Sunday, September 8, 2019

Should You Hire Family and Friends for Your Small Business?

Should You Hire Family and Friends for Your Small Business?
When it comes time to hire for your Small Business, you most likely are looking for the right fit. You need someone who can do the job, work well with you and the rest of your team, and add something to your workplace skill set and productivity that is lacking.

But how does that work when you have a Family Business? Or even if you are simply thinking of hiring a friend or relative for the job?

This question was asked recently on, “How do Family Offices Perform Due Diligence?”, and it got us thinking……

Do Family businesses do Employment Background Checks? Should they? And if they don’t screen their employees, do they even consider the ramifications of not doing so?

Our answer…..
Family businesses, if they are smart, should do background checks on all their employees, even if they are family! The key to any good employment background check program is consistency. Setting a precedent from the beginning of screening all new and advancing employees makes good business sense and will help promote a safer and more productive workplace.

However, there are family businesses that don’t feel the need to do employment background checks. They believe that since they are hiring family, or people they know, screening them is not necessary. The problem with this way of thinking is that there could very well be a time when they find themselves ready to expand and hire outside their circle of family and friends. Doing employment background checks on these types of new hires may suddenly have an appeal. While it is true that it would be better late than never, the company has now opened themselves up to the possibility of being seen as discriminatory in their hiring practices.

That is why it is best for all new companies, even family businesses, to do background checks on all their employees. It is simply good for business!”.

Read other answers to this question here!

Now that it is clear that employment background checks are important to any business, no matter who you hire, the question then becomes…

Is it smart to even hire family members, or friends, for your small business?

We think that It depends!

Before simply jumping in and hiring a relative or a friend, you need to ask yourself two important questions first:

  1. Is Your Potential Hire Qualified for the Job?
  2. Can Your Potential New Hire learn quickly enough to Fit the Job?
It makes sense that any new hire has the skills and knowledge necessary to be productive in the position. This is especially important in a small business where your profit margin is often low and you may not have the time necessary to train your new hire. 

But, there are times when you may consider hiring a family member or friend who is not 100% qualified for the job. You may feel their other qualifications outweigh their shortfalls or you simply want to give them a chance.

Maybe they are known to be a hard worker and a quick learner. You may even be aware of other jobs where they have proven to be a good employee.

If you choose to go this route, then it is important that you are ready to spend the time necessary to get them up to speed. That may mean working with them yourself or finding a trusted employee to help. But remember, this will not only add to your own work load, but also the work load of your other employees.

In the end, it is your responsibility to make sure you do what is necessary to get your new hire get up to speed and become a productive member of your workforce.

If you don’t think it is possible to get them to that level, then it is best that you don’t make the hire!

However, if you still decide to hire your friend or family member, then be sure to follow your in-place hiring practices closely.

Do an Employment Interview ~ Ask the questions you would ask of any new potential hire. Talk about their skills and their past employment history. Make sure they also understand the job’s duties and what would be expected of them.

Do a Background Check ~ Do the same Employment Screening you would do for anyone being considered for your open position. It is important to set the precedent that you screen all potential employees to avoid any perception of bias or discrimination.

Learn more about Why You should Screen All Your New Hires in “If You are not Doing Background Checks on Your New Hires, You are Making the Biggest Mistake Your Small Business can Make!”.

Document Your Entire Process ~ Keep notes, including when your candidate was interviewed, your offer of employment, the background check results, and your final hiring decision.

But before you make a final decision to hire a friend or relative, you should also be aware of the potential problems if that hire ends up not working out!

It is one thing when you hire someone you don’t know, but if there is a problem and your new hire is a family member or friend, things can get much stickier.

Firing a friend or relative can not only be hard on you and them, it can end up being hard on those around you. Friendships can fall apart or family divisions form as people take sides.

That is why being even more careful when making this kind of hire makes sense. 

And if you have to turn down a friend or family member for a job, remember to do it tactfully!

Explain the job’s requirements and how hiring someone who is not ready to take these duties on will impact your business. If you think they may make a good hire in the future, then try to steer them towards ways they can develop those needed skills. 

Then, if you mean it, tell them that you will keep them in mind for future positions.

