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Friday, May 12, 2017

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Reference Checking

What’s there to know about checking references? A lot more than you might think. Here are six things you may not have known about this very common — and very crucial — practice:

1. Reference Checks and Background Checks Are Not the Same Thing

Do you do both? If so, make sure you’re getting useful insight from each and not just duplicating your work. For example, if you use reference checks to verify employment history, then you’re not learning anything new. You could have gotten that information from the background check.

Why do a background check?

To comply with the law (when required)
To verify employment history
To check criminal records
Why do a reference check?

To confirm job titles and dates of employment
To learn about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
To better understand the candidate’s previous job duties and experiences
Background checks are fairly standard, but the effectiveness of a reference check will depend on your process. If you’re not able to differentiate your reference checks in a meaningful way, then it’s probably time to rethink your approach.

2. More Than Half of All Resumes and Job Applications Contain Untruths*

Can you tell fact from fiction? Probably not, but former coworkers and managers have firsthand knowledge of what a candidate is like to work with, what they’ve achieved, and what they’re capable of.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 senior managers, more than one in five candidates are removed from consideration after their references are checked. Thanks to insight from candidates’ professional contacts, many employers are spared the expense of a bad hire.

(*Society for Human Resource Management)

3. Traditional Reference Checks Can Take Weeks to Complete

Meanwhile, your time-to-hire spins out of control. If your company requires a reference check as a condition of employment, then you and the candidate are at the mercy of the references — who are in no hurry to call you back.

Fortunately, when you automate the process, you can see much better results, including:

an 80 percent response rate;
two-minute completion times;
and full reports (3-5 references) within 24 hours.
4. Employers Don’t Know What They’re Allowed to Say About Past Employees

Therefore, they err on the side of caution. The truth is, in many states, employers are protected from civil liability when providing good-faith references and truthful negative information.

But try telling that to a reference who won’t pick up the phone.

The answer is anonymity, which is an option in automated reference checking. Providing anonymity is a huge advantage because it boosts response rates and allows references to be honest about a candidate without fear of repercussion.

5. Reference Checking Doesn’t Have to Be the Last Thing You Do

Many companies use reference checking as a screen-in method, which means it happens at the end of the hiring process with the purpose of moving a candidate forward — as long as references don’t give the employer reason to reconsider.

But what would happen if you checked references earlier in the process? Doing so could help you narrow down a large pool of candidates or identify the best match among top contenders. With automated reference checking, you’re free from the time constraints and can check references for as many candidates as you like whenever you like.

6. References Are a Valuable (and Often Untapped) Source of Talent

In most cases, employers contact references for one specific reason: to get feedback about a candidate. It’s a single-serve conversation, and unless the employer is a renowned brand, the reference will know nothing about the company they just interacted with.

Don’t miss an opportunity to source great talent. As part of the reference checking process, consider asking references if they’d like to join your talent community. It’s essentially a free referral program! Plus:

Candidates tend to choose their best professional contacts as references.
30 percent of references will opt in, exponentially growing your talent pipeline

April 5, 2017 | Greg Moran 


Where Do I Belong?

May 1, 2017 | Sara Stowe

At the 10-year mark in agency recruiting, I made the move to corporate recruiting, leveling up with talent acquisition strategy. As I got deeper into talent acquisition, I became particularly passionate about workplace culture.
At the next 10-year mark in corporate recruiting, I was ready to take a big step—consulting. I determined my readiness to take that step with great care and consideration. Over the course of 20 years, I’d interviewed many consultants who were looking to return to full-time employment, and heard the myriad of reasons and common themes why they were leaving consulting.
The right opportunity came four months after drafting my business plan, and so I confidently made a leap. The client already knew me, was well-funded and innovative, and equipped with leadership that genuinely cared about culture. It was ideal. I secured another client. I had opportunity ahead of me doing the work I love.
Fast-forward five months into the engagements, and I was feeling something I’ve never experienced before – a compromised emotional well being. I was feeling low, sad, a general malaise…yet, living the dream?
I was able to draw this conclusion when I visited one of my clients, who generously made a point of arranging happy hours whenever I was in town just to include me. One of those weeks, I also went on an excursion with my husband’s work team and their plus ones. Lovely experiences, but in both instances I felt apart. I was included, but I didn’t belong. That’s what was affecting me: I didn’t belong.
Abraham Maslow published the Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, which brilliantly gave us the imagery of the pyramid of needs that must be met before we can achieve our highest state of being: self-actualization.
Only after our ability to breathe, access food, water, safety and security, is our need to be loved and to belong. Feeling that we belong is necessary before we can achieve a sense of self-esteem, confidence, and respect of and by others. While I “belong” to a lot of aspects of my life—my family, marriage, friendships, the causes I care about; my profession has been a huge part of my identity. To not feel any sense of belonging in that dimension left me lonely. And, that loneliness affected my happiness.
I am fortunate to have timed this awareness when my new employer was looking for someone just like me. I am once again happy with a team again, doing the work I love in an ideal situation. However, as someone who is on the front lines with job seekers, candidates and employees, when I consider the prediction that by 2020, an upwards of 50 percent of the workforce will be some sort of contingent labor (freelance, contract, consultant, temp), could half of our workforce potentially suffer from some degree of unexpected loneliness, sadness, or even depression? How will that impact their work, productivity, and self-esteem? How will it impact the people they work with?
Many of these contingent workers won’t be ready to take the leap. Many will be piecing work together until they can find a fulltime opportunity. If they’re feeling lonely, it could compound frustration in what typically is the demoralizing process of getting a job. Co-working spaces recognize the importance of place as an aspect of belonging. We’ll see those spaces grapple with culture fit with independent contractors, freelancers and early stage startups. We see independents collaborate on projects, and then disband at the end of the engagement. More professional networking and meetups are happening that build a sense of community. It is a multi-faceted solution to create that sense of belonging when you don’t belong as an employee.
As HR professionals, what responsibility do we share to prepare the emerging workforce for finding ways to satisfy its need to belong? What responsibility does a company have to their contingent workforce’s emotional wellbeing (particularly in a climate that demands a clear delineation between the FTE and contract worker)?
Or will we see greater engagement in work from people who have been contingent workers, grateful that they have perspective of belonging once they convert to FTE? I expect that different people will feel the lack of belonging to different degrees, depending on how used to working alone they may be, and it may not be an entirely negative outcome. I don’t have all the answers, but it’s something I think about now.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

