Sunday, April 21, 2019

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

What can You Small Businesses Do? 

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

Remember, We are all in this together!

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

Each and every one of us can make a difference!


Authored by   



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





*Source:
https://www.saveonenergy.com/land-of-waste/

Sunday, March 31, 2019

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


Happy Hiring! 

Authored by   



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

Are You Being Discriminated Against because of Your Age?


Sunday, March 3, 2019

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


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

This question is one that worries many job applicants. 

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the answer I recently posted……

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

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

You can find more answers to this question here!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

To determine what to check, employers consider:

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

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

Discover more about the importance of this here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authored by  


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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Top 5 Hiring & Background Check Trends and Guidelines You Need to Follow Now!


Do You know the current Trends and Guidelines you should be watching when it comes to Employment Background Checks?
Keeping informed of any new and emerging laws and guidelines is important in ensuring your hiring and employment screening practices are working for and not against you!

Taking note of these trends now will ~ 
  • help you make any necessary adjustments to your hiring procedures 
  • help you comply with current and upcoming screening laws
  • attract the quality new hires you need
Here you will find our picks for the Top 5 Employment Background Check  Trends and Guidelines that will effect your business this year!
2019’s Top 5 Employment Background Check Trends and Guidelines

1. Lawsuits will continue to be filed against companies who fail to follow FCRA Guidelines covering Employment Background Check Release Forms
When it comes to hiring, it is crucial that employers understand and follow all current laws, guidelines, and procedures that govern employment background checks.

And that process all starts with using a compliant background check authorization form!

Despite continual warnings and guidelines, many companies continue to use old and non-compliant forms. And just as many are finding themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit because of it!

A compliant Background check release form must:
  • Be a Stand Alone document.
  • State the Background Check is being done for the sole purpose of making an employment decision.
  • Explain the purpose of the background check is to verify the applicant’s relevant information.
  • State clearly that the applicant’s consent to the Background Check may be withdrawn at any time.
  • Include information on the Investigating Agency conducting the Background Check.
  • Be Signed and Dated by the Applicant

Discover more about these 6 important rules to follow for a compliant background check authorization here and why you need to make any necessary adjustments to your release form now!


2. Protecting Your Client’s Personal Information (PII) is Increasingly important due to ongoing data breach concerns
“Safeguarding your customer’s and client’s personal information should be a top priority for any company. But when it comes to background check investigators, it is even more crucial.

By default, screening companies are privy to the Personal Identifying Information (PII) of the person they are researching. Full names, along with any previous names used, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license numbers, present and past addresses, and many other pieces of information are routinely gathered on each individual that is the subject of a background check.

Many are understandably wary of providing this information to anyone, even if it is necessary to get the job. That is why it is imperative that any Background Check company do everything they can to put the applicant and the employer at ease.

Developing a sound Privacy Policy covering PII is key.

Find out what your company should include in this policy and how to make sure all your employees are on board in “Does Your Company have a Privacy Policy? Why You need one Now!”. 

Here you will discover that “having a Privacy Policy for your business is a great way to let your Employees and Customers know that you take their security seriously. It is a crucial step in ensuring their PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is handled safely and thoughtfully.



3. Low Unemployment results in Strong Competition for Top Talent
For many job seekers, the days of having to take a job, any job, seem to be over. Instead, low unemployment puts them in the driver’s seat. Good candidates are likely to get multiple job offers and will be able to choose the one that is right for them.

So what should employers do? Taking the steps necessary to make sure your company appeals to the best candidates possible is your best course of action.

Those steps should start with your hiring process. Make sure it is as smooth and “applicant friendly” as possible. You also need to know exactly what skills are essential to your open position, and consider being more willing to hire those that may not meet each and every one. And, above all, employers need to establish steps to keep communications open between you and your applicants throughout the entire process.

Learn what you should do to address each of these issues, and more, in “Hiring ~ What You Should do now to Attract the New Hires You Need”!


4. Low Unemployment Makes Employers More Willing to Hire Ex-Offenders
Low unemployment is resulting in more companies finding themselves in competition to land the employees they want and need….and that can even include expanding their applicant pool to include ex-offenders.

“While this may scare some employers, if your company is not prohibited by law from hiring anyone with a criminal record, this news does not have to be all doom and gloom.

It is possible to balance cautiousness with fairness when it comes to hiring ex-offenders. That is why doing thorough employment background checks still needs to be part of the equation.

