Monday, September 26, 2016

Do you know How Companies are Really Using Social Media to Hire?

Companies use social media every day. Whether it is to market their business, share their blog, or even to monitor their customers ~ there is no doubt it is a vital part of their business strategy.

But the use of social media does not end there. Businesses are also using it in their hiring practices.  

They routinely post on social sites to recruit candidates and advertise their open positions. What is most interesting, however, is that in increasing numbers businesses are also making social media a part of their screening process.

According to a recent Career Builder Survey (source1), the “number of employers using social media to screen candidates has increased 500% over the last decade” (60% today up from 11% in 2006)!

That number is astounding. But if you think about it carefully, not surprising. We have increasingly become an “online” world. It would be archaic thinking to believe that the hiring process would not follow suit.

Social Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter give employers more access than ever into the lives of their applicants ~ well beyond what was available in the traditional resume. And with the majority of people on at least one site or another, the information is there for the taking.

The prevalence of using social media in hiring depends upon the industry, but most are using it to some extent. For those companies, IT companies top the list at 76%. Sales and financial services jobs follow at 65% and 61% respectively.  

But no matter the type of job being filled, employers are using social media to get a better picture of their candidates.

Do You Know How Employers are Really Using Social Media in Hiring?  “Tweet This”

What might surprise most job seekers is that employers are not checking out your social media sites to find a way NOT to hire youInstead, they are looking for information that corroborates that you are the right person for the job. 

By running a background check, Employers are simply looking for confirmation that they have made the right choice. At 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.” ~ excerpt from “Surprise, Doing a Background Check means they Want to Hire You!”.

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

The Bottom Line ~ Companies are really using social media to verify that they have made the right decision in hiring you.

Verification of your job qualifications tops the list of what employers are looking for in your online profiles (60% cite this reason for checking online). Also important are whether you present a professional image (53%) and show a well-rounded personality . 

But what they see can also hurt your chances of getting hired. Evidence of drug use or excessive drinking (43%) and inappropriate posts or pictures (46%) will give a hiring manager pause.  

Don’t be tempted to keep your social profiles completely “private” to avoid scrutiny. Employers are less likely to even interview you when they cannot find information about you online.

Instead of taking a chance, job seekers would do well to ensure they have professional and positive online presence.

That is why now, more than ever, if you are looking for a job you need to get your resume “background check ready”.  

Besides being honest and truthful in everything you include, you should also know what is “out there” about you. Checking the major social sites and cleaning up anything you can is a good start.

You would also do well to ensure that the positive things about you are highlighted. Sharing your volunteer efforts or any professional organizations where you belong makes sense. 

Putting your most professional self forward should be your ultimate goal.  Find out more in “Tips to Get Your Resume ‘Background Check Ready’!”. 

It is important to know that a growing number of employers are also using social media to check on current employees, and some have even found reason to fire them. So keeping your online presence clean should be an ongoing process.

Companies also need to prepare well in advance before using social media to hire, or fire, an employee. 

This means having a detailed plan in place. There are definite guidelines as to what, when, and how the information you find on social sites can and should be used.

According to the survey, 36% of employers who use social media to screen their employees have requested to “friend” or follow their applicants.  This is a slippery slope.  But even worse is requesting your applicants’ passwords ~ and this practice is even illegal in many states. The key is only publicly available information should ever be considered.

You can learn more about the best practices for using social media in your screening process in “Social Media Check ~ The Forgotten Screening Tool”.

Social Media and Hiring are now linked.  
Companies will continue to use it as a tool to hire and keep the right employees. And Job Seekers must make sure they are putting their best online foot forward.
The Time to Prepare is Now anAPI can Help!  
Companies ~ API will help you develop a sound and compliant employment screening policy. Job Seekers ~ API can get your resume "background check ready"!   

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Source1:  Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates Has Increased 500 Percent over the Last Decade

Monday, September 19, 2016

Do You want to Know the Best Blogging Advice I Ever Got?

Created and Written by Kimberly Kline, API

I started blogging on August 4, 2012….
and when I take a look back at that first post, there is no doubt 
I have learned a lot about blogging since then!

