HR Compliance Simplified: New Hire Checklist

Taking the time to develop a proper hiring process can save you the trouble of a “bad hire” in the long run. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates the cost to replace an employee is six to nine months of the employee’s salary. And that’s just the cost if that employee simply leaves. If you are found to have used discriminatory interview tactics, it could cost you much more. That’s why our employment law attorneys recommend companies adopt a standard procedure for all new hires.

A few things to consider:

Define the Position

  • Make sure that you know what the job actually is
  • Create a job description. Or if one exists, make sure that it is up-to-date
  • What qualifications are required?
  • What are the essential functions?
  • What are the non-essential functions?
  • Are there physical requirements?
  • Where do they fit in the org chart?
  • Determine salary range and any special benefits package the position qualifies or doesn’t qualify for
  • Determine hiring team
  • Who is the hiring manager?
  • Who will be involved from HR?

Post the Opening

  • If affirmative action is applicable, the employer should be sure to include appropriate targeted recruitment sources

Narrow Down Job Applications

  • Apply consistent rules to completion of application form
  • Determine if pre-interview testing is needed (e.g., typing words per minute, specific aptitude or personality tests)
  • Document selection process
  • Identify criteria used
  • Identify who was involved in decision making process
  • Keep records
  • Extend interview invitations


  • Choose interview types, and determine the number of interviews you will conduct
  • Who will conduct them?
  • Ensure interviewers are aware of proper interviewing technique (e.g., not asking impermissible questions)
  • Questions should be:
    • Job related
    • Narrowly-tailored
    • Consistent
  • Each candidate should receive the same questions
  • Avoid making any promises or statements that could be construed as promises
  • These later could be interpreted as offers of employment or promises of employment for a specific period
  • Document each interview candidate right after the interview
  • Retain records (application and interview notes) for at least 12 months

Offer Position

  • Send offer letter after informing candidate on the phone
  • Ensure that the offer letter does not undermine at-will status of the position
  • Provide wage, start date and key terms of employment
  • Communicate with other conditions the offer is contingent on, if any (e.g., background check, drug test, I-9 verification)

Complete Background Check (if necessary)

  • Comply with any FCRA requirements on background checks
  • Provide written disclosures
  • Obtain signature of candidate

Being intentional, and most importantly, consistent in your hiring practices is an important way to mitigate risk for your company and ensure your new hire is the right fit. For more insight on perfecting the hiring process, check out another recent blog from our Employment Law team The Art of Hiring Slow and Firing Fast: A Guide for Building a Successful Team .