Monday, August 27, 2012

“Face to Face” Communication – Is it Really a Lost Art?

Created by Kim Kline, Access Profiles Inc.

Taking a look back, I find my thoughts on "Face to Face" communication still relevant. While it is certainly the ideal (for all the reasons I mention and more), it is often not the reality.  But I believe recreating that feeling of "human contact" online is possible.  

Read on .........

Social Media, Networking, Engagement, “Likes” – they are all here to stay.  So does that mean that the “good old-fashioned” face-to-face meeting is passé?  Is there still value in truly meeting someone with whom you want to do business or exchange ideas?

Truth be told, there are many people I currently do business with that I have never met.  Even more that I have conversed with on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Social Media Examiner.  Do I value these connections?  Most Definitely!  Do I wish I would have the chance to meet them “in person”?  I would have to answer YES to that too!

I recently came across an article by Tiffany Ross entitled “Business Etiquette and Body Language” (Source1) on eHow.

I have always been interested in the art of “reading” people, 
so this article got me thinking.  With the current emphasis on social media communication, have the benefits of “in person” interaction been lost? 

It is obvious that how you carry yourself in a business situation can tell a perspective employer or potential client a lot about you.  But what are the real benefits of face-to-face?  

5 Business Benefits of Meeting Face-to-Face "Tweet This"

5 Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication

  1. It is much harder to say “No” in a face-to-face situation.
  2. You can create trust more easily, especially in the long term.
  3. You can read facial and body “cues” you can’t in written communication.
  4. You can make true “eye contact” and establish a “meeting of the minds”.
  5. Face-to-face helps create a “community” feeling.

So what do you do if meeting “face-to-face” is NOT a reality?  Can you still gain some of these benefits in your working relationships without it?  

I believe you can.

Contact Me!

Building personal and profitable business relationships solely through social media and written communications may be hard, but they are possible.  The key is to put YOURSELF out there.  You are your brand and company.  Being accessible, honest, and true to yourself will translate in the written word. 

How do you do this?  Take the time to really connect with others.  Share and comment on their posts and post interesting and informative articles of your own.   

Most importantly, be genuine!  You can get beyond the “click on Like” and really engage with some work on your part.   I believe it is worth it. 

Learn more about recreating the "personal touch" online in "Rock Your Online Connections ~ 4 Personal Touch Tips to Help!".

So, once again,
Is the art & value of a “Face-to-Face” meeting lost?  
My answer is No.  
Really looking someone in the eye is hard to duplicate.  However, if you can learn to post, blog, and comment through Social Media 
with “HEART”, 
you can and will establish real working relationships!  Good Luck!

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Source1:  "Business Etiquette and Body Language"

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Top 6 People You Should Run a Background Check On!

Hiring Home Contractors & Home Care

Many of us will, at one time or another, need to hire someone. Whether it is to help care for our children or an elderly parent, or even to complete our home improvement projects.

Either way, it is important that your family's safety comes first.  This is where a good Background Check comes in!

Background Checks are designed for protection.  Even in your personal life, using a background check to provide a sense of security to yourself and your family is sound advice.  Don’t think you would ever need to use a background check?  Think again!  The following list may get you thinking!

6 People You Should Always Run a Background Check On!  "Tweet This"!

  • Babysitters or Nannies – 

Your children are the most valuable people in your life.  Making sure that the person you hire to watch them when you are not around is safe and reliable makes sense.  You can check with previous employers for a good part of the information you need.  Many teens also take a Red Cross Course in babysitting and you can ask if they have this certification.

If you are hiring a nanny through an agency, verify that they have run a criminal background check and ask for the results!  You should also see that they have been certified in basic first aid and child CPR.

  • Home Health Care Providers

If you have elderly parents or anyone in need of a home health aide, knowing that those people have the certifications and training they need is crucial.  Making sure they do not have any criminal record (especially anything to do with abuse or drug offenses) is also essential to the protection of those you love.  The agency providing the health care worker should have run a background check containing this information.  Make sure you know what they found before you allow them in your home.

