What To Do Before Handing Out Survey Forms

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It doesn’t matter if you have hundred of thousands of employees, or just three, employee surveys are still necessary to ensure a smooth running organization. However, conducting surveys is more than just handing out forms and getting your employees to answer. To ensure the accuracy of survey data, you, as an employer must observe proper guidelines.

First, be clear about the goals of the employee surveys. Are the surveys to be utilized as gauges for salary increase or for a…

employee satisfaction, survey methods, employer-employee relation, management

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It doesn’t matter if you have hundred of thousands of employees, or just three, employee surveys are still necessary to ensure a smooth running organization. However, conducting surveys is more than just handing out forms and getting your employees to answer. To ensure the accuracy of survey data, you, as an employer must observe proper guidelines.

First, be clear about the goals of the employee surveys. Are the surveys to be utilized as gauges for salary increase or for amendments of company policies? It is also important to explain these objectives to the employees. It is advisable to discuss with them the rationale behind the need for a survey and why is it necessary. Another important aspect to discuss is how they will be informed of survey results. These people would want to see results. Second, contact an impartial third-party organization to facilitate and conduct the survey. This will assure employees that their answers and results will not be tampered with to the advantage of the management. Third, be clear about the time constraints. Conduct the survey within a specific time frame so that the process would be more efficient and the results would be achieved as quickly as possible. Fourth, emphasize the value of survey response. Aim for a hundred percent response rate to ensure that all employees have had their say. This will pave the way for a democratic compromise between you as the employer, and the employees. Let your employees in on discussions about these matters and you can be almost be assured of optimum survey results.

However, employee surveys are much more effective if there is a guarantee from the management. Guarantee your employees that your actions and the changes in the company will be based on the survey results. Inform them how you intend to act on these results. It is a good idea to suggest that the final move regarding the survey results would be based upon employer-employee compromise. Provide the means to conduct the survey. It is important that the means you choose should be based on the skills of your employees. An online survey program can process data faster but if most of your employees don’t know how to use computers or aren’t comfortable using one, a paper questionnaire survey is your best bet. In any survey, it is important to assure your subjects that their anonymity will be protected. Confidentiality of personal information is important to encourage employees to be honest in answering surveys.

Lastly, remind your employees that the employee surveys are done for the protection of their rights within the company. It is a good idea to remind them during the course of data collection about survey goals. Publish survey results to encourage your employees to participate in discussions of company plans.

Leadership Exposed: Things You Thought You Knew About Leadership

Much has been written about leadership: rules, pointers, styles, and biographies of inspiring leaders throughout world history. But there are certain leadership ideas that we ourselves fail to recognize and realize in the course of reading books. Here is a short list of things you thought you knew about leadership.

1. Leaders come in different flavors.

There are different types of leaders and you will probably encounter more than one type in your lifetime. Formal leaders are those we elect into positions or offices such as the senators, congressmen, and presidents of the local clubs. Informal leaders or those we look up to by virtue of their wisdom and experience such as in the case of the elders of a tribe, or our grandparents; or by virtue of their expertise and contribution on a given field such as Albert Einstein in the field of Theoretical Physics and Leonardo da Vinci in the field of the Arts. Both formal and informal leaders practice a combination of leadership styles.
· Lewin’s three basic leadership styles – authoritative, participative, and delegative
· Likert’s four leadership styles – exploitive authoritative, benevolent authoritative, consultative, and participative
· Goleman’s six emotional leadership styles – visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and commanding.

2. Leadership is a process of becoming.

Although certain people seem to be born with innate leadership qualities, without the right environment and exposure, they may fail to develop their full potential. So like learning how to ride a bicycle, you can also learn how to become a leader and hone your leadership abilities. Knowledge on leadership theories and skills may be formally gained by enrolling in leadership seminars, workshops, and conferences. Daily interactions with people provide the opportunity to observe and practice leadership theories. Together, formal and informal learning will help you gain leadership attitudes, gain leadership insights, and thus furthering the cycle of learning. You do not become a leader in one day and just stop. Life-long learning is important in becoming a good leader for each day brings new experiences that put your knowledge, skills, and attitude to a test.

3. Leadership starts with you.

The best way to develop leadership qualities is to apply it to your own life. As an adage goes “action speaks louder than words.” Leaders are always in the limelight. Keep in mind that your credibility as a leader depends much on your actions: your interaction with your family, friends, and co-workers; your way of managing your personal and organizational responsibilities; and even the way you talk with the newspaper vendor across the street. Repeated actions become habits. Habits in turn form a person’s character. Steven Covey’s book entitled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provides good insights on how you can achieve personal leadership.

4. Leadership is shared.

Leadership is not the sole responsibility of one person, but rather a shared responsibility among members of an emerging team. A leader belongs to a group. Each member has responsibilities to fulfill. Formal leadership positions are merely added responsibilities aside from their responsibilities as members of the team. Effective leadership requires members to do their share of work. Starting as a mere group of individuals, members and leaders work towards the formation of an effective team. In this light, social interaction plays a major role in leadership. To learn how to work together requires a great deal of trust between and among leaders and members of an emerging team. Trust is built upon actions and not merely on words. When mutual respect exists, trust is fostered and confidence is built.

