Comprehensive Background Checks best practices

Comprehensive Background Checks best practices

Comprehensive pre-employment background checks are an absolute necessity.  Your time is a valuable commodity. When you consider taking on a high-touch candidate destined for executive placement it is of even greater importance, as the time you spend performing comprehensive background checks may be considerable. Above all, you don’t want to lose on your investment.

Knowing what potential dangers lurk before you put a lot of effort into somebody makes good business sense. If it were a business acquisition, you would be performing the same sort of due diligence on the company you intend to purchase, so why not apply this to your human assets also?

Conducting comprehensive pre-employment background checks prior to in-person interviews is one of the surest ways to confirm that your candidate is representing themselves with verity — your brand reputation and the company’s future depends on it. When it is a leadership, management or customer-facing role, it is even more important to know exactly who is sitting on the other side of that desk. In this age of lawsuits and litigation, being armed with verified, up-to-the-minute information is your best protection.

Performing comprehensive pre-employment background checks before you hire is important. Performing a background check during the course of the recruiting process is just as crucial.  The more you know about a candidate, the better you will be able to predict their success or lack of it.

Making sure you are placing the right person in the right position is so much more than just job experience and having the appropriate demeanor: ensuring that your candidate will meet all expectations and does not present a danger to you, the on-boarding company, their brand or their staff assures a return on your investment. It also gives you a stronger platform to work from when negotiating the deal. If you are committed to presenting the best candidate for the job, having a thorough background check in place is not just an option – it is a necessity.

Most HR departments, hiring managers, and recruiters ask their candidate to supply several references.  Let's be honest - these are peers, friends, and by and large 50% are therefore biased. Retained executive search firms like NextGen dig up and cold call references we find who are past internal customers the candidate interfaced with, vendors, external customers, and those who reported to him/her, as well as his/her former superiors.  These names we dig up are caught off guard, are honest, and really do help to provide an accurate balance of professional references in comprehensive background checks.

Define comprehensive pre-employment background checks

 

SSN trace, search and validation: This verifies your candidate’s identity. A social security number is specific to the state and city where it was obtained, and can tell you a great deal about an individual, such as their residential history. A verified SSN can also help to verify other information that the background check might reveal.

County criminal record searches: This will reveal if they have been in trouble locally.

Current and previous residences: Frequent moves can be a harbinger of trouble to come, revealing transiency or any kind of trouble in holding down a residence.

National criminal file: This is a validated result that is cross-referenced to known addresses. Care must be taken to verify this information against a known quantity, such as an individual’s SSN. There are likely thousands of William Smith’s in the world, for example.

Federal criminal record searches (last 7 years): Any federal criminal offence will appear here. Federal offences are far more serious, and include many ‘white-collar’ crimes such as fraud.

Federal civil records searches (current and previous residences): this will illuminate problems with money, handling money, securities and bad debt–very important in hiring for fiduciary positions. It will also reveal past marriages or any civil proceeding that the candidate has been involved with.

OFAC terror watch/sex offender check: It probably goes without saying, a history that includes terrorism, violent crime or a sex offence has the potential to cause a great deal of harm to your company, your customers and your workforce.

Education verification (2 highest degrees): Education verification to prove your candidate’s claims.

Employment verification (last 3 employers): Verifying past employment, positions held and more proof of claims.

Professional character references (past superiors, direct reports, internal/external customers as applicable): How your candidate interacts with others should be of great interest to you. This is the trickiest part as most HR departments lack the skills to conduct job references pertaining to those whom the candidate interfaces with. It's not just the interactions, but the mentor and coaching capability, listening skills, ability of the candidate to sell their ideas,  examples of conflict resolution, and teamwork.

Social media reputation reports: Many people reveal their true character online in ways they never would to your face. It’s not about the kids, the cottage or the kittens, but if your candidate is a drunk or has a tendency to bad-mouth their employers or even worse – their customers – online, you’ll want to know.

PEER credit report: A PEER credit report takes an individual’s personal credit, residential and employment history into account and is a little more detailed than a standard background check. The PEER report is more a gauge of dependability than credit worthiness, and does not result in a credit inquiry for the candidate. Use for C-Suite level, VP and fiduciary roles.

