Hiring 101: The Application Process

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The labor board comes in your location and you have a stack of applications that reach back to the Reagan Administration. Is that a problem?

Well, besides the fact that this probably means you have never conducted your annual HR audit, you have created a strong suspicion that submitting an application is not how someone gets a job with your company. This means that you will need to show that you have a fair process at your company for gaining employment.

Here are some questions to answer prior to the labor board rep showing up at your door:

  • What is the process for getting employed at your company and is it fair and equitable at all of your locations?
  • Are you really an equal opportunity employer?
  • Do you have over 50 employees for federal employment compliance or are you over the number of employees for some state and local labor board compliance?
  • If you have a lot of employee referrals, do they follow a well-established process for obtaining employment?
  • Do you interview every candidate?
  • Does every new hire complete an application before they are hired?
  • Do you conduct background and drug tests on every new hire?

What is your process?

If you use the internet to post jobs, you need to determine how you separate resumes and at what point your company decides that a resume moves from the general stack to that of a candidate. Companies are required to treat official applicants and/or candidates differently once they have been identified as such.

The real problem is created when a position becomes open and you don’t follow either your written or unwritten procedure.

For example, a manager finds out that an employee’s brother is available and he simply hires the brother. Having no real interview, application, drug test or background check would further complicate matters.

However the next time a position opens, there is an interview process. A candidate is offered the job but something else trips him up: a positive drug test or a bad background check. You withdraw the offer but the candidate finds out that you only used your «process» on him; other people were hired without going through all of that. He files an EEO complaint or even worse: he files a grievance with the local labor board.

The best answer is to create a process for hiring people with your company.

Establish a time to purge old applications and resumes. Some companies have gone paperless and all applications must be taken virtually. The internet has made things easier in the application process but it has also created some additional complexity. The EEOC is still playing around with the definition of when someone on the web becomes a «candidate.»

Does this mean that you can never have an exception to your hiring process? No, but exceptions need to really be exceptions and should be documented and explained every time they are made.

To avoid possible lawsuits and fines, conduct your annual HR audit, figure out how applications are to be handled and make sure your managers follow the process.

(C) 2011 Jerry Ballard, Perfect People Solutions



Jerry Ballard