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The HR Manager: Finding the Right Employee

Establishing a solid interview process is key to good results

By Matthew Moore

Emplotment Employed Hiring Career Occupation Concept

Most employers will tell you that finding good employees is one of the most challenging aspects of running a company. So, it pays to put in the effort up front to conduct a thorough interview and vetting process. Here, Lexington HR expert Karen Hawkins shares her advice on how to find the right employees for your company.

How important is the job description itself when advertising a job?
The job description is the foundation of expectations and experience needed to perform the duties listed. All roles within an organization should have a job description in order to determine who is doing what.
Job descriptions should contain an overall purpose or summary for the position. It should list the essential functions of the role, including primary and secondary duties as well as the physical aspects of the job. The ability to perform essential job functions, with or without a reasonable accommodation, determines if an applicant with a disability is qualified for the job. It is very important to also determine the education and experience the company expects for the person to be successful in the position.
Job descriptions should be reviewed regularly and updated as duties shift. Employees should always be informed of any changes and the reasons behind them.

What are the best websites for hiring remote workers? 
Remote workers and remote jobs can now be found on all of the major job-site platforms such as Indeed and LinkedIn. Some sites that specifically target remote workers are flexjobs.com, weworkremotely.com and remote.co (no “m”). For freelance positions that may be remote, check out freelancer.com, upwork.com and guru.com.
It’s important to determine if positions will be remote just during the pandemic or post-COVID. I am seeing a future of hybrid work for the preferred situation in many organizations: three or four days working remotely and one to two days in the office. People still want to interact with co-workers but also love to lose the commute other days.

What is the best way to screen candidates?  
I review resumes to determine the best match with education and experience requirements along with location, as many clients only consider candidates living locally. Once a pool of candidates that appear to meet all qualifications is determined, I will often send some pre-screening questions, listing the pay range and a few job-related inquiries. Based on those answers, a phone or virtual interview would then be scheduled. When my clients receive those I recommend, a virtual or in-person interview would be scheduled for the top one to three candidates.
I highly recommend conducting reference checks and background checks to verify all information is in line prior to making an offer or at least making those checks contingent upon starting if an offer needs to be extended immediately.

What is the best way to conduct interviews?
As a first step, I like conducting phone interviews in order to really focus on the person’s words and what they have to offer. This can oftentimes lower a candidate’s stress if they are not talking with someone face to face, either virtually or in-person.
Should a candidate move forward, a virtual panel interview with decision-makers and potential co-workers is a great idea. Finally, an on-site visit is a preferred method to show the person where they would be working and get a sense of their in-person presence.

What about checking references during the pandemic, when many people are not in the office?
We are definitely seeing a delay in response time when it comes to educational and some criminal background checks. For that reason, I recommend doing these early in the process if you feel strongly about a candidate. I use the Kentucky Office of the Courts (kcoj.kycourts.net/RecordRequest/Default.aspx) for a very quick response to Criminal Background requests.