When I began, I just dove in.  I figured that like the first time I made it off the high dive, there came a point when I just had to jump.

I knew I wanted to share more about my business.  I wanted to make using employment background checks in hiring a little less scary and much more approachable.

But that is where it ended.  I had little more direction or focus than that.

It wasn’t long before I discovered that 
I needed a plan. 

So I started searching online for other bloggers that “spoke” to me.

I soon discovered that I gravitated towards the ones that wrote in the “conversational” tone I loved, and that excelled in making their subject matter easy to understand ~ even for those not in their business.

I landed on these 3 bloggers ~ 
Jenn Herman of Jenn’s Trends
Mike Allton of The Social Media Hat, and Tracy Higginbotham of Women TIES
…and I think you will soon find out why!

Each of them has a unique voice and knowledge to share.  There is no doubt that they love blogging and they share this enthusiasm in each and every one of their posts.

Jenn Herman / Jenn’s Trends
Jenn was my first blogger discovery.  I was (and in many, many ways still am) a social media novice.  It was obvious from the start that Jenn knew her stuff.

She was able to make social media much less scary and her tips became invaluable in helping me share and spread the word about my blog.  

But perhaps her biggest gift to me was the “aha” moment I had when reading her article “How to be Invaluable to Your Customers” (source1), written way back in 2014!  This article showed me the value of truly focusing on my customers problems and needs.  And that became my blog’s primary focus!

From then on, I made my blog much less about me and what I wanted to share and more about my clients ~ and the new clients I hoped to have!  I continue with this focus today!

How This Advice can Work for You…..
Find a blogger that will help you discover your blog’s focus.  The goal is to continue reading articles until you have your own unique “aha” moment.  That moment might come quickly or it may have to develop over time.  Either way, finding it will be a great boost to your blog! 

Mike Allton / The Social Media Hat
I discovered Mike's blog in early 2015.  Since that time I have watched his blog grow right along with his infectious enthusiasm for blogging!  

Mike has really made an impact on my own blog with his easy to understand “tech” expertise.  His “how to” articles are perfect for me!  Mike’s step-by-step guides are easy to follow ~ even for this “tech challenged” blogger!

My favorites have been on how to create “Tweetable" links and how to add Facebook authorship to my blog articles. (Sources 2,3). I was able to use both of the guidelines in each article to add a better dimension to my own blog.  Thanks Mike!

How this Advice can Work for You…..
It is difficult to excel at every aspect of blogging.  The key is recognizing that and to find sources that will help you fill the gap.  Search out articles featuring the information you need.  Don’t be afraid to ask the blogger questions or make comments. Establishing a good working relationship with another blogger is never a bad thing!

Tracy Higginbotham / Women TIES
As a blogger, Tracy is a pro at sharing her passion for Women in Business.  She inspired me to decide what message I truly wanted to send to my readers.  It really helped me build my brand and find my passion.

Tracy writes from her heart and that fits perfectly with her brand and her passion.  What is really astounding is that she manages to do this in every one of her DAILY blog posts (a schedule I could never hope to duplicate).

Because of her inspiration, I saw the value of sharing pieces of myself and my story with my readers.  Tracy also helped me land squarely on my goals for promoting and helping Small Businesses.

One of my favorite articles of Tracy’s is her take on finding your business commitment, “What was Your Moment of BusinessCommitment” (Source4).  This spoke to me, as many of her articles do.

That is something I strive for in my own blog ~ to convey my own passion for small business and inspire that passion in others.

How this Advice Can Work for You…..
Don’t be afraid to tell your story.  Exposing your readers to your own problems and successes is a great way to build a connection.  Don’t shy away from this.  However, you then have to turn it around and explain to your readers how what you have learned can work for them! 

Written & Created by Kimberly Kline, API

Discovering these 3 blogging gurus 
was the start to me gaining 
a stronger focus, passion, 
commitment, and drive 
for my blog than I had ever had before.

And it was right about then that I discovered the absolute Best Blogging Advice I ever Got…..I needed to find a way to make these blogging gems work for me!

