[LTR] Prospective employees present both opportunity and challenge to a company that is trying to grow and become more prosperous. On the one hand, new talent at an organization can help elevate the company to new heights. On the flip side, there are a number of pitfalls associated with hiring new members of your staff. Hiring decisions are as important as any other choice your company makes and truly deserves time and attention to get it right.

For decades, job candidates have submitted a resume, followed up for an interview and put on a good show. Gone are the days of factual data being presented on a resume. No more are the days when everyone in town can "vouch" for John Q. Jobseeker. You take the time to compile a job posting with list of qualifications, and expect that everyone applying will have the set of skills necessary to execute the daily tasks of the job.

When candidates present themselves, ask questions of them. Seek time with them to learn their personality. Ask them for specific references from their life, not just accept a list they give you. Spend time looking up the person on various social media sites. Ask to speak with their past employer, as well as their past co-workers. Focusing on a person's past is often a good way to predict future behavior.

All too often, employers entrust hiring decisions to their human resources department. This may not be the best way to make your next hire, especially for a smaller business. These prospects need to spend time with their future coworkers to make sure that the position is a good fit for all parties involved. If you feel like you can't find enough information on a person, it may be time to delve even deeper into a person's past. Credit checks, employment verification checks, social security validation, criminal background checks and driving records are all on record and can be confirmed. Professional services do exist to help you find out any information you need.

Skeletons, unfortunately, do exist in many people's closets. While some information may have no bearing on a person's ability to perform a job, other situations could differ. Who would want a sex offender to be allowed to be a teacher? They may be the best teacher in the world, but the harsh criticism and backlash that could arise could prove unbearable. Or what if a person had been convicted felon for embezzlement, and they were seeking employment in a position where they would handle financial transactions? Could this prove dangerous for your business?

When you put all of the items above into practice, due your homework, investigate your potential employees and spend time making educated decisions your business will prosper. Remember this: history often repeats itself; why not learn about things now, instead of years down the road when problems arise?