Advice for Small Employers Hiring in 2010

Owners swimming in résumés should narrow criteria and avoid hiring overqualified workers, say employment lawyers Heverly and Velton

While some economic news has been improving over the past months, unemployment remains at record highs, with more individuals searching for jobs right now than at any time in recent decades. Small business owners who plan to hire in 2010 can capitalize on the expanding labor pool to strengthen their workforce. But they must be mindful of legal issues and practical realities, say Michelle Heverly and Dan Velton, management-side labor and employment attorneys with Littler Mendelson in San Jose, Calif. They spoke recently with Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about how bad news about the economy can mean good news for small employers. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

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