Contributed Column

Personnel Points

What to do when you hire a new employee

by Dave Mount, Westaff

I’ve had a lot of questions lately about the hiring process and I thought this might be a good time to review what has to happen.

First is the hiring part. You need to pull qualified applicants into your place of business to interview. When Fran and I started Westaff in 1982, there were two principal ways to bring applicants in: newspaper ads and reputation. I cannot tell you how many times applicants told me they had applied to “IBM, Digital, and GE” — the area’s premier employers at the time. Reputation was everything then and it still is.

In the 31 years since we started in business, the array of recruiting sources has expanded exponentially. Most of this is the result of the Internet but some low-tech solutions have also come along. Alternative newspapers and temporary help firms have become prominent in the process.

I love the Internet as a recruiting source. In 1982, an emergency recruiting assignment would require putting an ad in the daily newspaper, which could take up to four days if the assignment came late in the week. With the Internet, response time can be as little as 10 minutes.

Craig’s List and the Front Porch Forum are probably the best inexpensive Internet listing services; Monster, Career Builder, and Jobsinvt.com are services that charge for a listing. They are all effective but Monster and Career Builder need a word of caution. They are international. People from all over the world see the sites, and it’s not uncommon to receive resumes from India, China, the Philippines, or Texas.

Having received resumes, your next step is interviewing. A lot has been written on this, including by me, so I’ll leave that for another time.

Now comes hire time, where the government enters the picture. The number of forms the government requires is many and varied.

I list them below but it is important to discuss the I-9 form. This is the form the government requires to assure that people you hire have the legal right to work in the U.S. Every new employee must complete this form within three days of starting work. It requires positive proof of the legal right to work in the U.S. The form walks you through the process, and it must be completely filled out.

Because of the Law of Unintended Consequences, the I-9 form may not be filed with any other employment form. The best solution is to keep all the I-9 forms together in a place separate from applications and/or resumes. Keep a file of the I-9s for the active employees; I-9 forms for terminated employees should be kept separately and destroyed as soon as the law allows. To be on the safe side and in compliance with the law, Form I-9 may be removed from the file and destroyed after an employee has been terminated for three years.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service issued a new version of the Form I-9 and it must be in use by May 7, 2013, so don’t rely on a supply of old forms. You’ll find the new form on the Internet — a version printed from the USCIS website is acceptable (www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf). All employers, regardless of size, are required to collect and maintain the Form I-9, and the law subjects violators to substantial penalties.

One other form most small employers don’t think about is Vermont form C-61. This form is required as a result of the various welfare reform laws that have been passed over the last few years. It notifies the state of a new employee and provides his or her address and Social Security number. The πstate compares it with the database of child-support delinquents. If an employee is on the list, the state will do everything it can to collect. Reporting requirements are contained on the state Labor Department’s website (www.labor.vt.gov).

In summary, collect these forms to begin a personnel file.

  • Application and/or resume
  • Any insurance forms if you offer insurance
  • W-2
  • Copy of form C-61
  • I-9 (filed separately)

Dave Mount is the founder of Westaff in Burlington.

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