Sunday, October 17, 2021

Do You think Skipping the Background Check will help you Hire more Quickly? You should think again!

Companies are competing for New Hires!

Right now, the reality is that job seekers are in the driver’s seat. Many companies are in desperate need of employees to keep their business running, yet oftentimes very few applicants apply.

If you find that your business is facing the "I need to hire but no one is applying" dilemma, instead of throwing in the towel, you need to do this instead ~ take a good hard look at what you and your business are offering!

And it all starts with being honest with yourself about your business……

  • Before the pandemic hit did you have a high employee turnover?
  • Despite your company earning increasing business profits, did your employees’ wages remain stagnant?
  • Did you ignore or refuse to offer incentives such as good benefits and perks to attract and retain good workers? 

If the answers to any of these questions is yes, then the next question becomes….What can you do now?

Learn the steps you can take to find the hires you need here!

Once you have taken a good hard look at what you offer to potential employees, then you need to take the steps necessary to ensure your new hire will be an asset to your business.

The best place to begin is with the Employment Background Check!

While it might be tempting to skip or even rush, your employment background checks due to your need to hire now, that is never a wise course of action.

Screening potential employees is a vital tool in helping you hire safely and effectively. 

Knowing as much as you can about the person you hire into your company simply makes good business sense.

Understanding the skills they bring to the table, whether they are honest, and if they have a criminal record that could jeopardize your company, are all good reasons to screen before you hire.

Still on the fence about the importance of employment background checks? Consider this..... 

A good Employment Background Check will:

  1. Verify whether Your Applicant’s Resume is Truthful
  2. Help You keep a Safer Workplace
  3. Protect Your Company and its Assets
  4. Stay Compliant with Current Federal and State Employment Laws
  5. Protect Your Company from Potential Lawsuits

Learn more in “The Top 5 Reasons You should use Employment Background Checks".

When it comes to employment background checks, it is important that you never go in without a plan. And the Key to it all is to be Proactive, not Reactive, when it comes to hiring for your small business!

The best way to achieve this is to have a sound hiring process in place long before you need it.

When done right, this plan will give you a step by step guide to exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. It will include the right time to hire, how to hire, and why a good background check is crucial to making a successful hire!

In “Why you need to be Proactive when it comes to Employment Background Checks”, you will learn not only “When” and “How” to hire for your Small Business, you will discover the importance of good job descriptions and choosing the right candidate in the first place!

“When” to Hire for Your Small Business

Understanding “When” to hire is the best place to start.

You should hire when…..your current workforce cannot meet demand, you need a new skill set to grow your company, and you can afford to hire!

Then it is important to outline the steps you will take to make that hire.

“How” to Hire for Your Small Business

When you have determined you are ready to hire, you should then take a look at “how” to hire. The best way to do this is to make sure you have good job descriptions firmly in place before you start your search for the best candidates.

Writing an effective and detailed job description is important. It not only helps you hire the best person for the job, it also protects your company legally.  

The right job description ensures that both your applicants and your existing employees understand what is expected of them. It will also help you, as a manager, to determine whether your employees are meeting the job’s expectations”.

In addition, Your Job Description will:

  • outline the duties and expectations of the position
  • determine your job training goals
  • help you evaluate your employee’s performance

Taking all these steps before you are in dire need of a new hire will set you up for success to the benefit of your company, clients, and existing workforce.

But if you really need to hire NOW, then be sure you make no final decision until you screen your top candidates. It is the absolute best way to get the information you need to make a good hiring decision and keep your business and employees safe in the process.

Contact API today to learn more about Background Checks and how they can help you hire right! And we will work with you to develop an effective plan that keeps in mind your needs and your budget.


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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Ageism in the Workplace ~ Discover Why you need to Hire and Retain Older Workers

Is Your Company Ready to Embrace Older Workers?

Did You Know……

"According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014. That number, known as a labor force participation rate, is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population —most notably, people ages 65 to 74 —through 2024k with an 86% increase in workers  over 75 . In comparison, participation rates for most other age groups in the labor force aren’t projected to change much over 5% in the 2014–24 decade". Source1

What does this surge in older workers and job applicants mean for today’s workplace?

