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Q&A: Six Tips to Head off Hiring Headaches, and Employee Fatality at Work

Six tips to head off hiring headaches

Issue>>: You work for an advertising agency and are having trouble filling several creative positions at your organization. While many resumes look promising, candidates are not living up to expectations when interviewed. How can you attract and hire employees who will bring maximum value to your creative team?

<<Answer: Figuring out how to hire an employee with just the right mix of skills and knowledge can feel like a daunting task. Robert Half shared the following tips to attract and hire employees who bring maximum value to your creative agency or in-house department.


Juice up the job description. Generating interest from highly qualified job candidates is often one of the most difficult aspects of the hiring process for a business. When a position opens up, take the time to write a job description that’s both detailed and compelling. While you don’t want your job posting to be excessively long or so specific that it deters qualified candidates from applying, you do want to include enough information to attract job seekers who are well-suited for the position. If it’s a new role, carefully consider the tasks you want the employee to take on short term and long term, and the levels of education and experience your ideal candidate should possess. If you’re filling a vacated role, take the opportunity to evaluate whether you want to make changes to the position. Chances are you’ll want to add or shift some responsibilities.


Cast a wide net. When you’re ready to start recruiting candidates, cast your net deep and wide. Post the opening on your website and on job boards that cater to your company’s industry or the creative field. Also, share the job ad on your company’s social media accounts. Don’t forget about the power of in-person networking to spread the news of your open position, whether you’re attending a casual lunch, professional event, or industry conference. You also may want to consider working with a specialized recruiter who has access to highly skilled creatives, including passive job seekers.


Don’t shortchange the resume review. Evaluating resumes can be tedious and time-consuming, but it allows the hiring manager to decide if a candidate’s qualifications fit the bill. Look for resumes with key words and phrases that match the job description. This shows that the candidate is focused on details and has experience that aligns with the job duties. Also, keep an eye out for resumes that highlight both technical and soft skills and that include concrete ways the job seeker added value and helped meet company goals in previous roles.


Conduct consistent interviews. During each interview, pay attention to whether the candidate is well prepared by testing his or her knowledge of your company and industry. Zero in on both technical know-how and interpersonal abilities. Your job is not only to find the most qualified person, but also to build a well-functioning and cohesive creative team. While your conversations will naturally take different courses, be sure to ask all candidates the same questions to keep the playing field level. Don’t forget to sell yourself and your company — interviews are a two-way street.


Determine the right salary range. Offering an attractive salary package is a must, given the competition to attract talent today. According to a survey by The Creative Group, 57 percent of hiring managers polled say they are willing to negotiate salary with top candidates. Review salary surveys to make sure your starting pay ranges are on par with or better than what other companies in your area are offering.


Act fast when you find the right candidate. According to the aforementioned survey, it takes five weeks, on average, to fill an open staff-level position. Filling an open management-level role takes an average of seven weeks. Once you’ve identified your top candidate, extend an offer quickly. Candidates with strong portfolios and the right mix of skills frequently have multiple opportunities from which to choose. Expect the candidate to take a day or two to consider your offer, and plan for some back-and-forth negotiating. Finally, make it clear that the job offer is contingent upon any reference or background checks you need to complete.

Source: How to Hire an Employee: 6 Tips to Head Off Hiring Headaches, released October 5, 2017; Robert Half


Workplace fatalities: Steps to be followed by employers and OSHA

Issue: Sadly, a worker was killed in an industrial accident at one of your organization’s facilities. Everything happened so quickly and, frankly, you didn’t know what was expected of you with regard to OSHA reporting. At the same time, you weren’t sure what to expect from OSHA. What rules pertain?

Answer: OSHA regulations require employers to report deaths on the job within eight hours. Employers may call their local OSHA office or may use the agency’s toll-free number: 800-321-OSHA (6742).

The agency then investigates the circumstances of the death, usually onsite, to determine the cause of death and if violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act are involved — unless the matter is clearly outside OSHA’s jurisdiction, such as over-the-road traffic accidents and some apparent sudden deaths on the job such as heart attacks or strokes. Depending on the nature and complexity of the incident, an OSHA investigation may take as long as six months.

If the agency determines that the employer failed to follow safety and health requirements, it issues citations and proposed civil penalties. The proposed penalties are based on the statutory factors of employer size, gravity of the violation, good faith of the employer, and the history of previous violations. Effective January 2, 2018, the maximum penalty that may be assessed is $12,934 for a serious violation or $129,336 for a repeated or willful violation.

OSHA assistance to family members. OSHA is committed to working with families to provide an accounting of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of workers and to doing everything possible to prevent future tragedies. Agency representatives contact the family of the worker who died to let them know of the agency’s investigation and to arrange to provide further information as it becomes available. Investigators take into account relevant information that family members may provide concerning their loved one’s working conditions and death.

OSHA’s administrator also sends a letter of condolence to the family, which includes contact information for the office handling the inspection. Family members may then request a copy of all citations, subsequent settlement agreements, or Review Commission decisions as soon as these are available.

Criminal prosecution of willful deaths. The Occupational Safety and Health Act also provides that where OSHA can document that an employer willfully violated an OSHA standard and that violation caused the death of a worker, the matter may be referred to the Justice Department for consideration for criminal prosecution. Any criminal prosecution that the Department of Justice pursues is usually in addition to civil citations and penalties.

About the author, Rhamy

Rhamy grew up watching and working with his mother and grandmother in the seniors insurance market. This familiarity with the struggles faced by people trying to navigate the incredibly complicated and heavily regulated healthcare market led him to start Poplar Financial while working on his degree at the University of Memphis. After completing his MBA and Bachelors in Finance and Economics, Rhamy guided Poplar Financial through the disruptive opportunity that is the Affordable Care Act. Since then Poplar Financial has received numerous awards from major insurance carriers, and has completed its fourth year in a row of doubling in size. Now his team focuses on the processes around human resources, and specializes in providing companies with between 20 and 1000 employees with the payroll, benefits, and HR needs.

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