‘Ban the Box’ laws impacts comprehensive background checks

 

In states or municipalities where a ‘ban-the-box’ law is in place, access to your candidate’s criminal history in comprehensive background checks could be limited until later on in the hiring process. You might think that this legislation has limited influence with regard to executive search and placement, but it still has the potential to lead you down a blind alley every once in a while. You might, for instance, spend a great deal of time on a candidate during the on-boarding process only to find that there were some legal or ethical issues that you just cannot afford to take a chance on.

comprehensive pre-employment background checksThe legislation itself applies to federal government job applications, some private contractors and companies operating in specific regions that have adopted the policy. While it is arguably a useful and constructive way to level the playing field, it could still impede your process when hiring mid-level to senior management.

Since the legislation can be enforced at the state, county or municipal level, it is important to find out what the laws are in your area, and understand what you can and can’t legally ask up front.

Most ban-the-box laws do not prohibit an up-front comprehensive pre-employment background checks, but some do require the employer to wait until after the first interview or even later in the hiring process.

Running comprehensive pre-employment background checks

 

Your HR department can check references and social media, but a verified background check ensures the information you obtain is bona-fide and that the person whose life you are looking into is actually the one you intended. Additionally, there is a lot of information that cannot be uncovered in a limited search.

Some data can only be accessed by a licensed firm that specializes in comprehensive pre-employment background checks. Such companies have the experience to get you what you need in an expedient manner, and will help to prevent you from looking at personal data that might put you in violation of state or federal law. If you are in doubt, consult your legal department first. Most states require that you obtain a written consent from the candidate prior to conducting a search. You should also expect to provide a copy of that search to the subject in addition to any related communications or recommendations.

Above all, look at a broad spectrum of information. Don’t just look at the negative, and don’t focus too closely on any one thing. The sum total of your candidate’s data should tell a story – hopefully a good one – that will help you decide how best to proceed.

Improve Talent Acquisition with a Competitive Edge

Improve Talent Acquisition with a Competitive Edge

How do you improve talent acquisition to be more efficient, less costly, and produce results when it comes to executive management and functional leadership roles?  Today companies have a hectic schedule due to keeping up with the competitiveness of the industry. Resources and time becomes constricted and companies do not have the time to implement a thorough recruitment and screening process.

Relying upon job boards, LinkedIn, focusing on branding and “social responsibility” on web site career portals brings in hundreds of applicants, but rarely the right applicants and most of those applicants are “C players”, the 55% of the workforce that  can show up to do a job but don’t add to increasing revenues, lowering cost, or creating new intellectual property.

Many companies employ internal recruiters of contract recruiters, and while they can produce more applicants, the quality of the candidates is at best "okay".  Contingency search firms are internally measured on the number of sendouts (resumes) emailed each day, the focus in on quantity, not quality. If a company must conduct a phone screen, simply put the recruiter failed to do a good job in screening and assessment.

Companies engage a retained search firm to manage the recruitment process and to get down to a shortlist of highly qualified candidates ready for in-person interviews.  Retained search firms that are niche or boutique working in the company;s industry NEVER look at active job seekers who dominate job board and Linkedin job postings, but instead use their vast internal rolodex, identify and cold call, and reach out to those contacts to being them an opportunity and a challenge.

  • Client-focused in time management – retained search improve talent acquisition as we only work on only a few select searches at a time per executive search consultant. Because the lead recruiter has a team behind him, each task from sourcing to pre-screen to deep interviews is assigned.  Since the focus is on quality, retained executive search consultants are not measured by the contingency search firm focus on sending out x number of resumes daily.
  • Industry Expertise in Your Market - possess a higher level of proficiency when it comes to finding potential candidates for a specific niche industry and market.  These firms specialize in what are the trending news in the market, recruiting, executive changes at your competitors, and news about the current and future strategy of your market and your competitors.

 

Improve Talent Acquisition by Elevating your RecruitmentRather than using a typical job description quoting responsibilities and requirements, the approach is to identify team dynamics and documenting KPIs to ensure potential candidates can meet the objectives of the role.

Instead of focusing on a checklist of x number of years’ experience and skills, retained search focus on what the potential candidate will do with those skills to meet the performance objectives of the role rather than just having x years of experience with that skill.

The costs are much lower in the Long Run -  utilizing the expertise of a good recruitment team shows that retained search lowers the expenses used to screening applicants and potential sourced candidates.

 

Improve Talent Acquisition with Onboarding Tools

 

A custom onboarding tool that works is one that uses a psychometric composite team profile with the corresponding candidate profile and performance objectives of the role.  No lengthy involvement of time and effort by multiple executive staff members.  It is customized and easy to use.  It should include a personal action plan for the new hire that identifies his/her strengths and weaknesses and provides the designated mentor with an effective coaching and evaluation tool.

