As discussed previously, 2017 will bring a lot of uncertainty in the field of labor and employment law as we transition from an Obama administration to a Trump administration. Amid all of this uncertainty, commit yourself to doing something guaranteed to make a difference in your organization: finding and landing the best candidates out there.

The best candidates will be grateful to work with you. They will bring the best skills, knowledge and abilities to your workplace, and they will be far less likely to file legal claims against you.

This article outlines seven tips for tuning up your selection process with a goal of achieving these objectives.

1. Identify the sources and traits of your best employees

Workplaces and employers are different. There is no "one size fits all" formula for finding and landing the candidates that will be the best match for your organization.

Before you move forward repeating what you have done in the past to source and land candidates, step back, be self-critical and analyze what sources have produced the best candidates. At the same time, analyze your current employees and assess the skills, knowledge, abilities and background experiences that make them the most successful ones in your organization.

2. Tailor your selection process

Once you identify the sources and traits of your high-performers, develop screening techniques targeted to get more candidates that can become high-performers in your organization.

This process may involve consulting outside specialists in this area, such as industrial psychologists, human resources professionals, employment lawyers or other experts in the field. It may require updating your application for employment to discover information that is relevant to finding the person that best fits your needs.

3. Conduct in-person interviews

It may seem old fashioned in this this era of Skype, GoTo Meeting, big data and the Internet, but nothing replaces in-person interviews.

Those new tools are helpful in winnowing down the field but they should not replace the personal connection that comes with an in-person interview. Those new methods do not always allow you to understand contextual or nonverbal cues that can help you distinguish a good hire form a bad one.

4. Use behavioral-based interview techniques

Plan for the interview. Study the candidate's application for employment and resume, and think about the job-related questions you need to ask. Develop real-world questions that probe into how the candidate has handled or will handle difficult scenarios.

Don't just play the "who do you know" game in the valuable in-person setting and don't spend all the time in the interview "selling" the candidate on your organization.

5. Check references thoroughly

Many studies reveal that candidates are not always truthful or forthcoming in presenting their past experiences or credentials. It is essential to check work and educational references thoroughly.

Don't just delegate this task to a clerical employee or reduce it to a form. Take this part of the process seriously and dig for any indication that the candidate may not be the best fit for your organization. With a little perseverance, you will be amazed at what you can actually learn about candidates.

6. Conduct appropriate background checks

The EEOC and some states have essentially declared war on criminal and credit background checks. The movement even has the label of "Ban the Box."

So, now you have to be careful to comply with federal laws, such as Title VII and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and myriad applicable state and local laws. At a minimum, make sure the particular background check you want to conduct is relevant to success in the job for which you are hiring.

You should not do the same types of checks for all positions in your organization. Include statements on your employment application form that indicate an affirmative answer will not automatically result in disqualification for the job and that you will consider factors such as the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since it occurred, any rehabilitation efforts, the intervening employment record and the nature of the job being sought.

If you are thinking about rejecting a candidate based in whole or in part on the information you receive, make sure to comply with the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Once you obtain the information, maintain it in a safe, secure and confidential place.

7. Think outside the box

Your competitors and other employers are also out there scouring the field trying to source the best candidates. That means you have to be creative and work hard to source and land those candidates.

Think outside the box and try something different. Be innovative and strategic. In the end, you will be rewarded if you can out-think or outwork the competition and get the best candidates.


Some employers will lose their direction this year as laws, regulations and governmental enforcement strategies are in flux. Don't be distracted by what is happening in Washington. All of that change will settle out over the next four years.

Stay the course and concentrate now on the transactional strategies that help you source and land the best talent for your organization by following the seven-point action plan in this article.