Do me a favor and don't give me the job

Even in this down economy with vast numbers of unemployed workers, choosing not to hire someone is just as important for the candidate at it is for you. There are many reasons we hire people and it is our job as employers examine them to make sure they are the right reasons. Take a look as some of these scenarios, maybe you will see yourself in a few of them.

Desperation: If you are desperate you will repel good candidates and attract desperate ones. You and the employee are better off leaving a position open than just getting a warm body in there. If that warm body is a dead fish they will stink up the place. Customers don't spend money in a stinky place.

Hiring potential: Entrepreneurs are born risk takers. We have to be careful that we don't get too adventurous because we "see" something in a candidate. Make sure the potential you are hiring is based on results even if how they handle the interview process are the only results they have to offer. If you are hiring an administrative person go over their resume and cover letter with a fine tooth comb (they did send a resume & cover letter right?). It should be impeccable and perfect. Did that sales person sell you from start to finish?

Employment by association: Some of your best hires have come from referrals. Often times those referrals come from existing employees. Even if your best employee who has referred you three other employees who have all been outstanding, evaluate the next one with the same scrutiny as if they came from a job board. Do this not because you don't trust the employee that referred them but because you don't trust yourself.

Tips to help you Employ Better:

Always be interviewing: Harvey Mackay wrote a book on networking call "Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty". If you are always interview for quality talent regardless of position,a least two things will happen. 1) you'll become a better interviewer. 2) You will have a pool of candidates that you have a rapport with when you need to fill a position.

Have an interview buddy: If you are just starting out or don't have the money for a recruiter, find a partner in the hiring process. Ask a fellow entrepreneur to give a candidate the once over as well. Go ask the accountant down the hall to interview candidates of the financial position you are filling. You'll be surprised how willing people are to help. Just remember to return the favor. Better yet extend the offer to do it for them before you need to ask.

Have a hiring tool kit: No matter how long you have been doing it never walk into an interview without a list of questions and topics you want to cover. How would you feel if your orthopedic surgeon said "I've done this procedure 10,000 times, I'll see you in there." before consulting with the nurse or confirming with you which leg she will be operating on. Experience should help us refine and adhere to protocol not abandon it.

Following these steps and others like it will help you give the best gift of all. Giving a potential new hire the opportunity to find the right job not just a job. When the job you're offering is right the job for them you get a more productive member of your team.

What other rules do you follow to ensure you are bring on the right talent to your company?


California labor law effective January 1st 2013

Based on the employment law alerts I receive, California leads the way in changes for 2013. These changes which take effect one the clock strikes 12:00am New Years Day need to be acted upon by employers promptly. Here is a quick list of what is to come.

What is not a commission? AB2675 will have some refinement regarding commission payment agreements.

Employer Use of Social Media Employers don't ask your staff to provide access to their personal social media accounts. The law says that is a no no.

Employee rights in inspection of personnel files Updates to AB2674 changes the rights of your current and former employees to access their personnel files.

California Wage Garnishment Limit Increase The exempt portion of an employee's weekly pay has gone up to 40 time the minimum wage ($8.00) to $320.00. This effects what can be garnished.

Paying commission to employees will require a contract It looks like you will need a provide a contract to commissioned employees spelling out how commissions are calculated. You will also need to have your employees sign the contract and everyone needs a copy for their records.

Religious freedoms in the workplace Religious freedom definitions have been expanded to included dress and grooming when an employee is observing their beliefs.

As always, each year brings new challenges and opportunities for employers under California labor law.

For professional advice subscribe and indicate where you'd like more help. There are some great local professionals to help you navigate and prepare.

Disclaimer: The information discussed in this post and on is for discussion purposes only. This information is in no way offered as legal advice. I am not a lawyer nor is any information provided as legal advice. Please seek professional HR guidance or legal council before taking action.


Advertising jobs is back in style

According to recent data from the Labor Department job openings are on the rise. They are at the highest levels since June. 128,000 new job opens for a total 3.68 million is positive. With the ratio of job seekers to openings at 3.3 to 1 the challenge for employers is weeding through unqualified candidates to find the gems.

In times like these business owners and those charged with sourcing new talent need an applicant tracking system. There is serious buzz around cloud based job posting services. These platforms allow you to manage postings to multiple job boards from one place. What is often is missing for small businesses are the added features that make it a complete solution.

The ability to have candidates answers qualifying questions in addition to submitting basic information is key. This allows you to score and rank applicants by criteria you set. This feature puts time back on your side. You can make quick work of the hundreds of applications you will get for one job. The employers that need an ATS the most are small employers with under 250 people on staff. The vital features of a good ATS are often reserved and price for large businesses. In a later post I will be reviewing some of the better small business offering in more detail.

Your thoughts please:

Have you found a good ATS for your small business? If so, please share your experiences.


The deadly effects of sitting

Recent studies have shown sitting down in the office can have some pretty sever health risks. As a former contract stationer rep to larger employers I learned quite a bit about office furniture. There are tons of ergonomic options offered to large employer. (my ergonomist would be so upset with my seating position right now). The bulk of employee work for small employer and are missing out on health benefits of these furniture options.

What do you get when you mashup the terms "walking off the job" and "sleeping on the job"? Walking on the job: introducing the treadmill desk. This is by far on the extreme end of work place fitness. Photo: Tricia Coyne/Gainesville Sun
 Instead of trying to get people out of their seats, some employers have done away with the seat all together. The stand up desk demands more. I could see these in a sales office. Remember the pep talk to the young brokers in Boiler Room "Get up move around, motion creates emotion!"

While working for a Fortune 500 health care firm I was exposed to an electric high adjusting desk in the call center. It was amazing to see in action. Our job here is to find affordable options for the small employer who cares about employee health and needs a more cost effective alternative.

Send picture and links to the solutions you have employed to help your otherwise sedentary staff stay active in the workplace.

 Check out this NY Times article and links to the studies on sitting in the workplace.


Brainstorm documentation just got much easier

Wow I just saw Mindjet in action for the 1st time tonight. The presenter at our 2013 planning meeting fielded questions while typing. By the time we were done brainstorming we had a visually diagrammed course of action. This would have taken hours to accomplish and the drafts would have driven us crazy.

Learning about that help employers execute on their ideas and improve employee performance is what this site is here for. I can see the result on almost any company meeting dramatically increase with a tool like Mindjet. Cutting the fluff and charting an actionable path is key for any small business.

What employee performance tools would you like to see featured on Please comment below.


Year end payroll Checklist

Make live easy and tax time in 2013 a little simpler for you and your staff. Follow these simple steps to ensure the last payroll of the years goes as planned and W-2s are correct.

  • Have all employees confirm the correct mailing address you have on file.
  • Correct or add any Social Security numbers that are missing form employee records.
  • Work with your payroll service to coordinate your year end bonuses. You are using a payroll service right? Your time is too valuable to be doing it yourself.
  • If you are going to issue 250 or more W-2s, know that you will have to report health care contributes on the W-2 to comply with Obama Care Affordable Health Care Act.
  • Make any adjustments to your normal payroll submission process to make sure employee pay arrives on time given the holidays that could cause delays.
  • Remind employees that because they contribute to pre-tax benefits like health insurance deductions and 401k their W-2 wages will be less than the year to date amounts on the final check.
  • Remind employees who are participating in FSA plans to use it or loose. This assumes you don't have a plan with a grace period. Otherwise funds in the plan will be forfeited. 
These are cover the basics to make sure your 2012 payroll closes smoothly and 2013 gets off to a good start.