Posts Tagged “Employment”
Our topic for this article is one that is becoming more and more popular with hiring authorities. Employment background screening is gaining traction in many corporate and professional work environments. Far too many companies do not want to risk corporate assets to just anyone they might hire. In today’s climate, knowing who you hire is critical to the success of your organization.
Many companies offer this type of service to employers and depending on the position that is being filled, there are several checks that can be completed prior to hiring an individual.
Criminal History – this is probably the most common type of employment background screening. When an applicant has their criminal history examined a screening agency will check specific regions to determine if the applicant has a history of felony or misdemeanor charges on their record. Screening agencies will request where to search for criminal records as all felony and misdemeanor records are recorded with clerks of courts in the counties where the crime took place.
Driver’s License History – Also known as a Motor Vehicle report (MVR). This type of search is common for employees that will be driving either company vehicles or their own personal vehicle. This type of check is done at a state level and will reveal moving violations, suspensions and revocations, DUI or DWI arrests. This check will also reveal what class of license the applicant possesses in addition to any endorsements or restrictions that may be placed on a driver. Such as motorcycles, hazardous materials or large OTR truck classifications. This check will also verify date of birth and verify if any aliases exist for the applicant in question.
Credit History – These types of checks are often recommended for those applying for financial positions. Typically this type of check occurs when an applicant will be handing cash, such as a retail store clerk, or when an applicant will have access to bank accounts. A credit history check will help an employer determine exactly how responsible an applicant is. Most employers do not want to hire someone that has credit problems as this is an indication that the applicant is irresponsible and not trustworthy. All pre employment credit checks should be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Employment Verification – Employment verification is one of the most common types of background screening conducted today. Often times applicants will exaggerate or falsify their employment and salary information in order to help their chances at being hired. This type of screening will often require direct communication with an applicant’s former employer. Questions asked will be of the verification type; typically dates of employment, position held, salary and whether or not the applicant is eligible to be re-hired. Sometimes a performance evaluation can be requested, however many companies have policies that prohibit comments on a former employess job performance..
Keep this in mind when searching for your next opportunity.
You might think employers want to stay as far away from discriminating practices as possible. What you don’t know is that many are using a legal strategy by which to discriminate, often times unfairly. I’m talking about credit checks in the hiring process. Many employers have begun using this as a way of determining someone’s “reliability” or worthiness before making an offer of employment. What’s wrong with this picture?
–verb (used without object)
1. make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality.
–verb (used with object)
2. to make or constitute a distinction in or between; differentiate.
Since employers are using credit checks to separate classes of people, by definition it’s discrimination. It’s legal and it’s an ugly practice, especially in a time of economic turmoil and record numbers of home foreclosures. This type of hiring practice not only perpetuates discrimination but it further injures our economic recovery as a nation. There are so many still unemployed that there was recently another extension on unemployment benefits for those that have exhausted theirs. During that time of receiving unemployment, do you think those people were able to keep up with their credit card payments? Now they face losing job opportunities for making the choice to feed their families instead of maintain their credit score.
Since when did hiring someone to do a job have anything to do with their credit? Since when did hiring someone have anything to do with anything other than their qualifications and abilities? Now more than ever, employers continue to use this form of discrimination as a way to narrow the pool of candidates. There’s only one problem with this type of competition – it leaves the most unfortunate victims of the economy out of the game altogether. I find HUGE fault with eliminating a hard working and qualified candidate because their house is in foreclosure or they haven’t been able to keep up with credit card payments. First penalized by the economy, now penalized by employers. How is the workforce supposed to recover? We should be questioning laws that allow any kind of discrimination in the work force. Employers need to get their heads out of the clouds and start looking at people instead of credit reports and numbers. I don’t care what some psychologist says about credit being a basis for knowing if someone is reliable or trustworthy. I don’t care what your CFO says about keeping hiring costs/risks down – discrimination is discrimination. Spade. The end. Is that really the picture you want to paint of your organization? “Oh, we’re a really great company to work for – as long as you have good credit!” This is the real world, perhaps you should join us.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re a job seeker:
1. Employers can legally request permission to run a credit check on you.
2. Employers are REQUIRED to get your signature on a permission form to do so. This could be on a job application too, so READ CAREFULLY what you are signing!
3. The credit check isn’t detailed, but gives the employer your credit score and # of delinquent accounts.
4. Get a copy of your own credit report. Being proactive about your credit is a better approach than being reactive.
There are a lot of ways employers can silently discriminate against you but this is by far the most widespread and legal way it’s done. Now, tell me your thoughts on how we can fix this….
Hiring methods have forever changed. In the past 10 years, the internet has revolutionized the way we look for jobs as well as the way employers go about hiring. This became even more evident to me recently when I took on a new job seeker client; she’d had zero experience in using the Internet to find work. She had been in her previous position for the last 13 years and suddenly was out of a job because the small company she worked for was going under. She didn’t have an electronic version of her resume; only a paper one. She had never used a job board or even craigslist, let alone built a LinkedIn profile. She felt like a fish out of water.
It’s an all too familiar story, really. Many casualties of this recession have been long term employees of small businesses who suddenly find themselves without a job and without a clue about how to find a new one. Does this sound like you? You might be wondering, “where do I begin?” You might also be surprised when I tell you that job boards should not be your focus. Of course, they should be included in your job search efforts but they should not be the only sites you rely upon nor should they be where you spend most of your job search efforts.
