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Monthly Archives: May 2012

5 Ways to Vet a Potential Candidate

In this day and age it’s easier than ever before to find out information about someone, which can be extremely useful for employers, as long as they don’t overstep their boundaries.

Hiring someone is hard enough, but hiring someone and finding out later that they’re not right for the job – or even worse dangerous to your company or employees – is even worse. That’s why it’s important to find out everything you can about a potential hire before you offer them the job.

Here are five ways to vet a candidate before you hire them:

  1. Check out their social media pages. If a candidate has their social media pages set to private, then you have to respect that, but if they’ve listed public accounts on their resume or you’ve requested to friend or follow them and they’ve accepted, then social media sites are fair game. And you can find out a lot about someone based on their social media pages, from their work history and recommendations on LinkedIn, to the types of people and companies they follow and interact with on Twitter and Google+, to the pages they like and the conversations they engage in on Facebook.
  2. Read their blogs or personal websites. Aside from social media, a lot of people today have personal blogs and websites that they use for fun or to further certain personal or professional passions. Seeing what a potential candidate has to say on their blog can tell you a lot about their personality and can be a good indicator of how they may or may not fit in with the culture of your organization. You might also learn about other sides of them that could eventually come in handy for the work you need done.
  3. Do a Google search on them. Doing a Google search on a potential candidate can turn up a lot of information that can be useful in the hiring process. From social media sites or blogs they may not have listed on their resume, to news articles praising their accomplishments, to police records they neglected to mention, you’re likely to find a plethora of important info.
  4. Check public records. Knowing that your new hire has a clean background is extremely important, especially in some industries where you have to have trustworthy employees, such as education or finance. Checking in on a candidate’s public records can reveal some useful information, such as whether they move around a lot, whether they’ve been involved in any high-profile problems, etc.
  5. Perform a professional background check on them. You can find out a lot of information about a candidate for free online, but nothing beats performing a professional background check on an employee. You might have to shell out a little bit of money for a specialized company to perform such a check, but knowing that the employee you’re hiring is 100 percent right for the position is often worth the price.

Employers should keep in mind that while all of these tactics are legal, it’s always courteous to let a candidate know that you’ll be checking up on them and their history. You also have to stay within the boundaries of the law, so make sure you’re aware of what information you can and cannot legally access.

Citations:

Writer and content creator passionate about recruiting, job searching, social media, and everything in between. Click here to learn more.

 

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Tips for Green Printing

Most companies today are realizing the benefits of including more green practices in their offices and business practices. Whether they make these decisions to help the environment, save money on energy bills or to be more attractive to clientele, these companies are utilizing out with the old, in with the new practices.

One of the biggest changes that companies are making revolves around their printing practices. Some companies print too much, use the wrong type of paper and use very harsh inks, which not only uses too much energy, but it also destroys plants and places harmful chemicals into the air.

If your company is interested in being more eco-friendly in your printing processes, the following are some tips to help you.

1. Don’t print so much.

Cutting back on overusing the printer unnecessisarily is the first thing you can do to invoke green printing policies.  If you don’t have to print it, don’t. Save certain documents, notes and emails to an external hard drive if you want a back up.

Rather than waste tons of ink and paper on billing or sharing information with clients, start sending files and invoices electronically. These items can easily be emailed to your clients instead of sent via USPS. Not only does the sharing of files electronically save you from using the printer, but it also provides your clients with this information instantaneously.

2. Recycle paper.

If you must print, make sure that you print front and back to save paper. If you have pieces of paper that are only printed on one side, place them in a bin next to the printer and allow employees to use the other side of the paper if they need to print internal documents. This way, you are getting the maximum use out of your paper.

3. Print in black and white.

Sticking to black and white ink is safer for the environment. Most color inks contain harmful chemicals that can have negative side effects on one’s health. Plus, choosing to print in black and white save energy. Save the color prints for those items that truly require color.

4. Use recycled paper.

There are many new paper options available today, allowing you to purchase recycled paper at a comparable price to non-recycled paper. Make sure to purchase paper that is 100% post-consumer recycled. You can also choose paper that is chlorinefree (PCF), certified by ForestStewardshipCouncil (FSC), uncoated and/or made by renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power.

You can also purchase paper that isn’t made from trees, and instead made from hemp or other organic and biodegradable product.

