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Your 2017 Year-End HR Checklist

If you’re a business owner, you need to start your 2017 year-end HR checklist. This includes a lot of human resources and tax-related responsibilities. Ninja Gig is here to help you prepare for the end of the year so you can start focusing on ringing in 2018.

  • Year-End Payroll Guide – Check with your payroll company and get a year-end guide. You will need to verify employee contact information and addresses for W2s. You will also need to learn more about taxing year-end bonuses, fringe benefits and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting.
  • Update Posters – Workplace posters change every year, so it’s best to confirm that federal and state posters are up-to-date. Check to see if your state requires any new minimum wage notices for 2018.
  • Update State and Federal Forms – Update all state and federal forms. Make sure that I-9 forms are complete for all current employees.
  • OSHA Logs – Some employers are required to maintain logs and records of work-related injuries and illnesses. A Form 300A should be posted in your workplace.
  • Carryover Vacation – If your company allows for vacation and other certain types of paid time off to carry over from year to year, make sure that everything is prepared with payroll to facilitate a smooth carry over.
  • Independent Contractors – If your company has independent contractors, make sure their classification is confirmed on an annual basis. Very specific federal and state tests must be satisfied to ensure that someone is an independent contractor. Evaluate current relationships to see if they have changed over time.
  • Review Policies – Review all current company practices and laws to see if your workplace policies need to be updated. The end of the year is an excellent time to review these policies and see if they comply with current employment laws.
  • Employment Applications – Take the time to review online employment applications. Some states and jurisdictions prohibit employers from asking about criminal history on job applications. Consider checking out the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for recommendations about what questions to avoid on job applications.
  • Job Descriptions – Update all company job descriptions to make sure they reflect the responsibilities and roles of positions in your company.
  • Holiday Calendar – Create a holiday calendar for 2018 and distribute or post it before the end of the year. This is also a good time to remind employees what holidays are considered paid leave or time off.

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Tips for Hiring the Right Employee for Your Company

Hiring employees is a tough part of any human resources job. The right employee can take a business to the top, while the wrong employee can wreak havoc by creating a negative work environment. While you can’t please everyone in your company, you can integrate these tips for hiring the right employee.

  • Interview candidates that are committed to their careers. If you find a candidate that is committed to their career, this is an excellent sign. You don’t want to hire people that regularly switch careers or jobs often. If a candidate is not loyal to their career or past companies, this could be a warning flag. Always check references, candidates’ previous job titles and the length of time they stayed at each company. If they have a history of regularly switching jobs, they may not be the right fit for your company.
  • Always check compatibility. Just as importantly as having the right skill set is an employee that fits in with your company’s culture. Excellent candidates should have the necessary social skills to get along with other employees and managers. Consider asking candidates to judge their compatibility skills when it comes to working with employees and clients. If an applicant openly expresses the inability to get along with others, current clients or even previous bosses, these are warning signs that he/she may not be a good fit for your organization.
  • Test for learning and analytical skills. Using different methods to assess learning and analytical skills for candidates is a superb idea. While it is tricky to test candidates, don’t only evaluate them based on their resume, as these can be lined with falsehoods. A candidate should have confidence, the right skill set and the necessary educational or on-the-job work experience to be successful at the position.
  • Continually improve your hiring process. A hiring process is never perfect or foolproof. Always strive to improve your hiring process, which will help you hire the best, brightest and most talented candidates for your company. Incorporate these tips:
    • Avoid asking irrelevant questions. To maximize the interview, focus on questions that highlight the candidates’ knowledge, capabilities, skills, attitude and confidence.
    • Put the right information in job advertisements. When advertising job vacancies, make sure that all necessary job requirements are included in the description. This includes job responsibilities, necessary education, experience, skills and knowledge. This will help evaluate candidates that are more qualified and help attract applicants that will fulfill the requirements.
  • Embrace social media for hiring candidates. More companies are using social media for recruiting. This includes using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 45% of Fortune 500 firms use social media to advertise their job openings.

