Hiring new people for your business means your business is growing in most cases and should be a good occasion. But there are always risks when hiring new people and employers need to protest themselves by being aware of some of the pitfalls to look for. Being aware of the pitfalls can avoid a lot of problems in the future. 

If you’ll be conducting any kind of reference or background checking, make sure you get authorization from the applicant first. Because the law in this area is very complicated and varies from state to state, you should seek assistance from legal counsel to develop the necessary notice and disclosure forms for proper background and credit checks.   

Your application should be free of questions regarding private or protected information such as age, marital status, religion, place of birth or disabilities. Some states prohibit employers from asking about arrest histories. Even the most innocent of questions can be used by overzealous applicants to support a discrimination claim. It’s always best to seek legal advice when looking over your job application. 

Avoid making any promises to an applicant regarding how long they would work for if hired or promising any benefits that any not happen. 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. This means that employment can be terminated by either employee or employer for any reason. 

Most states severely restrict the use of lie detector tests and limit when a drug test can be conducted. Do not require applicants to take any of these types of tests, unless you ensure that your state allows you to conduct those tests.    

To be safe it is always the best policy to become familiar with hiring laws and practices in the state in which you will be hiring.