First, let me tell you about 3 things that you MUST do/have before you start your job search:
- You MUST have a resume. If you can afford to pay a professional, then I’d advise you to do so. If you cannot, then there are a plethora of available resources to help you but you have to invest the time in getting it done or you are simply extending your unemployment. Make sure you have it stored on someplace other than just on your home computer. A CD is great but you should also keep a copy in gmail, yahoo or other free email account so that you can pull it up from anywhere. You never know when you might need it!
- Get a LinkedIn profile. This is just as important as having a resume. LinkedIn is the number one “go to” site for recruiters when they are looking for potential candidates. Not to mention, it’s a great place to make connections and network with other professionals in your line of work. Building your profile should be fairly self explanatory, as LinkedIn does a great job indicating how complete your profile is and what needs a finishing touch. If you aren’t sure how one should look, search profiles of other professionals in your industry. Find one that is complete and review it carefully. There are a lot of things you can include on your LinkedIn profile now such as blogs and tweets.
- Get a Twitter profile. Stop saying, “I don’t Twitter.” Stop saying, “I don’t get Twitter.” If you want to be noticed, this is a MUST HAVE tool. If you don’t get it, then read Twitter Tips. Then go build your profile and don’t flake out. Santa is watching and so is God. They will know if you skip this step.
Now that you have a resume, a LinkedIn and a Twitter profile, you’re ready to start! Here’s what to do next:
- ENGAGE. Here is the hard part. Most are afraid to jump in and start networking but you can’t be. Start with friends and family if that helps – connect with them on these platforms and let them know that you are actively job searching. Ask for leads. Don’t be afraid to tell anyone that you are out of work – this is NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. Not telling people isn’t going to help you and they will still know you are unemployed eventually.
- Get INVOLVED! LinkedIn has thousands of groups and you should be a part of them! Search the groups on LinkedIn for keywords in your industry. These groups will lead you to others in your line of work that you can network with. In addition, there are job search groups that can help with additional tips and guidance. Make sure you continue to stay involved once you start! If you want people to take you seriously, this is the key. Besides, if you aren’t involved you won’t be on top of your game. Consistently staying involved is more likely to net more leads and connections.
- Get out from behind the computer. Yes, you read that correctly. This was the advice that worked like a charm for my most recent client. Visit every temp and employment agency that you can. Don’t rule out temporary work because full time work can often be found through them. That doesn’t mean send them all your resume by email. I mean shower, get dressed like you’re going to interview, get in your car (or on the subway, bus, train, whatever!) and beat feet. People don’t generally ignore you in person like they might be tempted to do through email. Make sure you bring paper copies of your resume as well as a CD with a Word Doc version of your resume on it.
- Review these tips as often as necessary and ask yourself, “Am I doing what it takes to get noticed?”
The most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself. Job searching is a tough task for anyone and it can wear you down. Try to follow as normal a routine as you can. Maintain your Monday through Friday schedule; get up early and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Although your job search should be a full time job, you should still be taking time off. Weekends are a great time to recharge and doing so will help you remain sharp.
Do you have additional tips to share on how to get noticed in today’s work force? Please feel free to share them with us!
We have a new President! Hooray for change! Even if you didn’t vote for it, change is on the way and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. Be prepared; don’t get blind-sided. Take these steps to ensure that you end up on your feet, should you be the next casualty of the dwindling job economy:
Blogging is a great way to share information, present your abilities or talents or showcase your funny bone. Just remember, never put in writing what you don’t want someone to read. In other words, if your blogs are full of foul language, references to drug use and pictures of weekend antics – you might not want to make it public. Potential employers are also blogging these days in record numbers. They are on Twitter, Blogspot, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook and more. As a recruiter, I have used these sites to search for candidates as well as to determine character of candidates that want to be considered for opportunities. Many times, I have been thankful to have found their MySpace page prior to submitting them to a client. These are things that references don’t tell you!
Bottom line: I highly recommend using blogging sites as a way to express your abilities, including those abilities you get from personal fulfillment – not just your day job. Is Ruby on Rails something you are tinkering with on the side? Blog about it and make it public. Follow other Ruby developers. You’d be amazed how just talking about it can snowball into networking with lots of people that can help you should you lose your job.
While you are still employed, brush up on skills! Take online classes or night courses. Get certified. Take a look at the most “in demand” skills in your profession and bring yourself up to speed. Doing this now, rather than after you’ve lost your job, will ensure that you get back to work quickly.
Update that Resume!
Don’t wait until you’ve lost your job to update your resume. You’ll be in panic mode and are likely to make mistakes, leave things out or just present yourself poorly overall. Pull out that dusty resume and make sure you read this article: http://aplace4people.blogspot.com/2008/11/resume-writing-tips.html
Embrace Recruiters, don’t chase them off
If you get a call from a recruiter, be receptive. Even if you are happily employed, remember that change comes to those who least expect it. By tuning in to opportunities rather than blocking them out, you’ll have a better feel for the market should your job go south. At the very least, you may learn about an opportunity that someone you know would benefit from. Not all recruiters are built the same, however, the best approach is to always be willing to listen and network.
Source/Author: Robin M. Eads, Talent Acquisition Expert and President @ A Place 4 People, Inc. – http://www.aplace4people.com/