Blogs

Should Job Seekers Be Worried About the Pre-Employment Background Check?

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You’ve spent weeks scanning online job boards, asking friends and family about possible employment opportunities, and making contacts with all manner of professionals in your industry. You’ve gone through your resumé a dozen times with a fine-toothed comb and determined that it is subjectively and objectively perfect. You’ve landed half a dozen first-round interviews, made it to the second round on half of them, and found a job that is perfect for you at a company you respect. You are just a few steps away from scoring the employment you’ve been dreaming about and working toward for years. There’s just one thing left standing in your way: the pre-employment background check.

If you’ve applied for a job this decade, chances are that you’ve signed a consent form agreeing to let your prospective employers dig into your background. Depending on who you are, you may view this background check as a gross invasion of privacy, a routine safeguard that employers put in place to protect themselves from unsavory people, or anything in between. However, now is not the time to ponder the ethical questions of a bunch of people you don’t know very well analyzing every facet of your life, from criminal history to credit records, academic past to driving record. Background checks are the norm in the employment circuit, and if you want to get a job, you are going to have to bite the bullet and sign the consent form.

However, now is the time to ask yourself a handful of other questions – namely, “Am I ready for my dream job employer to start looking through my background?” and, “Am I ready for the pre-employment background check?” Those questions are more complicated than many applicants realize at first, and involve more considerations than any criminal offenses you may think you have on your own record. While most of us think of background checks as a device to root out felons and sex offenders from applicant pools, different screening methods can actually involve the perusal of a much broader range of information than just hard core criminal convictions. To answer the above questions, you should be worried about these checks if you haven’t done the following:

Made Sure the Information is Correct:
You may think your background is squeaky clean, but countless applicants have for the right or wrong reason lost out on dream job opportunities due to an unforeseen – and potentially incorrect – piece of information on their background check. Whether it’s a wrecked credit report due to an identity theft case you didn’t know about or a common name that pulls up the record of another person who shares your name, background checks can paint a bad portrait of you through no actual fault of your own.

If you are going to be on the employment trail for a while, it’s worthwhile to run a criminal background check on yourself. See what your criminal record looks like in the eyes of employers. Find out if there is anything wrong with your credit report. Double-check your driving record. If you do these things, you will be able to determine ahead of time if there are errors in your background check report and clean them up before employers start raising eyebrows.

Been Completely Honest on Your Application: Okay, you don’t have to reveal every aspect of your personal life to your employer from the word go. Financial woes are a largely personal subject, and some states have banned the box that allows forces you to otherwise reveal criminal history on a job application. However, employers will also look into your academic and professional history, so don’t lie about your former job titles or responsibilities, and don’t pretend you went to an Ivy League institution if you didn’t. Such instances of resume dishonesty are easy to find and will make a prospective employer wonder about what else you’ve lied about.

About the Author
Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.

World Cup: Who Wears the Yellow Arm Band?

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Almost half of the entire planet is watching the World Cup. Perhaps not where you live, but here in the Mid-Atlantic it’s all we have. Hockey and basketball are over. Our baseball team stinks. And football has not started just yet. The sentiment of local sports radio personalities is that the World Cup is boring. Soccer does not score enough. This is cross country running with a ball! In fact, the radio folks seem restricted in their ability to talk about it, even if they are one of the few DJ’s that will embrace the sport and the Cup.

ID-10056952Well, not in my house. And frankly the public sentiment is changing. Today kids play the game and parents socialize on saturday mornings on the sidelines and at tournaments. Soccer is becoming a lifestyle here in the states. Now I will get off my soap box!

As a leadership coach, entrepreneurial leader of a company, and a high school soccer coach, I tend to see the world of soccer through a different lens that comes from an adoration for the sport and the study of what makes a leader in any life situation. What has fascinated me most is what it takes to be Captain. In soccer, this is signified by the yellow arm band. My curiosity lies within the question of if the traits of a leader are the same on the pitch as they are in the board room. What do you think? My sense is that you can insert the President, the VP or a Manager in any of these situations if they represent good leadership behavior.

