Best Practices for Hiring New Employees Guide

The hiring of new employees is a process that cannot be left to chance. The future of your business depends on the quality of your hiring process. Every new employee has the potential to either contribute to company growth and profitability or negatively impact the business. Every hiring manager needs to employ a structured approach to recruitment to provide more certainty in the hiring process.

A hiring process need not only be structured but should be streamlined for cost-effectiveness and maximized productivity. It involves four key steps:

  1. 1. Define the position to be filled.
  2. 2. Source suitable applicants.
  3. 3. Evaluate and select the best candidate.
  4. 4. Verify the suitability of the selected candidate using human resources and hiring tools.


To optimize the hiring process, you should take the following actions:

  • Define the position clearly. Involve human resources (HR) and co-workers in compiling an accurate and detailed job description that specifies the qualifications, skills, experience, and personal attributes that the job demands.
  • Promote the job. Use all avenues to advertise the position, including print media, online portals and job boards, and social media.
  • Treat candidates like customers. Project a professional image during all interactions with candidates, who see you as a reflection of the company’s culture and core values.
  • Don’t go with your gut. Use profiles or templates of the ideal candidate for the position during the interviewing and selection process. This will remove a large measure of uncertainty in the hiring process.


In this guide, we discuss aspects of the hiring process for new employees, the tools you can use to assist you, and the paperwork that must be completed as part of the onboarding process.

The Hiring Process for New Employees

To attract top talent, hiring managers and human resources (HR) staff must be well-informed and trained in all aspects of the hiring process:

  • Developing job profiles and compiling job descriptions
  • Writing effective advertisements that will attract the right talent for a job
  • Screening applications for a position
  • Conducting effective interviews with shortlisted candidates
  • Selecting the right candidate for a job


As part of the onboarding process, employers must file a number of forms, providing details of the candidates that are required by federal agencies.

What to Look For in New Employees

To recruit effectively, you need to be smart with the use of your time and resources when hiring a new employee while maintaining a focus on producing the most value for your company. To help achieve this, you should follow these three suggestions:

  • Keep business results in mind. It is essential to focus on what is best for your company’s bottom line throughout the hiring process, from drawing up a job description to writing a job advertisement to conducting an interview to selecting a candidate.
  • Build profiles of the company’s top performers. Before writing a job description or preparing for an interview, take a look at the top performers within the department that you’re hiring for. Build a profile of their attributes and what characteristics make them perform so well. This will provide a template for selection during the hiring process.
  • Compile a personal profile of the ideal candidate. It is critical that the person you hire fit into the company culture and have the personal characteristics to work well with existing staff members. You want to avoid the potential for conflict at all costs. An employee who doesn’t fit in will be unhappy and will not perform.


The ideal personal characteristics of a candidate will depend on the demands of the job and the size of the company doing the hiring. For instance, a startup company with a limited budget will probably be looking for a go-getter who is multi-skilled. Such a company would most likely look for the following personal traits:

  • An action taker. Startups need talented individuals who require little supervision and are decisive.
  • Passionate. A startup needs employees who buy into the goals of the company and who are not just in it for financial gain. The company should acquire talent that is prepared to ride out the rough times as the business grows, keeping an eye on the end result.
  • Resourceful. Every employee in a startup should be able to innovate — identify a problem and come up with a solution.
  • Customer-service driven. Often the one factor that dictates whether a startup will be successful or not is customer service. If the company can offer customer service that is superior to that of its competitors, it will gain customers and maintain growth.
  • A team player. Startups usually have a small contingent of staff with an informal organizational structure. It is essential that each employee be a team player and be able to get along well with others.


Best Practices When Hiring

Hiring is a critical function of any organization, large or small. A wrong hiring decision can have disastrous consequences for a company, so it is imperative that you be adequately prepared for the process. On a practical level, when the need for a new employee arises, there is a checklist that you should adhere to in order to ensure all your bases are covered:

  • Conduct a hiring meeting with the hiring manager, HR, and a coworker to develop a profile of the qualifications, skills, experience, and personal characteristics needed for the job.
  • Compile a comprehensive job description, including the salary range for the position.
  • Post an advertisement for the position on your company’s intranet or bulletin board, including a cutoff date for internal applications.
  • Schedule interviews for internal applicants with the hiring manager and HR.
  • If no suitable internal candidate is found, advertise the job externally.
  • Screen all external applications according to the requirements outlined in the job description and other profile templates
  • Draw up a shortlist of candidates for interviews with HR and the hiring manager. It is a good idea to involve peers and other members of the relevant department in the interviewing process.
  • Conduct a meeting to review the results of interviews and select the best candidate.
  • Prepare a written job offer, including the job description and salary, to present to the preferred candidate.


