Background Screening | Job Candidate with a Criminal Record? Pt. 3

Background Screening | Job Candidate with a Criminal Record? Pt. 3

Background Screening | Job Candidate with a Criminal Record? Pt. 3


Background Screening | Also, while serving, recruits are under greater scrutiny.

On the other hand, serving in the armed forces may be very stressful which could promote negative behavior, as could an aversion to authority.

A military setting, in other words, could bring out the worst in an individual with a propensity for crime.

Yet, according to the Harvard-Amherst study, it doesn’t.

The Uphill Battle

Those who have a criminal record know the tremendous obstacles that may block their path. [ Tweet this!]

A conviction for a felony will remain on a person’s record for years (until which point the offender is eligible for, seeks, and is granted an expungement); such a stigma may influence employers to immediately and automatically be suspicious of, afraid of, and intimidated by an individual who has been incarcerated.

Individuals who have served time may have permanently lost the right to vote (10 states restrict some people with a misdemeanor conviction).

An ex-felon may not be able to avail themselves of government benefits including public healthcare programs.

Some regulations expressly prohibit certain types of jobs for persons who have a criminal record.

And a convicted felon may find that even locating a place to live may be fraught with roadblocks, exacerbated by not being able to find a job to earn an income.

It should therefore come as no surprise that, faced with such impediments, two-thirds of released prisoners reoffend and are arrested within three years of release; within five years of release, three-quarters of released prisoners are rearrested.

Although, according to the law, they’ve “paid their debt to society.”

The Future

Each year, more than 630,000 individuals are released from prison, more than the population of many cities. [ Tweet this!]

As many as 100 million Americans have criminal records.

Of course employers should conduct an individualized assessment of each job candidate as recommended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); those hiring should refer to relevant “Ban-the-Box” requirements (and their associated adjudication practices as applicable), and also acknowledge that legal or regulatory requirements may be in play to prohibit hiring individuals with specific criminal convictions within industries including healthcare, financial services, energy and other fields.

In addition to giving a fair shake to an applicant who has a record, a few incentives and additional facts may be worth considering:

  • Substantial tax credits are available for hiring ex-felons, such as the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Some states even provide partial wage reimbursement, additional tax credits, and other training funds for employers who hire ex-felons.
  • Employers who hire felons can also be eligible to obtain a free fidelity bond funded by the federal government to protect them against employee dishonesty or theft.
  • Ex-felons may be less inclined to quit on you. The harsh reality is they are left with far fewer options than employees with clean records. So many employers that hire former law-breakers have lower turnover than with conventional hires. According to the Partnership for Safety and Justice, “In general, formerly incarcerated people are as reliable as other workers.”

Given the recent studies cited above that indicate individuals who have been convicted of crimes in the past may, going forward, excel given the opportunity – duly considering job applicants solely on their qualifications rather than focusing exclusively on a past transgression may prove to be in a company’s best interests. -HireRight

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Background Screening | Job Candidate with a Criminal Record? Pt. 1

Background Screening | Job Candidate with a Criminal Record? Pt. 1

Background Screening | Job Candidate with a Criminal Record? Pt. 1


Background Screening | What if you found that hiring a former felon could be a good thing for your company?

Or that it could even turn out to a great thing, with such a person actually outperforming other employees with “clean” records?

In light of a recent study from Harvard and Amherst universities indicating that doing so may actually be a wise decision for a number of reasons, it’s a notion worth deliberation.

While this research is yet inconclusive, the study offers compelling statistics, analyses, and theories.

Add in the “Ban the Box” movement growing in popularity throughout the United States, and it makes for an even more provocative topic for reflection.

As of this writing, 14 cities and counties, and 8 states have adopted “Ban-the-Box” rules that affect private employers. [ Tweet this!]

Countless more have enacted legislation that affects employers.

Further, the White House has proposed rules that would prohibit federal agencies from asking candidates for their background records until the candidate receives a conditional job offer for thousands of government jobs.

This is a radical departure from the past when asking the candidate if they have been convicted of a felony was part of many employers’ initial applications.

Many companies used to immediately pass over applications from candidates who checked this box.

There were concerns about being victimized by people who had “done time.”

