Archive for January, 2011

Ready to Hire Employees? Here’s How to Do It Better

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Some employers are out of practice when it comes to hiring employees. Maybe it’s been a couple of years since you’ve had enough business to justify adding staff–so if you’re a little rusty, check out these quick tips for sorting through the applications, resumes and interviews and getting the best new employee possible.

  1. Revisit your needs: What do you really need help with? Where are the gaps in your current production or service offerings and how can you best fill them? Perhaps you need to hire three people, not one, as you planned. Or even better, a thorough needs audit may reveal you only need one new staffer, not two.
  2. Revisit the position you’re hiring for: Has it changed since you last filled it? For example, the employee who’s currently fulfilling the role may have taken on more duties through the recession. If so, adjust the job description and tighten up your requirements before you place any ads.
  3. Consider the new ways of recruiting job candidates: You might not have heard that not many job seekers use the newspaper’s classified ads anymore, but it’s true. Online job boards, social media sites, Craigslist and local news sites are probably your best bets for placing ads.
  4. But you might not need to advertise at all: word of mouth can be the most effective method to get new employees through the door. When you and your staff spread the word that you’re hiring, you’re more likely to have people you know apply for the job: customers, friends, family members and friends of friends will start coming through the door. These are likely going to be people already familiar with your company and its products or services. They may have a good feeling for the company culture and require less time to get up to speed.
  5. Hire for attitude, train for skill: Making sure a new employee fits your culture and has a passion for what you’re all doing there is vital to long-term success. Skills are important, but a positive, cooperative employee beats a grumpy, difficult genius any day of the week!
Hiring? The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

Supreme Court Backs Up Employee Background Checks

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

background check, employee screening The U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled that background checks of scientists by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) did not violate their constitutional rights. In a unanimous decision, the Court backed up the Obama administration, which defended background security investigations they called “standard” for federal employees since 1953 and for contractors since 2005.

NASA instituted the background checks for every employee with access to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California beginning in 2007. 28 scientists, engineers and others challenged the depth of the background checks as needlessly intrusive, citing requests for information on medical treatment and counseling for drug use, and some sensitive matters. They challenged the potential loss of their jobs for refusing to undergo the investigation, and won in an appeals court.

The Supreme Court justices overturned that U.S. appeals court ruling that had blocked NASA from conducting the background checks. In its opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said that the questions being challenged were reasonable inquires that allow the government to properly manage internal operations. Further, the questions were found to be employment-related, and similar to those used by millions of private employers.

The justices rejected “the argument that the government, when it requests job-related personal information in an employment background check, has a constitutional burden to demonstrate that its questions are ‘necessary’ or the least restrictive means of furthering its interests.”

The government also has an interest in conducting background checks to ensure the security of its facilities and to deploy a competent, reliable workforce, the justices said in the ruling. Further, they stated there are sufficient protections in place to prevent disclosure of sensitive information to the public.

For Employers: 5 Ways to Uncover Resume Fraud

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Just because it’s almost assumed that job seekers fudge their résumés doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to it. Hiring managers can and should uncover little white lies and big fat fibs on a resume. From misleading the employer about where a college degree was earned, to inventing positions at companies that don’t exist, experienced human resources pros have seen it all.

Various studies show that more than 50% of job applicants submit false information to potential employers. And this includes everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to college football coaches. A 2004 survey of human resources professionals reported that over 61% of them had uncovered falsifications or inaccuracies in resumes “often” or “sometimes” after carrying out pre-employment background checks.

With a more competitive job market than we’ve seen in a very long time, business owners and hiring managers are sure to see an increase in desperate job hunters hoping you’ll believe what they claim for education and experience—or at least that you won’t take the time to verify it.

Here are 5 Ways to Uncover Résumé Fraud:

  1. Conduct a thorough employee background check: You can receive reports verifying an applicant’s name, social security number, sex offender status, criminal and civil court records, address history, credit report and more.
  2. Verify employment and personal references: Job seekers sometimes get away with phony references—because employers don’t take the time to actually check them. If a phone number and reference name provided by an applicant don’t match, that could be a red flag. It could also be a simple mistake, so be sure to follow up with the candidate. Make sure you double-check employment dates with previous employers to determine whether the applicant stretched them to cover gaps in experience.
  3. Do some social network sleuthing: a simple check of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter could reveal more about a job candidate than they want you to know. Or, it could provide you with the good feeling that they are who they say they are.
  4. Ask questions: Require job applicants to explain gaps in employment history. Ask detailed questions about education or work experience. If you know a professor at the school they claim a degree from, drop the name. Ask about their supervisor or team leader. Listen for any signs of nervousness or inability to answer questions immediately and succinctly. Broad, vague answers are another warning sign.
  5. Make them nervous: It might sound a bit unkind, but suggesting to a job candidate that you’ll be checking references, including past employers and colleges or universities, might spur a confession by one who has been less than truthful. Those who do not fudge will have no problem with you checking every reference, so try this tactic if you wish to sort out dishonest applicants.

When hiring, you have an obligation to your company, your customers and the rest of your staff to take the time necessary to check out applicants thoroughly. After all, if you hire a liar, trouble could follow.

Hiring Tip: Look For Employees Who Fit Your Culture

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011,, employement screening If your businesses not only made it through the recession, but is gearing up for higher sales or productions, congratulations! You’ll probably be venturing back into the hiring pool, too—and if it’s been a while since you’ve dipped a toe in it, this is a good time to re-think your previous strategies and try something new.

Hire for Good Fit and Train For the Job
Sure, experience counts for a great deal when you’re hiring a new employee. But for long-term success, a number of companies look at how well employees fit their culture, not how many years of experience they’ve gathered.

Zappos is an online mega-store, which started out selling shoes but now sells clothing and accessories, too. Zappos‘ employees work hard toward common business goals—and they think of themselves as a family. And when it comes to hiring new employees, Zappos’ carefully-crafted company culture rules. (You can’t let just anybody into your family.) They look for people who are “fun and a little weird.” Potential hires also must embrace the company’s nine other core values, including “be humble,” “do more with less” and “deliver WOW through service.”

Another example of success is Southwest Airlines—pretty much the only profitable airline around. Southwest hires for attitude and trains for skills. Their interview process includes group tasks, which help determine if an applicant has the right attitude and/or leadership abilities. They want more employees who have fun, don’t take themselves too seriously and are “passionate Teamplayers.” At Southwest, they know that “Happy Employees = Happy Customers. Happy Customers keep Southwest flying.”

If you’re going to be hiring employees soon, you might want to adopt some of these ideas as your own.

Tips For Hiring Employees Who Fit In

  1. Look for passion: for your company, your product or service, and for life.
  2. Find out if an applicant has the same values as your company: if fun is important in your company culture, a dour employee won’t be as successful as one that loves to have fun.
  3. Embrace individuality. Don’t limit your hiring to clones of yourself or other employees.
  4. Ask applicants to do something unusual: Like write an essay about their hobbies, goals or grandparents. Have them meet your team, send in a video, or list their top ten movies, books, or albums.

Remember, even if you think you’ve found a perfect-fit employee, it’s always smart to conduct a thorough pre-employment screening. Checking an employee’s background, including credit check and criminal records check, is the only way to know for sure that you’re making the best and safest hiring decision.