What it takes to wear a yellow arm band:

  • You have to have players that will follow you. Every leader must have followers. Leaders can’t send a message or create a vision if no one believes in it. No one can be Captain without buy-in from the players!
  • A Captain is vocal in both big and small ways. A captain knows all aspects of the game. And they put their teammates in the right place while on the field. They communicate constantly. They direct and put players in the right position. The team listens and respects the chatter. This mental direction is so critical in the game. The smallest mental lapses in spacing, positioning, and decision making on and off the ball create most of the goal scoring opportunities for your opponent.
  • A Captain can put the game on their back as they say. No matter what is required. Shut down the other team’s best player. Make the critical play or pass. Even the score—go ahead and make a goal.
  • The captain must lead the team 24/7 on and off the field. Winning and being competitive is not contained in a 90 minute game. The season begins the day the last one ends. Being a leader is learning more about the game, playing it, getting in better physical condition in the off season, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Captains do everything with intention. Every meeting, every Friday night game or spaghetti team dinner is with a purpose. Closeness in a team off the field relates to trust and understanding of your teammates on the pitch.
  • The captain respects the entire team and knows that all have value. However, the captain also understands and respects individual roles and contribution levels.
  • A captain knows the team values and communicates with them. All action, word recognition, and discipline stems from living the values or helping teammates do it better.

Interesting to note, leadership behavior is just as hard to notice in a soccer game as it is in the game of business. You really have to look for it because it is effortless for good Captains and good leaders.

Field of Dreams Reunion

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Each year, the Outside-In® Companies have an annual theme to help communicate openly about the priorities of the business with everyone on the team. Coming off of a very ‘heady’ theme last year with the Outside-In® Happiness Project, this year we decided to reel it back in. For us, 2014 is the year of Field of Dreams, inspired by the 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner.

“This year’s theme is about playing the game, building something great, and having something that all “3 Customers” can easily identify with,” said our President Chris Burkhard when asked about the annual theme. “Not everyone is a sports person but baseball is America’s game and people get it. Whether you watch the Major Leagues, played the game yourself, use the “3 strikes” mentality, eat peanuts & cracker jacks or have kids in a t-ball league, everyone relates to baseball.”

This year is also a special one for the movie itself, as it marks the 25th anniversary of Field of Dreams’ release. Kevin Costner joined other cast members and fans at the site of filming in Dyersville, Iowa for a 3-day 25th anniversary celebration festival this past Father’s Day weekend. This iconic film is held in the hearts of many, especially those that related to the father-son themes prominent in the movie. Costner, who attended the celebration with his family, told Bob Costas of the Today Show, “Field of Dreams” remains deeply meaningful to him. “I get a chance to bring my three little kids here. It’s really good full circle for me that this movie lives so long.”

We’ve brought new life to the movie by using the story, its themes, and baseball to support our company’s communication in the first half of this year. So cheers to you Field of Dreams – for inspiring so many, including us over the last 25 years!

“If you build it, he will come…” Right?

Create a Culture Holiday!

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How do you reinforce and teach the right organizational behaviors to your employee base? Leaders want their company to have a culture that reflects the values they put in place, but how can you do this from a practical day to day perspective?

Generally, we want to tell stories around our values. We want to reward and recognize values-based behaviors. And then we want to keep repeating and reinforcing. Not so hard in theory, but it can be difficult in a practical sense.

At the Outside-In® Companies, we have established a values holiday calendar. We have quite a few values, so every three to four weeks we celebrate one of our unique values for the day. Employees partner up and work on a value to find a way to bring the values to life. The value gets reinforced at our morning huddle. Legacy stories might be shared. A module of learning might be created. Handouts and visuals placed on desks or in prominent places to reinforce the message. The key is the simple routine and consistency. The challenge is to keep it fresh and changing.  And to make the story and symbolism meaningful.

When you encourage employees to take on a value they must become learners in order to act as teachers. Allowing all to be innovative and unique in how they communicate it is simply part of our culture. This reinforces taking risks and being knowledge-based workers.

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 1.39.32 PMSpeaking of risk taking and holidays. Check out the $9 dollar bill with my face on it. This was the handout on for the Risk Takers values holiday. I always say make $9 dollar mistakes. Involve others when its goes to $99 or perhaps $99,999 or up. Once you bring the values to life in a meaningful way the rest will fall into place as employees live and breathe your culture. Humor. Education. Recognition. Rewards. Repeat.

Collective Wisdom: Leadership Mantras to Live By

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by Outside-In® Team Member, Kelly Hocutt

Last year, during our year of the Outside-In® Happiness project, I set out to grow my leadership skills. Last June, I applied to a mentor program, in which I would get the opportunity to meet with 10 regional executives throughout the year. From September through May, my class of 15 other mentees have met monthly with executives from various types of businesses to learn their story and interview them about what makes a successful leader. Tomorrow, my class will present what we learned.

I surveyed the class after each session to find out what their biggest takeaway was. While each leader offered their unique perspective (and each of us may have walked away with different learns), collectively their wisdom can be categorized into five major takeaways: Be yourself & follow your passion, Take risks & embrace change, Invest in people & relationships, Choose how to spend your time, and Work hard & be committed.  To pay it forward, below I’ve shared some direct quotes and the statements that left a lasting impression on us.