  • Housekeeper or Maid Service – 

    Do you really want the people that clean your home unsupervised to have a criminal record?  At the very least you want to know what kind of job they do and if they are reliable.  Check their references carefully and, if they are employed through an agency, check to see what you can expect in the event of any problems with the service.

  • Home Contractors or Handymen – 

    Checking references of past customers may give you information on their skills and work habits.  If they own their own business, checking with the Better Business Bureau or your local township offices for complaints and how they resolved them is good business.

  • New Roommate – 

While getting a new roommate rarely escalates into an incident like the one depicted in the movie “Single White Female”, checking out a potential new roommate is both practical and sensible.  Do they have a criminal record?  Do they pay their rent on time?  You may not be able to access their financial records, but contacting their previous landlords or roommates is a good step.  You can also check your county’s civil and federal court records to see if they have filed bankruptcy or been involved in litigations.

  • Renters and Tenants – 

Do you own any rental property?  A vacation home you are thinking of renting?  You need to take the necessary steps to protect both your property and ensuring the safety of your other tenants (if you have them) and your neighbors.  A basic check of any criminal or civil actions against them is the first step.  You should also check any past landlords to determine whether they pay their rent on time and if they left the rental property in good order. 

These are just some suggestions on how you can use Background Checks to make you and your family safer.  

Whether you run these checks yourself or hire a professional to help, the additional peace of mind you will have is invaluable. 

Check out these tips on hiring the best Background Check company for You, Here

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why You Should Run a Background Check on Yourself

Despite recent EEOC guidelines calling for less emphasis on Background Checks during the hiring process, most companies are still using them.  Therefore, it is still best for job seekers to be prepared!

Are you looking for a job?  Ready to change careers?  

Running a background check on yourself BEFORE you apply is smart – and will help you stand out from the crowd!

Many employers use Background Checks as part of their hiring process.  Most of these employers are looking for past criminal histories and validation of your employment and education claims.  Some also do searches on driving records and social media presence.

Do you know what they will find?

Your best defense is a sound offense.  Before you apply for any job, you will probably update your resume, research the company where you are applying – all in the hope of putting your best foot forward.  Why not add a Background Check to that list?

Looking for a Job?  Do a Background Check on Yourself First!  "Tweet This"

Your Background Check should include these basics:

  •     Criminal History Check – Discovering exactly what could be found in a criminal search is invaluable.  It will give you a chance to be ready with an explanation or mitigating circumstances of accurate criminal records.  It will also give you a chance to correct or dispute records that contain errors.  You can attempt to search court records yourself or hire a Background Check Services Company to help.

    •     Academic/License Verification Order transcripts in advance from any institution where you claim a degree or certification.  Make sure that the records are correct and completely coincide with the information on your resume.  This should include all dates of attendance, date degree earned, GPA , description of the degree (bachelors, masters, etc.), and any honors and awards.

      •     Employment History Contact all past employers listed on your resume and verify what information they release to prospective employers asking for verifications.  Is it limited to job title and dates of employment?  Will they verify reason for leaving or comment on work performance?   Knowing what will be said about you will give you the chance to make any corrections needed on your resume.  I have seen applicants rejected simply because the job title listed on their resume did not match that supplied by the past employer.  Don’t let this happen to you!

        •     Driving History Ordering your own driving history when applying for a position that requires driving as part of the job description (or one that comes with a company car) will prepare you for any violations or suspensions listed, even ones you may have forgotten existed!  Most driving records go back 7-10 years, depending on the state.  Your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles should be contacted for this information.

          •     Internet Search You should start by searching Google (and other internet search engines) and Social Media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. for your name-including any variations of your name- address, phone number, or any other “identifiers”.  Look through these sites with an eye out for posts and photos that may cast you in a bad light to potential employers.  Delete or block anything that may be even remotely questionable.

            Being prepared is sound advice for anyone in search of a job, and with a little work you can be!  The possibility that your dream job may fall through your hands simply because “red flags” came up during your Background Check can be avoided.  Knowing in advance exactly what is “out there” about you is in your best interest.  (And hiring a quality screening company to help you makes sense!).

            These tips will help you Find the Best Background Check Company for You!

            Remember, your best defense is a good offense!