Remember, in the end, your business needs to come first. 

As a business owner, your focus has to be on strengthening your company, and this should be the goal when you make any new hire.

You should never put your own business in any kind of jeopardy by hiring someone who is unqualified or un-safe for the  position, even if they are a friend or family.

Establishing a sound hiring policy that includes common sense employment screening for all new hires is a great way to protect you, your company, your customers, and your employees!

Authored by  

Need Help with Your Hiring Policy and Employment Background Checks? Contact Us Today! We can help you solve your important questions and concerns!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Felony or Misdemeanor ~ Does it Really make it Difference to Your Job Search?

Is a misdemeanor criminal record treated differently than a felony record when it comes to employment background checks?

This question was recently posted on the question and answer site Quora. The answer is relevant to anyone who has even a minor criminal record and is searching for a job.

The answer I posted is…it depends! 
"A lot has to do with the employer requesting the background check. Do they have a policy to reject anyone with any criminal record? If so, it doesn’t matter. Some companies, by law, cannot hire anyone with a criminal past. These types of companies include banks and government jobs. Other employers simply choose to make that their policy. These kinds of “blanket rejection” policies are coming under fire. Background check guidelines are requiring employers to justify why the criminal record would make the applicant unable or unsafe to fill the open position and how long ago the offense occurred. Then there are employers who are willing to hire those with a criminal history. In those cases, a misdemeanor conviction is definitely distinguished from a felony conviction. In addition, many of these employers look at other factors to determine employment such as what type of crime it is and what the applicant has done since their crime to better themselves."

You can read more responses to this question here!

When it comes to trying to find a job, anyone who has any kind of criminal record is justifiably concerned. 

Ex-offenders recognize the stigma that comes with having been convicted of a crime and how it lessens their chances of gainful employment.

What they may not know is that there are laws and regulations that can help. These guidelines govern how criminal histories can be used to determine employment.

When a background check uncovers a criminal history, employers must consider the following:

  • How much time has elapsed since the crime? ~ Most background checks go back 7 years so any criminal record that bears weight on a company’s employment decision should have occurred during that timeframe. 
  • What type of crime was committed?, Does it relate to the job being filled?,  Would committing that crime result in the job being done unsafely? When hiring someone with a criminal history, employers consider the answers to these questions extremely important. 

To truly answer this question, it is important to understand how employers think. 

Employers are only human. When an applicant has any kind of criminal past, it can have an impact on what an employer thinks about that applicant. This can be true no matter what the crime.

While committing a serious felony would certainly give an employer pause, lesser crimes may not have the same impact. What should really matter is whether the crime could effect how an applicant does the job!  

Even those employers who are forward thinking enough to overlook a criminal past, will most likely want to see evidence that the offender has taken responsibility and tried to improve themselves since being convicted of their crime.

The responsibility for easing the mind of a potential employer should fall squarely on the ex-offender!

It is important that ex-offenders take the initiative and make themselves a more attractive choice to employers. They have to take any and all steps necessary to get hired.

These steps include: 

  • Taking responsibility for their criminal past ~ Don’t try and blame what happened on others. Own it.
  • Share what you they been doing since their conviction to better themselves ~ Get any letters of recommendation that they can from current and former employers, mentors, or anyone who can vouch for their commitment to move on from their criminal past.

Find out more in “How Do You get a Decent Job with a Criminal Record?”.

But no matter how much ex-offenders do to make themselves less of a risk for employers, nothing can be accomplished without the employers themselves getting on board. 

“Many employers are hesitant to hire people with criminal records ….. Employers are concerned about the trustworthiness of those with prior criminal records. And if a position requires a worker to be unsupervised or come in contact with customers, those employers are even more cautious.

There is also the very real fear of the legal ramifications of hiring an ex-offender. Businesses are often held liable for the actions of their employees. Negligent hiring lawsuits are not uncommon”, excerpt from “Once a Criminal, always a Criminal ~ Why We believe in Second Chances!”.

Making a a blanket decision to never hire anyone with a criminal past is unnecessary, and recent suggested background check guidelines are looking to make it unlawful.

But Employers need a reason to change their mindset when it comes to hiring ex-offenders.