Ninja Gig offers employment applications, which makes it easy to link social media job listings to online applications.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial.

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Don’t Do This for Successful Interviews, Part 2

How and what you ask during an interview greatly affects the results and answers you receive from candidates. To help facilitate a better interview process, Ninja Gig has put together a list of Don’ts for employers.

  1. Don’t be aggressive – You want candidates to feel comfortable so start out letting them tell you what they know about your company and describing their current job. It’s best to ease into more difficult questions when candidates are more comfortable.
  2. Don’t go off-the-wall – While one off-the-wall question per interview is acceptable, limit this number because you don’t want to make a candidate feel uncomfortable. If odd questions don’t fit into your company’s culture, forgo asking these altogether.
  3. Don’t be vague – While open-ended questions are excellent, it’s important that candidates also know what types of answers they are expected to give. Provide any clarification if a candidate appears confused.
  4. Don’t ask leading questions – Leading questions are never advisable during interviews. An example of a leading question is, “I assume you’re great at time management, aren’t you?” Ask questions that allow candidates to explain their skills so you can properly assess if the applicant is a good fit for your organization.
  5. Don’t judge – Some candidates are shy and may not shine in interviews, but be excellent at their jobs. Don’t judge immediately based on first impressions.

Interviewing skills develop with lots of practice. New hiring managers might be just as stressed as candidates when conducting interviews. Veterans know that hiring is stressful, time-consuming and often very frustrating. By pre-qualifying candidates and having online employment applications that ask applicants specific questions, you can sort through qualified and unqualified candidates, making the interview process easier.

Ninja Gig offers custom employment applications online. This makes it easy for your company’s website to provide the convenience of mobile job applications, which appeals to most prospective applicants.  Sign up today for a no obligation, 30-day free trial.

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Do and Say This for Successful Interviews, Part 1

How you ask questions and even when you ask them during an interview impacts the quality and value of answers you receive from candidates. To gain insight and elicit specific information about the applicant’s past performance and personality, consider implementing these Do’s into your interview process.


  1. DO Make Lists – Write down all the questions you want to ask candidates ahead of time. This will help make sure that you don’t get wrapped up in a conversation with them and forget to ask important questions that relate to their work history. Consider sharing the list with other key employees within your organization and see if they have any specific questions to add.
  2. DO Create a Flow – To be a good interviewer, you will need to incorporate a variety of question styles so the candidate doesn’t feel overwhelmed and interrogated. Here is a brief run down on the main types of interview questions:
    1. Open-ended – These types of questions require that the applicant give more thought to their answers. These are great questions to gaining more insight into a candidate’s work ethic, motivations and personality. An example of this type of question is, “Why do you want to work for our company?”
    2. Closed-ended – These are straightforward, simple questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” For example, “How many years of accounting experience do you have?”
    3. Hypothetical – These questions allow interviewers to gain insight into how candidates respond to certain situations. For example, “If you were managing an employee that was difficult with poor work performance, how would you address this situation?”
    4. Off-the-wall – More unusual questions can throw candidates off-guard, giving interviewers more insight into their personality and communication styles. For example, “If you were a brand, what would be your motto?”
  3. DO Vary Question Order – Avoid asking too many open-ended or close-ended questions in a row. Alternate easy questions with tough questions, which will help put the candidate more at ease.
  4. DO Ask for Examples – While hypothetical questions are excellent, it’s better to ask employees for specific examples of things they encountered in their past work history. For example, ask them about a time they had a conflict at work and what they did to resolve that conflict.
  5. DO Keep Things Concise – Avoid letting subjects veer too far off track and help keep the interview on track by keeping the conversation on target.

This is a two-part article. Next week we will feature the don’ts for successful interviews. Ninja Gig specializes in developing customized online job applications, which helps employers easily accept and track employment applications.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial!