Well-written job descriptions are crucial to the hiring process because they assist you in clarifying the skills you expect of an applicant and they help you to defend yourself should you be sued over a hiring decision. 

In preparing a job description, ask yourself why you need someone in this position and how the employee would fit into your company structure.  Then you want to determine what duties that person will perform. 

In making this determination, distinguish between job requirements that are absolutely necessary (also known as essential functions) and those that you would prefer in an ideal world, but that you can do without or could have someone else perform.  Essential functions must be listed separately, because when considering accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, they are the functions that the applicant must be able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation. 

Job descriptions should provide an interviewer who has no personal knowledge of a job with enough information to weed out unsuitable applicants and send only the best-qualified people on for further consideration. 

To prepare a good job description, take a survey of others who have done the job before or observe someone who is performing the job.  Determine what qualifications the applicant must have to be able to perform the essential functions of the job. These qualification standards must be job related and consistent with business necessity. 

Qualifications should include the required education, work experience, physical abilities, mental capacity, skills, licenses or certifications and other requirements such as judgment, ability to work under pressure, or interpersonal skills. 

Not sure if your job descriptions are up-to-date or ADA-compliant?  Contact Prestige for assistance.

A little HR humor for a summer Friday:

Reaching the end of a job interview, the human resources person asked a young applicant fresh out of business school, “And what starting salary are you looking for?”

The applicant said, “In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.”

The interviewer said, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks’ vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50 percent of your salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?”

The applicant sat up straight and said, “Wow! Are you kidding?”

And the interviewer replied, “Yeah, but you started it.”

Just two countries, Spain and Japan, rank worse than the United States when it comes to projected salary increases for 2013 – and they are not even close to the leaders.

With a projected average salary increase of 10.7%, India leads all countries for the second straight year, according to a 2012-2013 Salary Budget Survey conducted by WorldatWork, a nonprofit organization that provides informational resources to HR and Benefits professionals.  India is followed closely by China and Brazil, who are projected to see 8.8% and 7.2% salary increases, respectively.

According to the survey, which gathered from 4,299 responses from 13 countries representing 17 million employees, the bottom of the list projections are theUnited States, with an average projected salary increase is 3%; Spain, with a projected increase is 2.9%; and Japan, for which the projected increase is 2.7%.

The projected 2013 salary increases for all of the other countries surveyed (Singapore, Australia, Canada, Germany, the U.K., France and the Netherlands) fall somewhere in the 3% to 4.3% rage.

The fact that projected salary increases in the U.S. are lagging so far behind others suggests there is still a ways to go on the road to economic recovery.

From HR Daily Advisor and CareerBuilder we bring you the following:

Imagine you are reading a résumé and the applicant calls himself out as a genius and proceeds to invite you to his apartment to interview him. Would you take him up on the offer?

That is just one of the many responses to CareerBuilder’s recent survey about hiring managers’ real-life outrageous résumé experiences.

While the list is long, here are a few of our favorites:

Affiliations: Candidate’s cover letter talked about her family being in the mob. 

Skill set: Candidate applying for a management job listed “gator hunting” as a skill. 

Presentation: Candidate specified that her résumé was set up to be sung to the tune of “The Brady Bunch.” 

Accomplishments: Candidate highlighted the fact that he was “Homecoming Prom Prince” in 1984. 

Objectives: Candidate listed “to make dough” as the objective on the résumé. 

Language Spoken: Candidate claimed to be able to speak “Antartican” when applying for a job to work inAntarctica.

No matter what the circumstances are, every employee (and employer) has the right to request an unemployment hearing in order to influence a determination for benefits.  Success at these hearings, therefore, is an important ingredient in a comprehensive and successful program to control unemployment costs.

Every person getting ready to attend a hearing ought to make sure they understand the following:

  • Person(s) selected to attend a hearing should have firsthand knowledge of the reason for separation and the facts leading to the separation. Hearsay testimony is generally not persuasive.
  • Three copies of documentation (e.g., personnel file, records or statements) relevant to the separation are necessary for an in-person hearing. It is customary to provide copies for the hearing officer (or Administrative Law Judge), claimant (the terminated employee) and the Prestige representative. Procedures may vary according to state or for telephone hearings.
  • Bring copies of relevant company rules and policies, including (if applicable) rules found in a collective bargaining agreement if the claimant is a union member. Also produce evidence that rules were received by the claimant, e.g., acknowledgments.

Hearings are not trials, so you don’t have to observe all of the formalities of a courtroom.  But hearings are legal proceedings where witnesses swear to tell the truth, witnesses can be cross-examined and documents can be entered into evidence.

If you have questions concerning this, or any other unemployment issue, contact Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc.