5. Leadership styles depend on the situation.

How come dictatorship works for Singapore but not in the United States of America? Aside from culture, beliefs, value system, and form of government, the current situation of a nation also affects the leadership styles used by its formal leaders. There is no rule that only one style can be used. Most of the time, leaders employ a combination of leadership styles depending on the situation. In emergency situations such as periods of war and calamity, decision-making is a matter of life and death. Thus, a nation’s leader cannot afford to consult with all departments to arrive at crucial decisions. The case is of course different in times of peace and order—different sectors and other branches of government can freely interact and participate in governance. Another case in point is in leading organizations. When the staffs are highly motivated and competent, a combination of high delegative and moderate participative styles of leadership is most appropriate. But if the staffs have low competence and low commitment, a combination of high coaching, high supporting, and high directing behavior from organizational leaders is required.

Now that you are reminded of these things, keep in mind that there are always ideas that we think we already know; concepts we take for granted, but are actually the most useful insights on leadership.

What the Trend in Online Databases Means to the Employment Screening Industry

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The most prominent trend in the employment screening industry has been a proliferation of online databases offering cheap background checks. Any one can access the internet and with a quick search be able to purchase, for example, criminal records for a low fee. While that is very appealing to companies looking to trim the budget on background checks, it may in fact be a dangerous trend.

background checks,employment screening

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The most prominent trend in the employment screening industry has been a proliferation of online databases offering cheap background checks. Any one can access the internet and with a quick search be able to purchase, for example, criminal records for a low fee. While that is very appealing to companies looking to trim the budget on background checks, it may in fact be a dangerous trend.

What do the companies say that have been running background checks, back when employment screening ¡°industry¡± was just a concept and not an accepted practice?

Tom Lawson, the founder of APSCREEN, the oldest screening firm in the country, says ¡°The necessity of a background check has been established now, and that’s why we are seeing such a proliferation of people getting into the business – particularly because the internet makes it an easy field to enter because of the low start-up costs.¡±

Lawson continues, ¡°But back in 1980, when we practically invented the concept of employment screening, companies had to be convinced that there was a good reason to spend money on background checks. We have always been a business that focused on training our specialists to screen applications for completeness, thoroughness and accuracy and provide our customers with
individualized service. This trend of online databases is very disturbing to us because the potential for error and liability is very high.¡±

The Dangers of Databases – Caveat Emptor of the Quick Turnaround

Databases are only as good as the search logic used to retrieve stored data, and search logic is expensive and only as good as the amount of money the database companies are wiling to invest in it. Unfortunately, the advent of the internet has made starting an online business easy for anyone. As a result, many companies that start an internet ¡°data selling¡± business do so because the start-up costs are small which means the databases can only provide llimited information.

Even worse, most online database providers lack an intimate working knowledge of how to screen potential applicants. Their focus is on selling units of information for profit.

Database companies cannot simply use off-the-shelf software to retrieve publicly compiled repository information. It comes in too many proprietary ¡°operating systems’ and while good, expensive search logic helps to delineate between the different languages of the information entered into the database company’s archival system, it can NEVER be 100% competent, even if it is a very robust retrieval architecture.

By the sheer science of databasing, 100% information retrieval capability is impossible, unless (as demonstrated recently by the IRS and FBI Computer fiascos) the ¡°source¡± data originates from wholly compatible systems. This means that going in you can never expect to have a complete file when you compile data from different systems. This results in ¡°data drops¡± in which bytes of information mysteriously disappear, as well as computer viruses which can reside undetected in mainframes for years and indiscriminately wipe out data, which would be undecipherable in a foreign operating environment, such as a third party compiler.

A classic example of this occurred on January 17, 1990, when screening client District Cablevision received a now infamous incorrect report of a felony cocaine conviction on one James Russell Wiggins, which was not verified for accuracy or its relationship to the subject Wiggins, and which resulted in a serious elimination of candidacy lawsuit brought against the provider based upon slander. This error dealt a major blow to the reputation of the provider and resulted in the payment of a substantial monetary settlement. (US District Court, District of Columbia; Civil Action 90-199; Wiggins (et al) v. Equifax Services, Inc. (et al).)

Database companies outnumber legitimate employment screeners almost 75 to 1 in the industry today. The main problem with such vendors who advertise ¡°nationwide criminal checks,¡± ¡°statewide criminal checks,¡± ¡°instant¡±, or ¡°online,¡± is the veracity of the data they are selling and the competency of the search used to retrieve the data.

Many vendors acquire data from a multitude of sources, not having any idea who compiled the information in the first place. This data is then combined into each vendor’s own format, which often does not contain complete information. The common term in the database industry is ¡°data drops,¡± which in addition to the above meaning also means that not all of the data, such as criminal record information from a court jurisdiction that is put into the database, is available to be extracted, retrieved or researched. This occurs because of the following:

1. The bridge software used to import the jurisdictional data into the database company’s memory banks can never be 100% reliable, as long as the compiler is gathering information from ¡°foreign¡± repositories

2. The computer has to handle many different formats while compiling information into a standardized format so that some of the data simply does not transfer.

This is a problem because of the technical department’s inability to inform the sales/marketing department properly as to the database’s limitations or unwillingness to tell the customer that the product it is selling may be deficient in some areas. As a result, approximately 5 to 8% of the data is lost. That means that there is a 92% to 94% chance (at best) to identify a record on a candidate. Also, data drops are indiscriminate. Rape convictions are dropped
as easily as traffic tickets.

The second problem with databases is the psychological dependence they engender on those using them. As time progresses, the databases’ ease-of-use causes the user to forget just how important it is that the database be accurate and complete, and that the need for thoroughness in screening an employment candidate should never vary, as to ensure consistency in the screening process, thus precluding the successful prosecution of the employer for Title 7 claims. The results of falling into this pattern of laziness can be disastrous as litigation may not be far behind.

