The Hiring Process: Essential Dos and Don’ts

Lacking a Human Resources (HR) department doesn’t give you an excuse to follow bad practices during your hiring process. To the contrary, without a professional to oversee your hire, it’s all the more necessary to learn legalities and make the right decisions. Failing to do so could lead to a number of consequences, including unnecessary expenses, the wrong candidate selection, and even a lawsuit. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for the essential dos and don’ts for your hiring process. Follow them to a T and feel confident about finding the perfect hire.


  • Make an accurate description. Your job post should be thorough and in-depth. Take your time with it, so that your candidates know exactly what they’re applying for. This exercise could help you identify which necessary skillsets you’ll look for in your hire.

  • Contact a recruiting agency. Although classifieds on Craigslist can yield good results, the best candidates are usually found through professional recruitment sites, such as ZipRecruiter. Sites like these enable users to search for jobs relevant to their profiles, and allow employers such as yourself to post their job to over 100 boards with one submission – for free!

  • Run a background check. When setting up your interview, use a screening company like Transunion ShareAble for Hires to perform a background check on your candidate. They make it easy to obtain consent and can provide instantaneous results thereafter. Do it beforehand to save yourself time in case of any incriminating history, or in the event that your candidate refuses consent after the interview, since this is a non-negotiable must.

  • Prepare questions in advance. Don’t go into your interview room and just wing it; you could end up forgetting to ask valuable questions. You don’t need six pages of queries, but it’s a good idea to come with a few bullet points. Try asking open-ended questions to keep your candidate talking and avoid simple “yes/no” responses.

  • Establish rapport. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and a case of bad anxiety might lead to a poor first impression. Help your applicant breathe by building up some rapport; smile, be pleasant, greet them with a genuine handshake and one or two casual statements. This strategy will help them act more naturally and give you a glimpse into how they really are, not rehearsed to appear.


  • Ask leading questions. Candidates can answer leading questions based on the way you posed them. Instead of “Would you like to work at a small company?” go with “What size company would you prefer to work at?”. That way, you’ll be more likely to hear truthful responses versus just what they think you want to hear.

  • Disrespect their time. Your time is valuable, but so is theirs. Don’t disrespect them by showing up late or cutting them off early to head to your next meeting. Be sensitive about group interviews; if you don’t get enough information out of a candidate you’re interested in, it’ll require them to come back and create another scheduling hassle. If your applicant doesn’t feel like the right fit, don’t lead them on or drag it out, but make sure to be professional.

  • Discriminate. Not only is this unethical, but it’s also illegal. Gender, race, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation are not decision-making factors, so stay away from these topics.

  • Rely on social media. Many employers are satisfying their curiosity regarding what their candidate is like by referring to their social media profiles on Instagram or Facebook. This isn’t illegal, and some might even suggest it, but relying on it for an accurate representation is a mistake. A risky hire might present themselves as an angel online, and although someone might appear to lead an alternative lifestyle, they could end up being the best applicant of the bunch.

  • Assume honesty. Candidates can – and will – be dishonest by lying on their resume and fluffing up their education or experience. Many employers will do a reference check to ensure the accuracy of previous jobs, but they assume that the listed degree is honest. It’s much easier to lie about education, since verifying it yourself will require you to call the institution’s Registrar Office and verify their transcripts against a provided name, date of birth, and social security number. Be sure to verify their experience during your background check.

These are just the basics, but it’s a great place to start! Go forth and find your next hire with confidence and begin benefitting your business.