When it comes to hiring and the workplace, companies need to do what they can to be fair and equitable ~ not just in dealing with traditional “protected classes”, but also in how they handle older job applicants and employees once they are part of your workforce.

The question is ~ are your company’s hiring and employment practices up to the task?

Is “Ageism” the new Discrimination? “Tweet This”!

According to recent studies by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and many others, “Age discrimination is alive and well in the digital age, despite 50 years of laws intended to protect older Americans’ right to work. In fact, it’s thriving, with 20,857 such complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2016 alone, AARP states on its website.

A recent study that looked at more than 40,000 job applicant profiles found statistical evidence of age discrimination in hiring—discrimination against both women and men. Older applicants—those 64 to 66 years of age—experience more age discrimination than middle-age applicants ages 49 to 51, while women—especially older women, even those of middle age—experience more age discrimination in hiring than men do, the study indicated.” Source2

Thanks to better healthcare and lifestyle changes, people are living longer than ever before. Many are more active and vital long past their 60s and they want to keep doing what they love ~ and for some, that means continuing to work, or even embarking on a new career!

But instead of being welcomed and encouraged, many are being faced with a subtle roadblock ~ their age is being held against them.

“A new data analysis by ProPublica and the Urban Institute shows more than half of older U.S. workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire, suffering financial damage that is often irreversible.” Source3

And Ageism is worse in some industries more than others.

Over 40% of Tech Workers worry about Ageism

“Not only do employees witness an imbalance in age representation, but it is also causing anxiety among some workers.

Our survey of tech workers found that close to half of respondents (43%) worry about losing their job because of their age. Even more troubling, nearly one 5th (18%) say they worry about it “all the time.”.

It’s there in the cliched but widespread perception that employees need to be young to have a good grasp of the latest technology. And it’s there in startup cultures that push for long hours and low pay, which are hardly friendly to older workers with families. And as firms battle to attract young talent with ever more extravagant perks, they can unintentionally create an environment and culture that excludes older workers".

The fact remains that “retirement” is no longer at 62 or even 65 for a variety of reasons.

Some may find that they simply can’t afford to retire. Lack of pensions, rising healthcare and insurance costs, and increasing taxes all can factor into this decision to keep working.

Others simply love what they do. Their career gives them personal satisfaction and speaks to their desire to stay relevant and productive.

Now it’s time to get employers on board.

Employers Lose when they won’t Hire Older Workers! “Tweet This”

While many companies have anti-discrimination policies in place that include age, it often becomes lost in the day to day. The time is now for employers to Practice what you Preach! 

Your actions, especially when it comes to hiring, must follow the guidelines both in your policy and those that exist within local, county, state, and federal laws.

It is important that you show a strong dedication to hiring for qualifications and fitness for the job no matter the age, sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation of your applicants. 

You can accomplish this by:

  • Using age-inclusive language in your hiring and employment practices, including job postings.
  • Focusing on establishing benefits that take into consideration the wants and needs of your diverse workforce.
  • Creating a welcoming and innovative working environment that encourages collaboration.

“In order to really succeed in creating an innovative and welcoming environment, you (companies) need a mixed workforce. Having both experienced and skilled employees at all levels is key.

Creating an atmosphere where each generation of employees can learn from the other is one that will thrive and prosper. This results in the best of both worlds ~ a marriage between the tried and true and the up and coming.

This type of culture embraces experience while recognizing the benefits of introducing new talent and ideas. It is also the perfect way of establishing a strong company succession plan ~ something that every successful company needs”; excerpt from “Hiring? What You Should Do Now to Attract the New Hires You Need!”.

Do so, and this is what you will gain ~ a diverse group of employees that provide much needed skills, knowledge, and experience to your workplace.

In addition, building a diverse workforce is an amazing way to attract and retain the best hires.

It creates an environment filled with varying ideas, skills, and experience. The key is to get your diverse employees working as a team and sharing their knowledge and skills to better themselves and your company.

A great way to start is to establish a strong Mentoring Program.

Mentoring allows employees of different ages and backgrounds a better chance to know and learn from each other.

