Monday, March 27, 2017

Why You Need to “Trust But Verify”

"Trust But Verify" ~ It's Good Business!
Wouldn’t it be great if we could take everyone and everything at face value? What if we could truly believe that everything they say or claim is really true?

Wouldn't things would be so much easier? We would always be confident that we were dealing with honest people who would never mislead or cheat us. But while there is no doubt that this would be ideal, it is not reality

When it suits their purposes, there are those that will lie. The lie can be anything from embellishing the things they have done to taking credit for something that is completely false.

While we can usually get past these types of misrepresentations in our personal lives, when it comes to our business, it can be much more costly!

Making poor choices because others have exaggerated or down right lied about themselves or their products and services can heavily impact our company’s success.

Why You Need to “Trust but Verify” in Your Business! Tweet This!  

That is why at API we strongly advocate that everyone should “Trust but Verify”!

Being sure that what we think about someone or something is true makes good business sense. It allows us to make decisions with our eyes wide open and with all the facts firmly in place.  

If we are deceived, it can end up costing us time, money, and even damaging our reputation.

This can be even more problematic if you own a Small Businesses.

When it comes to the people or companies we hire, the services we use, or those we collaborate or partner with, Small Businesses need to be especially careful.

Verifying what a candidate has listed on their application or resume is vital. Not only does it ensure they meet your job requirements, but it is also a first step in determining their honesty. It is truly a “trust but verify” situation.

Resume lies come with a cost. Putting your trust in the wrong applicant, before having all the facts, is harmful to your business. There is a “high cost associated with hiring, training, and replacing employees that are later found to lack the skills or education necessary to do the job”, excerpt from “The High Cost of Resume Lies”.

Opening yourself up to negligent hiring lawsuits because you didn’t screen properly should also be considered. If anyone ends up being harmed because you didn’t check for a violent or criminal past, you could be held liable.
Your best defense is a good offense. Taking the time to verify before you hire is the key.

To work to their full potential, background checks should be done on all new hires, whether full-time, part-time, seasonal, or even interns. After all, they each represent the “face” of your business. And it is important that your image is as good as possible.

Making a hiring mistake can harm your carefully cultivated brand. There is also the possibility of putting your employees, clients, and even your business itself, in jeopardy

When you make a hire, especially a new hire, you will sometimes be tempted to do it quickly. It is most likely you need someone to handle increased workflow, help launch a new product, or even to help with seasonal sales. No matter the reason, hiring in haste, without doing the proper screening, is not the answer.

Learn more about why not doing background checks on your new hires is a big mistake here!

The same argument holds for doing background checks on your part-time or seasonal employees. This type of hire often has to hit the ground running, and it is vital that they truly possess the experience you need. A good background check will help you verify that.

For the same reasons, screening your interns is just as important. While hiring interns is a great way of gaining their valuable talents on a short term basis, taking their stated skills at face value is a risk. 

Discover more in “Hiring an Intern? Don’t Skip the Background Check”!

Screening Other Companies
Background checks are the perfect tool to vet companies too. If you are considering these businesses as potential partners / collaborators, or may use their products or services, then you should check.

While these businesses may appear to have a good reputation, and the company people you have had contact with seem above board, this is another instance where 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 not good business.

Performing this type of Due Diligence should include a criminal record check and a civil court record check.

The criminal check will show if the company, a principle partner, or employee representing the company, has been convicted of a criminal offense. Incidents of fraud, embezzlement, or violent offenses should definitely be noted. 

A civil report will discover any litigation or bankruptcy case where the company is listed as a defendant or plaintiff. With this information you will know whether they have sued, or been sued, by other companies or individuals.

While one or two such cases may not be cause for alarm, more than that should give you pause.

Discover more about using Civil Court record checks as part of your background check tools here!

Another tool for vetting companies is to conduct a search through the Better Business Bureau. Through the BBB you will be able to see if there have been complaints filed and, if so, how timely they were handled.

According the the BBB, their mission is to ensure “that high standards for trust are set and maintained” ~ exactly what “trust but verify” is all about!
When you are ready to use background checks to vet your hires and potential business partners, then it is time to consider outsourcing them to a good screening company.  

