Hiring Essentials Checklist

Hiring Checklist

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January 9, 2016

It’s time. You may still be running your business from home (and why not?) but you can no longer run it alone. Sufficient success has knocked at your door that you need help and increased manpower to handle the orders and/or requests for your services.

This plunges you into new and potentially murky waters. You’ll be an employer and therefore subject to a whole new gaggle of legal obligations, liabilities, and bureaucracy. Not to mention the potential consequences of hiring the ‘wrong’ person: absenteeism, low productivity, turnover, poor service, and a subsequent loss of reputation. Of course, if you can manage things well, the exact opposite will happen and your one-man band will be well on its way to global success and ‘employer of choice’ status. Here are the key hiring essentials checklist to explore and keep in mind when you move into the world of hiring.

Adopt a rigorous recruitment process.

  1. Decide on the specific role you are hiring for. Write a job description that clearly outlines the duties, responsibilities and necessary skills and experience. This document gives you a picture of your ideal employee and forms the basis of any advertising and of your interviews/assessment of potential candidates.
  2. Decide on a compensation package, including salary, other rewards, and benefits. Minimum wage requirements and the Fair Labor Standards Act set the base requirements for both salary and age of employee.
  3. Determine the status of the position. Full or part time? Independent contractor, common-law employee, statutory employee or statutory nonemployee? (Take advice on this issue as misclassification can attract penalties such as fines and even criminal charges).
  4. Decide on your basic interview questions. It’s helpful to start with the same set of questions for all interviews as this gives you a benchmark to judge candidates fairly against. Questions should relate to skills, knowledge, experience and ability to perform the role you have designed. Any questions about age, sexual orientation, marital status, religious affiliation or race are off-limits. Likewise, asking about a disability is only permitted insofar as it relates to establishing whether special accommodations are needed for the candidate to perform the duties of the role.

Carry out appropriate checks. 

  1. You may choose to undertake some pre-employment drug testing to check your chosen candidates are not suffering from a drug abuse problem. For some roles such testing is mandatory – including industrial tractor and truck operators, material movers, child-care workers, teachers, private and corporate investigators – but even if your business isn’t in one of these sectors, you may still choose to take precautions.
  2. Prior to making a formal job offer, check the references of your chosen candidate or candidates. Common practise is to ask for three references: two professional and one personal (a sort of character witness).Whatever you do, follow up and call the references. Keep your questions objective and job-related, avoiding the same type of no-go questions as in the interviews.
  3. Background checks may cover educational achievements, prior employment claims, criminal record, financial history and so on. Some of this information is deemed private and requires the individual’s consent before you commence or commission an investigation.


Finally, as an employer you are required to keep certain records from day one and throughout their employment:

  • Employee’s full name and social security number
  • Sex and occupation
  • Birth date (if the employee is younger than 19)
  • Mailing address
  • Time of day and day of the week when employee’s workweek begins, hours worked each day, and total hours worked each workweek
    Hourly pay rate
  • Frequency with which employee’s wages are paid (weekly, bi-monthly, etc.)
  • Total wages paid each pay period
  • Date of payment and the pay period covered by the each payment
  • Total daily or weekly “straight time” earnings for each workweek
  • Total overtime earnings for each workweek
  • All additions to or deductions taken from employee’s wages
  • (Source: U.S. Department of Labor)


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