We need to make it easier and more appealing for employers to take a chance on an ex-offender.

The best way to accomplish this is to lessen their liability.
One of way is to offer qualified ex-offenders “A “Certificate of Relief”. This certificate is a statement by the court that an ex-offender has met a certain pre-defined set of circumstances and conditions concerning their past conviction(s). This certificate is designed to help reduce the risk to employers who hire ex-offenders.

But this certification is not given to everyone. While specific criteria may vary state to state, common conditions that ex-offenders must meet to be eligible for a “Certificate of Relief” are:

  • The Offender has had a limited number of felonies and / or misdemeanors
  • There has been a specific period of time since the completion of their sentence
  • The Offender has completed all the terms of their sentence
  • The Offender has not violated or failed to comply with any term of their sentence
  • The Offender must be engaged in, or seeking, lawful employment, an education, training, or registered in other rehabilitative programs
  • The granting of the “certificate of relief” cannot put the safety or welfare of the public or any individual at unreasonable risk

Find out more about what you need to know about a “Certificate of Relief” here!

The bottom line ~ ex-offenders must be ready to do the work. They need to learn new skills and be ready to prove themselves to any employer who gives them the chance. 
It is then vitally important that employers do their part.

Only then can we help ex-offenders find jobs, move beyond their criminal past, and become proud, productive members of society.

Authored by  

Are You looking for a Job? Contact Us Today! We can help get your resume “Background Check Ready” by helping identify and correct any potential “red flags” that would concern a prospective employer!

And if you are thinking of Hiring for Your Small Business, We can Help! Visit our Background Investigation and About Us pages to find out more!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

What are You Celebrating this Independence Day?

There are all kinds of Independence.

For some, being independent means freedom from parental control. That may mean graduating from high school or college, landing that first “real” job, or even moving into a first apartment or new home.

For others it may mean having independence of thought. The freedom to think what they want and to do what they want ~ as long as it is legal!

Then there is the larger kind of freedom we celebrate in the United States on July 4th. On that day we honor and commemorate the independence fought for by the colonists. These brave people dedicated themselves to creating a country free from English rule and the right to form a nation where they were represented in government. 

Many immigrants continue to come to this country looking for much the same thing. They seek freedom from persecution for their beliefs, freedom from the ravages of war and poverty, and freedom to love and care for who they want ~ without risk of death or imprisonment for doing so.  

All of these types of Independence are to be celebrated and embraced.

But when the word Independence comes to mind, we should also think  about the entrepreneurial spirit that is strong in our nation ~ and the many Small Business Owners that embody this spirit!

Independence Day really speaks to Small Business Owners. 
Entrepreneurs believe in and appreciate the rights we have in this country to pursue our dreams ~ and owning our own businesses are a large part of those dreams!

We recognize and continue to fight for those freedoms. We cherish the opportunities that allow us to reach our goals and build something of our own we can be proud of. 

As Business Owners…."our businesses are what drive us, worry us, and sustain us. Daily, we celebrate our ability to create something that is ours and to take it in the direction we want to go!", excerpt from “Celebrating Our Small Business Independence

You can discover even more about what Independence means to Small Business here!

So, this Independence Day, as we enjoy our time with family and friends, we will recognize how much our freedoms mean to us as a nation and how we continue to fight to protect them.

But, let us also take the time to celebrate the way each of us fights for our own independence and freedom. This includes the freedom to make  choices that not only will better us as individuals, but also our nation as a whole ~ and that includes our Small Business Owners!

Happy 4th of July to You All!

Authored by    

Thinking of Starting Your Own Small Business or need Help with Your Business Blog? 
Our Business Mentoring and Blogging Services can Help!
You can also find out more About Us and our Background Investigation and 
Security Consulting Services too!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

What Fathers, and Mothers, can Teach their Kids to Help Them Succeed in Business and in Life!

Do Your Children have the tools they need to succeed?
As parents, we all want our children to be happy and healthy. We make sure they eat the right foods, get the sleep they need, and have time to play with friends and participate in clubs and sports. 

But when it comes to succeeding in life, and ultimately their chosen profession, are we doing all we can to get them there?