This will help ensure you are following all current screening laws and guidelines and get you the quality information you need.

Outsourcing is also a great way to protect the sensitive information used during background checks and acts as a barrier against potential discrimination.

You can find out more in “5 Smart Reasons to Outsource Your Background Checks”! 

Practicing the principle of “Trust but Verify” when it comes time to hire or vet a potential partner or client is simply good business. It will help ensure that your initial positive impression is based in fact and help keep your company safe!

Authored by   

API can help you with your screening needs and answer your background check questions!

Learn more About Us and our Hiring, Business Mentoringand Security Consulting services too!  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why It's Time We Change our Thinking about Background Checks

It is not uncommon for the words “Background Check” to cause worry for many job applicantsEven people who have nothing to "hide", fear what a background check will find. And if you do happen to have something negative in your past, then a background check can be downright scary. But it doesn’t have to be that way! 

This fear (of background checks) often arises out of a lack of understanding about what a background check really entails.  Applicants are confused about what will be checked, worried about their privacy being compromised, and don’t know what an employer is really looking for!”, excerpt from “Are You Afraid of Background Checks?  They’re Not as Scary as You Think!”.

It is this misunderstanding and miscommunication that causes a lot of the anxiety about background checks.

You may think that employers actually want to find out negative things about you. When, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

When it comes time for the background check, employers are really just verifying that they have made the right decision when it comes to hiring 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 invested a great amount of time and money. And they will have to spend even more screening you.

But while popular belief is that the intent of a background check is to find a way to keep you from getting the job, this is simply not true.”.

Find out more about what an employer is looking for during the background check here!

While it is certainly true that the fear and confusion surrounding background checks contributes to the negativity, changing our thinking about them can make all the difference. 
We need to recognize that a background check is not about highlighting any of the things you have done wrong. Instead, it is about finding the things you have done right! 

Employment Background Checks are really looking for what is Good about You!  “Tweet This”

That is why making sure your resume and social media sites highlight your best assets makes sense.
You should begin with your resume. First make sure it accurately features your education and training. You should include high school, college, or any other kind of learning opportunities you may have pursued. A good background check will then verify it.

It is also important to share your skill set. List projects you have worked on, changes you implemented, and be sure to mention the positive outcome of your efforts. A background check will then confirm this by contacting your former employers. Investigators will ask specific questions designed to discover the qualities you brought to the workplace. Things like leadership and initiative are definitely valued.    

Your resume should even include the interesting things about you! Your volunteering efforts or causes you are active in makes you more interesting to a potential employer.

This attention needs to continue on to your social profiles. Employers are increasingly using social media as part of the screening process, so make sure what they find will show you in a good light.

The goal in checking social media “will be to find any relevant posts about you and use them as a cross-check against (your) resume”. This will include considering “both positive and negative posts. Positive posts can include mentions of awards received or charity and volunteer work you or your applicant are involved in”.

Negative posts may include excessive complaints about a current or past employer and certain “behaviors depicted online that might be undesirable to a potential employer ~ explicit photos, illegal activity, etc.”.

You can find out more about making your resume and social media profiles help you to get the job in “Tips to Help You get Your Resume Background Check Readyand “Why I have Added Social Media and Resume Screening to My Services”!

Highlighting the positive aspects of your past in both your resume and your social media will help lessen the fear and distrust about your upcoming background check. It is also an important step in helping to change our way of thinking about the entire process. 

At API we believe that thinking of a background check as a “Personal Profile” or "Snapshot" instead is a step in the right directionAfter all, when done right, a good employment screening is about showing the whole picture ~ a true “profile” of your life.

That is one of the reasons we chose Access Profiles as our company name. We believe in helping an employer or job seeker by providing the most accurate “profile” of their candidate possible. That is what it is all about. It is our company's true focus and passion. 