Crucial Steps in the Employment Screening Process

Historically, and until the late 1970s when the personnel department recognized the need to get involved in employment screening, background checks were performed by security departments – typically comprised of highly
qualified, and often retired professionals.

Today it’s up to the HR department to create the mandatory steps needed to develop a thorough employment screening procedure including for starters, a positive candidate identification process. If this isn’t the first step in the background check, the results of your searches could be faulty and therefore
prove useless.

For example, critical identification data needs to be gleaned from credit bureaus and other repositories including unused maiden names, or intentionally omitted information such as date of birth and variations in social security numbers. This is where the difference between true employment screeners and data sellers comes into play. It takes years of experience to be able to differentiate, for example, intentionally omitted information versus an honest mistake.

The same holds true for incomplete disclosures such as partial criminal history in which the full story can dramatically change your assessment of the applicant. One such case involved an applicant who disclosed to the company that she was convicted of trespassing. When the criminal check came back, however, it was discovered that while she had indeed told the truth that she was convinced of trespassing, she had also been convicted of trafficking in child pornography and possession of controlled substances – a serious error by omission.

Hiring decisions must not be made on partial, incomplete or incorrect data, but on thorough information and a consistent application of thorough scrutiny of all of the information regarding criminal, credit, work and education history, driving attitude, whether or not the candidate has completed the application completely, as well as identity disclosure.

A screener must have extensive knowledge about each vendor source to make the appropriate follow-on decisions that develop into a full and comprehensive report.

Online databases don’t provide highly trained researchers who can spot red flags and other indicators in an application that demand further consideration. You can only get this kind of service from an interactive screener who has years of experience in processing background checks.

Another reason online databases can be cause potential liability is because most databases contain information that may not be used in the screening process such as arrest records, or unadjudicated matters, or matters for which an expungement exists at the Court but is not reflected in the database.

As previously stated, professional background checks require an experienced researcher who knows what to look for including: verifying a applicant’s true identity, obtaining verification of past employment and education, fully investigating the applicant’s criminal past (a skill that requires an intense, and multi-level knowledge of court procedures, credit evaluation including legal records such as bankruptcies, tax liens and judgments, driving analysis, as well as a history of being a sex offender or involved in domestic violence or retraining orders for stalking. All of the factors contribute to, but may not necessarily be germane to the job description, at hand, and while exciting, could lead an employer into court, for using the information to deny candidacy, for inapplicability.

By now it should be fairly clear that professional background checks are a comprehensive package that far outweigh any bits and pieces of nformation that can be provided by any individual online database. When a person is thinking about hiring someone and they believe that ¡°all I really need to do is run a fingerprint check, they are really missing the point. So much more information is needed to make a careful, informed hiring decision. Besides, only police departments run fingerprint checks, not employers.

Liability Risks of Not Performing Background Checks

In today’s hiring environment employers face ever increasing potential for liability from the workplace when they choose not to do background checks on
their news hires. Those liabilities include:

¡¤ Premises liability for not safeguarding customers from employees who steal, lie, cheat or injure

¡¤ Negligent hiring liability in the event of violence or fiduciary malfeasance, for not providing other employees a safe place to work

¡¤ Termination or investigation of the individual who hired an applicant who later steals from the company or exposes the company to the above-mentioned liabilities.

¡¤ Litigation under officer/director liability theories because of incompetent or inept hiring practices involving the company and/or person who hired the employee

To prevent this type of litigation, a company must have established a refined HR policy that includes a professional employment screening component.

You must become knowledgeable about employment laws which a good background screener can help you with. For example, did you know that it is illegal to make a decision to not hire someone based on an arrest record alone? Usually, the only time it is legal for a third-party provider to release arrest information is in the case of daycare providers and nuclear facility workers. An
employer, generally is not allowed to ask about arrests and cannot use this information to deny employment

Critical Tips For Choosing an Employment Screener

So what should you be looking for in an employment screening company?

First of all, look for longevity. The longer a company has been providing background checks, the more experienced it is, and as a result, the knowledge, they will have in recognizing the signs of a ¡°suspect¡± applicant. This is a field where screeners need not only be highly trained, but have extensive experience.

Ask for references and then call them. You want a company with an extensive and positive track record of providing factual information so you can make an informed hiring decision.

Look for the company’s professional memberships in organizations such as ASIS, SHRM, PIHRA, NPRRA, NAPBS, as well as others. This indicates a combined knowledge of the screening and security industries.

Do you as the hiring company; have a complete knowledge of employment law? If not, you need your screening company to know the laws involving background checks. If is extremely beneficial if you hire a company that has
an acute knowledge of ¡°negligent hiring¡± practices, much in the way that an
Expert Witness would know.

The company should have an intimate, thorough and long-term knowledge of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), as well as Sarbanes-Oxley, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the myriad local statutes that may or may not apply to the employment process. They should also have the ability to testify for you in a court of law if need be; or even better, keep you out of court in the first place!

Does your prospective screener have knowledge and understanding of current HR management systems? How about corporate due diligence programs or factual employment screening programs that train people to find fraudulent applications and false identities?

Are you beginning to see how there is so much more to background checks than first meets the eye?

In short, can your vendor help keep you from unwanted litigation? Unless you or someone in your company is an expert in employment law, you are putting your company at significant risk by using an online database provider. If you are using any of the multitudes of online databases, it’s not likely you are protected.