The Best Blogging Advice?  Do What Works for You!  “Tweet This”

I could not do things exactly the way Jenn, Mike, or Tracy did them.  

Instead, I had to take the best of what I learned from each of them and tweak it to fit my own blogging goals.

That is why I know this advice 
will work for you too!

Customizing tips that “speak” to you, and fit both your and your audience’s unique needs, is key.

When you blog, take a good hard look at what you really want to accomplish.  Do you want to reach a specific audience?  Gain more clients?  Or are you interested in achieving something else entirely?

No matter what your goals, in the end you need to do what is in the best interests of you and your readers.  There is no one “right” or only way to blog.

Seek out other bloggers.  Discover what they are doing that you like and what you don’t.  That is your starting point.

Then it is time to get to work!

There are definite benefits to blogging, 
and I still believe it is one of the best things 
I have ever done for my own Small Business.  

Blogging will help you build trust in your company, build relationships with your readers and clients, and build your brand.

Check out what blogging can do for you in “Have You Ever Considered Starting a Blog?  If Not, You Should!” and “Are You Afraid of Starting Your Small Business Blog?  I can Help You!”.

Ready to take the next step in your 
blogging journey?  
Then get started now!

We can answer your Blogging and Small Business Questions!

Authored by  

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for new articles 
focused on You and Your Small Business!

Source1: How to Be Invaluable to Your Customers

Source2:  How to Create Tweetable Links

Source3:  Facebook adds Authorship, Bloggers Take Note!

Source4:  What’s Your Moment of Business Commitment? 

Monday, September 12, 2016

“It’s On Us” ~ Is Your Company Ready to Step Up and Stop Workplace Harassment?

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

Harassment in the workplace is real.  
All you have to do is take a look at the news, 
or even your own workplace, 
to know that it happens.

Instances can be subtle or blatant, emotional and physical.  They can include the more obvious cases of sexual harassment, but even cover the use of offensive and hostile words or actions.

It is important to understand that workplace harassment is considered a form of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Any inappropriate actions or words based on a person’s sex, age, race, disability, religion, or national origin are categorized as bias against a protected class. 

And while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has weighed in on the matter before, workplace harassment is once again in their investigative crosshairs.

Their focus is on both eliminating it in the workplace and on identifying an employer’s obligations when it comes to dealing with it.

With these ends in mind, the EEOC has issued new recommendations under their “It’s On Us” campaign.  The campaign is designed to bring greater attention to the dangers and prevalence of all types of harassment in the workplace.  

“It’s On Us” to Stop Workplace Harassment!  “Tweet This”

The “It’s On Us” Campaign has 
3 Major Goals:

Clearly Define Consent
Increase Witness Intervention
Create a Supportive Environment for Victims

While certainly any company can be plagued by instances of workplace harassment, some factors can place your company at increased risk.

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

4 Risk factors that Increase 
Your Company’s Susceptibility to 
Workplace Harassment

  • Isolated Work Areas or Absence of Management
In both instances, harassers take advantage of being less supervised, and therefore, less accountable for their actions.  They also have easier access to their victims and less witnesses to their behavior.
  • A Lack of Diversity
This lack of diversity can include a workforce without a mix of genders, races, or even cultures or languages. This type of atmosphere allows minority workers to feel segregated and alone.  

  • A Tolerant Workplace
When a company environment allows or condones their employees to engage in verbally or physically abusive behavior, that company is at risk.  It need not be an obvious permission, but even an implied acceptance can send a message of tolerance.

  • Favored Employees
When managers show favoritism towards specific employees, it may seem like these employees are free to act as they like.  Even powerful supervisors can fall into this category.  Other workers might believe that any allegations of abuse or harassment made concerning these employees or managers will not be believed or taken seriously.      

The Bottom Line ~ 
It is in your company’s best interest 
to stop workplace harassment.  
Not only can it effect your company financially, but it can also damage your reputation.  

Legal fees, judgments, loss of productivity, and higher turnover will place a hit on your finances.  This can especially impact Small Businesses.
But the biggest hit will be on your company brand.  Even allegations that you turned a blind eye or were slow to act in stopping harassment in your workplace can have ramifications. Your reputation and ability to attract and retain quality talent are at stake.  

