The 9 Key Pitfalls of Hiring

Choosing the right person from a group


5. Do not require applicants to take pre-offer personality or skills tests without first ensuring that you are not unwittingly conducting a medical exam or assessing whether the person has a disability (both of which generally are prohibited under federal and state laws).

6. Do not make any promises about how long the applicant would work for you if hired, and do not promise any benefits which you do not intend to provide.

By the same token, any job offer letters should not promise that the employee will work for a specific amount of time. Instead, the offer letter (and your employment handbooks) should indicate that the employment is “at will,” meaning that either the employee or employer can terminate the relationship at any time and for any reason.
7. Do not require applicants to take lie detector or drug tests, unless you ensure that your state allows you to conduct those tests. In particular, most states severely restrict the use of lie detector tests and limit when a drug test can be conducted.

8. Do not hire or recruit anyone who is not authorized to work in the United States.

9. Make sure you maintain all applications in your files for the specified period of time required by your state.

In most states this is at least one year, and in some states it's even longer.

Failing to comply with the laws on these topics may subject your business to expensive litigation. Given all of this risk and exposure, it is important for small-business employers to review their hiring procedures, and seek legal assistance in doing so, to ensure full compliance with the law. 

Have there been any hiring challenges you have faced as a small business employer and would like to share?

Related articles;

3 Considerations Before Hiring a New Employee

Adding a New Employee Worth the Expense?

The Art of Hiring for Your Small Business

Hiring Better Fitting Employees


About the author

Emma Luevano

Emma Luevano is a regular contributor to on legal issues relevant to small and medium business. She is a partner at the law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP ( who advises and represents management on labor and employment matters, including sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination, public policy violations, wrongful termination, class action wage and hour issues,and retaliation.