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6 Simple Steps to Conduct Pre-Employment Screening

6 Simple Steps to Conduct Pre-Employment Screening

Conducting pre-employment screening makes hiring the perfect employee a less complicated process.

Hiring the right employee for the appropriate job is one of the most important challenges an employer has to deal with. It’s grown to be even more difficult, thanks to the increasingly mobile workforce and social media. Gone are the days when employers solely relied on the interview process to make their hiring decisions. Businesses today can get the assistance they need through pre-employment screening.

Why It’s So Important

Employers who use pre-employment screening as part of their hiring process are well aware of the important benefits. One of the most significant advantages is an overall improvement in the quality of candidates. This leads to far better employees, which means higher productivity and a decrease in employee turnover. Businesses that employ workers for direct service to the public are held responsible if an employee that has a criminal history does harm to another employee or a customer. Pre-employment screening helps uncover critical information about a candidate including any potential risks posed by them.

Following are 6 Simple Pre-Employment Screening Steps

  1. Background Checks 

A background check is the most common pre-employment screening process.  It looks up an applicant’s personal, criminal, financial and professional records. It is typically utilized by employers, law enforcement, schools and non-profit organizations.

  1. Pre-Employment Drug Screening

Employers use drug testing via urine tests to proactively protect the company from the negative effects of employing people with drug related issues.  Drug screening is required for federally-regulated employers that hire individuals for safety-sensitive jobs. Active drug testing programs can help ensure that the workplace is drug-free.

  1. Medical Pre-Employment Screening

The purpose of the pre-employment medical examination is to determine if a potential candidate is fit for a job that can affect public safety, and is not a risk to themselves or others.

  1. Personality Testing

Personality tests assess the applicant’s personality, cognitive ability, current and potential skills and other traits. This information can help employers find the best employees for the job and weed out potential problem hires.

  1. Credit Checks

This screening step checks out the 7-year financial history of the candidate and includes public records, collection accounts, bankruptcies, charge-offs, judgements, trade lines, monthly payment histories and more. Credit checks look at the payment history on mortgages, student and car loans and credit card accounts, uncovering habits that include living beyond their means and possession of large debts with no apparent means of repayment. These are all indications of financial irresponsibility that could impact the work environment. Pre-employment credit screening does not include the credit score.

  1. Social Media Pre-Employment Screening

Today, gaining insights into a potential employee’s character can be obtained via their social media accounts. Employers often use platforms like Facebook and Twitter, looking for insights regarding personality traits, alcohol or drug abuse, or any other characteristics that could influence their hiring decision. Using social media to screen potential employees can also get an employer in legal trouble, so it’s best to consult a lawyer first.

The long-term benefits of pre-employment screening far outweigh the costs, including the quality of the employee, work productivity, and improved customer satisfaction.

Conducting pre-employment screening doesn’t have to be hard. Contact us today for more information on how to proceed!

What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

Most entrepreneurs don’t start a business because they have a passion for running a business or are an expert on operations. They do it because they’re passionate about their idea and feel that what they have to offer is sure to attract their target audience. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur’s journey is never an easy one.

It’s true that what you don’t know will hurt you. The world is constantly changing, and savvy business owners understand that they need to make time to work on their business instead of in it. To be successful, they must constantly learn and stay current in their field, on employment, in marketing and so much more.

Here are a few tips to keep yourself in the know:

Hire Good Staff With Excellent Communication Skills

Besides having the skills to expertly perform the tasks of the position they are given, having excellent communication skills are a necessity and will also be a reflection of the company. Also, being able to clearly communicate helps keep employees, management and clients in tune with the business.

Hire a Good Business Coach

Business coaches often stay on top of the trends. They’ll be able to help you pinpoint what you’re missing, identify possible roadblocks, help you come up with strategies to address them and help you remain accountable when it comes to following through.

Be Flexible and Responsive

Research your industry and be ready for changes. If you’re not the kind of business owner who can be responsive and flexible to the needs of your business, entrepreneurship might not be for you.

Never Stop Learning

Today there are plenty of ways to maintain the learning process, and you should continually expand your knowledge base. Consider the following easy ways to keep up to date:

Attend Conferences

Conferences and networking events are the perfect opportunity to learn from people in your industry (including your competitors), listen to the speakers and meet people, including potential clients. Even if the presentation is about something you’re familiar with, it will reaffirm what you already know or provide inspiration.