Responsibility for making changes in how your company deals with harassment needs to start at the top ~ with you, the business owner, and your managers and supervisors.  

You need to develop a “follow the leader” mentality and set an example.  When upper level employees are allowed to discriminate or harass, your company is in trouble.

It then continues with the creation and implementation of strong anti-harassment policies.  The first step should include screening all your employees before you hire, and re-screening them before you promote.  This sets the tone that you take workplace safety seriously.  

In addition, your policies must outline acceptable workplace behavior and include your dedication to making your office a “zero tolerance” zone.  They also must list your strategies for training and teaching the dangers of harassment and highlight how to report any instances of harassment. 

But perhaps the most important thing of all is the prompt discipline of identified harassers.  Your employees need to know you mean business.

It is crucial that you keep open the channels of communication between you, your management, and your employees concerning your policies and any employee concerns.

You can find out more about creating strong workplace harassment policies in “Dangers to Your Small Business - Workplace Bullies”.

The EEOC has place increased emphasis on keeping your employees aware of and knowledgeable about your workplace harassment policies.  Simply having a policy in place is not enough.  

Your policy must be given to all your employees and include a signed statement of receipt.  Any updates you make must also be distributed.
Managers and employees must also be trained on how to safely report any incidents of alleged harassment.  In addition, they also must understand the procedures concerning the investigation into the complaint.  Your policy needs to emphasize that a prompt and thorough investigation will be conducted on any harassment allegations.    

And this is not a “one and done”.  This training must be ongoing to ensure everyone knows exactly how to proceed if a problem occurs.

It is also important for you to annually review your harassment policies.  Make sure they comply with all new and existing laws and revamp any areas that need attention.  

I leave you with one final suggestion ~ be absolutely sure to use background checks before you hire.  

Not only will it help protect your small business from hiring unsafe or unskilled employees, it will also help weed out anyone with a past history of or tendency towards workplace harassment.

Periodically re-screening your existing employees is just as important.  This is especially true if an employee is eligible for promotion.  Being in a management position means having a certain amount of power over the employees they supervise.  This is potentially when harassment can occur.

Discover more about why background checks are vital to small business in “If You are not Doing Background Checks, You are Making the Biggest Mistake Your Small Business Can Make!” and “Why You Need to Re-Screen Your Employees”.

There is no doubt that the EEOC is taking stronger measures to stop workplace harassment.  Their “It’s On Us” campaign clearly shows their dedication to making sure all companies create and implement strong anti-harassment policies.  

And they are specifically focusing on your company’s obligations to define consent, promote safe intervention, and provide an environment that support victims.

The time is now for you to do the same 
in your Small Business.  
Being proactive now 
can save your company from 
having to operate blindly 
if an incident of workplace harassment occurs.  Having detailed procedures already in place 
is good for you and your business!

API can help you create strong screening procedures to help protect your Business!

Authored by  

For more information, visit our 

You can also find 
some common Business questions and answers 
on our FAQ page! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

The New Champion of Work / Life Balance ~ It may not be Who You Think!

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

We all talk about Work / Life Balance.  
We worry when we spend too much time working and away from our families.  
Then we turnaround and worry that we are not spending enough time building our careers.

Either way, it is a stress builder.

And most of that stress comes from feeling like a failure.  We are weighed down with guilt over not being able to give the important things in our lives the attention they deserve ~ our partners, our family, our friends, our career, and ourselves.  

In reality, I believe that true “balance” is simply not attainable ~ and it is in our best interests to forget about that notion completely.  Instead, we must recognize the need to place our focus on the most important task, and less on the other parts of our lives.  Then, when that task is under control, we can shift.  

The key is to be comfortable and yes, even embrace, that imbalance.  That is real life!

You can read more about this in “Why You Need to Forget Work / Life Balance!”.  

While that concept is easy to grasp, there are other issues that may seem out of our control.    

The issue that tops the list is, as much as we try, most of us are connected to work far more than we would like.