5. Use soy or vegetable inks.

Soy or vegetable based inks are much safer for the environment. They are low in VOCs, and choosing paper under 2 is the best option for green printing. If you must use pantone colors, choose those that don’t contain copper, zinc or barium, which have nasty health benefits.

6. Choose eco-friendly printers.

If you outsource your printing, make sure you choose an eco-friendly printer. Choose companies that use alternative energy to power their plants and produce low emissions. You should also make sure that these companies use soy or vegetable inks and print on recycled or treeless paper. Even the use of waterless or digital printing are much safer than traditional methods.

If you want to start making a difference in the future of the environment, opting to implement green printing practices is a great way to start. Not only will you be taking a step in the right direction for the planet, but you may even be able to save some money while doing so.

Jaimie Lee writes for Appi Miami Printing Services.

 

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Worker Retraining: How it Might Impact You After an Injury

Worker retraining programs are vital for a healthy workforce, helping workers maintain the skills they still need while learning new ones to replace the old methods that no longer have a place in the new economy‘s growth industries.

In this difficult economy, it should be no surprise that some skills should fall into obsolescence while others gain new relevance. In other cases, job training is necessary after a serious on-the-job injury.

How do you Know if you Qualify

To qualify for worker retraining due to an injury, you need to be able to causally prove with medical evidence that your injury was related to your work. If a doctor assesses you as having a disability due to a work injury, you will receive workers’ compensation benefits and potentially a workers’ compensation settlement that may include retraining benefits.

Workers need to be careful that they follow all rules and obligations regarding worker retraining eligibility. They also have to be diligent in their job search efforts. Your employer’s workers’ compensation would likely love to stop paying you due to not complying with the rules. Worker retraining may also be known as vocational rehabilitation.

As part of the assessment process, an injured worker may meet with a vocational counselor to undergo testing on their condition and what occupations they may be able to physically to do, they may be well-suited to, or that interest them.

Back to School?

As an injured worker, you may have a choice of retraining programs. As a worker who needs to maintain and update skills in a changing job environment, it is important to understand the retraining programs at the community colleges, adult learning facilities and employment centers in your area to ensure you don’t miss a potentially great opportunity to learn new skills.

Coping With an Injury

Injured workers may have rights to other benefits. They may want to apply for SSDI benefits, they may want to inquire with local disability services for those that need help, research other means of assistance online, and they should also check with their employer at the time of the injury to see if any programs are offered to help them get a job.

Consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney can also be very prudent in assessing an injured workers’ rights under the law and seeking any unpaid compensation or benefits cut prematurely.

Lastly, don’t think of worker retraining as a setback, think of it as a new opportunity. There may be continuing education classes not full degree programs. These programs require a smaller time commitment for a potentially rewarding career.

The team at WorkersCompensationSettlements.com provided this article. At their site, you can learn more about the rights of injured workers and workers’ compensation settlements.

 

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VIDEO: Best marriage proposal ever

Isaac Lamb proposed to his girlfriend, Amy, in a very innovative way, and the video has gone viral.
Check out Isaac’s incredible proposal – set to Bruno Mars‘ “Marry You.”

CLICK ON THE PHOTO

 

When Isaac Lamb decided to propose to his girlfriend, Amy, he knew he wanted to do something over-the-top. but not even Amy was prepared for the elaborate proposal he staged with 60 of their closet friends and family members. The video went viral – and has already amassed almost 6 million views on YouTube at last count.

The video even got Bruno Mars’ stamp of approval!

Congrats to Isaac Lamb and the future Mrs.. I don’t think I could’ve made a better music video for this song. Thank youvimeo.com/42828824

 

Top 10 Business Services to Make You more Productive

Running a business involves a lot of work, and many of the jobs that eat up your day are things that are peripheral to the actual niche of your business.  If you’re spending more time on paperwork, invoicing and payroll than you are on the task of making money, then perhaps it’s time to consider outsourcing those parts of your business.  Consider how much time the following tasks eat up on a weekly basis:

1. Invoicing: Calculating, printing and sending invoices, and then chasing for payment if it is late can be a time consuming job.  There are many companies that will handle it for you, for a percentage of each invoice.  If you have a lot of invoices to handle then outsourcing could be good value for money.

2. Accounting: If you aren’t a qualified accountant, then it makes sense to let someone else handle the books for you.  A good accountant can often save you money in the long term, by greatly reducing the amount of tax you pay.

3. Document storage: The amount of paperwork that the average business ends up saddled with can be spectacular.  Outsourcing your document storage is a good way to stay organized and free up a lot of office space.

4. Payroll: If you have more than a handful of employees, payroll can eat up a lot of time each month.

5. Marketing: Don’t underestimate the importance of a sound marketing strategy.  Investing in marketing is a good way to grow your business, and should pay for itself many times over.

6. Order fulfilment: If you have a high volume of orders to cope with, then you may save money by outsourcing packing and delivery to a specialist company.

7. Human resources: How much of your time is taken up managing schedules, holidays, new hires, and departing employees?  If you don’t have a big enough office to justify a full time HR person, then perhaps outsourcing could benefit you.

8. Customer service: Instead of tying up specialist employees by having them do double-duty on the phone, consider letting them focus on their jobs, while using remote workers to manage live chat, email support, and other contact lines.

9. Web services: You run a small business because you’re an expert in your trade.  If that trade is not web development or something else IT related, then you probably don’t want to be stressing about website errors or server crashes.  Let a dedicated IT company handle those.

10. Training: There is sometimes an overlap between the best teachers and the best “do-ers” but not always. If your star employee doesn’t have the time, inclination, or ability to train junior team members, why not send those new starters on a training course instead. Yes, it will cost you more up-front, but in the long term you’ll end up with happier and more productive employees because of it.

Outsourcing isn’t always the best option.  If your company is still doing things on a small scale you might want to keep those things in-house, but there are times when it does work out cheaper and more efficient to let a specialist take over.  The key to success is identifying those times.

This is a guest post by James Harper on behalf of Whitefields Document Storage, specialists in document storage. Find out more here.

 

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What Does An Information Security Audit Entail?

This article explores how businesses can best prepare for an information security audit, either internally or conducted by external assessors.

Audit = Worry

For many people the very word audit is enough to send them into cold sweats, however if your house is in order, so to speak, there is no reason for this to be the case. An external audit is a mandatory part of becoming certified at ISO 27001 standard. Part of attaining an ISO 27001 accreditation also obliges you to carry out your own, internal audits in order to ensure that the relevant standards of compliant are continuously met in your business.

What does an information security audit look like, in particular in regards to ISO 27001 certification?

The Auditing Process

ISO 27001 follows a three-step auditing process, which is the norm for information security standards, as well as other processes throughout the information technology sector. These steps are clearly broken down and defined so that any issues with non-compliance can be addressed prior to the next stage in the process of ISO 27001 certification.

Stage One: Your Documents

The first stage of ISO 27001 accreditation is an auditing of your documents. This will usually entail a rather informal visit from an external assessor to go through your existing paperwork, and assist you in adding any documents you need to in order to achieve the required level of compliance.

ISO 27001 contains a mixture of mandatory and optional measures. Obviously, the mandatory ones should be fully completed. Only the optional measures which are relevant to your business need be completed, however be prepared to write up more should the external auditor feel that you have not completed a certain one which would benefit your business.

Once all of your documents are in order and up to date, the auditor will leave and return for stage two.

Stage Two: The Audit Itself

This is a formal auditing of your business’ compliance to all of the mandatory guidelines, as well as your chosen optional ones, in ISO 27001. The audit will look to pick holes in your information security management system, and explore flaws which fraudsters and cyber criminals could potentially capitalise on. Take this stage for what it is, and appreciate any learning’s that come from it – you will get the opportunity to address any non-compliance.

Stage Three: Putting It Right And Certification

Stage three entails you carrying out any recommendations made by the external auditor, and providing evidence that these will be an on-going part of your information security processes.

Once these have been completed to satisfaction, you will be awarded the ISO 27001 certification.

Embrace the opportunities afforded by audits, and recognise how carrying out the necessary best practice to a high standard will leave you with nothing at all to worry about.

Iso27001standard provide resources, pdfs and video tutorials to help with implementing ISO 27001.

 

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How To Keep Your Business Moving

This article looks at how business continuity planning is an increasingly crucial tool for businesses of all sizes.

What Is Business Continuity?

Business continuity management planning is a critical aspect for businesses of all sizes in the modern day. Having a business continuity plan can ensure that in the face of unexpected circumstances, businesses can continue to operate to their maximum potential. The real aim of business continuity management planning is not to merely ensure a business continues to operate, but to provide a strong path to restoring normal operations at the earliest possible opportunity.