It is important that, as an employer, you go into the hiring process with your eyes wide open. Knowing in advance the answers to the following questions makes good business sense:
  • What crime(s) has your potential new hire committed? 
  • How long ago did the offense occur? 
  • Is there a pattern of criminal behavior or is it a single offense? 
  • Does the offense has any bearing on the job for which you are hiring?
Having this information will help you make an informed hiring decision.

And if you decide to give an ex-offender a second chance, there are also some real benefits both tangible and intangible”.

Find out more about these benefits and how to hire safely here!

5. Laws Prohibiting Salary History Questions Will Increase as the Gender Pay Equity Movement Grows
If you are still asking for salary history during your hiring process, stop now.

As an employer, you should already have a salary range in mind for any position within your company, so past salary should not matter. The only relevant variable is the experience the applicants themselves bring to the table.

Many cities and states have passed, or are planning to pass, legislation to prohibit the salary history question. Supporters of these laws believe that asking for past salary is simply a way to continue paying less to women and minorities.

That is why “Employers should keep this in mind……
“The trend to curb or eliminate the question of salary history will likely continue as more states and cities begin enacting their own regulations governing the practice”, excerpt from “Are You Still Asking for Salary History? Why You should Stop Now!” . 

You should make sure your business is ready to comply with any existing or potential laws in your area and consider eliminating for good the practice of asking for salary history during your hiring process. Continuing to do so will not only give pause to your potential new hires, it may result in unwanted litigation.


The time is now for you to take note of these top 5 employment trends and guidelines effecting Employment Background Checks and Hiring this year. 
Start by looking at your hiring policies and practices to see if they are in compliance and, if necessary, re-vamp them to address these issues. Then consider what you can do to increase your chances of finding the best new hires for your business.
Taking these steps will not only protect yourself and your company from potential litigation, you will have created a hiring process that is fair and transparent for all!

Authored by  



Contact API Today for solutions to your most pressing Hiring and Background Check problems! We can Help!
Discover more About Us and our Background Investigation, Business Mentoring, and Security Consulting services too!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Our Top Blog Articles of 2018!


It's Time......
Every new year we take a look back at the blog articles that have been the most popular with you, our readers. 

Sometimes we are surprised. Articles that we thought would resonate, fall flat. While others seem to take on a life of their own.

But either way, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t helps us plan for the new year ahead. 

So here it goes…..


Our first honorable mention, “Why do You Believe in what You Sell” was originally presented as a question on Alignable. The topic intrigued us and so we decided to share my answer (below) with our readers.

While we ‘sell’ services (employment background checks and business mentoring), we find it essential to completely believe in what we do and why. And since our clients essentially get US when they sign on, it definitely helps that we believe in ourselves and that what we do is valuable. We would find it very difficult to promote what we do if we didn't believe in its quality and value!”.



When your focus is on what you can do to truly help your clients, it is easy to believe in what you do! And many seemed to agree with this sentiment!


Our next set of popular articles focused on hiring and the workplace ~ topics that are at the forefront of what we do at Access Profiles, Inc.


The first was, “Can You tell if Your Applicant is Honest during the Interview?” 

Employers value honesty, especially in their employees. But is it really possible to tell if an applicant is honest before you hire them? And, even more important, is it possible to assess their honesty during the interview/ background check process?


This question was posed on a popular Q & A site, and my answer is here…

"Do a Background Check! While it is important to first wait until a conditional offer of employment has been made, the employment background check is the perfect cross-reference between what a candidate told you during the interview and stated on their resume and the truth. 

Honest candidates will be as exact as possible in their dates and title of employment, their degree and certifications, and any other information they list. You can also check with past supervisors concerning any job duties or projects mentioned by your candidate. Verifying this information can go a long way towards checking on the integrity and honesty of anyone who applies for employment with your company!”.




We truly believe that doing a good background check is an amazing employment tool that should be a part of every company’s hiring process.

We found this article was popular among employers, especially those running small businesses, and job seekers. These groups are always curious, and sometimes confused and wary, about the merits and process of employment background checks. In our opinion, background checks are a valuable way to get a good feel for an applicant’s honesty…and that is the best basis for building a good employer/employee relationship.

Find out more about how background checks can help you assess your applicant's honesty here!

Our next article, “How Do You get a Decent Job with a Criminal Record”, dealt with the problems ex-offenders face in finding employment ~ and the questions and concerns employers have in hiring them! 

Is it possible to get a job when you have a criminal record? 


