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Use this checklist to prepare and manage the hiring process. Thoughtful preparation can reduce your liability; protect your at-will employment relationships; and reduce your odds of negligent hiring claims.

Use an Up-to-Date Job Description.

  • Develop or review the job description. Does it reflect the essential functions of the role? Does it list responsibilities in order of importance? See Job Description: A Valuable Tool
  • Determine the Best Type of Employee to Hire. What hiring criteria do you require? What are the non-negotiable must-haves?  (i.e., experience, education, knowledge, abilities, skill-set).

Determine position classification (exempt) or hourly rate (nonexempt).

  • Neither job titles nor job descriptions determine whether a salaried employee is exempt or nonexempt. Classifying your employees correctly is critical. Generally, an employee who possesses employee management and independent decision-making responsibilities for the business (your practice) could be considered exempt. In addition, salaried employees should earn no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment. See Employee Exemption Checklist
  • Conduct a market salary survey. Employers are prohibited from relying on the salary history (pay and benefits) information of an applicant for employment as a factor in determining whether to offer an applicant employment or what salary to offer an applicant.

Begin Recruiting for the Position. ​

  • Choose a recruiting method that works best for your needs. Post position internally/externally (i.e., websites, social media, job boards, industry journals, association websites or newsletters, local schools).
  • Avoid discriminatory language in your recruiting efforts and be specific about the job’s qualifications and salary range, if applicable. For additional information on this topic read: Recruitment Strategies to Overcome Staffing Shortages in Dental Offices.

Use a California-specific application for employment.

  • Ask all applicants to complete an employment application, even if they provided a résumé. An employment application can provide legal protections. An application requires applicants to confirm the accuracy and truthfulness of the information they provided. It authorizes you to check references and informs applicants that any future employment will be on an at-will basis. Use Application for Employment
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    Use Good Selection Practices. Before selecting a new employee, determine what background information you might need for the particular job. Checking references is always a good start. Document your attempts to obtain reference information.

    Conduct telephone interviews to narrow the candidate pool (optional).

    Things to listen for during the phone interviews:

    • How personable was the candidate on the phone?
    • Did they seem distracted?
    • Articulate?
    • What was your first impression?

    Your time is valuable. Consider conducting telephone interviews to narrow down your selection.

    Conduct in-person interviews. Sample Employment Interview Questions

    Evaluate candidates against objective criteria.

    Select candidate and extend an offer of employment Nonexempt offer letter /Exempt offer letter

    • After you make the hiring decision, send an offer letter, to the applicant you’ve chosen. Employment letters clarify the terms of employment, including such details as the start date; at-will employment status; exempt or nonexempt status; the wage or salary; benefits, if available.
    • The employment letter should state whether the offer is contingent on the applicant passing a reference or background check. If the offer is contingent on the applicant passing a criminal background check, you must follow the detailed notice process required by California law.

    Complete reference checks (recommended). Use Reference Check Form

    Conduct a background check (optional).

    • Employers with five or more employees must refrain from asking applicants about criminal conviction histories until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

    Schedule the first day of work and prepare required new employee paperwork. New Employee Orientation and Onboarding Checklist

    Assign team lead for new-employee orientation and training schedule. See Required Employee Training

    Remove postings.

    Notify candidates who were not selected. Keep a record of applications, interview notes and actions taken (must be retained for one year for applicants not hired).

    New Employee Welcome and Onboarding. Prepare for your employee's first day. Have an orientation program in place so you can take care of all the required paperwork, provide the proper training and make the new employee feel welcome.

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