Businesses that catered to the public were often apprehensive about their customers’ discomfort if they knew they were being served by an ex-offender.

Convictions and Linkage to Military

But recently, researchers from Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, using the U.S. military – the nation’s largest employer – as a test bed, found that ex-felons were no more likely to be dismissed for misconduct or poor performance than other enlistees.

In fact, they were more likely to be promoted to higher ranks.

Individuals convicted of a felony may not enlist in any branch of the military according to the U.S. federal legal code.

However, a recruit with a felony may request a “moral character waiver” which may be granted after a background check that considers the recruit’s age at offense, the circumstances of the crime, his or her individual qualifications, references, and a personal interview.

Recruits with felonies who were granted a waiver were found to be “no more likely to be discharged for the negative reasons employers often assume” including doing a bad job and exhibiting bad behavior.

In fact, the report stated, “Contrary to what might be expected, we find that individuals with felony-level criminal backgrounds are promoted more quickly and to higher ranks than other enlistees.” -HireRight


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Background Screening | 8 Reasons to Hire a Graduate Pt. 1

Background Screening | 8 Reasons to Hire a Graduate Pt. 1

Background Screening | 8 Reasons to Hire a Graduate Pt. 1

Background Screening | Thinking about hiring a graduate? Before doing any background screening. It might seem like a leap of faith, but this could be the best decision you ever make for your business. Graduates bring a number of unique qualities to the table; current knowledge, inspiring determination and a youthful character, set to change the face of the world.

They are also a strong long-term business investment when it comes to crunching the numbers, able to work at an efficiency reflective of the fast-paced business world. Read on to find out exactly why you should be shaking hands on a job offer with your next graduate applicant instead.

1. Current knowledge

When a recent graduate arrives knocking on your door, they have stopped by essentially straight from the classroom. This can be intimidating to many companies, but the gamble is much lower when compared to the potential benefits. Graduates know all the latest industry principles, business models, and success stories. How? They’ve been studying them intensely for the last few years.

Young people also tend to be more comfortable with new technology and the shifting workplace culture. They are self-motivated to continue to stay in the know and connect with fresh ideas, as they have learned to do through their education. Even if your applicant isn’t equipped with all the tangible skills necessary, this gap can easily be crossed with internal training.

2. Positive attitude

The ‘change the world’ outlook that can tick off established professionals isn’t actually a barrier to success, but a gateway. An unfailingly positive outlook and real vision are character attributes that can’t be taught, especially when strictly pragmatic thinking is ingrained from years in the industry. Entrepreneurs aren’t born from sticking hard and fast to the set rules, but disrupting social norms and revolutionizing our way of thinking.

Graduates also tend to be highly grateful for the opportunity. Finally, they have a job. This means that more often than not, they’re happy to take on the menial tasks as well and work hard to impress. An eager momentum can only ever be a good thing for the growth of your business.

3. Succession planning

There are plenty of opportunities out there. You have one shot to hire that graduate, with the chance to keep them on forever. Give the chance to a young professional and pave the way for a successful long-term career path. This is the best way to ensure loyalty and growth, as well as the sustainability of your business in the future.

Background screening and succession planning also counters a challenge faced by companies around the world for hiring entry level management. Taking on an external professional carries risks; you need to deal with their unfamiliarity, different work ethic, and culture. By providing the opportunity for an internal promotion to graduates you can reward those who excel at your business and successfully fill a critical management position.

4. Embrace new change

Picture this. A building firm is looking to hire a new construction worker. Someone who has an understanding of the work, but also an open mind, willing to learn their tricks of the trade. The problem with hiring an experienced industry professional is that they are set in their ways. Often, with an unshakeable work ethic and standpoint. While this has obvious benefits, it can also place limitations on your business operations and stunt the growth of your company.

Instead, hire a graduate fresh from their apprenticeship training – somewhat of a blank canvas. Young professionals are more likely to keep an open mind and adapt to new situations, it’s what they’ve been doing in the classroom for years. In this new era of business, where turnovers and extreme competition require agile professionals, graduates are your best bet.