This question is very common among ex-offenders. The truth is that many people have some sort of criminal record, and that is most likely why this was one of our most read articles! 

While most have records that include a misdemeanor or two, there are some that have committed more serious crimes ~ and this makes finding a job especially problematic. However, gainful employment is one of the best ways to keep those with a criminal history from re-offending.

So what are ex-offenders and employers to do?

How can job seekers with a criminal past make themselves more “hireable” and what can, or should, employers do to help?

There are definite steps that ex-offenders can follow to not only land a job but to help them understand what to do once they get hired. Discover these steps and what employers need to know in “How Do You get a Decent Job with a Criminal Record?”.

Another top article, “Should You Pay your Interns?”, focused on the long running debate over whether or not interns should be paid. 

Some think that the internship experience is enough, no pay is required. Others believe that when an intern is doing what an otherwise paid employee would do, they deserve compensation.

The current law is somewhere in the middle. The Department of Labor has established a “Primary Beneficiary” test to help employers determine whether paying their interns is warranted. This test is designed to help illustrate whether the intern is the “primary beneficiary” of the internship or if it is the company.



Our take on whether or not interns should be paid is what seemed to garner the most attention. 

We believe a company benefits when they pay their interns. Paying internships attract a larger number of quality interns, protect a company from possible litigation for not following internship rules, and develop a practice of professionalism in a young intern. 

Learn more about how internships can work for your small business here!



Our final top employment article was entitled “Equal Pay for Equal Work, Still an Issue in 2018!”.

“Equal Pay for Equal Work. Seems like this should be an easy concept to grasp. Anytime two people are hired to do essentially the same job, and they bring equal skills to the table, then they should be paid an equal wage.

This, however, is not the reality for many working women. Instead, they are low-balled when getting hired and continue to be underpaid when compared to their male contemporaries. 


Screams of discrimination, doesn’t it?”

We believe this article found readers because many are either incredulous that women are still confronting this issue or they simply don’t believe that the gender wage gap exists.

In our article we dealt with many misconceptions and debunked some of the myths about the gender wage gap, especially why it exists and what we can do about it. 

Find out more here!

Our last two most popular articles centered on what parents and schools can do to help young people feel safe and succeed, both in school and in their inevitable job search. 

In “What New Grads Need to Do to Land and Succeed in their First Job”, our focus was on providing tips to help students both get the job they want and to get noticed once they are hired.



We covered topics like the importance “cleaning” up their social media (and why they should), how to define their dream job, how to make sure they have the skills necessary to land that job, and what is needed once they are hired.

Check out these tips and more here!

And finally….drum roll please….our top article in 2018 is…..


It’s Time to Stop Bullying in our Schools

This article definitely struck a chord. It reflects the behavior that is going on in our schools, on the internet, and in our society as a whole.


Our article also discusses why the time is now for things to change ~ and why we must all be part of the solution so we are not part of the problem!

“There are very real ramifications to school bullying that we should all face. The victims of this type of bullying often become alienated from their peers and begin to feel inferior. And what we feel about ourselves when we are children often continues on into adulthood.

There are even some school-yard bullies who go on to continue their bullying as adults.


Neither scenario is good for us or our society.

And if we truly want it to stop, we first need to take the issue of bullying seriously.

We can no longer encounter bullying and say things like “kids will be kids” or think it is simply childhood “teasing”. We can’t blame the victim or tell them they need to “toughen up”.

But, most importantly, we can’t continue to base our lack of action in stopping the bullying on the belief that “it happened to me when I was a kid and I turned out fine”!




These are simply excuses for inaction and counter-productive sentiments that get us no where.

Instead, we need to address the behavior of the bully, not the victim, square on. We need to get students, teachers, parents, and administrators on board. We all need to be in on the solution.”

Learn more about the steps we all need to take now to stop bullying here, and, quite simply, move towards creating a better world for all!

This concludes the list of our top articles of this past year, and we thank you for your interest in what we had to say! 
Now, at Access Profiles we are looking forward to 2019! We are dedicated to bringing you more articles covering topics to help you and your small business.


To that end, we would love to hear your suggestions! Contact Us and Let Us Know what You Want to Read or what problems you are facing! Who knows ~ you may just see them covered in a future article!!

And please Pay it Forward and Share this article on your favorite social sites and help us reach more readers. Thanks for your help, it would be much appreciated!


Authored by  



Discover what API has to offer and check out our Background Investigation, Business Mentoring, and Security Consulting services.



Find out more About Us and what Our Happy Clients have to say too!