“While some businesses already understand the benefits of a strong internal Mentoring program, not all are as yet so savvy".

Business owners would be wise to embrace the idea of Mentoring. It is a great way to “onboard” new hires, especially those who have recently graduated and interns just entering the workforce. It can also be valuable as a way to get existing employees ready for promotion.” 

Establishing mentoring relationships between diverse employees, and that includes different ages, helps spread your employees’ knowledge and skill pool throughout your workforce!

Learn more about the value of Mentoring in your workplace in “Are You Ready to be a Mentor?”.

The fact is, rather than retire at age 65, more older Americans are remaining in or returning to the workforce. Some are continuing to work due to longer life expectancies, health expenses or financial insecurity. Others simply enjoy the social interaction and the fulfillment and sense of identity work provides.

In order to succeed, it is vital that your workplace embrace them. Is your company ready?

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Source 1* Older Workers: Labor Force Trends 

Source 2* Despite Laws intended to Prevent it, Age Discrimination ‘Alive and Well 

Source 3* If You're over 50, Chances are the decision to Leave a Job won't be Yours

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Discover why Background Checks on Volunteers are just as important as Screening New Hires!

Background checks on volunteers are just as important to your company as screening new hires!

Screening your Volunteers, just like you do potential employees, is simply good business. It helps promote increased workplace safety, productivity, and customer service ~ all essential to your business!

Volunteers are often critical to the success of many organizationsWith tight budgets to hire full or even part-time employees, along with a vast amount of job openings in our present market not yet being filled, volunteers take up the slack. They spend countless hours coaching youth sports, delivering meals to the needy, mentoring and tutoring children, and so many more things to help the community and businesses around them.

Volunteers do these things as a way to give back and help others. They believe in making a difference and in being a good citizen. Their goal is to help those around them, and that often includes our children, elderly, and disabled.  

However, there have also been horror stories about the danger some of these volunteers have posed. Reports of convicted abusers who are found volunteering as coaches or in child care are an obvious cause for concern.

Today, more than ever, organizations who use volunteers need to address this issue. Protecting the very people they are trying to help must be a priority. This is where screening volunteers comes in.

While conducting volunteer background checks is vital, these organizations do not want to alienate these volunteers in the process. Concerns that background checks will violate their privacy and that these organizations will not protect their personal information can arise.

This can be a delicate balancing act. Organizations are faced with the need to weed out unsafe volunteers without losing any of the loyal and dedicated volunteers they need. 

In the meantime, many states have passed, or are in the process of passing, legislation that mandates background checks on any one who comes in “direct contact” with our children or other members of our vulnerable populations.

But questions continue….

  • What exactly is “direct contact”? 
  • Does it cover anyone who is even in the same room as children, the elderly, or disabled? 
  • Or does it only pertain to those who have unsupervised contact?  
  • Who pays the fees associated with these background checks? 
  • Is it cost prohibitive for organizations, especially non-profits, to cover the cost? 
  • Or is it an undue burden on volunteers who are asked to pay for it themselves? 
  • What exactly should be checked? Since no standard exists, what is best practice?
  • What offenses should disqualify someone from volunteering?
  • What can be done to minimize a volunteer’s objections to a background check?    

This can all be very confusing for anyone who uses volunteers.  

In reality, most organizations run some type of background check on their volunteers. These background checks are run for the same reasons as they would be on any employee ~ to keep out anyone who is unsafe.  

But while there may be some who are wary of pre-employment background checks, volunteers are often even more put off by the idea.

Long-time volunteers may object to a new screening policy after years of giving their time and energy to an organization. While those considering volunteering for the first time might be turned off from even applying.

Many are understandably worried about their personal information being leaked. Volunteers may also believe that a new screening policy creates an atmosphere of distrust. 

But the bottom line is this ~ Volunteers who work with Children, the Elderly, or any vulnerable population need Background Checks.

Our top priority should be the Safety of our Children, the Elderly, and our Vulnerable! “Tweet This”

Organizations can take definite steps to achieve this goal. It is possible to provide a safe and productive environment for the population you serve while mitigating the concerns of your volunteers.