20 misused words that make smart people look dumb

20 misused words that make smart people look dumb  By Travis Bradberry Mar 14, 2017 We’re all tempted to use words that we’re not too familiar with. If this were the only problem, I wouldn’t have much to write about. That’s because we’re cautious with words we’re unsure of, and, thus, they don’t create much of an issue for us. It’s the words that we think we’re using correctly that wreak the most havoc. We throw them around in meetings, e-mails and important documents (such as resumes and client reports), and they land, like fingernails across a chalkboard, on everyone who has to hear or read them. We’re all guilty of this from time to time, myself included. When I write, I hire an editor who is an expert in grammar to review my articles before I post them online. It’s bad enough to have a roomful of people witness your blunder and something else entirely to stumble in front of 100,000! Point is, we can all benefit from opportunities to sharpen the saw and minimize our mistakes. Often, it’s the words we perceive as being more “correct” or sophisticated that don’t really mean what we think they do. There are 20 such words that have a tendency to make even really smart people stumble. Have a look to see which of these commonly confused words throw you off. Accept vs. Except These two words sound similar but have very different meanings. Accept means to receive something willingly: “His mom accepted his explanation” or “She accepted the gift graciously.” Except signifies exclusion: “I can attend every meeting except the one next week.” To help you remember, note that both except and exclusion begin with ex. Affect vs. Effect To make these words even more confusing than they already are, both can be used as either a noun or a verb. Let’s start with the verbs. Affect means to influence something or someone; effect means to accomplish something. “Your job was affected by the organizational restructuring” but “These changes will be effected on Monday.” As a noun, an effect is the result of something: “The sunny weather had a huge effect on sales.” It’s almost always the right choice because the noun affect refers to an emotional state and is rarely used outside of psychological circles: “The patient’s affect was flat.” Lie vs. Lay We’re all pretty clear on the lie that means an untruth. It’s the other usage that trips us up. Lie also means to recline: “Why don’t you lie down and rest?” Lay requires an object: “Lay the book on the table.” Lie is something you can do by yourself, but you need an object to lay. 1/3 It’s more confusing in the past tense. The past tense of lie is—you guessed it—lay: “I lay down for an hour last night.” And the past tense of lay is laid: “I laid the book on the table.” Bring vs. Take Bring and take both describe transporting something or someone from one place to another, but the correct usage depends on the speaker’s point of view. Somebody brings something to you, but you take it to somewhere else: “Bring me the mail, then take your shoes to your room.” Just remember, if the movement is toward you, use bring; if the movement is away from you, use take. Ironic vs. Coincidental A lot of people get this wrong. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s not ironic—it’s coincidental (and bad luck). Ironic has several meanings, all of which include some type of reversal of what was expected. Verbal irony is when a person says one thing but clearly means another. Situational irony is when a result is the opposite of what was expected. O. Henry was a master of situational irony. In “The Gift of the Magi,” Jim sells his watch to buy combs for his wife’s hair, and she sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch. Each character sold something precious to buy a gift for the other, but those gifts were intended for what the other person sold. That is true irony. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s coincidental. If you drive up to the mountains to ski, and there was more snow back at your house, that’s ironic. Imply vs. Infer To imply means to suggest something without saying it outright. To infer means to draw a conclusion from what someone else implies. As a general rule, the speaker/writer implies, and the listener/reader infers. Nauseous vs. Nauseated Nauseous has been misused so often that the incorrect usage is accepted in some circles. Still, it’s important to note the difference. Nauseous means causing nausea; nauseated means experiencing nausea. So, if your circle includes ultra-particular grammar sticklers, never say “I’m nauseous” unless you want them to be snickering behind your back. Comprise vs. Compose These are two of the most commonly misused words in the English language. Comprise means to include; compose means to make up. It all comes down to parts versus the whole. When you use comprise, you put the whole first: “A soccer game comprises (includes) two halves.” When you use compose, you put the pieces first: “Fifty states compose (make up) the United States of America.” Farther vs. Further Farther refers to physical distance, while further describes the degree or extent of an action or situation. “I can’t run 2/3 any farther,” but “I have nothing further to say.” If you can substitute “more” or “additional,” use further. Fewer vs. Less Use fewer when you’re referring to separate items that can be counted; use less when referring to a whole: “You have fewer dollars, but less money.” Bringing it all together English grammar can be tricky, and, a lot of times, the words that sound right are actually wrong. With words such as those listed above, you just have to memorize the rules so that when you are about to use them, you’ll catch yourself in the act and know for certain that you’ve written or said the right one. This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. Dr. Travis Bradberry is the coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart.

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