            I can Help You Get the Job!

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            Saturday, August 4, 2012

            Background Check Breakdown Part 3: You Have Your Background Check Report, Now What?

            #BackgroundCheck Tips

            The final installment in my series on Background Checks discusses the compliance issues surrounding how you can safely use the results in Your Hiring Process.....

            Part 3: "Tips to Help You Safely and Effectively Use the Background Check Report in Your Hiring Process"

            You have determined what you need in a Background Check, decided what Background Check company you want to use, and you have the Background Check report in front of you – Now what do you do?

            EEOC guidelines and mandates from the Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) do dictate how you can use the information supplied in a background check report. Under CRA regulations, a Background Check cannot legally even report cases that were dismissed, where the defendant was found not guilty, or arrest records. If your Background Check record does include any of this information, you would be wise to not consider it in your employment decision.

            Okay, so the Background Check report on your applicant is compliant and only contains allowable information. What is your next step?

            Follow these Steps if Your Applicant has a Criminal Record  "Tweet This"!

            If you find that your applicant has a criminal record, You need to ask yourself the following questions:

            1. How recent was/were the conviction(s)? A conviction record that occurred many years ago (with a clean record since) should not be considered an indication of current conduct or recurring behavior. Most Background Check companies use a time frame of 5 – 10 years as a range of reference.  
            2. How is this record relevant to your open position? In order to be compliant with EEOC guidelines, it is necessary to determine what type of criminal history would keep an applicant from performing their job duties in a manner that is safe and would not cause damage to your business. For example, past convictions for embezzlement or fraud would be of great concern when hiring a bookkeeper or accountant.  

            What do you do if you have determined the Background Check report does contain information that will keep you from considering the applicant for hire or promotion?

            1. Notify the applicant, in writing, of your determination and provide them a copy of the Background Check Report.
            2. Give the applicant the opportunity to correct the information in the Background Check Report or for them to offer information to mitigate the report’s findings.
            3. Determine whether any additional information you receive from the applicant will reverse your initial decision to exclude the applicant from hire or promotion.
            4. Notify the applicant of your final determination.

            It is most important to document this entire process! You need to keep detailed notes as to what decisions you made concerning the hiring or promotion of the applicant and when you made them. Good records will help protect your company in the event of litigation.

            You will find more information on safe hiring in "Tips to Help Your Business Fly Under the EEOC Radar".

            In conclusion, the use of Background Checks in the hiring process is invaluable. In its most basic terms, it will provide you with the tools to weed out the “bad hires” while keeping the good ones. Good Luck!

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            5 Tips to Help You Choose the Best Background Check Company For You

            How to Find the Right Background Check Company for You!

            Tips to help You Choose the Best Background Check company for You and Your Business.

            The key is to find one that will work WITH you, not just FOR You!

            Not all Background Check Companies are created equal, and many small business owners are confused or fearful of choosing the wrong one.  But it is possible to find one that is a perfect fit for you and your small business.  

            5 Tips to Help You Find the Best Background Check Company for Your Small Business!  "Tweet This"

            You Need to:

            • Choose a company that really takes your needs into consideration.  Pretty basic, huh? A company that pushes its most popular “package” may not be listening to what you really need. The truth is, not every position in every company requires an “all encompassing” check on an applicant’s past. A good Background Check company will meet with you and listen to what you want, suggest how to use a background check to achieve that goal, and implement a Background Check that you both agree upon.  Discover more about fitting the Background Check to the job "One Size Does not Fit All ~ Why You Need to fit the Background Check to the Job"!  

            • Ask yourself this question – How does this Background Check company obtain the information in its reportsDo they use a 3rd party? Do they contact the courts directly? How do they verify education and employment history? There are definite benefits to using a company that verifies all criminal and civil records through the court system. Direct court information is more reliable and accurate than the “instant” online searches currently popular. Recent news stories illustrate cases where companies are being sued for the inaccuracies in Background Checks obtained through these “instant” searches. Many Background Check companies may use the instant records as a starting point, but the truly good ones will go the extra step and contact the courts to verify what that initial report finds. These same principles can be applied when checking how a Background Check company verifies education and employment. Nothing beats direct contact with the source.  Find out more about this here!