Retained search improve talent acquisition like NextGen Executive Search as clients has shown that the 72% who use the custom onboarding tool realize quick assimilation into the corporate culture and team dynamics, faster productivity, and longer retention.

Final Thoughts on How to Improve Talent Acquisition

 

 This relieves the company’s HR department of the expenditures that are used in screening processes such as background information, investigating previous employment records, filling up Hiring Managers inboxes with unqualified flypaper (resumes).  Searching for the ideal candidate for the job can take a lot of time and expense if the company does it alone.

Much Higher Retention Rate with Low Turnover - retained search improves talent acquisition with a much higher retention rate for candidates they’ve placed (NextGen Global has a 93% retention rate for placed candidate still working after 3.5 years of being hired and 87% still there at 5 years).

Retained search improve talent acquisition with a competitive edge as the people they place outperform, meet, or exceed your expectations and significantly contribute to the success of the organization.  Hiring the right staff, not just at the senior executive level, can propel the company towards success and development, but hiring the wrong ones stagnates the progress.  Improve Talent Acquisition by Elevating your Recruitment on Improve Talent Acquisition by Elevating your Recruitment to improve talent acquisition.

 

Top 3 Leadership Skills Desired by Board of Directors

Top 3 Leadership Skills Desired by Board of Directors

Investors are usually attracted towards companies that have great potential, not only in the present, but also in the future. That means, business organizations are always on the lookout for talented and skilled leaders who possess the top 3 leadership skills most desired and can contribute greatly to their goals. When it comes to interviewing leaders, Executive hiring managers are keen on how you value yourself in terms of potential to be a part of their organization. The competition is fierce; as a potential candidate, you need to stand out.

Most candidates have earned degrees that are complimentary for the role he / she seeks, but if you are looking for a way to put yourself in a new level from your competition, you need

Top 3 Leadership Skills include Social & Organizational

 

In every profession you take, communications skills are crucial. Being articulate is the top skill that executive hiring managers seek in candidates. Effective solutions, innovative concepts, and new techniques may not do any changes when you cannot get your ideas into words to relay to senior executives, investors, and/or colleagues. Communication skills also include attentive listening, speaking fluently, and organized writing. As such, social skills are at the forefront of the top 3 leadership skills most desired by the Board of Directors. 

Executive hiring managers need leaders who can explain what others are talking about and also arrange these thoughts, ideas, and concepts in a comprehensive manner. Even if you are working remotely and your connection to your company is through the computer, you still need efficient communications skills to interact with your colleagues, clients, and team through chats, video conferencing, phone, and emails.

Social Skills

 

Top 3 Leadership Skills

Working in a business organization means that you will be working with people. Communication does not only mean relaying what you want to express through words, but through your actions as well. Most, if not all jobs require effective social skills to interact efficiently with their colleagues, clients, suppliers, and senior management.  

Working within teams needs competent social communications that can maximize productivity and resolve issues.

Knowing when to engage in interactions that is either casual or professional with colleagues and clients, because senior management want their leaders and employees to have good relationships with everyone.

 

Organization Skills

 

Being organized leads to being efficient and transparent. Organized documents, efficient schedule management, coordinating resources, and effective task designation. When you follow an organization, it is easier for not only senior management, but for the team you lead to know and understand how you work. Being organized can mean from how well you arrange your desk and files, how you send reports at a certain period of time, and how often you have team meetings to update on everyone’s progress. As one of the top 3 leadership skills desired, companies need leaders who can stay focused on projects and remain organized until it is completed. One of the most important organization skills is to meet deadlines. Using time wisely makes all the difference between success and failure of your company.

 

Top 3 Leadership Skills includes Motivations

 

Senior management needs people who can identify problems and solve them. Critical thinking helps in seeing beyond the information presented all the time. Analyzing allows you to think up of new angles on how to approach a problem. There may be better ways to solve this particular problem that hadn’t been tried yet previously. Problem solving helps us make decisions amidst challenges. Whether problems are big or small, you have to analyze it in different angles and solve problems as quickly as possible.  This why motivations is one of the top 3 leadership skills desired. 

 

Motivations

 

Motivation skills are important when you are interacting with colleagues and clients. People do better when they love what they are doing. When you are motivated, you find it easier to get up during the morning and look forward your day in the office. The compensation, including options and/or equity, can motivate you, but senior management and investors / stakeholder want to hire leaders that can contribute to their organization’s goals and success. Motivation can help you cope with stress and handle problems in the workplace well and is ideal in succession planning.

