Don’t Skimp Background Checks for Seasonal Workers

November means Thanksgiving, blustery weather, first frosts, and seasonal employment. Thousands of retailers are now in the process of hiring extra staff for temporary positions through the holiday season and into January’s mass merchandise returns. This year, seasonal hiring may be particularly tricky. Low unemployment coupled with good consumer confidence could lift this year’s holiday retail season. But it will also present a headache to companies trying to find good workers to fill seasonal slots in their stores and operations.

According to National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay, the association is predicting that retailers will hire 650,000 seasonal workers for the holidays in 2018, up more than 10 percent from last year’s seasonal hiring. NRF is forecasting that annual retail sales for 2018 will increase at least 4.5 percent over 2017. This number is the highest since 2014, when unemployment was around 6 percent, compared with a nearly five-decade low of 3.7 percent in October of this year.

“Our forecast reflects the overall strength of the industry,” Shay said. “Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year.”

That’s the good news. The bad news is…where are retailers going to get all these seasonal employees in a time of record-low unemployment?

Wage Competition Will Be Fierce

With minimum wages edging up in cities around the country and unemployment below four percent, companies will also be paying its seasonal workers more. Amazon has said it plans to finish filling seasonal positions by early December. The company’s new minimum wage of $15 an hour will likely attract the best candidates for seasonal positions.

Who’s Checking the Candidates?

When it gets difficult to hire good workers – especially when those workers are only temporary – it’s tempting to skip some of the bells and whistles of the hiring process. Many companies will look the other way on less-than-ideal candidates, but this could put their business and their other employees at risk. Background checks are important, even for seasonal candidates.

Call the Professionals

A pre-employment background check company can help you safely expand your pool of job applicants while continuing to protect your business and your existing employees.

DataCheck is a full-service background investigation company that specializes in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information as well as background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues.

Contact DataCheck to discuss your employment background investigation needs today.

Don’t Lie About Having a Degree (Do This Instead)

More employers are requiring candidates to possess college degrees than ever before. If you don’t have a degree, it can be tempting to say that you do; at least then, you might be considered for an interview, right?

Wrong. Sure, you may receive an interview, and you may even get away with the lie for a little while; that is until this would-be employer runs a background check on you. What happens then? In short, you won’t get the job. In fact, a recent survey proves that of all resume lies, hiring managers detest ones about academic credentials and degrees the most.

How You Can Compete Without a College Degree

While having a college degree may help you get an interview, it’s not the end-all-be-all. Moreover, having nothing but a college degree on your resume will not make you a promising candidate either. So what’s more valuable than a college degree? Work experience. Of course, when people are presented with this solution, they often wonder: “How can I get work experience if I can’t even get an interview?” By completing projects.

Gain An Edge By Completing Projects

Showing someone that you can actually do something is often far more valuable than completing classes that teach you the theory of doing something. If you need to learn the theory of something, then learn it online for free. Remember: YouTube is more than just a hub for viral videos; it’s also a great resource for free classes and information. Don’t know how to actually balance a checkbook? YouTube it. Don’t know how to create a powerpoint presentation? YouTube it.

Look For Freelance Work

Once you’ve learned some theory, and have practiced your dream craft, then it’s time to get involved in some projects. The best way to build a portfolio is to freelance. Sites like Upwork and Freelancer offer a robust selection of projects that you can apply for and complete from the comfort of your own home. Most of these projects do not require a degree either. They only require that you can actually do what you say you can do. Again: If you don’t know how to do something, turn to Google and YouTube.

Self-Improvement Is The Key To Success

College degree or not, hiring managers consistently favor self-starters. If you can present a relevant portfolio of work to prospective employers, you’re more likely to be hired based on “relevant work experience.” When applying to your ideal jobs, remember to scan postings for that line. Many people with nothing but a college degree on their resumes fail to get interviews too. If you’ve completed a few projects, then leverage that experience in your cover letters and follow-up emails. Happy job hunting!   

If you’re a hiring manager looking for help with quality background checks, get in touch today! We give you the facts needed to make a sound hiring decision.

 

Employers Tread Legal Minefield of State Laws in Drug Testing Candidates

With the legalization of medical and even recreational use of marijuana, many employers have been left wondering what their options are when it comes to employee drug testing. Is it even still allowable to test job candidates and employees for a substance they’re permitted to use in their own homes? Employers in the State of Vermont, which legalized recreational marijuana use in July of this year, were unsure prior to the law taking effect.  According to the attorney general’s office, however, little has changed.

“In short, very little is changing,” said Assistant Attorney General Emily Adams of the office’s civil rights unit. “In terms of drug testing, employers can still drug test for marijuana consistent with existing law.”

The new rules were put in place by Act 86, Vermont’s law that allows a person 21 or older to possess small amounts of marijuana (up to an ounce) for consumption in the privacy of their home (not in public places, which is still prohibited). In addition, the law allows a person 21 or older to cultivate two mature marijuana plants and four immature ones. The bill, now established law, was approved by the Vermont Legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Governor Phil Scott.

