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Business owners own up to hiring mistakes

It’s every business owner’s nightmare. After spending time and money to fill a job opening, the candidate you hired turnsmistakes out to be a dud — maybe even a danger to fellow employees and customer relations. According to a recent survey from online payroll provider SurePayroll, this nightmare appears to be transforming into a reality for many small business owners.

The survey reveals that 75% of surveyed business owners regretted hiring at least one employee, and many indicated that the mistake resulted in a significant financial loss— more than $10,000 a pop, according to 12% of respondents.

Although the recession has provided an abundance of job applicants, small business owners have to remain diligent about making hiring decisions, says SurePayroll President Michael Alter. “The businesses we talk to say they are seeing more individuals lying on their résumés or exaggerating their skill sets in order to get scarce jobs. In a down economy, small business owners must be especially vigilant when they bring on new employees,” says Alter.

How mistakes are made

According to the survey results, many small business owners are overlooking steps to reduce the likelihood of a hiring mistake. Most who admitted to bad hiring decisions said they resulted from a failure to accurately assess an employee’s personality, character, or skill set. Responses included:

• “We hired an employee without doing a background check, and then I caught her stealing.”

• “We rely mainly on a strong ‘gut feeling’ to determine if the candidate seems qualified and references checking out.”

• “Our hiring errors have been largely due to time constraints—we needed to fill a position fast and quickly chose what appeared to be the best applicant from resumes received.”

So what do business owners do when they realize they’ve made a hiring mistake? The most common reaction is to give the employee extra training. Others cut right to the chase and fire the unsatisfactory employee. Either tactic produces the same result: more time and money spent in training or recruiting, not generating revenue for the business.

How to avoid costly mistakes

According to Alter, the best way to avoid making a bad hire is to check out candidates during the pre-employment phase. Rather than simply relying on gut feeling, he suggests using these proven, objective screening methods:

• Perform background checks. Nearly half of all small business job applicants submit résumés with false information. A background check will help ensure that the candidates employers hire and entrust with their finances and proprietary information are who they claim to be.

• Assess personality traits. Understanding candidates’ underlying personalities and temperaments helps an employer determine whose work style will fit best in the company.

• Conduct skills testing. Skills testing reveals what a candidate is truly capable of before even coming in for an interview. Tests are even available in highly specialized, technical areas including C++, Oracle and Java.

• Do drug testing. Experts in toxicology research state that 75% of illegal drug users are employed, and most work for small-and medium-sized businesses. Drug screening services help employers keep their workplaces safe and ensure the competency of the employees they trust every day.

Source: SurePayroll,

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