Not only do these online companies increase your risk of exposure, they may even add to it. For example, let’s say you are currently using an employment
screener that does not require you to provide a signed release for each applicant. Sounds relatively harmless, doesn’t it?

The truth is what these companies have done is had you waive liability to them when you signed up for an account so they can avoid the time and effort it takes involved in this critical step. Their focus in on increasing their sales; which isn’t necessarily in your company’s best interest.

In the case of a credit bureau audit, your company is now responsible for producing an original signed application and therefore also liable if you don’t have one on file. A good employment screener is not only a long-term certified credit bureau, they also provide signatures for these audits on a regular basis and you should never even know when theses audits occur. A typical lawsuit of this nature could cost your company six figures. There is no upside for a company purchasing background checks to take this kind of risk.

What type of criminal conviction research, hand-researched or online databases, does the company provide? Most companies do not realize that there is absolutely NO single source of information available regarding criminal convictions. It doesn’t exist – anywhere. Do they verify these discoveries against subject identifiers and if so, how?

Does your online provider claim to have worker’s compensation claim records? Any information provided regarding worker’s compensation claims potentially provides a false sense of security for the user. The truth is the only records available for worker’s compensation are appeals, not claims, and much of the available files are sealed because they are not as yet adjudicated. This means the file competency rate for this type of data is about 40% – not good enough.

Does the employment screener have international research capability? If not,
how will they screen people you might want to hire from overseas? Without the kinds of connections and a network of relationships developed over long periods of time, this information would be almost impossible to get.

Has the company you want to hire ever been involved in a litigation themselves for improper screening processes? Can they provide you with at least three long-term references? Do they have professional liability insurance including errors and omissions? Are they FACTA, FCRA; CCRRA, and G-L-B compliant?

And of course you need to know the practical things such as cost, turnaround
time and reporting method. Many competent employment screeners are listed in publications such as the Security Industry Buyers Guide as well as industry publications such as those connected with the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS).

What is needed now in this industry is a standardization of compliance for employment screeners and someone to step up and create an industry co-operative that can police it.

The Key to a Better Life

Time management is basically about being focused. The Pareto Principle also known as the ’80:20 Rule’ states that 80% of efforts that are not time managed or unfocused generates only 20% of the desired output. However, 80% of the desired output can be generated using only 20% of a well time managed effort. Although the ratio ’80:20′ is only arbitrary, it is used to put emphasis on how much is lost or how much can be gained with time management.

Some people view time management as a list of rules that involves scheduling of appointments, goal settings, thorough planning, creating things to do lists and prioritizing. These are the core basics of time management that should be understood to develop an efficient personal time management skill. These basic skills can be fine tuned further to include the finer points of each skill that can give you that extra reserve to make the results you desire.

But there is more skills involved in time management than the core basics. Skills such as decision making, inherent abilities such as emotional intelligence and critical thinking are also essential to your personal growth.

Personal time management involves everything you do. No matter how big and no matter how small, everything counts. Each new knowledge you acquire, each new advice you consider, each new skill you develop should be taken into consideration.

Having a balanced life-style should be the key result in having personal time management. This is the main aspect that many practitioners of personal time management fail to grasp.

Time management is about getting results, not about being busy.

The six areas that personal time management seeks to improve in anyone’s life are physical, intellectual, social, career, emotional and spiritual.

The physical aspect involves having a healthy body, less stress and fatigue.

The intellectual aspect involves learning and other mental growth activities.

The social aspect involves developing personal or intimate relations and being an active contributor to society.

The career aspect involves school and work.

The emotional aspect involves appropriate feelings and desires and manifesting them.

The spiritual aspect involves a personal quest for meaning.

Thoroughly planning and having a set of things to do list for each of the key areas may not be very practical, but determining which area in your life is not being giving enough attention is part of time management. Each area creates the whole you, if you are ignoring one area then you are ignoring an important part of yourself.

Personal time management should not be so daunting a task. It is a very sensible and reasonable approach in solving problems big or small.

A great way of learning time management and improving your personal life is to follow several basic activities.

One of them is to review your goals whether it be immediate or long-term goals often.

A way to do this is to keep a list that is always accessible to you.

Always determine which task is necessary or not necessary in achieving your goals and which activities are helping you maintain a balanced life style.

Each and everyone of us has a peek time and a time when we slow down, these are our natural cycles. We should be able to tell when to do the difficult tasks when we are the sharpest.

Learning to say “No”. You actually see this advice often. Heed it even if it involves saying the word to family or friends.

Pat yourself at the back or just reward yourself in any manner for an effective time management result.

Try and get the cooperation from people around you who are actually benefiting from your efforts of time management.

Don’t procrastinate. Attend to necessary things immediately.

Have a positive attitude and set yourself up for success. But be realistic in your approach in achieving your goals.

Have a record or journal of all your activities. This will help you get things in their proper perspective.

These are the few steps you initially take in becoming a well rounded individual.

As the say personal time management is the art and science of building a better life.

From the moment you integrate into your life time management skills, you have opened several options that can provide a broad spectrum of solutions to your personal growth. It also creates more doors for opportunities to knock on.

What the HR Manager Won’t Tell You.