Smart phones, laptops, and a myriad of other technological advances allow us to be constantly accessible.  And while that tech was initially intended as a way to make our lives easier, it also keeps us constantly connected and “at work”.

We are able to, and often do, work anywhere at any time.  After hours work emails.  Texts and messages well beyond scheduled work hours.  Phone calls in our car, our homes, and even at our children’s sporting events and on vacation.

That constant connection is not healthy.

In a joint study*(Source1) from Virginia Tech, Lehigh University, and Colorado State, researchers studied the effects of checking “after hours” emails.  Of particular interest was the exhaustion level, both emotional and physical, on the subjects due to the “constant connection” with their work.

The results concluded that their employer’s expectations that they stay connected had negative effects.  The subjects felt strong pressure to always be “on the job”.  This lead to burnout and had a negative impact on their family life.   

Many of us are in this same boat.

But that does not mean that we shouldn’t strive to make our lives happier and less stressful.  And that often means having a life that is much more well rounded.

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

We need time to fulfill our professional goals.  
We desire good, quality, family and friend time. We also deserve our own down time.

And there is no doubt that the constant connection by product of new and improved tech devices makes this much harder to achieve.

But we are not alone.  

We now have more champions than ever supporting our cause to disconnect ~ but it may not be who you would think!

Governments are getting in on the fight.

Some countries have already passed their own labor laws to curb or ban after hours work emails.  

For example, France is promoting their “right to disconnect” law.  
Companies are are to set specific hours when employees are not expected to answer or send emails.  Germany is contemplating similar legislation.  In both countries, the goal is to reduce employee stress by honoring an employees’ free time.

Even in the U.S., the EEOC is weighing in.

More focus is being placed on the importance of Family, Maternity, and Caregiver leave.  In addition, minimum wage laws and white collar overtime laws are being passed.

All are designed to address issues that effect the quality our work and family life.

The DOL (Department of Labor) is looking into taking this trend further.  As part of their Regulatory Agenda, they are gathering information on employees’ work-related use of electronic devices.  The goal is to determine whether the creation of a new rule governing after hours use is necessary.   

While the law is trying to catch up, 
You can take the reigns and be proactive 
in your own Small Business.  
And there are definite benefits to doing so!

Helping your employees scale back can make all the difference to them and to your business ~ and that means being less connected.

However, your employees may fear that by not answering emails after work, they are endangering their job or ruining their chances for advancement.

That is why it all has to start at the top.  You need to set the example.  Showing that you value off time as well as time spent working can make all the difference.

Setting work boundaries also shows you care about your employees well being and recognize that constantly being “at work” is not good for anyone.

High stress levels effect a person’s ability to focus, impacts their general health, and even hurts their family and social life.

None of which is good for your company bottom line.

Instead, doing what you can to alleviate your employees’ stress levels will end up making them more productive, and more valuable to your company.

Find out more in “The Best Way to be Productive?  Scale Back!”.

In addition to increasing work productivity, there are many other benefits to enacting practices that help your employees lead a more “balanced” life.

These policies will also help you keep your valued employees, attract more quality new employees, and set your company up as a great place to work.

Helping Your Employees Disconnect from Work Makes Sense!  “Tweet This”

What Can You Do to Now Help Your Employees Disconnect:

Not requiring your employees to be “on call” after hours is a start.  
Establishing specific hours when they are not expected to send or receive work emails allows them to re-set their focus and enjoy their off time.  

If a complete after work email ban is not possible, you could consider implementing a rotating “connected” schedule.  Your employees could take turns being the go to point of contact.  This would allow for true time off while still keeping your company running smoothly.

But it all needs to begin with the owners and their companies, including Small Businesses.

Starting now to address the issue of after hour work emails makes good business sense.  Instead of waiting for the government to get involved and set workplace email rules, you will have established your own polices that work for you, your employees, and your Small Business.

If you can include your employees ideas and needs into those policies, than all the better.

And that is what will make You 
a True Champion!

Authored by  

I can help you with your Small Business 
Hiring and Blogging!

Find out more About Me and My Services too!

Source1: After Hours Email Expectations Hurt Employee Well Being