A person is more than just their past. They are a sum of multiple parts ~ and a good background check reflects that. The results will be a snapshot of where you have been, what you have learned, and who you are now.
And it is your job to make that picture as positive as possible! We can help!  
Let us show you how to make your past, your resume and your social profiles work for you, not against you. 

Authored by  

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Monday, March 13, 2017

What You Need to Ask Yourself Before Marketing Your Small Business

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

Marketing is one of the most important tasks you must focus on for your Small Business.  Spreading the word about what you offer, and why, is key to its success.  It is not only the way to attract the customers and clients you need, it is also the catalyst that drives your income and growth.  

But how do you do it?  

How do you not only get your name out there but also compete with other businesses like yours, even big businesses?

The best way to answer this question is to ask yourself one first, “What Do I Do that Makes My Company Different”?

Know how Your Small Biz is Different before Marketing It!  “Tweet This”

Take the time now to discover what makes you and what you do unique.  What is it that will make your company stand out from the crowd?  What is your true focus?  This will be your company “brand”. 

It starts with knowing what kind of business you want to run, especially when it comes to recognizing your core values.  Simply put, you need to know your “Why”!

Understanding first what it is that truly drives you and defines your idea of success makes sense.  It was this realization that helped me in my quest to market my own business. 

I found that “running the type of Background Check business where I feel a sense of accomplishment and that speaks to my desire to help others” needed to be the focus on my brand.  

Find out more about the importance of discovering your “Why” in, “I Know Why I Do What I Do!”.

Once you know your “Why”, 
the rest of your marketing efforts will start falling into place.

Next you should concentrate on finding your niche.  To do that, it is important to once again take your “why” into consideration. 

For me, I recognized that “my passion was to help small business owners and women in business find their own success. (This helped me) identify my target market. This was my niche, and where I needed to focus my marketing efforts”, excerpt from “How to Find Your Small Business Niche”.  

Niche Marketing is especially important for a small business.  It helps you put your marketing time and money to its best use by focusing on a well-defined audience.

Understanding how you are 
different than other companies, 
then knowing your goals, interests, strengths, and weaknesses, 
will help you accomplish the next step ~ creating your marketing strategy.

Your Marketing Strategy should include:

The Products or Services You want to Offer
My advice, start small.  Offer only those things you can do well, and be ready to promote these in your marketing efforts.  Spreading yourself too thin at this point is not productive.  Making sure you are showcasing your company’s strengths is!

Your Ideal Client
It is best to determine your ideal client by utilizing your niche.  Ask yourself what kind of customers fit in that niche.  Then hone your marketing in on them and how best to reach them.

How You Plan on “Selling” What You Do
Start with developing a quick “blurb” that captures what you do and why ~ and be ready to use it whenever possible!  Generate concrete examples of how your products or services will help solve your clients’ problems and include these in your marketing strategy. Also being able to show how using your services is cost-effective goes a long way towards “selling” them to potential clients!  

Finally, your Marketing Plan must include 
how you plan to spread the word!  
This is where the right tools will help. 

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

Marketing Tools You can Use:

Social Media
All businesses, even small businesses, need to include social media in their marketing efforts.  Creating profiles on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and the myriad of other social sites out there, is a great way to give your company a “face”.  However, don’t make the mistake of thinking you must use them all to be effective.  Picking even one or two to start out with is fine.  
The key is to use the sites you choose to your best advantage.  Be present.  Be consistent.  Be “social”.  But most of all, be careful of what you post.  Remember, what you share online is a reflection of you and your company.  Make sure whatever you share is inline with your core values and your brand.  Compromising your reputation by being cavalier about what you post is not good business.  

Find out more tips on how to best use Social Media to market your Small Business in, “Small Business Tips from ‘People in the Know’!”.

For me, blogging has definitely been the best way to market my brand.  It is also an effective way to be seen as a “go to” voice in your field.  Through blogging you can share things like industry news, valuable insights, and even guidelines to help your clients.  It is also a way to let your passion and focus shine through.    

But as with anything social media, content and consistency are key. You will gain nothing by posting articles that are not the best you have to offer.  Start out slow and keep the quality high.  This is definitely where quality over quantity rules!