Take an Online Course

There are online courses covering every topic these days, so the possibilities of furthering your education without leaving home are endless. Online courses are also a great way to achieve added business designations that can help improve your credibility.

Read

Read anything that applies to you and your business, whether it’s about improving your sales skills, wealth, communications, cold calling skills or making the most out or email or social media marketing. Even if the topic seems a bit dry, the usefulness may become relevant down the road.

Listen to Podcasts

Today’s podcast technology provides the convenient ability to listen to and take in different content topics during your down time. You can listen to podcasts in the car, on a plane or at the gym. Where ever you desire.

Always spend time learning and continuing to improve your business because what you don’t know will hurt you. But what you do know will set you apart from the competition.

Have you ever had a situation where what you didn’t know, hurt you? What did you learn from that event? I’d love to read your advice in the comments below.

How to Hire the Right Small Business Consultant for Your Business

Hiring the right small business consultant can be tricky. If you have an organized recruitment procedure, your

 

business can gain the expertise of an experienced and skilled small business consultant.

According to Harvard Business Review, 80% of recruitment decisions in small businesses are based on bad decision-making that can lead to skyrocketing costs in the long run. While there is no specific formula on how to recruit the right small business consultant, here are some general guidelines that you can follow.

The consultant that you hire should have expertise in an area that you lack. Once you’ve found a few candidates, you’ll want to assess their goals, aptitude, analytical, management and decision-making skills. Make sure that you have a written job description and a thorough hiring process before you get started.

Create a Detailed Job Description

No matter how small your organization is or how much exposure your company has in your industry, you’ll need to create a perfect job description. This job description should include the roles and responsibilities that you’re looking for. State the skill level, experience, coaching and practical decision-making skills that are the primary requirements for applicants.

The job description for a consultant is different than the job description of an employee. Consultants should know more about the clients needs and be prepared to address them with their expertise.

Thoroughly Interview Each Consultant

Once you have a few recommendations, it’s time to interview potential candidates. Introduce your business to them and ask for systematic suggestions to improve it in both the short and long run. Judge on their answers based on logical reasoning and practical business knowledge. Then consider asking the following questions to assess fit:

  • Experience: What’s the consultant’s experience level? Have they worked for larger agencies in the past? What successes can they share?
  • Specialty: Do the consultants specialize in your industry? Do they understand your target market? Question them about a larger company in the market relevant to your industry to see if they are aware of the competition.
  • Values: Does the consultant share some of the same values that you hold dear to your organization? Are they passionate about your purpose?
  • Support: Will you need to guide them every step after you’ve signed the contract or are they capable enough to work independently in an efficient way?

You may also want to test their analytical, critical and decision-making skills with practical examples. Provide an example of a situation that they’re likely to encounter and ask how they’ll approach the problem.

As you begin to interview consultants, look to see if they have additional recommendations or value added services that you didn’t consider. An expert knows more than you and should be able to identify requirements that you overlooked. Don’t let your ego or personal likes and dislikes impact your decision. You’re seeking someone to help your business, not your personal life.

It’s hard to find one person that matches everything you’re looking for, but you should be able to find someone who matches most of the requirements. Often small business owners overlook the obvious and eventually end up filling the position with an inexperienced business consultant. Use these tips to make sure you don’t or call me to help you get started.

Three Reasons to Hire a Consultant Today

Many companies often think that hiring an outside consultant to complete their projects or to provide insight into their business is expensive. However, they don’t realize the opportunity cost of not hiring one.

Often, consultants can help the business attain results quicker and with less cost because they have specific expertise and can provide proven solutions to challenges and situations. Here are three reasons why you should hire a consultant today.

Consultants Aren’t Permanent

Hiring experts on a temporary basis ensures that a fresh pair of eyes and an uncluttered mind tackles the project in a way that may not have been thought of before. Given the intense competition and the imperative need to get a head start in business, hiring an outside consultant to do a job can prove to be the differentiator.

Consultants not only lend credibility to the organization but also bring a sense of objectivity. They not only validate ideas but are well positioned to analyze and diagnose the situation more critically than the internal staff because they’re often not influenced or tied to work that’s been done in the past.

Consultants Free Up Resources

Sometimes organizations may have the resources to do a good job but the staff may have a tough time handling extra responsibilities alongside their normal job responsibilities.

