Archive for March, 2011

5 Signs That You’re Wasting Your Time on a Job Candidate

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

employee screening, employee background checkHiring a new employee? Whether you’ve been through the process many times—or never before, you might be surprised at “what’s out there.” A more-casual approach to life might spill over to the job interview process for many of your candidates. Some might attribute the following behaviors to nerves, youth or any number of excuses; savvy hiring managers know that these actions can be excellent predictors of future behavior.

Five Signs You’re Wasting Your Time on a Potential Employee

She Arrives to the Interview Late: Traffic, wardrobe malfunctions, child issues, whatever! A conscientious candidate has already driven the route to your office, knows how long it will take and knows where he or she is going to park. They chose their interview outfit days ahead of time and absolutely have child care for such an important meeting. Being late indicates that your time is not as valuable as theirs—and never will be.

He Parks Rudely: Grabbing a spot before another person can get it, or parking where the “employee of the month” is supposed to be, shows either complete ignorance or basic rudeness. A conscientious candidate parks as far away from the building as is feasible, leaving the closer spots for you and your employees.

He Disregards Your Employees: Talking down to the receptionist, not holding the door for those behind him, and exhibits of bad manners could mean that the candidate is not someone you’d want to work beside every day.

She Hasn’t Turned Off Her Phone: There are few excuses for being so unorganized that you forget to turn off your phone before a job interview. But even worse is the candidate who answers it when it rings.

He Uses Foul Language: Letting an “F-bomb” slip indicates the speaker either has no filters, considers you a friend, or uses an offensive term so often that he cannot stop himself. In any case, unless yours is a business that encourages such language, it should be the kiss of death for the candidate.

5 Tips for Integrating New Employees More Successfully

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

employee screening, employee background checkWhen you’ve gone to the trouble of advertising and recruiting, then interviewing, screening, hiring and training a new employee, you want to make the most of your investment. Integrating new hires into your company is a skill and takes some effort. But making them feel welcome and acquainting with your culture can make the process much more successful.

Here are 5 tips for successfully integrating new employees:

  1. Communicate ahead of time. You wouldn’t have a party without telling your guests what to bring and where to park, would you? Do the same for a new employee. Send an email a week ahead of their start date with information regarding dress requirements, parking, stashing personal items, obtaining lunch onsite or nearby, and any other niceties you can think of.
  2. Be prepared. There is nothing worse than a new employee showing up for his or her first day and finding out that no one was expecting them. The least you can do for a new hire is to be prepared! Whoever did the hiring should greet the new person upon arrival. Have all the required paperwork ready to fill out. Show them around and introduce them to co-workers as you go.
  3. Tell them what to expect. Outline a new employee’s first day, and then give them a schedule for the first week. Knowing what to expect will help them prepare for and meet your expectations.
  4. Consider putting the new hire right to work. If you hired them, you probably need the help, correct? Give your new employee a chance to work their new job for an hour or two on heir first day. Most people are excited to go to work—especially if they’ve been unemployed during this long recession. Why not start their training right away?
  5. Provide a mentor or buddy, if appropriate. Ask long-term employees who are open to meeting and helping new hires to watch out for the new guy or gal. Help them learn where the coffee supplies are hidden. Take them for a walk at lunch to learn the neighborhood. Share the company values, mission and culture in a relaxed way. Mentors can be quite valuable during a new hire’s orientation!

Integrating new hires is a one-time-only opportunity. Done well, it can lead to a more successful relationship with your employees; missing the mark can lead to higher turnover as new staff feel frustrated, unsure of their role or just unwelcome.

An Alternative to Performance Reviews

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

employeescreeningblog.comClaims for unemployment benefits are dropping; the economy seems to be on the upswing again. And employers will be adding jobs each month, according to economists. Along with hiring new employees come the standard procedures like orientation, IRS forms and 30-day, 60-day and 90-day performance reviews.

But some experts say the initial and annual employee performance review is dead. Everyone dreads it, managers and employees alike. But human resources managers often think they are must-dos for legal reasons. After all, how can an employee be terminated without a paper trail?

It’s not the paper that’s the problem. Most people just think the reviews are not productive. They’re more about meeting a requirement with a process, and not about getting results. In short, they have little credibility—and everyone knows it. In fact, back in 2005, Psychology Today reported on a national survey by People IQ, which stated that a whopping 87 percent of managers and employees felt performance reviews were not useful or effective.

4 Ways to Improve on Annual Reviews

  1. Coach your employees every day. Setting objectives and goals together lets both employee and manager know what is expected. Weekly check-ins can help the employee keep on track toward reaching the goals, or switch things around as company needs change.
  2. Offer immediate feedback. Gen Y workers are used to hearing feedback. They were raised with it and don’t always thrive when kept in the dark about their performance.
  3. Eliminate the “annual” part. Monthly or quarterly one-on-one meetings with each staff member—without the “fill in the blank” forms—give both sides the opportunity to review performance, make plans for improvement and celebrate accomplishments.
  4. Give specifics. Instead of noting that an employee isn’t getting the job done, or seems distracted, offer specific examples of behavior that impacted the company negatively. Allow the employee to offer an explanation, then move on.

Employees are motivated to work hard, keep good jobs and contribute to a cause or company they believe in. Replacing annual reviews with setting goals and coaching employees to meet them, along with more frequent feedback might just be winning strategy for your company!

Survey Shows Workers On Time More Often

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

employee credit check, pre employment backgound checkA survey of nearly 3900 employers and 2500 employees by the job site, CareerBuilder.com, shows that employees are improving in one area: showing up for work on time. Over the last two years, the number of workers who said they arrived late to work at least once a week declined from 20 percent to 15 percent.

At a time when employers are asking for more productivity out of their employees, it’s a bit surprising that tardiness is actually going down—unless those same workers are realizing how valuable their jobs really are. A quick check of unemployment figures, or seeing friends and family lose jobs and struggle with finding work, could be inspiring employees to do what’s expected, like being on time for work.

CareerBuilder does not ask respondents to explain why they are increasingly making it to work on time; however, they are asked why they’re late. Among the reasons given:

  • Traffic (listed by 30% of respondents)
  • Lack of sleep (listed by 19%
  • Bad weather
  • Delays in getting kids to school

Some of the more creative reasons employees gave for coming to work late were wardrobe issues, dealing with pets and public transportation issues.

But those common reasons for being late to work pale in comparison with these, supplied by hiring managers:

  • I was attacked by a cat
  • My karma was out of sync
  • I injured myself with a fork
  • My car is infested with bees
  • My hair is hurting my head
  • I’m not late: the clock is wrong
  • I knew I was going to be late, so I stopped to buy donuts for everyone

While these inventive excuses are entertaining, tardiness is nothing to laugh about. In fact, nearly a third of employers said they have terminated an employee for being late.

Supreme Court Ruling Affects Employers

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

employee screening blogMost employers know that federal law requires them to allow military reservists to take time off for training and service obligations—and most comply, even when losing an employee is difficult on the business.

But one reservist was fired from his job, sued his employer, and won. And the U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled in his favor in an employment discrimination case. The case was brought by Vincent Staub, an Army Reserve first sergeant, who was fired from his job after 15 years as a hospital angiograph technician.

Staub had no problems for the first ten years working at the hospital. But starting in 2000, a new supervisor would schedule him to work during times he was supposed to be at reserve training.

Then in 2005, Staub was called to active duty. Soon after, his supervisor accused him of violating a company rule and issued a disciplinary action against him. When he was fired, he sued the hospital. He alleged that his immediate supervisors were hostile to his military service and that they made false allegations upon receiving notification of his call to active duty.

Staub won his initial suit, but a federal appeals court threw out the award, ruling that the hospital could not be held liable because the decision to fire him was made not by his immediate supervisors, but by the VP of human resources, who had no such hostility to the military.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, reversed this decision, saying the liability for firing cannot be separated from a supervisor simply by giving the responsibility to a higher-up member of the management team. The justices ruled that discrimination did take place and cause an adverse employment decision.

This ruling could have far-reaching effects, encompassing discrimination claims based on race, gender and religion. Some employers have sought to protect themselves from such suits by putting final decision-making authority in an HR department; the Supreme Court ruling clearly states that this will no longer be a viable option.