5. Natural communication skills

Attending networking events can be intimidating at the best of times, even for an established professional or otherwise. But to graduates? Certainly, it’s become the familiar. These ex-students have just walked out of a university degree or short course, where they met new people in a foreign situation most days of the week. Good communication underpins success in the workforce – it drives teamwork, motivation, and technical efficiency. -Recruit Loop 


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Background Screening | 5 Reasons You Should Eliminate Chairs From Meetings Pt. 1

Background Screening | 5 Reasons You Should Eliminate Chairs From Meetings Pt. 1

Background Screening | 5 Reasons You Should Eliminate Chairs From Meetings Pt. 1


Background Screening | Take a quick walk around a corporate office and you’ll likely see some people standing at their desks working where a chair used to be. But it doesn’t stop there. You may also see groups of people standing around having a meeting. No need for a conference room with a large table.

What’s with all the standing? Are there truly benefits to it? Do standing meetings, also known as standups, check-ins or huddles, help teams accomplish more, or are they a corporate fad to accompany the latest set of fashionable buzzwords?

The standing meeting is a gift that comes from the world of Agile software development. Standups are primarily a way for project team members to give daily updates on what they did yesterday, what they’ll do today and any obstacles they’re running into. The frequency and focus can be altered to fit the needs of your team or project.

Standing meetings have distinct advantages over traditional meetings where team members sit and discuss their topics. Ditch the chairs and embrace a new way of conducting meetings to reap benefits ranging from higher productivity to better health. 

1. It’s a more efficient way to meet

Because standups are quick, happen regularly and take place in the location where the people are doing the work, rather than in a conference room, they create an environment that’s well-suited for efficiency. When was the last time you heard a colleague lament about the need for more and longer meetings? The opposite is generally true. You and your team members will appreciate the time you’ll save by running more efficient and effective meetings.

In fact, there are strategies to create a good standup meeting. Several things up the efficiency factor of standups and set them apart from traditional meetings. Participants in standing meetings should be there ready to share goals, problems and solutions with one another in the moment.

Issues can be identified and therefore addressed in a more timely manner. When issue do come up, the affected people know about it sooner and can begin to work toward a solution more quickly.

Tools such as visual management boards, also known an improvement boards, are an efficient way to acknowledge problems that need to be resolved. Using aids in standing meetings are one way to provide helpful visual cues to participants about what’s being discussed to keep the group on-task and moving swiftly through the topics.

2. Standing meetings get people talking

Standing meetings open lines of communication between team members. This type of meeting creates an opportunity to start meaningful conversations that will enhance your business and project work. If team members take information they’ve heard during a standing meeting and begin to collaborate on projects or seek support from one another, you know the meetings are useful. And the goal is to always hold valuable and effective meetings.

What you don’t want to happen is for people to sit in meetings and then walk away having had no meaningful dialogue, solved no problems, developed no plans or created no opportunities for follow-up. This, unfortunately, is the result of many meetings in the workplace that take at least an hour or more to conduct.

After the initial background screening and once hired -standing meetings are concise by design, they help people quickly make their point or get to the core of an issue. In longer, more formal meetings, people may meander when talking or cloud their main content with unnecessary details. This can cause someone who may have been a potential partner, or someone who could use the information to not grasp the main point and therefore not make the connection with the person presenting the information.

3. Standing is a healthy choice

Moving around and standing at work have both been shown to have health benefits. By standing at work, even briefly, you cause your muscles to contract and prompt your body to burn calories. This is a healthy option for people who normally work in a seated position for the majority of the day.

In fact, too much sitting can contribute to adverse health effects such as insulin resistance and the development of belly fat. Busy professionals who may have a hard time fitting an exercise routine in their busy schedules can benefit from any help in leading a healthy lifestyle. -Recruit Loop


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Background Screening | 7 Pitfalls to Avoid in Managing Remote Teams Pt. 2

Background Screening | 7 Pitfalls to Avoid in Managing Remote Teams Pt. 2

Background Screening | 7 Pitfalls to Avoid in Managing Remote Teams Pt. 2

Background Screening |  “Remote teams are not as flexible as you may assume,” – she explains. “You can’t accept any order knowing you have people ready to work for you from their homes. Remember: you’ve hired them to do a specific job and they still expect to have some free time, so don’t count on their flexibility too much. If you want to keep a remote team efficient, you have to be an efficient delegator.”

