job.

5. Reference Checking

We call and check your candidates' references, saving you valuable time and effort. We use a structured interview that reveals the truth about a candidate's background, without offending the person we're interviewing. We know which questions to ask and which questions are illegal, and some of your hiring managers might not. Our probing questions get key information you probably couldn't get yourself. We interview ex-employers, peers, subordinates, colleagues, and anyone else that might be helpful. Candidates tend to give only their best references; so we network beyond the names the candidate mentioned. A thorough reference check can give a very accurate and reliable picture of personality and behavior traits, social style, work ethic, management style, team orientation, values, and past performance--plus much more. It is seldom wise to hire for any position without thorough reference checking.

6. Background Checking

Many jobs from entry-level to senior management require a high level of trust and security. In those cases it's wise to let us conduct an in-depth survey of your candidate's background. We use background checking for at least five (5) reasons:

    To verify facts. It's amazing how many candidates hide the truth; to avoid claims of "negligent hiring." If you hire a dangerous person, your company could be liable for any damages that person causes at work; to avoid charges of "wrongful discharge." It's becoming increasingly difficult to terminate problem employees, even potentially violent ones; to safeguard trade secrets, databases, and other valuable technological resources employees can easily destroy; and to ferret out exaggerated credentials. It's amazing how many applicants claim false degrees or certifications.

When appropriate, our experienced investigators access a wide range of sources and records including: driving records, civil and criminal records, consumer credit reports, worker's compensation records, education verification, and social security number verification.

(NOTE: Certain facets of a background check may require the candidate's written permission. And they should not be used where they violate state or federal employment law or applicant's rights. Be sure to consult with your company's employment attorney before using background checks on a hiring project.)

7. Interview Training for Managers

Even experienced managers make interviewing mistakes: they ask illegal or inappropriate questions, or they spend the interview talking about themselves and the company, never bothering to learn anything helpful about the candidate. Novice interviewers can be even worse representatives for your company, playing favorites, hiring personal friends, or hiring on a whim. We can teach your managers the dos and don'ts of interviewing, either one-on-one, or in a group session. They'll be more effective; they'll make better hiring decisions.

The interview training curriculum for a one-day workshop is outlined here:

  1. Introductions and personal objectives.

  2. Overview of previous good and bad interviewing experiences.

  3. How to clarify the needs for the hiring department.
    (Job Skills, Motivation, Behavioral Fit)

  4. How to identify and meet the hiring department's expectations.
    (Timing, Number of Applicants, Advertising Needs, Pre-screening Activities, Testing Requirements, Background Investigation, Agencies, Decision Making Process, and Other Expectations)

  5. Designing the appropriate selection process.
    (Establishing the Minimum Requirements; Application, Resume, Cover Letter, Phone Calls; Reception Observation Check Points; Testing; Number of Interviews, Presentations, Tours and Demonstrations.)

  6. Developing interviewing guidelines.
    (Identifying Key Behaviors for Success, Developing Legally Defensible Behavioral Interview Questions, Building the Interview Guide, Skill Practice Utilizing the Guide.)

  7. Discussing candidate evaluation and presentation to department.

  8. Decision-making process; consultation versus go or no-go.

  9. Extending an offer or advising of non-selection.

  10. Other issues and concerns.

  11. Program Evaluations.

8. Hiring Advice

Regardless of the size or scope or your hiring project--from one person to 300--we would like to help you with it. Regardless of the specialty you're seeking--from engineering to human resources--we can help you. You might not need us to conduct an actual search, but we might help you put your plans in place. Please give us a call to explain your situation and learn more about what we do.


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