When searching for talent externally, you can use several channels to advertise the position:

  • Print media
  • Social media, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+
  • Online industry-specific job boards
  • Professional association websites


If these efforts fail to produce the right talent for the job, you can resort to using a recruitment agency to assist.

The importance of conducting a professional recruitment campaign cannot be overstressed. Interviewing panels must be reminded to project a positive, professional image of the company. Ensure that all applications receive a response. Any negative impression or experience gained by a candidate during any stage of the hiring process can result in bad publicity for the company.

Interview Process – Do’s and Don’ts

To hire the best talent for a job, HR professionals and hiring managers need to be well-trained in conducting effective interviews. To facilitate the assessment of a candidate’s capabilities and personal characteristics, there are certain questions that a recruiter should ask. Hiring staff must also be informed of federal and state prohibitions on asking certain questions during an interview.

The three most used approaches to face-to-face interviews are behavioral, competency-based, and situational. The behavioral and competency-based approaches are designed to evaluate a candidate’s skills, experience, and personal attributes. You can compile a list of behavioral and competency-based questions that pertain to real-life situations in your workplace. This will give you a good measure of a candidate’s potential to fit into the company and will also provide an indication of his potential value to the organization.

The following topics can be used to ask a candidate to describe situations or give specific examples of fulfillment:

  • The persuasive ability to convince someone to see things differently
  • Coping skills under a stressful situation
  • Problem-solving skills that involve judgment and logical thinking
  • Goal setting and achievement
  • The effectiveness of presentation skills
  • Policy nonconformance and the reasons for it


The aim of these questions is to gauge the level of a candidate’s competence. Often, a candidate may not give sufficient detail, and it becomes necessary for the interviewer to probe deeper by asking open-ended what, why, and how questions. This will expose the skills, knowledge, experience, and logic used by the candidate in approaching situations or solving problems. When discussing problem-solving, ask the candidate to quantify the impact a solution would have on the company in terms of cost savings or increased efficiency, for example.

Under federal or state legislation, questions concerning certain topics may not be asked during an interview:

  • Citizenship
  • Birthplace
  • Ethnic heritage
  • Origin of accent
  • Age or date of birth
  • Marital status
  • Details of children
  • Religion
  • Affiliation with clubs or organizations
  • Disabilities
  • Medical conditions


Employee Work Eligibility

Under the provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, it is illegal to hire employees who are not eligible for employment in the United States. As part of any onboarding procedure, employers are required to complete an I-9 form obtainable from the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service (USCIS), which is responsible for verifying employment eligibility.

This aspect of the hiring process is discussed in more detail in Chapter 2.

Types of New Employment and Hiring Forms

Under federal and state laws, employers are required to complete several forms after hiring a new employee. This must be done before the employee begins work. The forms must be kept safely and be available for inspection by the employee and any federal and state officials. It is important to keep records because they can be audited by federal, state, and local agencies at any time.

List of New Employee Forms



Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, must be completed as part of every new hiring procedure. A new employee is required to provide proof of eligibility, which could be a birth certificate for a U.S. national or a “green card” for a foreign resident.

It is the employer’s responsibility to verify the information presented by the employee. Employers can sign up for the E-Verify system, which enables them to check on any employee’s eligibility for work in the United States. The I-9 does not need to be filed with any federal agency but must be kept in the employee’s record for inspection by a USCIS official or any official from a state or local agency.


The Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, form W-4, gives details of the amount of income tax that the employer will withhold from the employee’s wages. This form must be completed and signed by all new employees when they start work. There are number of rules imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding form W-4:

  • Employees claiming exemption from income tax must indicate this on the W-4 form.
  • The amount of income tax withholding is based on filing status and withholding allowances, as shown on the form.
  • If a new employee fails to give the employer a completed W-4, the company must withhold tax as if the employee were single, with no withholding allowances.
  • Nonresident aliens may be subject to additional withholding on their wages.
  • A W-4 form remains in effect until the employer receives a new one from the employee.
  • Employees claiming exemption from income tax withholding must provide a new form every year.