5. Hiring great employees who have no idea how to handle tasks from home

You can have the best workers in the world and you know they are suitable for the tasks you have in mind, but that doesn’t mean they will master the job from home. Someone may be a very hard worker in a more traditional office environment, but they may get distracted performing the same tasks from home.

Do they have the conditions to work from home? Can they set up a home office, or do they live in a tiny apartment with no space for a desk? Remote working requires proper conditions, but it’s also a skill that not everyone has.

If you want to make sure you have the right workers for the job, hire people who have worked remotely before or have experience running their own projects. If you already have an office team and you want to shift towards remote work, make sure everyone is able to handle the challenge before making a drastic change in their lives.

6. Failure to use the right communication tools

What’s the most important thing to maintain when you manage and engage remote teams? Let me hear you say it: communication!

Since you can’t count on direct (face to face) communication, the connection within the team may be disturbed. That’s why you have to make up for the gap, and you need to use the right tools for that purpose.

Email is the first thing that comes to mind. Yes, it’s an effective tool for communication with individuals and teams. However, written communication can get a bit dry and boring. You don’t want your workers to feel the daily correspondence as a burden. Thus, you need to add the element of fun into it.

What happens when you want to explain new projects or tasks to your team members? In that case, written text can be misinterpreted or misunderstood, and it doesn’t convey the message in the clearest manner possible. In such situations, consider using digital whiteboards, private chat rooms, or internal social networks incorporated into the organization’s website. Asana, Wrike, and similar project management tools can make the communication within the team very effective.

7. Focusing on talent and forgetting about team-fit

Of course you want to hire talent within the remote team. That’s your main focus, since you want all tasks to be completed by exceptionally talented and capable people. Strong individuals are great achievers, but their attitude can often become a problem when you put them inside an existing team culture. In an office, it’s easier for them to feel the vibe and fit in. In a remote team, however, they may find it difficult to sense the culture and they won’t make an effort to become part of it.

When you hire new members to join a remote team, you have to make sure they are on the same page as everyone else. Ask the candidates about their personal interests, the way they perceive the tasks, and the opinions they have about the company’s challenges. -Recruit Loop 

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Background Screening | Considering “Do-It-Yourself” Online Background Checks? Pt. 2

Background Screening | Considering “Do-It-Yourself” Online Background Checks? Pt. 2

Background Screening | Considering “Do-It-Yourself” Online Background Checks? Pt. 2


Background Screening | Rather than sacrificing company resources to ensure accuracy, it may be best to leave it to a consumer reporting agency who has a duty of accuracy under the FCRA.

Additionally, a comprehensive background check requires a thorough investigation of multiple sources of information.

Not only are screenings expected to go through many databases, they are expected to search best sources of information including the most relevant repositories for the most pertinent information.

Without the expertise and time, the search for accurate results against a comprehensive set of sources can outweigh the benefits of a DIY background check.

What will I get for my money?

As a perk of all things digital, online background checks are marketed to be cheaper than those from a third-party screening company.

However, the depth and accuracy of such services may not meet the needs of companies requiring a thorough search conducted by an experienced CRA that can be contacted with questions and maintains compliance with the FCRA.

In order to gain access to some official documents, such as criminal records in some states, requestors may be charged upwards of $50 by the official repository of that State’s criminal records.

If a DIY background check company charges anything less, there is valid reason to believe that the report will not yield results on par with those sourced directly with the State by a CRA.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the decision to outsource online background screenings is completely at the discretion of your company.

DIY online background checks may sound appealing due to their quick, cost-effective nature but they pose risks that you, as an employer, will have to contend with.

The FCRA has dictated stringent regulations that demand compliance for Consumer Reporting Agencies. For example, companies should notice whether a service will outright call itself a consumer reporting agency.

If the company is not willing to market itself as a Consumer Reporting Agency, they probably are not in compliance with FCRA.

Some DIY background check sites even state quite clearly that they are not FCRA compliant and that the information they provide should not be used to make hiring decisions.

Third-party firms, specifically Consumer Reporting Agencies, on the other hand, are FCRA-compliant, and offer expertise and resources that can help ensure legitimacy and accuracy in their findings. -HireRight

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