Discover more about the benefits of Small Business blogging here!

And if you need some one-on-one help to get you started, or to revamp your existing blog, then find out how we can help in, “Are You Afraid of Starting Your Small Business Blog?”.  

Email Marketing
Have you ever considered Email Marketing?  If not, you should!  It is a great way to keep in touch with those you have already forged some kind of connection with, whether it is through your blog, your existing clients, or interested potential clients.

With this type of marketing, your focus should be on sharing relevant news that will inform or even entertain your connections.  It could be about changes in your industry, new products or services you are offering, etc.  The key is to make sure what you share is quality information that is in line with you and your brand.

If you decide to try Email Marketing, you must allow your contacts the opportunity to opt out of receiving your emails.  Otherwise, you risk alienating the very people you want to reach.

Local Business Groups
Joining local business groups will help you create ties to your community.  It also gives you the chance to network with other area companies.  But, most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to forge strong reciprocal relationships with other local businesses.

Building these types of relationships can really help your business grow and succeed.  

Your Existing Relationships
Don’t be shy.  Let your family, friends, and even old co-workers, know that you are starting a business.  Share with them what you do and why.  Enlist their help in spreading the word. 

Cold Calling
This is easier if you are a B2B type of business.  Before calling, do a little research.  Find out the best person to contact for what you are trying to sell. Keep track of when you call, who you speak with, and what they say .  Be prepared ~ you will most likely not get much traction initially.  You may need to contact them multiple times before you get anywhere. This is where your call list will come in handy.  But remember, if anyone requests that you not call again, then don’t.  You want your contact to keep you in mind, but you don’t want to be a pest.

If the company you want to reach is local, you may even consider a drop-in visit.  While definitely not easy, reaching out to potential clients with a phone call or in person, shows your commitment to and belief in your business.

No matter which way, or ways, you choose 
to market your business, remember ~ 
you don’t have to do everything at once.  
It is best to focus on only one or two, 
and do them right, before adopting more.

Look at marketing your Small Business as a process.  Mastering each step before moving forward will go a long way towards yielding the results you want.

That is why asking yourself the question, “What Makes My Company Different” 
before beginning any type of marketing 
makes sense.  
Using your strategy with a 
focus on your niche is key.  
Not only will you be sharing your core values and creating your “brand”, 
you will be reaching like minded consumers.
And that will result in the sales and growth every Small Business needs!

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on Your Favorite Social sites!

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Discover how Your Social Media Posts can keep You from Getting the Job You Want

Did You Know that what you post on Social Media can have an impact on you not only today but in the future? It can effect your chances at getting into the right school, landing your dream job, getting promoted, or even keeping the job you have.

Your social media sites are increasingly being viewed by everyone from college admissions workers to employers and recruiters. What you have posted there is seen as a reflection of who you really are ~ above and beyond what is found on your application, resume, or even how you conduct yourself in the workplace. And especially problematic are the current prevalence of "keyboard warriors" who have no problem attacking others who disagree with their views, especially when it comes to hot topics like politics, religion, and even the COVID pandemic. 

When people look at your social media, do you really know what they will see?
The current generation of graduates and those looking for their first “real” job have grown up on social media. Many joined social sites in their early teens and are now on multiple sites on a daily basis.

They have memorialized their lives through pictures and posts on everything from what outfit they wore, what they ate, who they date, and the parties they have attended. Their timelines document everything. 

But now, as they are getting older, things are changing. Social Media should now become an avenue for creating a more professional identity instead. 

Employers and recruiters look. They “google” you. They check out your social profiles and your own posts, and even posts where you are “tagged”. While this may raise some privacy questions, it is not illegal to look. However, it is important to remember that asking you to supply your passwords to these accounts is. No recruiter or employer should ever ask for them ~ and you should always think twice before giving that kind of access to anyone, even friends! 

Now new graduates and job seekers need to think about how their social profiles will look to potential employers and admissions officers.

How will Your Social Profiles Stand Up to Employers and Recruiters?  “Tweet This” 

Thinking of applying to college?
The impression you make on an admissions officer is not just based on your application or SAT scores. Instead, many are using social media as a way to get a better overall picture of you.

