With all of the publicity a few weeks ago about the new overtime rules, many small businesses that I know of have taken a closer look at their workforce, and whether any changes need to be made. This is wise, in my opinion.

Too many businesses slog along with team members who don’t quite carry the best interests of the business in mind. They’re there for the paycheck, thank you very much.

Well, there’s a place for that kind of thing and it’s called “charitable giving”. As a business owner, you simply can’t afford to subsidize staff that isn’t moving your organization forward.

So these new rules (which don’t go into effect until December) might provide a good opportunity to make some changes.

So, as someone who has experienced, firsthand, the hopeful rush of hiring a new employee … only to see those hopes dashed by performance, I thought that I might put together a short piece on what I’ve learned over the years about hiring and firing.

A Common Sense Hiring and Firing Framework for Long Island and Stamford Businesses
“All wealth is the product of labor.” – Michael Locke

We all know how much of a gamble the hiring process can sometimes be. Often, we end up going by “gut feel” … a method which has put its fair share of adherents into some hot water, sadly.

So how do you know which of the job applicants you’re interviewing will be a winner for your team, and which will be the anvil around your neck?

Well, the “secret” to hiring the right employee is to give somewhat equal weight to five different factors:

1) Education
2) Experience
3) Passion for the field
4) Drive
5) Fit

Sometimes, the best applicant is not the one with 20 years of experience. Sometimes, the best applicant is not the one with the Master’s degree. Focus your interview questions around all five traits, and the “right” employee will emerge.

What if it’s a toss-up? Look closely at the experience, because past experience is the best indicator of future success. In fact — despite conventional wisdom, I recommend you avoid open-ended questions altogether when discussing experience, and instead ask interviewees to give you specific and tangible answers about how they have handled problems or challenges in the past.

And if you’re struggling with current employees, here are four guidelines to determine if it’s time to let someone go:

1) You are doing (or re-doing) their work
2) They fail to reach their goals on a regular basis
3) The employee has not taken your direction and correction to heart
4) They negatively impact other employees around them

You do NOT have the luxury of keeping poor or mediocre employees. With the advent of these new overtime regulations (and the certitude of more regulations to come), you must keep only the best employees for your business.

And, don’t feel guilty for letting go of inefficient or unproductive persons. You’re growing a business, not running a charity.

In all of this, keep your goals in mind, keep your humanity … and remember that just because you or your business are where you are right now, the decisions you make today about hiring and firing can make a big difference about whether you will be in that place a year from now. Choose wisely.

I’m grateful for our chance to serve you and your business — and we are dedicated to its success, in staffing as in all other measures.

Feel very free forward this article to a Long Island and Stamford business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way?These particular articles usually relate to business strategy because, as you know, we are Profitability Consultants also specializing in tax preparation and planning for Long Island and Stamford families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.


Michael J. Kessler, CPA
(516) 449-2852
(203) 658-5092

PS–Join us for our show Business Profits In The Real World Saturday afternoons at 4 on 103.9FM WRCN where we bring you Long Island and The New York-Metro’s most successful business owners sharing how you too can bring your business to among the most profitable in your industry.  No radio? No problem! Listen live at LINewsRadio.com – or can’t listen live?  Hear our past shows atMichaelKesslerCPA.com