Staff can and should contribute to the building of the plan because they’re likely to be responsible for executing the plan. However, when they’re responsible for strategy, planning and execution, it’s likely that their daily work will suffer. Hiring a consultant frees up internal resources and allows staff to concentrate on what they were hired to do.

Consultants Improve Efficiency

Consultants contribute immensely by enhancing efficiency within the organization. They can see areas where the business is wasting time, money or other resources. They’re often familiar with systems and new technology that can scale and automate processes, which may eliminate a need to hire another employee.

In an age when in-house skills are becoming scarce and projects need to be completed quickly, organizations need specialized skill personnel who can provide perspective, strategy and execution.

An outside consultant always has the advantage of being able to see things in a different perspective and can identify opportunities that organizations may have overlooked. The consultant supplies the much need skill and expertise that organizations sometimes need and help maximize the potential of the business.

Hiring the right consultant at the right time can save both time and money. When you’re ready to do that, give me a call.

When to Stop Outsourcing and Hire Instead

In my last post I shared the pros and cons of outsourcing. But how do you know when to stop outsourcing and hire instead? Small business owners who are on the path to success know that they can’t do everything by themselves. Hiring employees could mean the difference between stagnation and growth. The three reasons why you should consider hiring an employee instead of outsourcing are below.stop outsourcing

Priority

When you outsource your work to a contractor or freelancer, you end up competing against other clients for their time. Something that you need done right away could end up taking weeks if the contractor has other projects ahead of yours.

On the other hand, employees are committed to your company for the time that you’re paying them. You manage their priorities as it relates to their work assignments. Your highest priority work will be done in the order that you see fit.

Quality

Small business owners generally compete on quality more than they compete on price. Therefore, outsourcing to a contractor can be risky. Contractors don’t have a stake in your business and are often looking to complete the job as quickly and efficiently as possible. They may also provide lower quality workmanship if they believe that you’re not going to extend the contract term.

As you consider hiring employees, it’s important to understand the tasks that they’ll be responsible for. Assess their ability to complete the tasks in an efficient way and maintain the level of quality that your customers are used to.

Security

Outsourcing sometimes puts your company at risk, especially if you need to provide classified or sensitive items to the contractor as part of the project. Although it’s easy to forget, information is still stored somewhere in the brain and you don’t want the contractor to recall your sensitive information when they’re working for your competitor.

Stop Outsourcing

You should have enough work to keep your employees busy for the hours you’re your paying them. Otherwise, they’ll become complacent and may end up using work time to run personal errands, come in late or leave early.

Giving employees meaningful work that keeps them busy is not only rewarding for you, but it provides the sense of contribution to the success of your business. It gives them a chance to celebrate the wins and at the same time feel confident in their own abilities to accomplish great things.

Outsourcing Pros and Cons for Small Businesses

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, the thought of getting some help may have crossed your mind. outsourcingPerhaps you’ve considered hiring staff, but the adding employment law, taxes, healthcare and human resources to your list of many things to do gives you a headache the size of Mount Rushmore. Instead, you turn your attention to outsourcing because you believe that it will solve all your problems. But, before you make a final decision you should consider the pros and the cons.

Outsourcing Pros

There are many benefits to outsourcing, with the main one being expertise. Let’s face it, if you’re not a graphic designer you could spend hours and hours creating a logo, but never get it right. Instead of learning how to use Photoshop and paying for the software, you could be using that time to earn money in your business, calling a hot lead or closing a deal.

Another benefit is that you can save money by reducing your operational costs. You don’t have to worry about functions like human resources, vacation, healthcare, employee payroll and taxes. Additionally, with the right contract you’ll only pay for the result you negotiated instead of for the time that employees aren’t productive or efficient.

If you hire the right person to do the right job, you’ll end up saving time that you can use to focus on your business. Rely on the experts to do what they do best.

Outsourcing Cons

Cons related to outsourcing include risk of exposure to confidential information, lack of customer understanding, quality, project management and delays. However, the biggest disadvantage is that you’re putting a part of your business in the hands and care of someone else.

Making a Decision

The best way to determine if outsourcing will work for you is to try it. The first function that most small businesses outsource is office support. You can find a virtual assistant to answer phones, update financials, write emails and manage projects. Landscaping, office cleaning and bookkeeping are also commonly outsourced. If you’re new to outsourcing, start small. When the time is right, consider hiring your first employee, but read this post first.