Some employees may find it onerous to calculate their withholding allowances using the worksheets that accompany form W-4. To help them with this, the IRS provides access to its IRS Withholding Calculator, an application that can do the math for them. This is not a replacement for the form, and the W-4 must still be completed and submitted to the employer.


The DL1-65 form contains emergency information and is available from the U.S. Department of Labor. The information in this record is necessary so that an employer knows whom to contact in the event of an emergency. Employees are required to provide the phone numbers of two emergency contacts. The form must be signed and given to the employer for safekeeping.


This form concerns ethnicity and race identification of federal employees and is issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) under the authority of Title 42, United States Code, Section 2000e-16. Completion of the form is voluntary and may have no influence on a worker’s employment status.

The OPM uses this information to plan for equal opportunity initiatives throughout the federal government. The information is also used to identify employees for targeted survey responses.


The SF-2809 is used by federal employees to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB). The following people may use this form:

  • Employees who are eligible to enroll in the program
  • Annuitants in retirement systems, except the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
  • Former spouses eligible to enroll under the Spouse Equity Act or similar statutes
  • Individuals eligible for Temporary Continuation of Coverage under the FEHB program, including former employees, children who lose FEHB coverage, and former spouses not eligible for coverage under statutory law


Human Resources and Hiring Tools

No company can afford to devote too little time or too few resources to finding and hiring the right people for its organization. For some, the hiring process is daunting, and many hire employees on “gut feel,” without taking enough time or engaging the right resources to help them with the process.

When it comes to finding talent, there a number of hiring tools that can be used:

  • LinkedIn. This enables you to do filtered searches for suitable talent. Once you have identified potential candidates, this platform enables you to connect with the person and send a relevant message to start the hiring process.
  • Glassdoor. This application has a free version of its offering. Although not a direct hiring tool, Glassdoor enables you to showcase your company, which attracts talent.
  • Indeed. Job listings on this website attract substantial attention. Indeed also has a Resume Search feature, which enables you to find suitably qualified candidates.


It is critical that companies employ qualified human resources personnel to assist in their hiring processes. There are also a number of hiring tools that can be used to assist in candidate selection or to confirm that the right talent is being hired.

A. Personality Test

Personality tests that are suitable for the whole spectrum of company and industry types are hard to find. Companies must often select targeted personality tests for specific jobs, and many find that they require different personality tests for hiring talent for different departments within their organizations.

Employers should ensure that a personality test meets the professional guidelines of the following bodies:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • International Test Commission


The best personality tests have the following traits:

  • They provide results that enable true comparisons to be made among applicants.
  • They give a candid assessment of an applicant’s responses.
  • Results for the same candidate are consistent and repeatable.
  • They are able to reliably predict work performance.


B. Applicant Tracking Systems

Companies may also invest in an applicant tracking system (ATS), which uses software to automate workflows during the recruiting, screening, and hiring of candidates. This is especially useful when there is a large volume of applications for a particular job.

Having the entire hiring process computerized can streamline the process significantly and largely eliminate the need for paperwork. Automation also enables every declined applicant to be notified, thereby preventing the risk of negative publicity. Here are four leading suppliers of ATS software:

  • Bullhorn
  • Jobvite
  • ClearCompany HRM
  • NECT


C. Other Hiring Tools

There are several other tools that can be used to screen candidates, as well as manage the recruiting and hiring processes:

  • The Predictive Index. This is a leading tool for assessing skills, as well as behavioral and cognitive attributes, and is used extensively by all kinds of companies, including large corporates.
  • StrengthsFinder. This is a highly reliable system for identifying the skills, knowledge, and talents of candidates.
  • POP Screen. POP Screen is designed specifically to assess the talents of salespeople.
  • Viasto. This application enables you to set up structured video interviews for candidates who are not able to meet in person.
  • Workable. Workable has designed recruiting software specifically for small businesses, enabling them to post advertisements, process applications, manage interview schedules, and assist with onboarding.


Recommended Readings

5 Reasons to Hold Regular Performance Reviews

5 Mistakes You May Be Making in Salary Negotiations

Northeastern University Online MBA Program