This is where teaching them these life lessons will help. Each will instill the skills they need to grow into happy, responsible, and successful adults.

Teach Kids the Importance of Love - Teach them to love themselves first. They should learn to protect their bodies and their mind from negative and unsafe outside influences. They also need to be open to  loving others. Explain the importance of focusing on the kind of person the people around them are, not what they have or how they look. 

Teach Kids to Never Stop Learning - Focus on why it is important for them to keep their eyes and their mind wide open. Share that learning doesn’t only come from books but from the people and world around them.

Teach Kids the Importance of Playing Well with Others - Make sure they learn teamwork and how to work together with others to achieve a common goal. Explain the importance of accepting others’ differences, to learn tolerance, and practice empathy. 

Teach Kids How to Resolve Disagreements - During their lifetime, everyone will have times when they disagree with someone. Children need to learn early how to deal with these confrontations and disagreements. They need to be taught to look at all sides of an issue, ask good questions, and focus on the problem not the person. 

Teach Kids to Stand Up for Themselves and Others - Children should learn to stand up for what is right and defend others when they are being bullied or harmed. They need to know that it is okay to let their voice be heard, and how to do it calmly and effectively.

Teach Kids the Importance of Admitting when They are Wrong and  Forgiving Others when They are Wrong - Children should understand that it is human to make mistakes. However, it is also important to own those mistakes. They need to learn how to apologize when they are wrong and to also accept the apologies of others when they make mistakes.

Teach Kids How to Live Life with a Positive Outlook - Bad things happen. It is how you deal with them and move on that makes the difference. Children need to know that focusing on the positive will help get them through the bad times. Teach them to take pleasure in the “little things”. This is a great way to deal with life’s stresses and disappointments.

Teach Kids the Value of Hard Work - There is pleasure in a job well done. Kids need to learn that satisfaction early in life. You also need to stress the importance of being on time for a job and doing their best at all times. This will serve them well at the first job and for any job after.

Teach Kids the Value of Money - Start young by assigning tasks and rewarding the completion of those tasks. Explain to them, according to their age, about saving and bills, living within their means, and credit and debt. Teach them about saving for the future by helping them open up their first savings account. Being open and honest with your kids about money and your own finances will serve them well in the future.

Teach Kids the Importance of Being Kind and Helping Others - Kindness is an often unrecognized super power! Children should see that often even the littlest gesture of kindness can make a difference in someone’s day. Stressing kindness can also help them develop compassion and empathy towards others ~ something we sorely need in this world!

Bonus Tip: Teach Kids How to Use Social Media Wisely!
You and your child should be aware that their social media posts will have an impact on how they are perceived. They can result in them being seen in either a positive or a negative light. Examples of posts that will be viewed as positive are ones that feature charity work, love of travel, participation in sports, clubs, and activities. Negative posts include posts that show excessive partying, illegal behavior, hate posts, violent posts, and negative posts on past employers.

Children and especially Teens ~ Be careful what you post. Does it show you in the best light? is it something you want your parents or grandparents to see? If not, don’t post!

Parents ~ Monitor your child’s online activities. Set a good example yourself by using your social media sites in a responsible way”, excerpt from “What We Need to Do to Help Our Children Get Ready for College, the Job Market, and Background Checks!

Each of these 10 lessons will serve your children well as they grow into teens and adults.  
People that embody these traits are good friends, partners, and members of society. In addition, future employers will look for many of these traits and skills in their new hires, and promote those employees that practice them. 

But no matter what we try and tell our children, or what wisdom we attempt to impart, the best way to reach them is to be a good role model ourselves! 
Lead and teach by example. Be kind to others. Forgive their faults and admit to your own. Work hard and expect your kids to do the same. 

Answer your children’s questions honestly and completely. Be there for them no matter what. And, most importantly, Love them Unconditionally.

Setting an example and teaching our children the Life Lessons they need to know now will give them the foundation to succeed on whatever path they choose. They will have the skills necessary to be a great employee, team player, leader, and human being.
And, as parents, that is what we really want for our children ~ for them to be happy, healthy, and to succeed on whatever path they choose.