 

Renewable Jet Fuels Viability in Commercial Flights

Renewable Jet Fuels Viability in Commercial Flights

Renewable jet fuels changed in 2016 when regular flight operations of United Airlines started using RjF.  This marked the beginning of commercial-scale usage of the alternate jet fuel by aviation industry.  As of today the commercial viability has been achieved for renewable jet fuels through demonstration of techno-economic feasibility for production path-ways (processes) namely HEFA (Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids) technology and FT (Fischer-Tropsch) technology.

Next in the line is DSHC (Direct Sugar to Hydrocarbons) which is currently undergoing pilot projects for demonstration of its viability. Similarly, development work is under way for renewable jet fuels production through other technologies like HDCJ (Hydro-treated Depolymerized Cellulosic Jet), ATJ (Alcohol to Jet) and APR (Aqueous Phase Reforming).

Renewable Jet Fuels Development

 

Such development projects are now receiving funds from the governments and additional support may be forthcoming in the form of government incentives regarding tax breaks and mandatory use obligations) essentially required for reducing the production-cost-differential of renewable jet fuels and petroleum jet fuel for commercial aviation and aerospace by the EPA has established procedures for analyzing submitted petitions for life cycle GHG emissions associated with new fuel pathways.

Specifications for jet fuels are defined under ASTM D1655 and they mainly focus on performance properties like heat content (BTUs per lb), combustion properties, freezing point, viscosity, thermal stability, material compatibility and related safety hazards.

For standardizing purposes ASTM D7566 is the standard for certification of Synthetic Fuels, which also include renewable jet fuels, in consultation with ASTM D4054 for guidance related to testing as jet fuel alternative RJF. The drop-in RJF need to be additionally certified for equivalence in specification to jet fuels under the ASTM D1655 for direct mixing in aircrafts with being separately tracked for approval.

Renewable Jet Fuels

RJF is now available as a “drop-in” alternate fuel with performance and safety specifications equivalent to petroleum jet fuels. As such, RJF use does not require any modification in jet engines and this provides an opportunity window for the aviation industry to contribute towards reducing emission of greenhouse gases.

After proving its technical viability, the remaining major obstacle for viability of renewable jet fuels is related to production and consumption “scale-up”. This is expected to be overcome soon as commercial airlines start making medium to long-term fuel supply contracts with commercial producers of renewable jet fuels.  

Commercial use of RJF will also get a boast as International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has agreed global market based measures (GMBM): “Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to address any annual increase in total CO2 emissions from international civil aviation (i.e. civil aviation flights that depart in one country and arrive in a different country) above the 2020 levels, taking into account special circumstances and respective capabilities.”

Investments in Renewable Jet Fuels

 

Blending is another area where RJF power generation producers are actively engaged with RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels) for certifying blended fuels which are a mix of petroleum fuel and biofuels from special crops grown for the purpose. In South Africa Sunchem’s nicotine-free tobacco plant Solaris is an example of producing RJF through blending of biofuels with petroleum Jet-A fuel.

Such efforts will standardize the production and use of blended RJF while ensuring economic, environmental and social concerns of the society. The biofuel industry is targeting to achieve a 50% reduction in GHG emissions over the life-cycle through use of blended RJF in a ratio of 30% biofuel mixed with 70% of petroleum fuel.

An innovative approach to achieve the economy of scale and to reduce the financial costs in production of RJF is manifested by equity investment by United Airlines and Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific in Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc., Nevada, California.

Both the airlines, Cathay Pacific and United Airlines, in addition to equity investment have long term renewable jet fuels RJF supply contracts with Fulcrum BioEnergy. The Nevada based production facility having a capacity to produce 11 million gallons of fuel is expected to be operational in 2018. It is evident that aviation industry is gearing itself to implement the GMBM by the year 2020 for which renewable jet fuels is the light on the horizon.

Ai Impacts Aerospace Power Management Systems

Ai Impacts Aerospace Power Management Systems

Ai impacts aerospace power management in the way it can collect data and make decisions on conversion, generation, and distribution.  In our modern technological society, controlling the flow of electricity is necessary to powering buildings, maintaining efficient computer systems, and providing energy to vehicle accessories. And it is critical to operating systems on airplanes and spacecraft. Engineers are turning to efficient design to conserve and control power by looking to how Ai impacts aerospace power management systems for smart solutions.