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Reference Verifications for a More Complete Pre-Employment Background Check

human resources, hr, employment, preemployment screening, background checks, jobs, recruiting, staffing, employers, employees, reference verification, employment verification, employment screening,

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Most human resource managers today are limited to providing only the basics for employment verification. Fear of litigation nullifies anything that may be deemed subjective or, more considerably, litigious. Conducting the formal employment verification will typically return little more than the date your candidate started employment, the date he left, and the position he held. You will often find yourself lacking the input needed to make an informed hiring decision. Once in awhile, the HR Manager will be adventurous and respond that your candidate was “in good standing.”
In fact, at the writing of this article, there was a radio program where the show’s commentator reinforced this principle. The commentator admonished Human Resources Personnel that there is as much a danger in providing a positive reference as there is in providing one that is negative. He went on to say it is important to keep all employment verifications as uniform as possible. He suggested providing only the start date, completion date and the position held.
Is this bare bones information enough to make an informed decision on an employment candidate? Sometimes. When the job is simple enough and no special skills are required… yes. Then all you need to know is whether or not your candidate actually worked at his previous place of employment. You may need to know more about an IT candidate’s technical skills, but whether or not your candidate’s last job as a pizza boy can shed any real light on his abilities is open to debate.
Because the typical employment verification yields such sparse information, more and more businesses are turning to the reference verification in order to find out more about their candidates and their respective skills. While the reference verification can have its pros and cons, for a fair number of hiring situations it’s a smart way to go.
Reference verifications can be best used to discern the skill sets of your job candidate. Recruiters will employ the reference check to determine if their candidates are qualified in special skills and experience. You may call upon references to define a job candidate’s level of IT skills, or his fluency with general and industry specific software programs. You may wish to better understand his abilities in graphic and web design, which can provide essential considerations.
As a recruiter, you may want to know more about your candidate’s networking capabilities, who he knows in his industrial sector. If he is a sales person, you may know just how well connected he is in, say, licensing product in certain geographic regions. For international candidates, when language capability is a concern, you can use the reference verification to help assess these abilities.
Of course, there are other questions you may ask in your reference verification process. You may want to know more about your candidate’s management skills or style. You need to determine if he works well with others, if he is a team player or the sort that works better off by himself. Does he show up on time? Is he absent frequently? What are the areas where he can improve?
At Corra, as part of the verification process, we ask the reference to rate the employment candidate using a scale of one to ten. Ten is the highest score. Usually, to be considered a viable employment candidate, our clients would like to see at least a seven rating. Seven and up is considered pretty solid.
Sometimes the reference gets carried away and barks out a ten. Most employers will look at this as boosterish. But there are the exceptions. If the reference is an upper level executive and qualifies his or her statement with such phrases as “I’ve been around for umpteen years and rarely have I seen someone work as well as So and So,” the employer will take it more at face value.
In most cases, the higher level ratings are a nine or nine plus. The reference will often qualify his rating with “Everyone has room to improve…”
Always bear in mind the reference that your job candidate supplies you, will be a favorable reference. No candidate in his right mind would give you references that would go out of their way to sink his ship. Sometimes the reference may not find the candidate as favorable as the candidate would like to believe. While the reference wants to be a good person, they may also want to divulge the more negative aspects as well. There is any number of reasons for doing so. Sometimes they wish to give you a heads up. Sometimes there are personal issues. Sometimes they are just covering their butts.
The reference may not tell you directly that the candidate is tough to deal with or is someone who they would never hire again. Yet they would like to. So it is not the answer itself, but the way they answer that serves as the indicator. It’s what they don’t say or their hesitation that provides the tipoff they were less than thrilled with your candidate.
Listen for the speech inflection, the hesitation, or the reference’s struggle to find the right word or term. Sometimes they are working so hard at being diplomatic you can glean a more negative appraisal. Sometimes, if prodded, they will tell you a little more about the downside of your candidate. Sometimes that won’t veer from the positive appraisal, but while they don’t say it outright, there is something in the way they answer that can tell you more than they had wished. Or, they told you exactly what they wanted to say, but with plausible deniability.
It should be noted for the rare but embarrassing occasion that when you get a reference contact information, make sure they are a legitimate source. Either insist on the business phone number as well as their cell number, or find some way to substantiate that the reference isn’t your candidate’s cousin Larry pretending he is the former CEO of Nonexistent Enterprises ready to give your candidate a really great review. Think it doesn’t happen? Think again. But then you might weigh your candidate’s penchant for duplicity against his daring and creative thinking. Just kidding.
Here are some of the questions, you may wish to use when conducting reference verifications—
Candidate name:
Reference name:
Reference Title/Company:
Company where they worked together:
Relation to Candidate:
Reference Phone:
Confirm Candidate’s Title and Dates of Employment:
1) Did the candidate report directly to you?
If not, what was your working relationship?
2) What were this person’s main responsibilities?
3) a. What are this person’s strengths?
b. What are some areas in which this person can improve?
4) How does this person work with others?
5) In what ways does he/she respond to stressful (high pressure) situations?
6) Did he/she ever have a problem with tardiness or absenteeism?
7) What advice would you give his/her future manager in working with, and motivating this person?
8) Would you rehire this person? If not, why?
9) On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), how would you rate this person’s overall performance?
10) Do you have any additional comments that you feel would be helpful?
Of course there are variations upon the theme, so you can be resourceful in choosing reference questions to fit your company’s particular needs. Be uniform in composing these questions. Otherwise, it becomes a cumbersome process, and you can risk driving your researcher crazy. There is also the issue of fairness and how it affects the rules governing employment law. So be consistent.
Reference verifications can be a great tool for the pre-employment screening process. It can be an effective background check, when you use it wisely.