A Narrow Window for Drug Testing in Some States

So while drug testing for marijuana is still permitted in Vermont, it can only be done under certain circumstances. Drug testing of job applicants can only happen once a conditional offer of employment has been made to that individual. The circumstances under which drug testing may be performed on existing employees is even narrower. For starters, the employer must have good cause to suspect that the employee is using drugs. Secondly, the employer must be able to provide access to a “bona fide” rehabilitation program for alcohol and drug abuse to the employee. Finally, if the employee tests positive, the employer cannot terminate employment if the employee agrees to participate in the employer-offered rehabilitation program.

In Indiana, one large employer has gone even further than the Vermont law: the Belden electric wire factory in Richmond is offering both employment AND substance abuse treatment to applicants who are addicts, according to NPR. Those who complete the training and the rehabilitation are offered jobs. By and large, however, the country is still a hostile place to drug users looking for employment.

Do You Know the Rules?

Since marijuana legalization varies state by state, employers may find themselves climbing over a veritable minefield of rules and regulations, particularly if they interview candidates in different states. In these cases, pre-employment testing experts ensure that pre-employment drug testing is carried out within the confines of state rules and regulations.

Contact DataCheck to inquire about professional pre-employment services such as drug testing and criminal background checks that protect your workers and your business.

Expanding the Labor Pool by Considering Rehabilitated Offenders

It’s an economic cycle: when labor is plentiful, employers can afford to be choosy about who they hire. When labor pools shrink, employers often need to remove some of their restrictions and consider hiring people with less formal education or fewer years of work experience. One place employers can look for workers to fill labor shortages includes a pool of applicants they might be accustomed to rejecting: ex-offenders.

Thinking Differently About Hiring Ex-Offenders

It’s been conventional wisdom for years that former offenders are riskier to hire: they may present a threat to other workers or steal money or stock from a business, so the thinking goes. But a new study has shown this may not be true, and that there may be benefits to hiring ex-offenders. The real question for employers willing to take the chance is how to evaluate and select these candidates, according to EHS Today, which highlights research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) which a demonstrated consistent work history is a better marker of a good worker than a clean record.

“It’s time to put an end to the stigma that holds back inclusive hiring and retire outdated employment practices,” said SHRM’s president Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “With unemployment falling below four percent, employers must think differently about both jobs and the people who can fill them. A criminal record should never be viewed as an automatic disqualification for employment.”

In addition to a consistent work history, employers should look for references, job training, and a certification of rehabilitation. They should also be sure to conduct a thorough background check to validate the truth of claims on an application. It is, however, important to do so within the law. California already has restrictions on how criminal background check information may be used.

FIRST STEP Act

Another factor that may make relaxing rules on hiring ex-offenders more appealing is criminal reform legislation at the federal level in the form of the FIRST STEP Act, which cleared the House in May. Among other things, the legislation would provide $250 million over five years for new inmate education and rehabilitation programs, which include job training.

Call the Professionals

A pre-employment background check company like DataCheck can help you safely expand your pool of job applicants while continuing to protect your business and your existing employees. As a full-service background investigation company, we specialize in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues.

Contact DataCheck via our website or call 800-253-3394 to discuss your employment background investigation needs today.

What Do EU GDPR Rules Mean for Employee Background Checks?

 

As a consumer, you may have noticed a spike recently in the number of data sharing agreements you’ve had to make when you use apps and websites. There’s a reason for this, and it originates in the European Union. Officially called the “General Data Protection Regulation” 2016/679, the EU GDPR is a new law that updates and enforces data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU and the European Economic Area.

It was approved in April of 2016 and went into effect on May 25th of this year. Since the Internet doesn’t have borders, most companies have found they need to follow the rules. This includes anyone engaged in a hiring process that might touch EU and EEA citizens since these investigations involve collecting a lot of personally identifiable information.

How Does the EU GDPR Work?

Primarily, the rule governs personally identifiable information (personal data) of individuals in the EU, and applies to any enterprise doing business – even virtual business — in the EU, regardless of location. Essentially, it doesn’t matter where your organization is located…if you have any European customers or employees, the data protection rule applies to you.

The rule requires that you disclose any data collection as well as why you’re collecting the data and tell consumers how long the information is being retained. You must also inform consumers if the information will be shared with any third parties.

The EU GDPR gives consumers certain rights over their personal data. For starters, they have the right to request a copy of the data being collected (in a portable and “common” format), and they have the right to have their data erased under certain circumstances.

Public authorities and businesses who collect data are required to employ a data protection officer (DPO) who is responsible for managing compliance with the regulations. In addition, businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours if they have an adverse effect on user privacy. Violators could be fined up to €20 million ($23 million) or up to four percent of annual worldwide turnover (whichever is greater).

Do You Have Any Employees or Applicants in the EU?

If so, the EU GDPR applies to you. Background checking potential employees could be a minefield of regulation violations. A pre-employment background check company such as DataCheck can help you screen your potential employees to protect your own organization while remaining compliant with GDPR rules.

As a full-service background investigation company, we at specializes in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues. As professionals, we understand regulations like the EU GDPR and can ensure that your screenings of employees won’t land you with expensive violation fees.

Contact DataCheck via our Web site or call 800-253-3394 to discuss your employment background investigation needs today.