Authored by   

Want to learn more about how to prepare your teens for the “Real World”? Contact Us!
We also invite you to check out our article “Why High Schools & Parents Need to Start Prepping Teens Now for the “Real World”! 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Questions You Need to Ask Before You Do Business with any Business!

We All Do It.
We find a deal on something we want or need. But before buying, we are online checking for reviews, comparing prices, and generally finding out what others have to say about the shiny new thing that caught our eye.

Only after finding the information we need and checking that it truly is a good deal do we feel comfortable putting our hard earned money on the line. 

So why should we do anything differently if we are thinking of doing business with a business? 
Whether we ourselves own a business and are contemplating taking on a partner or we are looking for someone to work on or in our home, doing our homework first makes good sense!

The key is to know what to look for when we do our due diligence. Recognizing the questions to ask, and why, and also knowing how to verify the answers we get to those questions, will help!

Going into business with or hiring any company comes with a set of risks. The company could have dealt with clients poorly in the past. They may not live up to their promises or do shoddy work. 

Before you know it, you have wasted your time and money by hiring or working with someone that falls way short of your expectations.

So before signing on the dotted line, do your homework!

It all starts with checking business references and developing new ones.

Any business should be able and willing to provide a list of other companies or individuals that they have done business with. They can be current clients or ones they have worked with in the past. It should be an immediate red flag if can't give you a list ~ and we suggest walking away now if that is the case.

When you get the list, there are a few things you should check. First, make sure each of their references includes the full name of the person or company they worked with and current contact information. You may even want to take note of what kind of work they did / do for them.

Then, you should contact these reference and make sure you ask the following:

  • Are you a current or past client?
  • When did you last do business with them?
  • How would you rate their quality of service?
  • Did you have any customer service issues or complaints about their work or have you heard of them having any?
  • Would you consider them trustworthy and reliable?
  • Was their billing accurate and timely?
  • Would you consider the service they provided worth the price you paid?
  • What were the positives and negatives in dealing with this company?
  • Would you do business with this company again and recommend them to others?
  • Can you provide me with the name of another person or business who has done business with this company? This is a developed reference not provided by the company. 

For each question be sure to request examples, not just a yes or no response.

But you can’t stop there!

Next you need to double check these answers with the following:
Better Business Bureau
Contacting the BBB is an easy first step in vetting a company. By simply typing in the company name on the BBB site, you can see if they are registered, if any complaints have been filed against them, and, if so, how these complaints were handled.

Civil Courts
“Civil Court Record Checks are also a valuable tool in vetting anyone you are considering doing business with, either on a professional or personal level, such as home contractors, in home caregivers, etc.”

Knowing if the business you are considering using has a history of contract disputes, personal injury cases, or has sued others or been sued themselves is invaluable. Find out more in “Civil Court Record Checks ~ The Forgotten Screening Tool”!

Criminal Courts
Checking for any records listed the criminal court system will help you discover whether the company has had any criminal complaints filed against them or against any of their employees while they were on the job. Examples of things you could find would be charges for theft, assault, etc.

Online Reviews 
“Google” the company and the owner’s name. Check out what people are saying about them online. We caution you to take these reviews with a grain of salt. Most companies will have some negative reviews. Unless they are corroborated with other sources, or show a clear pattern, a couple bad reviews alone may not be reason enough not to work with them.

Asking these questions and checking these sources is a good practice whether you are a business thinking of partnering or outsourcing any of your work or an individual hiring someone for any reason! The answers will really help you get a clearer picture of the kind of company you are thinking of doing business with!
That is why You “Trust, but Verify”!

“While (a business) may appear to have a good reputation, and the company people you have had contact with seem above board, following the “trust but verify” rule makes sense. 

Simply trusting that they will bring value to your company or that their products or services will meet your needs is just not good business. That is why you need to take the steps necessary to verify that you trust is not misplaced!

Learn more in “Why You need to Trust but Verify!

Doing the work and checking these companies out will give you peace of mind that you have made a good decision.

And that is better for you, your business, and your family!

Authored by   

Need Help Checking out a Business or In-Home Worker? Contact Us! We can answer your questions and help you get the information you need!