When we look at a certain object, a painting for example – we won’t be able to appreciate what’s in it, what is painted and what else goes with it if the painting is just an inch away from our face. But if we try to take it a little further, we’ll have a clearer vision of the whole art work.

We reach a point in our life when we are ready for change and a whole bunch of information that will help us unlock our self improvement power. Until then, something can be staring us right under our nose but we don’t see it. The only time we think of unlocking our self improvement power is when everything got worst. Take the frog principle for example –

Try placing Frog A in a pot of boiling water. What happens? He twerps! He jumps off! Why? Because he is not able to tolerate sudden change in his environment – the water’s temperature. Then try Frog B: place him in a luke warm water, then turn the gas stove on. Wait til the water reaches a certain boiling point. Frog B then thinks “Ooh… it’s a bit warm in here”.

People are like Frog B in general. Today, Anna thinks Carl hates her. Tomorrow, Patrick walks up to her and told her he hates her. Anna stays the same and doesn’t mind her what her friends says. The next day, she learned that Kim and John also abhors her. Anna doesn’t realize at once the importance and the need for self improvement until the entire community hates her.

We learn our lessons when we experience pain. We finally see the warning signs and signals when things get rough and tough. When do we realize that we need to change diets? When none of our jeans and shirts would fit us. When do we stop eating candies and chocolates? When all of our teeth has fallen off. When do we realize that we need to stop smoking? When our lungs have gone bad. When do we pray and ask for help? When we realize that we’re gonna die tomorrow.

The only time most of us ever learn about unlocking our self improvement power is when the whole world is crashing and falling apart. We think and feel this way because it is not easy to change. But change becomes more painful when we ignore it.

Change will happen, like it or hate it. At one point or another, we are all going to experience different turning points in our life – and we are all going to eventually unlock our self improvement power not because the world says so, not because our friends are nagging us, but because we realized its for our own good.

Happy people don’t just accept change, they embrace it. Now, you don’t have to feel a tremendous heat before realizing the need for self improvement. Unlocking your self improvement power means unlocking yourself up in the cage of thought that “its just the way I am”. It is such a poor excuse for people who fear and resist change. Most of us program our minds like computers.

Jen repeatedly tells everyone that she doesn’t have the guts to be around groups of people. She heard her mom, her dad, her sister, her teacher tell the same things about her to other people. Over the years, that is what Jen believes. She believes its her story. And what happens? Every time a great crowd would troop over their house, in school, and in the community – she tends to step back, shy away and lock herself up in a room. Jen didn’t only believed in her story, she lived it.

Jen has to realize that she is not what she is in her story. Instead of having her story post around her face for everyone to remember, she has to have the spirit and show people “I am an important person and I should be treated accordingly!”

Self improvement may not be everybody’s favorite word, but if we look at things in a different point of view, we might have greater chances of enjoying the whole process instead of counting the days until we are fully improved. Three sessions in a week at the gym would result to a healthier life, reading books instead of looking at porns will shape up a more profound knowledge, going out with friends and peers will help you take a step back from work and unwind. And just when you are enjoying the whole process of unlocking your self improvement power, you’ll realize that you’re beginning to take things light and become happy.

What’s The Lowdown On Airline Flight Attendant Jobs?

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Airline flight attendants have been glamorized in film and books for decades – ever since the first stewardess pinned on her wings and greeted a passenger at the gate. We all know what airline flight attendant jobs are like, don’t we? After all, we’ve seen the movies and read the books. Flight attendants lead glamorous lives with parties in every city. They’re always impeccably groomed and ready to fly at a moment’s notice. They get to meet celebrities and take advantage of a…

flight attendant jobs, airline flight attendant jobs, united airline flight attendant jobs

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Airline flight attendants have been glamorized in film and books for decades – ever since the first stewardess pinned on her wings and greeted a passenger at the gate. We all know what airline flight attendant jobs are like, don’t we? After all, we’ve seen the movies and read the books. Flight attendants lead glamorous lives with parties in every city. They’re always impeccably groomed and ready to fly at a moment’s notice. They get to meet celebrities and take advantage of all sorts of job perks – like free travel.

The realities of the job are a little less glamorous, according to those who work in airline flight attendant jobs. Here’s the real lowdown on airline flight attendant jobs according to the people who should know – airline flight attendants.

Before the flight:

– First call of the day, a briefing of the flight crew by the captain. He’ll fill you in on anything you need to know about that particular flight – evacuation procedures, the rest of the crew, the flight details, expected weather conditions and anything important you need to know about the passengers.

– After the briefing, run a check on safety equipment on board – are all the first aid kits in place and stocked? Does all the safety equipment work properly?

– Check the passenger cabin to make sure that you have everything you need for the passengers during the flight – food, beverages, blankets and more.

Flight time – you’re on!

– You’ll be the first one to greet passengers as the board the plane, and responsible for checking tickets and telling them where to store their coats and carry-ons.

– Once the passengers are seated, you’ll inform them about the emergency equipment and demonstrate how to use it.

– Check each passenger to make sure that they’re safety belts are fastened properly, and all their bags are safely stowed before takeoff.

