Your business is growing and you need help. That’s the good news. But now you need to hire someone. You’ll need to write a job description, advertise, get applications, interview, decide whether to hire, make the offer, and complete the intake of the new employee.
For larger companies this process can be long and involved. For small employers, all of this can take place within hours. But no matter how long the process, you still need to follow the law. There should be no discrimination at any point during each step and you must respect the applicant’s privacy.
Here are some red flags to watch out for: if a man is hired instead of a woman, a white applicant instead of a minority, a younger worker instead of an older worker, a non-disabled person instead of a disabled person, an American instead of someone of a different national origin.
It’s good to write a job description so that you focus on what it takes to get the job done. The description should include safety requirements, qualifications such as skills, education, experience, or licenses, essential job functions, and non-essential functions.
If you advertise for the job don’t use gender words like -man, gal, -tress, words that reveal age such as student, young, and words that might discourage protected classes from applying.
In your application ask only for job-related information such as educational background, employment history, special training or achievements related to the job, the date they can start work, etc.
Don’t ask for non-job related stuff such as age, birthdate, height or weight, gender (Mrs., Mr.), marital status (single, married, number of children), national origin (lineage, ancestry), arrests that didn’t result in conviction, organizations (clubs, societies), personal finance, and photographs.
When you interview the applicant stick to job-related stuff.
A lie detector test may not be used in Alaska as a condition of employment (there are a few exceptions such as the hiring of police officers). You can require skill testing if the skills you’re testing are related to the job. It’s best to stay away from aptitude and psychological tests. Your testing requirements must apply to all entering employees who do the same job. You may withdraw an offer based on results if the reasons are job-related or to avoid a direct threat to health and safety, and you are unable to make reasonable accommodations.
In order to do drug testing in Alaska the employer must have a written policy; the employees must be informed of the policy and provided with a copy; and prospective employees must be informed.
If you need driving records, criminal histories, credit reports, employment reference checking, or school transcripts, you must give notice of the requirement to the applicant, get their consent, and provide a copy of the consent to the person with the information. You must also make sure that there is a business need for the information. Be careful searching the internet for information about an applicant. You may discover unlawful information that can come back and bite you.
When you make the offer, make sure that you don’t make promises of job security and the like. Draft an offer letter so that there’s no confusion about the job title, starting date, benefits, and salary. You should also refer to your employee handbook, disclaim oral commitments, and remind the new employee about their at-will status and how it can be altered.
Sometimes, someone will want an employment contract such as an experienced executive, someone leaving a secure job, someone who moves far away, or a person with a particular skill. The contract should include incentives, reasons for terminating the relationship, severance pay, etc.
It’s a good idea to send a short letter to rejected applicants.