Perhaps the best example of this quest for improved aerospace technology through Ai is being done at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2015, The Boeing Company joined with the university to establish the Boeing/Carnegie Mellon Aerospace Data Analytics Lab. Boeing’s CIO called it “a unique aerospace partnership”.  And the company sank $7.5 million into the project.

 

​​​​​​​​Boeing studies Ai impacts Aerospace Power Management

 

“The goal is to find ways to use artificial intelligence and big data to capitalize on the enormous amount of data generated in the design, construction and operation of modern aircraft,” according to a Carnegie Mellon news release. The author Byron Spice writes that aircraft are constantly generating data.  He calls aeronautics “one of the most data-intensive industries”.

In coverage of this partnership, Wired Magazine proclaimed:  “And now, Ai invades the skies.” James Carbonell, project leader and a computer scientist at the university, sees great promise in this endeavor.  “We’re working to develop algorithms that can process all that, understand it, and create a unified way of analyzing information,” he said.

The implementation of Ai impacts aerospace power management systems on airplanes and space ships extends to all areas and subsystems. Just as car makers have entrusted much of the decision-making to onboard computers, the aerospace industry is installing smart technology into air and space vehicles. In fact, the European Space Agency (ESA) is developing space applications for the same Controller Area Network (CAN) technology being used in automobiles. In the ESA paper “Artificial Intelligence for Space Applications”, the authors identify the subsystems of a spacecraft, all of which may be guided by Ai:

Where Ai Impacts Aerospace Power Management

 

  • attitude determination and control
  • telemetry tracking and command
  • command and data handling
  • power
  • thermal structures and mechanisms
  • guidance and navigation

Load Shedding and Ai

 

 So, what can artificial intelligence do to improve the power subsystem, both in planes and spacecraft?  Perhaps the most important task in learning how Ai impacts aerospace power management is making sure you’ve got enough to get home safely. And to do that, sometimes you must turn off everything except the most critical of systems. In aviation — as well as in the electric power industry — that process is called “load shedding”.

Ai impacts aerospace power management systemsThat’s how NASA brought the Apollo 13 crew home. Smart people used intelligent methods to limit the power consumption in the spacecraft to direct energy to where it was most needed. Many people credit the contracting firm Kepner-Tregoe and their problem analysis method for saving the astronauts. And who hasn’t seen the movie “Apollo 13 directed by Ron Howard?

In dramatic fashion, astronauts in a mock lunar module simulated actions required to control the use of onboard power.  What if a computer system could make all those calculations and decisions for you? That’s the principle behind AI-based load shedding. One aviation blog defines load shedding as “reducing demands on the aircraft’s electrical system when part of that system fails”.

The author gives us three principles that apply to the process (which he believes will also work in load shedding our personal workload):

  • Know when to load-shed
  • Know what to load-shed
  • Know how to load-shed

The journal Air Facts says that using AI in the cockpit is nothing new. “In fact,” writes author John Zimmerman, “many pilots have been flying with very primitive forms of Ai for years, even if they didn’t realize it: autopilots, FADEC, and load-shedding electrical systems all use computer power to make intelligent decisions.”

​​​​Smart controllers/ smart software

 

Making aircraft and spacecraft smarter requires advancements in both hardware and software. Just as innovations in drones and unmanned vehicles are making strides, innovations for manned and unmanned aircraft continue to get show promise.

A power controller from Data Device Corp offers smart system management. A company spokesman says, “DDC’s new high-power density SSPC offers a reliable and efficient solution, optimized for aircraft mission systems that can benefit from the functionality provided by smart aerospace power management,

Space News writer Debra Warner tells how NASA is putting artificial intelligence into everything. In the article ”Beyond HAL: How artificial intelligence is changing space systems”, she quotes NASA scientist Kelly Fong:  “Work we are doing today focuses not so much on general intelligence but on trying to allow systems to be more independent, more self-reliant, more autonomous.”

Current Ai impact on aerospace power management systems may not be as smart as the HAL 9000 unit in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the smart software being developed and used today is still capable of predictive analytics that could help prevent future disasters like those experienced in the Apollo and Challenger space programs.

Conclusion

Of course, how AI impacts aerospace power management systems in other ways besides load shedding. Just as the electric smart grid keeps the lights on, intelligent power systems on planes and space ships can keep pilots, astronauts, and passengers moving toward the completion of their journey. Whether it’s improved power distribution, error control, load shedding, or guarding against disaster, artificial intelligence shows great promise for continued advancement in aerospace system control. It seems that we are just getting started.