They look for posts that highlight things not always found in applications ~ volunteer work or causes important to you. These types of things will put you in a more favorable light and increase your chances of acceptance.

However, negative posts will do just the opposite, and may even result in you being rejected.

How about when you try for your first job,  dream job, or are vying for that promotion?
Posts that show illegal, questionable, or even violent behavior may cause you to be passed over. Comments that attack, degrade, or threaten others put your character, and the possibility of that you may impact the company's image, in question. And if any of your posts or profiles contradict what you may have listed on your resume, this is certainly a “red flag” when it comes time to make you an offer.

Before you apply to college or for any job, 
you need to ask yourself some hard questions about your social profiles. In fact, they would be excellent questions to consider before you even post!
Created by Kimberly Kline, API

You should Ask Yourself ~
  • What do your Social Profiles say about You?
  • Do they show you in a good light?
  • Have you shared things you are not proud of?
  • Do they highlight the best things about you?
  • Would You be Proud to Share Them?
The answers to these questions should prompt you to take a good look at what is “out there” about you, and change what you can!

You should consider:
  • Removing pictures and posts that no longer reflect who you are now
  • Creating posts that support the things you want to highlight 
Many of us have posts on our social profiles that were made long ago that we may have forgotten about or wish we had never shared. We may even think that no one will ever look. But it is these kinds of posts that can come back to haunt you!

If a post shows illegal behavior ~ delete it. Did you post a long rant against a former employer? Or how about a questionable picture 
from a party or vacation? Remove these too. While things that you have posted online may never be able to be truly erased, deleting them from your timeline or profile simply makes sense. And next time, before you hit "send"on that comment or post, take a minute. It may give you just the time you need to clear your head and decide whether it is really worth sharing after all.
The key is to look at your social profiles with a detached eye. See what others are seeing. Then you will know what changes you need to make. 

This does not mean your profiles should look generic or should be so white washed as to be devoid of all personality.  
But what it does mean is that what you have posted in the past should not derail you from your current goals or put your hard earned job in jeopardy.

That is why we advocate doing a “background check” on yourself before you even think of applying for college, a job, or even a promotion. Knowing in advance what they will find gives you the opportunity to change what you can and be ready to explain what you cannot. Find out how in “Why You Should Run a Background Check on Yourself”!

While it is certainly important to take a fresh look at your social media profiles and posts, this is reactive, not proactive. That is why being educated about Social Media makes sense, and it should begin long before you are ready to go to college or get a job. It needs to be taught both at home and especially in our schools.

Emphasis should be placed on understanding the implications of what you post, recognizing what those posts say about you, and how best to use social media to your advantage.

It can’t only be about cleaning up what you have already shared, it needs to be about being savvy about what you post in the first place! Rejecting those unflattering party pics and instead choosing posts that highlight what you truly care about, “your best you”, is key.

Since you know that  your social media posts and profiles will most likely be seen as part of the hiring (and college admission) process, why not use that to your advantage?

When setting up your profile, make sure you present yourself in a good light. Highlight your education, professional accomplishments, charity work, and volunteer activities. Creating a page that shows you are an interesting and accomplished individual can help.

It is not all about bragging or showing off. Employers (and college recruiters) like well-rounded people. If your posts and profiles reveal a person who likes to be involved, stays active in your community, and is generally interested and interesting, you will stand out beyond your resume.” excerpt from “Social Media Background Checks ~ The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part 1”!

And for more tips on getting hired, check out “Attention New Grads ~ What You Need to Do to Land Your First Job”!

While changing attitudes about social media may eventually make this kind of “cleansing” of past posts unnecessary, we are not there yet.

In the meantime, it is crucial to be more aware of what you post and how it can be used for or against you. Approaching social media in an intelligent and thoughtful manner needs to begin with frank discussions long before it could effect your career. 
Please help spread the word and share this on your favorite social sites! Thanks! And be sure to Contact Us for help in finding out what is “out there” about you!

Authored by   

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