During the Flight:

– There’s all the normal stuff. You’ll have a schedule worked out with the rest of the cabin crew – usually under the direction of the lead flight attendant – that tells you who will be responsible for which seats and cabins. Your job – as long as nothing unusual happens – is to make sure that the passengers are comfortable and have everything they need. You’ll deliver meals and drinks, distribute pillows, blankets and reading material, answer questions about how to use the reading light, how to recline the seat and where the bathroom is. Except for the fact that you’re up a few thousand feet in the air, it’s a lot like any other service job – until something out of the ordinary happens.

– Sometimes the out of the ordinary is a passenger. You may have mothers or fathers with small children that need an extra helping hand. If you have a disabled passenger on board, you’ll anticipate whatever needs they may have, and take steps to make sure that they’re taken care of.

– Then there are the ‘normal emergencies’ like turbulence. You can expect turbulence often – and when it happens, there are always flyers that are worried – or worse – and need reassurance. Some of them will get sick – your job is to make sure that they’re all right. You’ll also make sure that anyone who gets injured or sick while in the air is taken care of.

– It may never happen – most people working in airline flight attendant jobs never have to worry about all those safety drills and emergency evacuation procedures – but if it does, you need to be ready. In the event of a forced landing, you’re the one who’ll be keeping everyone calm and helping them get off the plane as safely as possible. You’ll also be trained to watch for ‘odd behavior’ that might signal a hijacker or terrorist, and told what to do if you see someone suspicious.

Before the Plane Lands:

– You’ll take inventory of all the equipment to make sure that it’s there and accounted for.

After Landing:

Even after the plane lands, you’re job isn’t done. You get to help the passengers deplane, and then check the plane for any articles left behind. There are post flight reports to fill out, and information to be conveyed to the captain and crew. It’s a surprisingly long day for a flight that may be as little as a few hours – but every bit of it is necessary.

Creative Notions

People seem to have the misconception that only a select few are able to unleash a steady flow of creative genius. That is not true at all. The fact is, creativity is very much like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to consistently give out great results. If you don’t practice harnessing creative thinking, this skill will very much atrophy into inexistence. But keep working and this skill will soon come to you in a snap.

So how do you unleash your creative thinking? Well, the first thing is to become a human leech. No, we’re not talking about just sucking the blood out of every living being available, we’re saying that you should take in as much knowledge and learning you can find. Read everything available — good and bad, and keep your mind open to the infinite possibilities of the universe. The more you know, the more you’ll want to know, and the more your faculty of wonder will be exercised. Prepare to be amazed at little facts that add a bit of color into your life.

Focus on a creative activity everyday. Yes, it’s an effort. Even doodling is a creative activity. Don’t let anything hinder you. Mindlessness may be a creative activity, but for people who are just starting out to unleash a little bit of creative thinking in their lives, it is helpful and encouraging to have concrete evidence, that, “hey, what I’m doing is getting somewhere.” So why don’t you try it. Practice drawing for a couple of minutes each day. Bring out your old camera and start snapping photos like crazy. Keep a journal and make a point to write in it religiously. Another cool idea is to write by describing something with your five senses. Try to avoid vague adjectives like “marvelous,” “amazing,” and “delicious.” Before you know it, you’ll have built yourself a tiny portfolio, and you’ll be amazed at the growth you’ve undertaken after amassing all those works of art. Who knows, you might actually take to liking those things you do everyday. Pretty soon those things will become a part of you and you’ll be addicted to these creative exercises.

Think out of the box — or don’t. Sometimes, constraints are actually a good thing. Limitations discipline you to work within your means. It enables you to be more resourceful. Creative freedom is great, but limitations enforce discipline.

Try something new everyday and let your experiences broaden your perspective. Explore a new district in your neighborhood. Spend an afternoon in a museum to which you’ve never been before. Chat up someone on the bus. Open up to the people around you. As you thrust yourself out of your comfort zone more and more each day, your sense of adventure grows and so does your zest for life. Think about it. When was the last time you did something for the first time? If it’s been a while, I tell you, you’ve been missing out on a whole lot of experiences that could’ve added to your growth, emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually. Why don’t you try bungee jumping today? Not only will you learn, but you will also have plenty of stories to share, enabling you to practice your storytelling skills and making you the life of the party.

Embrace insanity. No, not to the point of practically admitting yourself into the mental ward. As John Russell once said, “Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting.” Exactly! Every creative thought was once deemed insanity by other “normal” people at one time or another. Luckily, that didn’t stop the creative geniuses from standing by them. The thing is, sanity or being normal confines people to think… well, normally. Withink limits. Creativity is essentially breaking through barriers. Yes, this includes the bizzarre and the downright strange. I’m not saying that you yourself should develop a creative personality. That might go haywire. An example of a creative personality would be George Washington, who often rode into battle naked, or James Joyce, who wrote “Dubliners” with beetle juice for an intense fear of ink, or Albert Einstein, who thought his cat was a spy sent by his rival (or in thinking creatively in this case, the term could probably be “archnemesis.”) It’s important that your creativity doesn’t get you detached from the real world completely.

I hope this article has inspired you to start thinking beyond your “limits.” If you follow these steps pretty soon you’ll be living a life full of interesting adventures. Unleashing your creative thinking will bring about a new zest for living life.

What’s The Best Way To See The World? – Teaching English Abroad

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Almost everyone dreams about traveling and seeing the world. What better way to do it than with a rewarding career? If you’re considering teaching English abroad, chances are good you’ve got the wanderlust… and little fear of being gone for a good period of time.