What could be more fun on a summer Friday afternoon than to take a break from work to have a little fun testing your HR knowledge?  We’re not keeping score, but the answers are provided in case you wish to.

1. How many applicants seriously misrepresent themselves on employment applications or resumes?
a. 5%
b. 11%
c. 17%
d. 21%
e. 25%

Answer:  Surveys estimate that as many as 25-33% of applicants seriously lie on their resumes or applications. Length of employment, past salary, criminal record, and past job title are the most commonly falsified pieces of information. Because good hiring decisions require as much information as possible, and to prevent potential legal problems, we strongly encourage clients to implement a comprehensive reference policy. The question really isn’t “should” you check references but “how.”

2. On average, how many sick days do employees average annually?
a. 3.5
b. 4
c. 5
d. 6
e. I’m not sure, but if I knew it would probably make me sick.

Answer: According to a William Mercer study, Employers’ Time-off and Disability Programs, the answer is C. 5.   Some studies have found the number to be closer to 4.  Other studies have found that an increasing number of employees view use of sick leave as an entitlement, often unrelated to illness or injury.

3.  What percent of employees use the Internet for personal reasons each day?
a.  17%
b.  28%
c.  48%
d.  72%
e.  90%

Answer:   E. Recent surveys have indicated that 75-80% of employees have Internet access at work.  Of those with access, 90% used the web for personal use each day. Forty-seven percent indicated that they used it 30 minutes or more. More than ½ indicated that they sent 5 personal e-mails daily and 1/3 received over 10 personal e-mails.   Many companies have responded to this trend by restricting personal Internet use.

4. What percent of employers monitor internet activity?
a. 5%
b. 19%
c. 31%
d. 62%
e. No time to answer, I need to quickly delete my Internet History and old E-mails.

Answer:  D. 62% according to a survey by the ePolicy Institute and American Management Association.  47% monitor employee emails.

5. According to a survey by a worldwide HR consulting firm, which executive personality weakness was found to have the most negative impact on leadership success.
a.  Inability to understand others’ behaviors and motivations
b.  Arrogance
c.  Self-promotion
d.  Volatility
e.  No. You can’t say “all of the above” even though you may be thinking it.

Answer:  A. Inability to understand others. The bigger question is: what can we all do about it?

6. According to the Department of Labor, what percent of Americans hold jobs that were technically nonexistent 20 years ago?
a. 15%
b. 35%
c. 55%
d. 70%
e. I probably knew this at some point but most of my knowledge is obsolete.

Answer:  D. 70%

7. What percent of employees have worked for their current employers for less than 1 year?
a. 10%
b. 15%
c. 25%
d. 30%
e. I don’t know.  I just started working here last week.

Answer:  C. 25%.  Studies also show that an effective employee orientation can greatly impact employee success in the job.  How effective is your orientation program?

You can successfully protest benefit claims if you terminated a former employee for misconduct, and if you can prove misconduct* to the state. 

  • FINAL INCIDENT – The final incident is extremely important in misconduct cases. The final incident cannot be trivial or outside of the employee’s control. 
  • IMMEDIATE ACTION – If termination is warranted because of a final or major act of misconduct, discharge should not be delayed for reasons of convenience. A significant delay may cause the state to question the true reason for discharge. 
  • AVOID HEARSAY – Terminations should be based on firsthand knowledge and competent evidence, not hearsay or conjecture. Also, the evidence should be reviewed with the employee to afford an opportunity for a response. 
  • EXPLAIN DISCHARGE – Specific reason(s) for discharge should be given after reviewing the facts with Prestige, and the reasons should be documented effectively. 

NOTE: The burden of proof is on the employer if the discharge is for alleged misconduct. You must have documentation to prove your case. When dealing with the state unemployment agencies, appropriate written documentation is generally crucial to determining a claimant’s ineligibility for benefits.

* States define “misconduct” in the unemployment process differently. Make sure you understand exactly what is required in your state.


If you have questions concerning this, or any other unemployment issue, contact Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc.

Wednesday is Independence Day.  It’s the day we celebrate our history; the day we honor those who fought forAmerica’s independence so very long ago. It’s also the day millions of Americans fire up the grill, pack the car with beach gear and head downtown to the nearest fireworks display.

More than 160 million people who intend to participate in holiday festivities will celebrate the 4th of July by hosting or attending a cookout/barbecue and/or picnic.  As for the fireworks, what would Independence Day be without the fireworks?!  Nearly 115 million people will attend a fireworks or community celebration, and another 35 million will attend a parade.

With Independence Day also being a Federal holiday, millions of people will celebrate their special day off work by taking extra time off to head to the beach, go and see family or simply stay indoors by the air conditioner at home. Approximately 30 million people will brave the traffic this year to escape town for the 4th of July.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, why not take a moment to test your knowledge of the good oleUSAwith this list of 20 Independence Day trivia questions. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers; they are below.