To do this, Organizations Need to:

Create a Written Volunteer Screening Policy ~ This policy should outline the screening procedures used and be included in your organization’s written policies. Make sure that everyone is fully informed of your policy and publish it both in your written materials and online for all to clearly see.

Provide Job Descriptions for Every Position within Your Organization ~ This should include exactly what is required of each volunteer who fills the position. Being clear on this up front sets expectations and boundaries. It is also a great way of determining what needs to be checked during screening by fitting the scope of the check to the job duties. Find out more  in  “One Size Does Not Fit All ~ Why You Need to Fit the BG Check to the Job!”.   

Identify the Background Check Fees & Who is Responsible for Paying Them State clearly whether these fees are to be paid fully by your organization, fully by the volunteer, or by a combination of the two. Being up front is the best way to avoid surprises.

Obtain an Application and Signed Release for All Volunteers The application should include the potential volunteer’s full name, any previous names used, addresses for the past 7 years, references, and a copy of their photo ID. It is important that you get this application from each volunteer and keep it in a secure file.

This also goes for a signed release form. This form both notifies a volunteer that a background check will be performed and documents their consent. Requiring this authorization helps protect your organization. 

Establish Procedures to Review the Volunteer’s Application ~ In reviewing the application, look for inconsistencies in the information listed. Check references and try to develop references not listed. Any questionable information found during this process needs to be documented. It is also important to be clear that false statements on the application is cause for disqualification as a volunteer. Taking the time necessary to be diligent here is an important step in making sure you identify possibly problematic volunteers.  

Clearly Identify Which Criminal Offenses Would Disqualify a Volunteer ~ While it is important that each organization determine for themselves what offenses will prohibit someone from volunteering, the following criminal offenses should be taken seriously and result in automatic  disqualification:

  • Child, Elderly, or other types of Abuse or Domestic Violence Convictions
  • Sex Offenses & Sexual Misconduct Convictions
  • Violent Felony Convictions

Although the following offenses may not be grounds for immediate disqualification ~ Pending Criminal Cases, Arrests, and Misdemeanors within the past 7 years ~ they should also be noted.

Document All Information Obtained During the Screening Process & All Actions Taken ~ Be sure to keep a written log documenting what was checked, when it was checked, and what action was taken because of the information obtained. It is important to keep a clear and concise record of any decision you make regarding each of your volunteers.

Create a Privacy and Personal Information Policy ~ Protection of sensitive, personal information should be a priority. All the information obtained on each volunteer, from the application, application review, and the criminal background check, must be kept completely confidential. It is good practice to keep the application review results and criminal check histories separate from the general volunteer files. These should only be accessible to authorized personnel.    

We need to remember that Volunteers are important. They provide much needed man power to many organizations and their contributions cannot be minimized. However, that does not mean that you should take any volunteer into your organization blindly. 

Making sure they do not pose a potential problem to those you serve is priority number one. And putting sound screening procedures in place is a great start. Making sure your volunteers understand why these checks are necessary is key.   

Contact API today! We can help you create a sound background check policy and provide the services you need to hire safely and effectively!


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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Learn How You can use Your Existing Employees to Help you Hire

Having the right employees is crucial to the success of your business.

They help keep your business running smoothly and your customers happy.

But did you know that they can also be an important tool when it comes time for you to hire?

Using your existing workforce as a resource simply makes good business sense. They are intimately aware of what is needed to do the jobs within your company and they also understand the inner workings of the team.

So how exactly can they help you find and train the new hire you need?

Here are some tips to help ~

  • Reach out to your employees, especially your best and brightest. Talk to them. Find out more about what skills and talents are needed to help your company grow and succeed. Learn where your workforce is lacking and where it needs help.
  • Really listen to what they have to say. Their input will be invaluable not only in recruiting but when it comes time to make a job offer.
  • Ask them to refer other like-minded, smart and hard-working individuals to the business to supplement your recruiting efforts. Sometimes your current employees are your best resource for finding qualified candidates who can help improve your business.


Employee Referrals

Does your company have an Employee Referral Program? If not, that is a change you should definitely consider making!

