4 Questions That Might Spell Trouble

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you may find yourself hiring part-time or full-time employees or working with contractor employees.  This is great news for the most part.  However, there are four questions you need to keep an eye out for that can spell trouble for you in the short-term as well as in the long run.

Do you have a drug testing policy?

Most people who ask that question ask that question because they have reason to ask that question.  You should be aware that substance abuse in the workplce is regulated in the U.S. by the Drug Free Workplace Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Family and Meidal Lave Act, and other federal laws.

NOTE:  Other countries have similar federal acts and laws in place to address substance abuse in the workplace.

If your company doesn’t have a drug testing policy, meet with your legal counsel to go over the legalities of adopting a drug testing policy.  Make sure you are aware of what your legal responsibilities are if you have a drug testing policy.  And ask your legal counsel what the repercussions are for your company if you don’t have a drug testing policy but your employee or contract employee indulges in illicit drugs.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with addressing the use, possession, purchase, sale, manufacturing, or dispensing of illicit substances, or of being under the influence during work hours.  You have to also take into consideration that certain prescription drugs may adversely affect a person’s ability to safely and effectively perform certain job duties.

How much overtime is there?

When you put out a call for an employee or a contract employee, the job description generally outlines — along with the requisite and preferred skills sets and abilities — the duties to be performed as well as the number of hours per week.  The applicant who asks about overtime may have concerns that additional hours will conflict with other parts of his or her life.  Or they may be looking to pad their hours by finding ways to go beyond the traditional eight-hour work day.  They may not be as proficient or efficient as their resume indicates, and the question is meant to shore up any deficiencies that aren’t apparent in either the resume or at the interview. Regardless of the reason for asking the question, chances are the reason is one you, as an employer or contractor, will find difficult to work with or around.

How fast do people move up the ladder?

Generally, those who ask how quickly they can move up the ladder are more likely to jump from job to job, and position to position.  They usually aren’t interested in doing their job well, and are more focused on getting to the big financial pay-off.  Oftentimes, they aren’t interested in learning the ins-and-outs of the current position, and they tend to fob off onto others those parts of their job they dislike most.  When an employee is more interested in getting into middle or upper management as quickly as possible before proving himself or herself at the entry level, chances are you have just met someone who is far more adept at justifications and excuses than meeting quotas and a job well done.

What do you do exactly?

It’s an assumption that applicants will take the time to acquaint themselves with the business they apply to for employment.  Not every applicant takes the time to find out if the company will be a good fit for their lifestyle and interests.  For example, if a vegan applies for a job at a slaughterhouse, there could be a number of moral and ethical complications for the vegan that will cause difficulties for the slaughterhouse.

If the applicant is sure what your business is, you need to ask yourself what the reason for that may be.  Is the applicant desperate for any job?  Is the applicant looking for a fast ride up the corporate ladder?  Is the applicant disinterested in applying for the job but only doing so for reasons you aren’t aware of during the interview process?

Regardless of the reason, be aware that if an applicant has no knowledge of what your business is and what your business does, they could very well bring that attitude to the job if they are hired.

Final Note

No question is a stupid question if the person asking it doesn’t know the answer.  It’s up to you, as the business owner, to know as much as you’re legally entitled to know about applicants so you can make the most informed decision when hiring.  If you have any doubts about an applicant’s ability to work well within your business, ask more questions and take your time chosing the right employee for the position.  You’ll be glad you did.

Elyse Bruce

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: