Posts Tagged ‘Screening Employees’

Employers Fight Back as Seattle Cracks Down on Employee Criminal Background Checks

Friday, June 21st, 2013

employee screening, employee pre-screening, employee credit checkSeattle’s City Council voted unanimously last week to prohibit employers from asking prospective employees about their criminal background, or excluding those with arrest or criminal records during the initial phase of the hiring process.

The new legislation, which is called a “second chance bill,” allows employers to check into an applicant’s criminal history only after he or she makes it through the first round of screening for qualified applicants. It’s intended to give those with criminal records a chance to be judged on their qualifications, not their arrest record.

In addition, employers are not allowed to reject an applicant solely because of a criminal record, unless the employer meets three conditions:

  1. The criminal record on which the decision is made must be identified to the job applicant.
  2. The applicant must be given a chance too explain or correct the information.
  3. The employer must demonstrate a “legitimate business reason” for the decision.

Opponents say the City Council should not add another burden to Seattle business owners, and say the process for deciding whether a decision is a “legitimate business decision” is unfair. Under the legislation, the business owner is left to make the decision, but rejected applicants can complain to the Seattle Human Rights Commission, which will investigate. If the Commission second-guesses the decision, it can levy a fine up to $1,000.

The bill also exempts certain jobs from the new law, which goes into effect November 1. Police, security guards and jobs where workers have unsupervised access to children under sixteen, developmentally disabled persons or vulnerable adults. This is the least they can do, but the law should be expanded to include those who handle cash, private information, company secrets and more.

One person who testified against the bill is an employer who works with rape victims. She should be allowed to reject applicants who have been convicted of rape. Other opponents say that the attempt to achieve social objectives at the expense of businesses is wrong.

Seattle joins about 20 other U.S. cities with this type of legislation. Supporters say the reasons they seek such legislation are to reduce criminal recidivism by prohibiting employers from rejecting applicants for criminal records that have nothing to do with the job.

However, Seattle’s law limits businesses’ ability to hire smart, know who they are hiring and protect the safety of their other workers, customers and communities.

Employers Beware: What’s Behind the Name on the Resume?

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

pre employment screening, employee background checkWhen it’s time to hire new employees, many employers go through the same steps, each and every time:

  1. Advertise the job opening.
  2. Wait for applications and resumes to come in.
  3. Interview candidates.
  4. Choose one and hire.

But one important step, pre-employment background checks, is missing. Some employers don’t see the value in performing background checks or credit checks on prospective employees. Some states limit employers’ ability to do so; but in most areas, you are allowed to check a prospective employee’s criminal history. You may be limited in checking credit history, but usually not if the position involves money handling—even states that limit credit checks in employment allow them in this case.

Whether it’s just not part of the company’s practice, or you’re concerned about staying within the letter of the law, it’s a good idea to rethink your hiring strategy and consider doing a thorough employment screening before you hire.

Why Conduct Pre-Employment Screening?
Everyone looks good on paper. Professional-looking applicants who also happen to be thieves, embezzlers and sex offenders can walk through your door at any time. You can’t know what’s behind the name on a resume without checking criminal and credit records.

These days, companies of every size are vulnerable to the theft of sensitive data, funds and company secrets. Employers can be held liable for criminal activities occurring at the workplace, whether they are aware of them or not. They can potentially be held liable for violence or other harm that comes to workers, customers or the public if they hire individuals who are known to be violent.

Screening all potential employees before they are hired can help reduce the chances of financial or other damages to the company, its staff, customers and others. Employee screening is easy and fast, when you use a trusted, professional company like CriminalData.com. Our screening specialists can help you gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re hiring someone you can trust. And when you let the professionals handle your pre-employment credit checks, you’ll never have to worry about whether or not you’re in compliance with federal or state consumer protection laws.

Finding the Right Employee Takes Time

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

employee screening, background checksWhen it comes to adding the right people to your staff, there is no such thing as being too careful. But how do you know you chose well until you actually hire someone and they start working for you?

The interviewing and screening process is your chance to establish expectations, measure skills and abilities, and determine who is the best fit for the job and your company.

Screening starts with careful resume review. Be on the look out for:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Careful attention to grammar and punctuation
  • Large gaps in employment
  • Clear and concise statements

Even font and color choices can tell you a great deal about a candidate. Note also what is left out of a resume. What is he or she not saying? Are the skills and work experience you need mentioned in the list of qualifications, or not? If you need to measure skills through an assessment test, do so before going any further.

If you like what you see, a short screening call can tell you whether to continue to a face-to-face interview. Schedule the call ahead of time. Keep it to just a few minutes. Note whether or not the candidate is on time and prepared to speak with you. Ask candidates about their current positions, if they are currently employed, as well as why they are seeking a new job. Find out what they are looking for, and what sets them apart from others. Pay attention to the level of enthusiasm the person has, his or her ability to express what they do for their current employer, and whether they can sell themselves.

If you choose to continue in the interview process, it becomes more important that the candidate fits your company’s culture. Of course, that has to be well-defined first. But it’s hard to go wrong when you hire a person who is motivated, has a positive attitude, a great work ethic and ability to work well on a team.

Before you offer the position, be sure to run a pre-employment background check. Employee screening can limit your exposure to security breaches and safety issues, while protecting your company and staff from harm.

Finding the right employees leads to much greater productivity, less turnover and lower costs. It’s worth the investment of your time and effort.

Pre-Hire Personality Tests are on the Rise

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

employment screening, pre-employment, background checkSome employers are requiring employment candidates or new hires to complete personality and ability assessment tests—and the trend seems to be on the rise.

Pre-screening potential employees for their personality traits—along with their credit histories and backgrounds—is gaining popularity, as employers ramp up for hiring in an economy that still requires keeping costs down. Few firms can afford to invest in hiring and training new employees, only to have them not work out. They may want to be sure they’re hiring someone with the particular traits they need, or to avoid those traits that could mean a bad hire.

Hiring the right person with the right personality and abilities reduces turnover and the associated costs, which are estimated to be up to one year’s salary for certain professional positions.

Some employers wait until they’ve hired an employee to conduct the test, so they can match them to the tasks they’re well suited for. Others use them to screen candidates before hiring. They don’t move forward with the interviewing process unless an applicant has achieved a minimum test score.

Personality and ability tests benefit employees, too. They can reveal strengths, weaknesses and preferences they might not have known they had. For example, an applicant who is not well suited to customer service tasks likely fail in that position. Or a new employee may discover that they do their job better when they have sufficient planning time. Making that part of their workday can help them succeed.

Personality and ability assessments can improve how employees work together, as well. Sharing results, such as “Bill is communicator,” “Jane is a problem solver,” or “Michelle is a planner” can help everyone adjust their work style make things work more smoothly.

When hiring new employees, be sure to conduct proper background screening. 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.

State Budget Cuts May Lead to Increase in Ex-Convicts Applying for Jobs

Friday, May 4th, 2012

employee screening, employee credit checkAcross the U.S., the economic downturn has been negatively affecting state and local law enforcement budgets. Police and sheriff’s departments have cut staff; jails are laying off guards and prisons are releasing prisoners early because of overcrowding.

For employers who are hiring workers, an increase in ex-convicts in the local population could mean a different type of job applicant. Perhaps this is a good time to review criminal background check procedures.

A variety of state laws make it difficult for regional and national employers to stay compliant, but smaller businesses need to be concerned only with their local and state laws, as well as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, before deciding what is appropriate for their situation.

The EEOC’s concern is that criminal background checks have a disparate effect on minorities’ hiring history. According to the EEOC, studies show that “some employers make selection decisions based on names, arrest and conviction records…all of which may disparately impact people of color.”

The important thing is that employers are vigilant about doing pre-employment screening and background checks, and to conduct them fairly, as a higher number of unemployed, former convicted criminals are presumably looking for work. Establishing a justifiable business need is the first step. Obtaining applicants’ approval, per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, prior to conducting employee credit checks is also vital to staying within the letter of the law.

Balance your need to keep your other employees, customers and business safe from harm with the rights of your applicants, and exercise good judgment. Remember, 36 states hold employers liable for the negligent hiring of individuals with violent backgrounds.

You can be assured of compliance when you use a reputable, professional employee screening company, such as CriminalData.com. Our extensive experience, secure processes and excellent reputation for professional service mean you may screen prospective employees with confidence.

In the New Year, Protect Your Business’s Most Important Asset: People

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

group of happy workers on employment screening blogAny business that survived 2009 is positioned to improve in 2010. Hopefully, lending will loosen up, enabling businesses to invest in equipment or facilities. Hopefully, job losses will halt, employment will tick up, and consumers will again have cash to spend.

If your planning for next year includes adding employees, it’s a good time to reflect upon your most important asset—human capital—and plan on how you’ll inspire your people to perform at their best, while keeping them enthusiastic and productive about their work and your company.

Effective teams of workers are not happy accidents. In the leadership role, business owners and managers directly affect the performance of their teams. Hiring the right people and placing them in the right position on the right team is a delicate, but necessary practice. If it’s done well, your business will run better and more profitably.

Asking the right questions starts before the hiring process does. Ask your current staff what additional personnel they would hire, given the chance. Ask what they need. Ask what’s working and not working in their current team relationships. Listen well, and ask for input. Have a brainstorming session. While your employees may not have all the answers—or even many usable ideas—it’s important they feel included in the process. And usually, the workers on the ground are acutely aware of what’s lacking in their world.

During the hiring process, look for attributes that will fit in well with established teams. This doesn’t mean that your staff cannot work with someone who doesn’t share their musical taste or hobbies. It’s good to have a diverse group of people working toward a common goal, so everyone contributes his or her strengths. While skills can be learned, enthusiasm, a positive outlook, and passion to do well cannot. Debbie Downers will often bring everyone around them down, too.

Acknowledge and quickly deal with conflicts as they arise. It’s part of gluing a good team together. Certain rules, like fostering a sense of mutual respect, should be adhered to. Let your team know that open communication is always okay, and they’ll be more likely to put conflicts behind them.

Take the time to find the best people, thorough sound procedures, including pre-employment screening. Turnover is costly both in terms of dollars spent and goodwill lost when team members have to deal with new hires more than they should. Nurture your new hires, integrate them fully, and provide all your people the resources they need to succeed. Spend time and effort in 2010 to keep your most valuable asset—your people.

Be sure to check out our Pre-Employment Screening services. Protect your business, increase your peace of mind and lower turnover by hiring smart!

5 Tips for Hiring When You Have Too Many Choices

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

too many hiring choicesFor many employers, hiring new staff is not an issue they’re dealing with right now. But for those who are expanding or replacing workers, good hiring decisions are necessary to stay viable. If areas of your business growing and need additional staff, here are some tips to prepare for the onslaught of employment applicants you’ll likely see.

1. Gauge Real Interest: You might receive a hundred responses to an advertised position, so screen for the truly interested candidates—before you start reviewing resumes. Send an email to every applicant asking him or her to complete a simple second step—like attending an information session or answering a few preliminary questions. Those who do not respond can be culled out immediately.

2. Schedule Interviews over One or Two Days: Depending on how many candidates you decide to see, plan to interview them all, back-to-back, over one or two days. Dragging the process out over a week or two is inefficient. And only seeing those job-seekers who are able to meet on your schedule is another way to screen out the less-than-enthusiastic.

3. Involve Your Staff: It’s wise to expand interviewing to more than just HR or hiring managers. When co-workers are encouraged to participate in the hiring process, they feel a sense of appreciation—and this approach creates camaraderie right from the beginning. New employees who know that everyone they work with had a hand in their hiring feel more accepted and transition more quickly.

4. Consider Conducting Personality Tests: Some firms have potential candidates complete 15-minute questionnaires that predict behavior, style, and motivation.

5. Observe Candidates Outside the Interview: Creative companies bring finalists into the workspace for a day or two of observation. Both candidates and existing staff and management do the observing—each side to see if the potential hire and company culture are a good fit. Taking candidates to lunch or dinner, or just hanging out after work in relaxed settings with other staffers can be very telling. Human nature leads us all to behave one way in an interview and another when we’re relaxed and having fun.

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.