Employee Referral programs are good for your business and especially for finding great new hires. Your employees are intimately aware of the inner working of your company and your company’s needs. They also know the company culture and who will fit in and who will not. 

When it comes to getting the best referrals, start by asking your best and most skilled employees. Most likely they will have among their friends and acquaintances others who possess the same qualities that make these employees so valuable.

Getting referrals from your existing employees has multiple benefits. It is a great way to both reward your employees for their viable referrals and keep them happy with your new hires. And it will also help you find the right person for the job.

Discover more hiring tips in “Is it Time to Change your Hiring Practices”.

Engaged and Appreciated Employees are your best Company Ambassadors! “Tweet This”!

You should also encourage your employees to “talk up” your businessRecommend that they share information about their job and your company with their family, friends, and even acquaintances. Any time your employees are at social events it presents an opportunity. 

This doesn’t mean you want them sharing false praises or that you expect them to endlessly talk about their jobs. It simply means that if your employees are happy then they will want to help spread the word!

Another way your employees can help you hire is to regularly engage with your brand on social media.

Encourage them to:

  • Like and Follow your social accounts, including your blog.
  • Ask others in their circle to also Like and Follow your accounts
  • Like, Share, Retweet, and Comment on your company posts
  • Post reviews and comments on your social sites

If you have a blog, you may even consider asking your employees to write a guest post. It can be on anything from their job, a company event, or even an upcoming product or service release. The key is for them to be a part of creating content and to provide them the pride of authorship. You may also consider a regular series of articles that highlight your staff.

No matter what you choose, including your employees on your company blog and encouraging them to engage with your company social media simply increases your reach and online visibility ~ all which can make your business attractive to potential new hires.

But before you expect your employees to help you advertise your company and find new hires, you need to take a good look at how they truly feel about you and your company. How effective and interested your employees are in helping you find quality hires all hinges on how you treat them in the first place!

That is why it is so important that your first goal should be on training, encouraging, and retaining your best existing employees.

5 Retention Tips for Keeping Top Talent

Help Your New Employee Define and Reach Their GoalsHelp them to identify where they want to go and what steps are necessary to get them there. Just determining their goals is not enough. You need to provide them with a realistic set of steps to help them achieve those goals. The best employees are never satisfied. This is what makes them high achievers.

Create an Environment that Encourages SuccessMake sure your company is a place that helps them reach their goals or is a significant stop along the way. Be the place where they are able to achieve a major milestone in their career. Be the company that discovered their talents and nurtured those talents.  This will bring success to them and to your company.

Enable Your Employees to Develop New and Marketable Skills ~ Encourage your team to share their own abilities and allow them to learn from each other. This helps you create well-rounded and skilled employees. It also promotes a greater sense of “team” and a more productive work environment.  Also provide opportunities to attend interesting and informative workshops and conferences. The chance to absorb industry knowledge and network is invaluable.

Set Specific GoalsLay out an action plan with a specific time frame for completion. Provide them with all the resources necessary to achieve those action plan goals. Make sure you evaluate their progress and increase their responsibility upon successful completion. Your performance reviews should provide REAL FEEDBACK. Discuss where they are, where they need to head, and how they can get there. This keeps your workforce constantly improving and growing.

Provide Real Opportunity to AdvanceGive your employees the chance to EARN high level duties and even allow them to outgrow your company if necessary! Your valuable employees need to know you promote from within.  They need to feel they have a real future at your company.  However, if they have truly achieved their highest potential with you, provide them with the positive, helpful references they have earned and deserve. Remember, it is good to “Pay it Forward!”.

Find more tips on employee retention here!

It is also important that your employees are engaged and invested in your business. Make sure you really listen to their suggestions, problems, and concerns. Create an open line of communication where they feel comfortable approaching you and their opinion is valued.

Hold open brainstorming sessions to deal with, or even better, to prevent problems. Ask them for ideas and listen without judgment, while honing in on and fine tuning their best suggestions. Then it is important that you act on them. This will help your employees feel valued, appreciated, and truly part of a team.

The bottom line is this ~ if you’re going to depend on your employees to help you find and retain good hires, then they have to be invested in your company. And if you treat them well they will be happy to help your business thrive.


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