  1. What are the first seven words of the Declaration of Independence?
  2. How many red stripes are on the American flag?
  3. How many white stripes are on the American flag?
  4. Name all of the original thirteen colonies.
  5. In what year did our current flag with 50 stars and 13 stripes become the current national flag?
  6. Where did the lyrics for the “Star Spangled Banner” originate?
  7. Where did the tune come from for the “Star Spangled Banner”?
  8. Although we only sing once stanza, how many stanzas are there actually in the original “Star Spangled Banner”?
  9. Where was the first battle of the Revolutionary War fought?
  10. Where was the final battle of the Revolutionary War fought?
  11. How was the crack in the Liberty Bell made?
  12. What was the major objection of the American colonists that they deemed the reason for the Revolutionary War?
  13. When and where was the first Independence Day celebrated?
  14. Where did the word patriotism come from?
  15. Two significant American patriots died on July 4th, 1826. Who were they?
  16. Who was the last signer to the Declaration of Independence in January of 1777?
  17. True or False? The names of the first signers of the Declaration of Independence were not made public until after the colonies won their independence from Britain for fear if the names were revealed and the colonies lost, the signers would be prosecuted for treason; a crime punishable by death.
  18. When did Congress declare the 4th of July a federal legal holiday?
  19. Which of the following was not one of the 13 original colonies?Georgia,Virginia,Massachusetts, orVermont?
  20. To show their dislike and disgust regarding British taxes, the colonists threw what imported commodity into theBostonHarborin 1776?



  1. When in the course of human events
  2. 7
  3. 6
  4. In alphabetical order, they were:Connecticut,Delaware,Georgia,Maryland,Massachusetts,New Hampshire,New Jersey,New York,North Carolina,Pennsylvania,Rhode Island,South Carolina, andVirginia.
  5. In the year 1960 whenHawaiiofficially became the 50th state on August 21, 1969
  6. The lyrics came from a poem called “Defense of Fort McHenry written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key
  7. An old British drinking song
  8. Four
  9. TheBattleofLexingtonandConcordinMassachusetts
  10. TheBattleof Yorktown inVirginia
  11. The Liberty Bell cracked when someone rang it for the first time
  12. Taxation without representation
  13. The first Independence Day was celebrated on July 8, 1776 inPhiladelphia,Pennsylvania
  14. The word patriotism comes from the Latin word “patria” meaning “homeland” or “fatherland”
  15. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams
  16. Thomas McKean
  17. True
  18. 1941
  19. Vermont
  20. Tea

So, how did you do? Did you get a lot right and demonstrate your knowledge of Independence Day Trivia questions? Challenge your friends to see who can get the most right for a great Fourth of July fun-time!  Happy Independence Day from Prestige.


The United States Supreme Court upheld a critical portion of the federal health care reform law – the individual mandate – and the four issues before it:

I. Issue – Anti Injunction Act: Does the federal Anti-Injunction Act bar Court action until the tax imposed for not having coverage until that provision of the Act is effective? Held: NO

II. Issue – Individual Mandate: Is the individual mandate to purchase health insurance constitutional? Held: Constitutional under the taxing authority of theUnited States.

III. Issue – Severability: Is the Act severable if portions are unconstitutional (i.e. can portions not related to the mandate stand)? Held: Yes

IV. Issue – Medicaid Expansion: Are the burdens imposed upon the states by the Medicaid expansion portions of the Act constitutionally permissible? Held: The power of the federal government to cut-off Medicaid funding entirely is limited but the provisions are otherwise upheld.

In the five to four decision, Chief Justice Roberts sided with the four liberal justices of the Court (Ginzberg, Kagen, Sotomayor, and Breyer).

Click here to see the complete Supreme Court ruling.


According to a study of 573 human resources professionals and 261 employees, companies experience a much higher turnover rate if they do not offer recognition and rewards programs. 

Specifically, companies with subpar appreciation programs have an average attrition rate of 10.5%, compared to the 7.2% attrition rate at companies with top-notch programs.  The study, conducted by the research and advisory firm Bersin & Associates, also showed that to be an effective program, rewards and recognition must be given to employees for achieving business goals or exemplifying the company’s mission and value, rather than focus on tenure.  Unfortunately, 87% of the HR professionals who took part in the study said their company’s recognition programs focus on tenure. 

So how can you boost employee morale?  The study showed that most employees value recognition that speaks to a specific action they took rather than general praise for a job well done.  Also, recognition doesn’t have to come from managers for it to have an impact.   It can come from co-workers, too.


If you would like help in implementing recognition and rewards programs in your organization, contact a Prestige HR Business Partner.