Learn more About Us and our Background Investigation services too!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

It’s Earth Day! What can You Do to Help Save Our Planet?

Did You know… that on the average, Americans generate*:

4.4 pounds of trash daily each
728,000 tons of daily trash collectively
254 million tons of trash collectively in a year
22 billion plastic bottles thrown out yearly
300 laps around the equator of paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons a year

And in our workplaces, the numbers are just as staggering! 

The average American worker wastes 500 disposable cups and we could build a 12 feet high wall of office paper that would span from NYC to LA!
Startling isn’t it?

But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are definite things we can start doing now to help decrease these numbers and help our environment.

As Individuals We can:
Be More Energy Efficient ~ We can make it a practice to check windows for gaps and use energy efficient appliances and light bulbs whenever possible. Installing a programmable thermostat, changing air filters, shutting lights off when we leave a room, and unplugging small appliances when not in use will also help us use less energy and save money on our utility bills.

Conserve Water ~ Without even realizing it, we can waste gallons of water a day. And if we consider that waste of water collectively, as a family that really adds up. We can help reverse this trend  by not letting the water run while brushing our teeth, not overwatering our garden or lawn, and not washing our cars at home. Even fixing a dripping faucet can help. All these steps will help save water and lower our water bill.

Drive Less ~ Consider using public transportation and, whenever possible, walking or biking. This will save on gas and lower emissions into our atmosphere.

Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose, and Donate ~ Before throwing something away, take stock. Can you use it in another way? Do you know somebody else that can use it, or a donation center that can give it a new home? Is it able to be recycled? Asking yourself these questions first can reduce greatly what you would unthinkingly just throw away.   

Buy from “Green”, Environmentally Conscious Companies ~ Let your money talk. Choosing to buy from or work with companies who are responsible about their impact on the environment can prompt other companies to do the same.

Buy Local ~ This is my favorite way that we, as individuals, can help save our planet! Frequenting local companies and buying local goods will save gas and lessen our carbon emissions. By shopping local for goods and services, visiting farmer’s markets, and eating at local diners, we are also helping our community too!

The important thing to remember is that even small changes can make a difference!

But, even though these practices are a great start, it is not enough! 

Businesses must also do their part to help our planet, regardless of changing environmental law and regulations. Many are taking the initiative and stepping up. They are implementing environmentally conscious practices now and putting in place firm plans to do more in the future.  

For example, Starbucks has been very vocal about their efforts to help the environment. To that end they are working towards completely eliminating the use of straws in all their locations. And there are many other companies who are taking steps in their own businesses to lessen their effect on our planet.

But while environmental changes by big business might make the most impact, even small businesses are making changes to help!

As Small Business Owners, we are increasingly focusing on our communities and our environment. We recognize the impact that even small changes can make, especially when we all band together. 

And, (as an added benefit), “going green” may even help improve our image and our business by appealing to environmentally conscientious consumers! 

But sometimes we just don’t know where to start!

A great first step is to understand what changes we can make in our daily business operations to help.

What can You Small Businesses Do? 

Steps Small Businesses can take to help the environment ~
  • Control Energy Use
  • Use Environmentally Friendly Products
  • Allow Remote Working
  • Shop Local
Find out more about these steps and why implementing them is so import in “Earth Day ~ What Small Business can do to Make a Difference

Remember, We are all in this together!

We share this big, beautiful planet and must all find a way to do our part to protect it for ourselves and for future generations.

Each and every one of us can make a difference!

Authored by   

Contact Us to find out what Access Profiles can do to Help Your Small Business!


Sunday, March 31, 2019

The "Soft" Skills You Need to Look for in Your New Hires!

Do You know why good “Soft” Skills are so important in your employees? Do You even know what are“Soft” Skills really are?

People that possess good “Soft” skills are able to work with and lead others. They are creative problem solvers and are often inherently likable ~ all of which make for valuable employees. 

When you are looking for a new hire, many of your applicants will have the technical “hard” skills needed to do the job. But those that also possess coveted soft skills are the ones you really need to consider!

Even candidates that may not have every qualification you desire can be great new hires, if they possess those soft skill traits that are hard to teach. 