If you’ve already weighed the pros and cons and decided that this is the career for you, chances are good you know what the requirements are. You may even be working on your degree as you read this. Nonetheles…

Teach English, Teaching English, Teaching English Overseas, ESL Jobs, TEFL Jobs, TESOL Jobs

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Almost everyone dreams about traveling and seeing the world. What better way to do it than with a rewarding career? If you’re considering teaching English abroad, chances are good you’ve got the wanderlust… and little fear of being gone for a good period of time.

If you’ve already weighed the pros and cons and decided that this is the career for you, chances are good you know what the requirements are. You may even be working on your degree as you read this. Nonetheless, here’s a basic run-down of what types of people are best suited for this job.

• You’re free to travel. This one is obvious. But many overseas teaching jobs require a much bigger time commitment than you might be expecting. Be prepared to be overseas for at least one year at a time.

• You’re certified to teach. Although it’s not a requirement for every program, it’ll be a huge advantage if you are certified in teaching English as a second language. Most colleges offer programs that will help you get the degrees you need. If you’re not college-inclined, you can also get your certificate through various short-term programs.

• You know what you’re looking for. Not all positions for teaching English abroad are based in schools. Although there are certainly plenty of jobs available if you want to teach children, there are also various programs aimed at businesses and corporate organizations. Lots of adults overseas want to learn English, too!

Finding a Job

When it comes time to begin applying for positions, you have a wide range of options available to you. If you’re a certified teacher, the best place to begin is with a school search. Try to narrow the field to areas where you’re interested in teaching, and then do an internet search for schools or organizations in that area. Most of them will specify on their website whether or not they accept applications from foreign locales. And don’t forget to frequently check job bank databases—perhaps the best way to stay informed about current job openings.

If you go through a teacher’s certification program, chances are good they will offer a job placement service that can connect you to the right people and places. This is why being certified really is a huge benefit- it can get your foot in the door before you’re even done with the program.

If, on the other hand, you’re not certified to teach English abroad, there are still employers that may want to hire you. Consider joining the Peace Corps for a chance to teach overseas, as well as possible assistance with any continuing education of your own. Talk to your college regarding teacher exchange programs- some schools may offer you the chance to be an assistant teacher overseas for a semester or two while a foreign teacher visits your school.

These are all good ways to get your feet wet; however, if you plan on teaching English abroad as a career, you should plan on certification eventually. It’s the only real way to ensure a job as well as a paycheck.

However you decide to go about it, be prepared for the fact that teaching English abroad is going to be a challenging experience. Chances are good it won’t be what you’re expecting, so do as much research as you can… and be sure to unpack your sense of adventure before you begin.

Creating Effective and Efficient Relationships

Relationships of all kinds are often perceived as very delicate things, that require extra effort to maintain. However, a relationship can also be something that can provide security and can also be long lasting despite many trials.

Building an effective and lasting relationships is a necessity for several reasons. For example in a group or organization, the well being of the people depends on how efficient and effective that group or organization works.

The group or organization is also dependent on how the members work well with the management.

An ineffective group or organization can really be very frustrating. An effective group or organization can also ask so much on their members, that sometimes the members would be having no life outside the walls of the area where they work or sacrifice the other aspects of their life just to meet deadlines. For an organization or group with this kind of scenario, relationships can be stressed or suffer from breakdown.

People or other entities who depend on these groups or organization also suffer.

Society is defined as a web of relationships, which requires all parties to work and contribute their share in order to achieve a common goal. Having a relationship that is good, where cooperation and respect are manifested, can make society work better. In this way each member works for the good of the whole and towards achieving a common goal. This can only be attained with effective and efficient relationships.

Understanding the other parties’ feeling and position creates an effective and efficient relationship. The easiest method to understand what is important to another party is to ask them what they want and listen to what they have to say. When the other party realizes this, they would feel the importance given to them

Effective and efficient relationships require parties to openly express their feelings and positions on all matters pertinent on the relationship. Assuming that the other party understands our needs and give us when we need it without asking for it is not a good practice.

Respect is the key to relationship. In order to create a more effective relationship, parties should treat each other with respect. We can show respect just by listening to the other party and by trying sincerely to understand how they function. You can also show respect to other parties by confirming that they are doing everything they can.

The opposite of respect is quick forming of judgements based on unfounded facts and prejudice.

Respect is the very foundation for a great relationship. This also means respecting yourself and respecting others.

Another key area in forming an effective relationship is to tackle differences of the other party directly. Differences between parties or people are quite interesting. For example in a conversation where each party listens to the other party, you may observe that each is having two different perspectives.

Work towards a win-win solution for both parties.

This can be done when at least one party acknowledges that the relationship is important. That party would then exert more time, effort and energy to understand the other party’s needs and deal with it to get it out of the way. Should they fail, it is comforting for that party to know that they tried.

Effectively listening and no pre-judging. This is important if parties are to understand each other.

Informal discussions are conducive for parties. They bring out issues and concerns comfortably. They also feel more relaxed making them think more clearly.

Developing an atmosphere where the other party can express their feelings when they need to.

When parties fail to express whatever is on their mind or their feelings, it can get in the way of building an effective relationship.

Parties should be aware that certain things exist naturally but should be controlled in any dealings in any relationship. Human nature is one. Some of these things found in a relationship also include a history of stereotyping or mistrust, blaming the other person or party for a strained relationship, excluding the other party’s feelings when focusing on a task, no clear and defined objectives, roles and expectations of each party in a relationship is also unclear.

Relationships are important to anyone, addressing issues and problems right away is a must to further improve the relationship. As they say ‘No man is an Island’.