The business continuity plan can account for a whole range of events, from physical happenings such as a terrorist atrocity or a huge fire to financial events such as recessions and market troughs.

Building Business Continuity

Currently, the standard which measures a business’ continuity planning is BS 25999. BS 25999 looks at how well equipped a business is to deal with a wide range of occurrences, as well as the planning processes and logistics required to implement these. BS 25999 puts accountability on various individuals throughout an organisation to act in a certain set of circumstances.

Business continuity management planning can be the difference between a business continuing to thrive or going to the wall in the face of uncertain conditions. In times of uncertainty, it will be a great comfort to customers to know that in your business, they have an organisation and team who they can rely upon to remain consistent in their service and product delivery. A business continuity plan could even bring you new business in this manner, so it is definitely something worth having.

Why Business Continuity?

In addition to the benefits to customers there are various reasons why a business continuity management plan is a good idea. Getting certified with BS 25999 can open many doors for your business.

  • Investors will be far more likely to invest in your business if you have a continuity plan, and have been BS 25999 certified. Parting with their money is a risk, giving it to a safe bet will feel immeasurably safer.
  • Many insurance companies and other groups will only deal with you if you have an aspect of business continuity management planning in place. Growing numbers of large corporations are adopting a strict policy of only dealing with other businesses who have such contingencies in place.
  • As this becomes a greater focus, business continuity will become a mandatory requirement for all businesses. At the moment, only those agencies related to financial markets, utilities and public transport are legally obliged to have such plans in place.

Adopt business continuity planning throughout your business, get BS 25999 certified and put your business on the map starting today.

Iso27001standard provide resources to help with understanding BS25999.

 

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Safety in the Office: Preventing Work Related Injuries

Small business owners are often not aware of the liabilities that come with business ownership. Often, their business becomes victim to an unsuspecting expense that will take a large chunk out of the budget and threaten to shut the venture down. When starting your own business, pay special attention to the safety measures that you have for your staff, as you can be held responsible for work related injuries.

Approximately 6 percent of all workers in the United States suffer from a work related injury very year. While large corporations are able to handle the compensation claims, a small business owner cannot. Take the following steps to reduce work related injuries in your new business:

In the Office

It is possible to injure yourself in the office, and employees can seek compensation for anything from repetitive strain injury or a fracture caused from a slippery floor.

During Computer Use

Computers are one of the leading causes of injury in an office setting, mainly due to incorrect posture or long periods of usage. If your business requires use of a computer, make sure you get chairs with lower back supports and encourage proper posture. Make employees take short breaks every hour.

Floors and Lighting

Ensure that the office is well lit, and that floors are not wet at any time. Slipping can cause fractures, while poor lighting can increase strain while working. Make sure your office is hygienic, so that disease does not spread in your workers.

Electrical Equipment

Shorting or defective machines in your office present a hazard to your building and personnel. In case of a fire, you may have to compensate all the employees. If an employee injures himself, for example, due to a defective coffee maker, you may find yourself paying the medical bills.

In the Manufacturing Department

Whether you have a bakery or a wood working shop, the place where your goods are made has a higher chance of work related injury.

Machinery and Maintenance

All machinery should be regularly maintained. The wiring and functioning should be checked by a professional, so that parts do not fail while in use. Doing so will ensure that the machine is reliable and performs as expected. Enforce a strict guideline about machine use, and provide safety equipment.

Exposure to Chemicals or Dust

If you expect that the air will have dust particles or chemicals in it, provide adequate masks for your staff. Fumes can damage the lungs, and lead to long term disease. Injury claims may demand compensation for the entire duration of treatment, mounting up to a hefty amount.

Heavy Loads

Lifting heavy loads can cause back injury, and may injure feet if a load collapses onto them. Provide safety shoes and helmets to use with lifting equipment.

Safety Equipment and Procedures

Having written guidelines and a contract with your employee will provide much of the security you need to protect yourself. Enforce a safety culture by providing all safety equipment and having a zero tolerance policy for non compliance.

Francis Hart has been a valuable consultant for the Fannin Litigation Group, P.S. and has dealt with many occupational injury cases. She has helped many small business owners to protect themselves against such claims and increase their safety procedures. She blogs for Fannin Law in her free time.

 

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