The Soft Skills You should look for in your job applicants are:

Good Work Ethic - Look for someone that takes their career seriously. They are hard wired to get the job done, are punctual, and meet deadlines. Checking with past employers, references, or educators is a good way to get a glimpse into this trait.

Leadership - The kind of leaders you want can not only take charge but are also able to work well as a team. They can coordinate and lead a team in such a way that it makes the team as a whole better. They are confident, but not cocky. They inspire those around them and get them to work at or above their potential. They also understand the importance of delegating and trusting others to get the job done. Leaders like this will grow personally and professionally, along with those around them.

Team Player - While the phrase “team player” may seem cliche, the traits it embodies are invaluable. Someone who possesses these skills knows how to cooperate with others, while still being able to take on a leadership role when needed (see Leadership). They are able to accept and offer ideas to promote productivity and give feedback to help the team as a whole succeed.

Effective Communicator - Being a good communicator means not only being able to effectively share views but also being a good listener. Those that possess this skill are able to effectively get a point across in a way that results in understanding. This skill is important in dealing with both co-workers, managers, and clients.

Resourceful Problem Solver - Look for applicants that can think logically in the face of adversity or problems. They are flexible and able to look at a problem and come up with a creative, unique solution. Employees who are strong in this skill can help lead to company improvements, increased efficiency, and innovation.

Time Management - People good at this skill are able to prioritize and make the most of their time. Like good leaders, they delegate when necessary, and to the person who is best able to get the job done. They are efficient but don’t cut corners. Employees who manage their time well are often your most productive.

Willingness to Learn - The desire to keep learning new skills and to take on increasing responsibilities is the earmark of a valuable employee. This is especially valuable if your applicant doesn’t possess every one of the technical or “hard” skills to do a particular job. Hiring someone who is open to and capable of learning new things, along with a combination of other soft skills, can ultimately be the most desirable.  

Likable - “Likability” might be the most underrated “soft” skill of all. It is something that really can’t be taught. It is an inherent ability to put those around them at ease and make people want to be with them. People that are likable often have a positive attitude.

Being likable alone is not enough of a reason to choose someone as a new hire. However, hiring someone who is unlikeable, even though they have the skills you need, is often in the end, a mistake. But, when likability is combined with any of the other soft skills, and a few of the hard skills needed to do the job, you will gain a valuable asset to your workforce.

Discover the benefits of hiring likable employees in your Small Business in “Do Nice People really Finish Last?”.

Hiring with Soft Skills in mind is especially important for a Small Business. 

When you own a small business, everyone works in close proximity and often wears many hats. In addition, Small Businesses may not always attract applicants with every hard skill needed. Hiring for the soft skills that are hard to teach, and training for the other skills you need, is often a better alternative.

Discover more about how you can attract top talent to your Small Business in "4 Reasons Why Job Seekers will Want to Work for Your Small Business"!
And you can find out more about the best employees to look for in your Small Business, and the ones to avoid, here!

Overall, the best employers look for a mix of the hard skills required to do the job and the soft skills that will help them and the company as a whole succeed. 
And when you find that perfect mix, you are on your way to making the best new hire for you and your company.

Just remember, no matter how much you may be impressed with your applicant, don’t skip the background check! 

Asking questions of past employers, co-workers, or other references, along with verifying their training and education is invaluable in determining whether your new applicant has both the Hard and Soft Skills you desire. 
Contact Us! We can help!

Happy Hiring! 

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Contact API Today to help you with your employment screening needs.
Find out more About Us and our Background Investigation, Business Mentoring, and Security Consulting services too!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Isn't a Background Check Just a Way to Breach Your Privacy!

Are You afraid a Background Check is simply a way for employers to find out personal things about you?

This question is one that worries many job applicants. 

Fears abound concerning “what they (investigators) will find” and if that information could keep them from getting the job. 

Many Job seekers even wonder why employers need all this “personal” information in the first place!  

These are all valid concerns when it comes to employment background checks ~ and anything that “exposes” what we consider our personal and private information is viewed as suspect.

If you are among those worried, know that you are not alone!

It is a question that crops up often on the popular Q&A site, Quora.