              • Remember, not everything good comes easy! The fact is, not all records can be obtained instantly, or even in one day. Verifying many court records, past employments and degrees earned takes time, and the release of that information is on their timetable, not yours. Any Background Check company that promises all results in 24 hours should raise a “red flag”.  

              • Be sure the the Background Check company understands compliance issues and stays informed to help you and your company avoid liability. A reputable Background Check company needs to constantly stay updated on state and federal laws covering the collection and use of Background Check data, especially those concerning past criminal history. Keeping up to date, and helping your company do so, is an important part of choosing the right Background Check company for you.

              • Remember “cost isn’t everything”! A “package” at a ridiculously low price may seem tempting, but what are you getting? A good Background Check company will work with you to supply the information you need at a cost you can afford.  The bottom line – the recruiting, hiring, and training of the “wrong” applicant is much more costly.

              Using these five tips, and a little work on your part, will help you choose a Background Check company that is a true partner in your company’s hiring process. 

              If you missed Part 1 in this series on "Why" You Need to Use Background Checks, be sure to check it out here.  And in Part 3, you will discover "How" to use that Background Check in your Hiring Process here!

              Please take a moment to share and comment on this post! 

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              Thursday, August 2, 2012

              Background Check Breakdown Part 1: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Use Employment Background Checks

              Find Out What a Good Background Company can do for You!

              In this 3 Part Series; I will discuss "Why" You Need to Use Background Checks, "How" to Choose the Best Background Check company for you, and Tips to Help You Use a Background Check to the best advantage in your hiring process.

              Part 1: “Why Do You Need a Background Check?”

              This is the first part in a three part series that will break down the Background Check process and make it simple. Here I will deal with the reasons why you need to run a Background Check in the first place. 

              Right now I know many of you are questioning the need to use Background Checks as part of your hiring process at all. The changing EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines have probably left you dazed and confused.

              Don't Be Confused ~ Background Checks Will Work for You & Your Small Business!  "Tweet This"

              5 Reasons a Background Check will work for you:

              • A Background Check will help verify whether an applicant’s resume is truthful. This is the most fundamental benefit of doing a Background Check, yet it is often overlooked. We are not talking here of a simple “misstatement” of dates of employment. We are talking the very real and crucial verification of their stated education/degree earned, past employment (and the skills that go along with it) and, yes, whether they have a past criminal record. Perhaps, most importantly, being untruthful at this stage of the employment process does not bode well for how they will conduct themselves as a hired employee.

              • A Background Check will help you keep a safer workplace. Knowing whether an applicant has a history of violence will protect both your employees and customers from possible abuse. Any incidence of violence in the workplace cannot be tolerated. In this instance, knowledge is definitely power.

              • A Background Check will help protect your company property. It will uncover convictions for offenses like theft, embezzlement, fraud, and bad checks. Hiring someone with a criminal history report containing these types of offenses could jeopardize your company. Theft in the workplace has compromised the financial stability of many businesses – especially small business. In addition, if your open position includes driving a company vehicle, a report including driving history will reveal any license suspensions, accidents and traffic offenses. Protecting your company assets is vital to running any successful business. 

              • A Background Check will help your company remain compliant with any federal or state laws that govern your type of business. If your company does any work for the federal government, for example, a Background Check on employees is required by law. In addition, the National Child Protection Act mandates Background Checks on anyone who comes in contact with children, the elderly, or the mentally disabled. Background Checks are necessary to provide security to those considered vulnerable.

              • Finally, a Background Check will help you protect your company from potential lawsuits. I am sure you have seen news where companies have been sued over hiring dangerous employees (a recent case in IN comes to mind – a man employed by a company that delivers and sets up “bouncy” houses for children’s parties was found to be a sex offender). A dangerous hire will not just ruin your hard-earned company reputation, it can financially bankrupt you as well!

              All of these reasons for running a Background Check may not apply to you and your company, but taking into consideration those that do can save you from hiring and training the wrong candidate in the first place!

              Help Spread the word on the importance of Background Checks to Small Business!  Share This! Thanks!

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