When to Hire Employees in Your Small Business

You’ve worked real hard to improve your business, run it efficiently and have finally reached your capacity. Growing your business requires more than your efforts and making a decision to hire employees is often the right route to go. Before you put an ad on Craigslist, you need to articulate the job role, crunch the numbers and have a plan in place.hire employees

Articulate the Job Role Before You Hire Employees

Assess your current situation before you make a decision to hire. What areas of your business can you hand off to another person?

Generally, the first role that business owners fill is administrative. It’s good practice to have someone that can act as a hub for requests, office tasks and communications. This role is more than answering the phones and scheduling. Someone in this position could be given the responsibility to do light accounting, simple marketing pieces, advertisements, payroll and coordination. Administrators and personal assistants are usually multi-talented and can free you up to work on your business.

Whether you employ an administrator or not, it’s critical that you have clear job descriptions to get the most out of your staff. Set the expectation that the role will grow over time. Communicate that you expect your employees to take ownership of issues and resolve them, even if it’s not specifically in their job description. When you see positive ownership spirit, reward it accordingly.

Crunching the Numbers

After you’ve identified the role, you’ll need to determine what the market will bear for the tasks and where you’ll find the money in your budget. You can find general salary estimates from sites like Salary.com and Bureau of Labor. Remember that you’ll need to consider the minimum wage, payroll tax, required benefits and worker’s compensation in your analysis.

After you have an idea of salary requirements, you’ll need to estimate return on investment. With all of the time you gain back, how many more clients will you bring into your business? How many more units can you sell? Try to estimate how much extra business would be generated by getting the help you need. Then, write down your goal and make sure to revisit it later down the line.

Employee Types

You don’t have to hire a full-time employee immediately. Especially, if you’re having a hard time finding the budget allocation. Consider hiring someone part-time and then migrating to full-time as you see the return on investment. Outsourcing, freelancing and temporary hires are great alternatives as well.

In either case, you’ll need to invest time in the hiring process and then train the employee to proficiency. You’ll also have additional paperwork and records to keep track of, so be sure you’re prepared.

Ultimately, you may need to ask yourself if there are other ways to gain efficiencies, like using software to automate certain tasks or simply getting more organized. If you choose to hire employees, make sure you hire the right person with the right skills, experience, and education for the right job.

Are you making plans to hire? I can help you plan and make the most out of your time and money if you contact me today.

How to Find the Perfect Accountant for your Accounting Department

Hiring a qualified person for your accounting department naturally requires that they have the necessary education and experience for the job. However, it takes more than skills and knowledge of accounting to make for a good employee.accountant
Soft skills and culture fit are arguably even more important in finding the person who can fit into your workplace culture. What follows are some tips into finding the right accountant for different offices in your business structure.

Accounts Receivable Accountant

Here you will need someone with good customer skills. This is a position where they will interact with customers and the general public. This means that the candidate that is selected must have a good, open personality that is pleasing and appeals to customers or clients who may have questions or seek more information.
When hiring, look for someone with good people skills, who is patient and has a friendly attitude. This means you will need to ask potential candidates about their past experience in working with customers even if it was not accounting related.

Accounts Payable Accountant

In this role, candidates for this position should have a good understanding of what proper pricing is for the type of items or services that you purchase. While it should not be expected that they know the exact price of everything your business acquires, they should have the skills to look up such information.
When hiring, search for someone who has research skills, previous experience as a buyer and who generally thinks before acting. Quite often, bad purchases are made because the accountant made an assumption based on outdated information or a misunderstanding of what the items actually were. You need someone who thinks and researches before they act.

Payroll Accountant

Payroll is one area where you need someone with an outgoing personality. This is for someone who works well with your employees and takes the initiative in understanding their questions and provides friendly, accurate responses.
Search for someone who is outgoing, friendly and pays close attention to detail. For accountants in payroll, this is a very important position that requires a personality that can handle the day-to-day stresses as well as work with employees who have questions or concerns.

Overall, finding the right type of accountant for a position means more than just their education or accounting background. You’ll want to see if they have the personality traits that are best suited to the job. This can be discovered by using behavioral interviewing, asking for examples of situations where they’ve encountered a difficult situation and listening to their responses.
Obviously, if a candidate has specific experience in any one of these three fields, then you will want to put them at or near the top of your hiring list. However, in many cases good, qualified accountants may have similar experiences in other areas which you will need to examine in order to make the proper choice. A little research and a few more pointed questions can reveal the right person for the job.