Here is the answer I recently posted……

Is a background check a breach of one’s personal data or, in other words, an invasion of privacy? The simple answer is No! When it comes to Employment Background Checks, they are done completely out in the open and with a clear purpose ~ to hire the best, and safest, possible candidate for the job.

These types of background checks are also only done after a conditional offer of employment has been made and with the clear knowledge and signed consent of the applicant. Employers are up front as to what they will check and how far back they will go (usually 7 - 10 years) for the information they need. They will also inform the applicant of their rights when it comes to background checks, which includes the right to withdraw consent to the background check at any time and to mitigate or deny any “red flags” found during the background check. None of this is an invasion of privacy or breach of personal data”.

You can find more answers to this question here!

When it comes to Employment Background Checks, the number one reason they are not a “breach” of privacy is that they are done only with the applicant’s complete knowledge and consent.

Before a background check even begins, applicants are informed that a check will be done and sign an authorization permitting release of information from relevant institutions such as courts, universities, and past employers.

Applicants are also notified of their rights concerning the background check, and that includes the right to withdraw consent at any time.

This sets the open and above board tone for the entire screening process. There is no “breach” here!

Good employers also take it a step further and focus on protecting the rights and privacy of their applicants.

To that end, the background checks they request are done with a specific purpose in mind and only information relevant to the position being filled is investigated.

Employers are careful to strike a good balance between their applicant’s personal privacy and getting the information they need to make a safe new hire!

The key (to achieving this balance) is understanding Why Background Checks are necessary, understanding How to protect your candidate’s privacy, and the Right Way to Use the information you find”!

When looking at “Why” background checks are vital to the hiring process, it really comes down to job fit and safety. 

It is important for employers to know that their candidate will be able to do the job ~ whether that means training, education, skill set, or personality.

It is also important for employers to be informed about whether their applicant has a criminal history that could make them an unsafe hire.

That does not mean employers simply delve into every aspect of their applicant’s life without regard.

Protecting their applicant’s privacy is a duty employers take very seriously. They develop and implement policies designed to safeguard personal information and consider it a crucial part of balancing their “need to know” and the applicant’s need for privacy.

Find out more in “Do You Believe Background Checks are an Invasion of Privacy?”.

Employers simply aren’t Using Background Checks to “Spy” on You! 

That is why when it comes to background checks, good employers will focus only on verifying what is necessary to the job!

To determine what to check, employers consider:

  • The level of the position being filled
  • If the employee will have access to company assets
  • If the employee will have access to sensitive customer and company data
  • If the employee will have direct contact with clients, customers, and other employees

Being as specific as possible with the answers to these questions will help a company determine what they need to screen for during the background check. That is called Fitting the Background Check to the Job!

Discover more about the importance of this here!

The bottom line is ~ when employers do a background check, they are ultimately only interested in an assurance that they are making the best hire…not in discovering your most personal and private information!

What they want is corroboration that they have made the right decision in wanting to hire you!

By running a background check, Employers are simply looking for confirmation that they have made the right choice. 

By this point in the hiring process, they have already read your resume, interviewed you, and, out of all the other candidates, picked you as a good hire.  

They have also invested a great deal of time and money....and they will have to spend even more screening you. Employers are simply not in the business of wasting time or money.

When an employer starts the background check process, it is because they are interested. You have already met many of the criteria necessary to fit in and do the job.  

However, they would be negligent if they did not make sure.  Background checks are designed to do just that”., excerpt from “Surprise! Doing a Background Check Means They WANT to Hire You!”.

All this attention to your rights and privacy shows that when done right, Employment Background Checks are not designed to invade your privacy.

They are simply a tool employers use with a clear goal in mind and with a focus on gathering only the information needed to hire the best possible candidate. 
And that is good for both the company and for job applicants!

Authored by  

If you are looking to hire, API will help you hire safely and effectively, all while keeping your budget in mind. 

Discover what our Background Investigation, Business Mentoring, and Security Consulting services can do for You and Your Small Business.

And if you are looking for a job, API is here for you too!
We will help you get your resume “background check ready” and give you peace of mind about what is “out there” about you!

Click on these links to learn more About Us and what our Clients have to say about API too!