Be Yourself. Follow Your Passion.
Focus on yourself first. Get to know you. Be your authentic self.
You can’t take care of others, if you don’t take care of yourself.
Adopt traits from leaders that you admire, but always be authentic to you.
Alignment: make decisions true to yourself and your values.
Make sure the systems in your life reinforce your health across mind/body/spirit.
Know who you are and what you are good at and own it.
Then find an environment (industry, organization, location, culture, passion) that fits you.
Be positive & passionate about what you do.
Find out what you’re good at and pursue it.
Find your dance floor.
Figure out what your end game is.
It’s never too late to act on a personal passion or interest.
Be passionate and fill your life with things you are passionate about.
Go to bed tired. Passion persuades.
Know and love yourself.
Do what makes you happy.

Take risks. Go outside your comfort zone. Embrace Change.
Put yourself in uncomfortable situations regularly.
Take risks in areas you don’t know well to grow and learn.
Surround yourself with people who have opposing views.
Adapt to change quicker than your competition.
Stick to it, but don’t be afraid to change or improve your plan along the way.
It’s okay to take risks and make mistakes. Just do your homework on what you are leaping toward.
Change happens, get used to it.
Have “thinking partners” that think differently from you.
Be agile and ready to handle new situations when things don’t go as planned.
Take risks. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Get in front of major mistakes. (Even when you’re not 100% confident in your solution)
Take risks and go for it.

Invest in People & Relationships
Network.
Treat everyone well.
Remember that everyone in the company is important and innovation can come from anywhere.
Love your people to death.
Your people list should be longer than your task list.
Take a genuine interest in people.
You are the sum of your relationships.
Your job as a manager is to support your people, listen to their ideas, and help them.
Networking is just asking questions, the skill of asking questions is listening.
You don’t need a “mentor”, just people you trust.
Make strong connections.
Go where you like the people.
Get involved in the community.
A healthy company leads to a healthy community.
Giving back to the community benefits more than just the community.
Put yourself in situations where people are different from you, this is where you learn the most.
Invest in people, not ideas, not work.

Choose how to spend your TIME.
Be mindful of how you spend your time.
Attack your free time with the passion you attack your work time.
Find time for family.
There is no substitute for time.
You can tell a lot about a person by how they spend their time.
People won’t remember the time you weren’t there for work,
but your family will remember the times you aren’t there for them.
Multi-tasking is bullshit.
Prioritize the 3 most important things to get done that day and let the other things go.
There’s no such thing as work life balance, only work life integration.

Work Hard. Be Committed.
Hustle.
Never give up.
There are no shortcuts to success.
It comes down to planning, executing, adapting, and a ton of hard work.
If you work your a$$ off and validate yourself within a company, you will have
the leverage and freedom to do whatever you want!
Be one step ahead of others.
Have intolerance for laziness.
Do as much as you can while you can.

CBI Way: Improving RPO with Metrics

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Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

Throughout the last CBI Way blog, we examined the importance of setting the partnership up for success with thorough guidelines for the duration of the engagement. A significant part of the guidelines mentioned related to measuring success with key metrics and reporting of that crucial data. While a few metrics for a successful RPO were discussed, every partnership is different, and there are certainly a number of ways to support success.

ID-10082598When “Teeing Up Success”, the metrics incorporated can vary and may not be traditional. We cannot improve what we are unable to measure. Therefore, choosing the correct metrics for your partnership can drastically improve the process and flow of an RPO engagement. Allowing certain areas of focus to grow along with the partnership can only help both parties’ main objectives be successful. For example, source of candidates is decisive for improving any recruitment solution. Not seeing the same number of quality candidates that were originally presented? It is easy to take a look at the sources from which the best candidates were obtained, whether job board or a more passive candidate approach. If tracked and reported, that data can help alter the sourcing strategy to become more effective.

There are number of metrics that could be tracked and reported to help improve any lapses in efficiency and effectiveness. Time between steps of the RPO process is another example that is hard to overlook. This could be the number of days between kick-off and hire, or submission date to interview day, and many more. Reporting the duration between the key points in a recruitment cycle can help identify where a gap in the business may lie.

Metrics and reporting give you the capability to not only provide your client, but also your own internal team, with data that can translate to improvements in the project. And as discussed in our earlier CBI Way blogs (Building Blocks of RPO Solutions and Post-Implementation Success), the flexibility to alter, change, and then improve the partnership is one of several benefits or advantages of an RPO solution.

The CBI Way blog series explores the tools and practices used in Talent Acquisition. CBI Way is CBI Group’s recruiting approach and methodology – it’s how we do what we do! Check in with CBI Way for insights around workforce education and training, the latest trends in recruiting technology, and how to best utilize these tools towards improving your own recruiting practices.